Madea cracks me up, especially when she does her Patti Labelle impression, but at the same time, my soul is weeping.
Tyler Perry is an impressive American success story, much like his friend Oprah Winfrey. But unlike Oprah, Perry's media empire is cancer for Black artistic production. Cancer spreads if unchecked right? Tyler Perry has managed to spread his predictable metastatic story line and stereotypes from stage, to movies, to television.
The typical Winston Jerome story starts with a beautiful educated professional Black woman trapped in a troubled marriage with a brown skinned Black dude.
In what I consider to be one of McGruder's finest moments, he does check the mogul. Chin checks him. "Pause", the eighth episode in season 3, is a diatribe against Tyler Perry smothered in classic McGruder humor, such is the inclusion of "Pause, no homo".
In the episode granddad lands a starring role in a stage play by 'Jerome Winston'. Jerome is a cross-dressing, White Jesus professing, sexually ambiguous director that looks, sounds and acts an awful lot like Tyler Perry. The episode is a not-so-subtle commentary on Perry's mega-presence in Black Hollywood. McGruder even goes so far as to point out the irony of Perry's Christian themes juxtaposed with the homo-erotic undertones of his cross-dressing Madea character, and his own sexually ambiguous reputation.
But Jesus wants us to be actors first, heterosexuals second.
And then McGruder takes more subtle jabs at elements of Perry's work that we may overlook while laughing our behinds off. His heavy handed used of negative stereotypes and the narrow perspective on African-American life he presents to the world. These are the artistic shortcomings for which Perry has already come under fire from critics like fellow-film maker, Spike Lee.
I personally can not name one stage play, movie, or sitcom that does not feature one or some combination of the mammy, the crack addicted Jezebel, tragic mullato, and/or coon. My biggest gripe with his work is that Perry has recycled and reused the single Black woman narrative ad nauseum, promoting the idea that if you are a virtuous Black woman you must either marry 'beneath you' or remain woefully single. I mean really, our indulgence in this tragic tale of the single Black female has become a self-fulfilling prophecy that we really need to abandon. But we won't, because Tyler Perry won't let us.
How could you do this to me?
Get out! I'm going to marry this white huzzy! You are too virtuous and strong. You might make me a better man.
You may disagree, but I believe that given the fragile nature of the Black community and the state of our Black children, people invested with the power of image ought to be responsible.
Whether you agree or disagree with McGruder's commentary, this episode is indisputably hilarious.