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 If Loving You Is Wrong is a prime-time soap opera about a group of neighbors. In true soap opera fashion, particularly the nighttime variety, most of the drama comes from the characters' foibles. They deceive coworkers and bosses, cheat on their spouses, lie to their neighbors, and have terrible secrets that they eventually reveal with great fanfare. Viewers can expect to see many, many scenes of couples in bed or making out passionately in other locales, references to sex, unexpected pregnancies, infidelity, and sex scenes with no nudity but with moaning and writhing. One character is attempting to rid herself of a jealous and abusive ex-spouse; viewers will see him grabbing and handling her roughly as she begs for him to stop. He also screams that he won't be "disrespected by this bitch" and threatens violence due to sexual jealousy. Characters drink on-screen and act drunk, making poor choices and blaming alcohol.
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What's the story?
In director Tyler Perry's hour-long nighttime soap IF LOVING YOU IS WRONG, a group of good-looking neighbors in a suburb lead interconnected lives. Alex (Amanda Clayton) has a hot husband, Brad (Aiden Turner), with whom she's falling out of love, particularly since she's started having an affair with her neighbor (and Brad's pal) Randal (Eltony Williams). A positive pregnancy test adds immensely to the complications. Meanwhile, Randal's long-suffering wife, Marcie (Heather Hemmens), is always rushing around with her busy real estate job, which brings her in contact with Natalie (April Parker Jones), a forthright single mom with four kids and a big secret. Esperanza (Zulay Henao) is trying to escape the clutches of her frightening ex, Edward (Joel Rush), in the arms of new flame Julius (Octavio Pizano), and Kelly (Edwina Findley Dickerson) is attempting to stay focused on her career and raising her young son after the death of her husband.
Is it any good?
Despite the decades and cultural gap that separate them, If Loving You Is Wrong resembles nothing so much as vintage Aaron Spelling soap Melrose Place. Did Tyler Perry -- whose other steamy soap, The Haves and the Have Nots, has already carved itself a significant niche on OWN -- have this television touchstone in mind when he conceived of a soap built around a group of hot neighbors? Maybe, maybe not, but there's no denying that If Loving You has a similar vibe, as excitable neighbors meet each other, fall in forbidden love, conduct clandestine affairs, blow up their marriages, and start all over again.
The fact that the characters on this show are multi-ethnic, mostly African-American, gives If Loving You a hint of freshness, but basically these are the same old soap opera tropes you've seen before. Teens, however, may not have seen them, and their heads may be turned by all the sex and drama. If parents let them watch at all, they may want to watch along to counter any iffy messages.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the tradition of soap operas. When do they air on television? Who is the audience? What type of advertising and media attention do they attract?
Does If Loving You Is Wrong remind you of any other shows? Which ones? Is this show better or not as good? Why?
Are the characters on If Loving You Is Wrong wealthy or poor? How can you tell? How will the characters' social class affect the types of problems they will face on the show?
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