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House of Payne
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that one of the main characters in this syndicated sitcom is a formerly drug-addicted mother of two who was forced into rehab after burning the family house down. She receives very little emotional support from her in-laws and husband when she's released from her program.
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What's the story?
In HOUSE OF PAYNE, a syndicated sitcom created and directed by filmmaker Tyler Perry (Diary of a Mad Black Woman), viewers follow Atlanta fireman CJ Payne (New Jack City's Allen Payne -- it's coincidental that they share the same last name) as he and his two kids move into his parents' home after his drug-addicted wife burns down their house to cover their debt. (Laughing yet?) CJ often butts heads with his strong-willed but well-meaning parents, Ella (Cassie Davis) and Curtis (Lavan Davis). The three disagree on everything from personal hygiene to child-rearing and further test each other's patience when CJ's wife returns from rehab and re-enters their lives. Larramie Shaw and China McCain co-star as Curtis' two children, Malik and Jasmine, and Denise Burse plays nosey neighbor Claretha.
Is it any good?
Perry has lots of fans, but even his alter-ego Madea couldn't infuse enough life into the mediocre House of Payne to make it stand out from the crowd. House of Payne's storyline is an interesting one, in that viewers essentially see a single father raising his kids with the help of his parents. But amateurish acting and a low-quality set detract from any originality. What's more, the writing at times verges on the offensive. At one point, Curtis tells CJ that all black people have high blood pressure, to which the lighter-skinned CJ responds that he doesn't. His father's retort? "I said black, not beige."