More Like The Huh's And The 'Dude, NOT's
Last night, The Haves And The Have Nots premiered. I watched it. It was quite something.
What even is this?
The Haves And The Have Nots is a scripted primetime drama, "created, written, directed and executive produced by Tyler Perry." It airs on OWN. I think it might be OWN's first scripted soap opera, but I also feel like if it were, the show's website would make a bigger deal of calling it out? Whatever -- it's certainly the first scripted drama on OWN that has been promoted on a billboard that's along my drive to the gym.
Speaking of the show's website, did you know that OWN doesn't even own the domain name OWN.com?
It's true. And hilarious.
Why does it look so cheap?
So when I saw promos for this show on other networks (sorry, OWN! I don't watch OWN), I saw that it was shot on video and that the sets looked like they were made of construction paper and dry macaroni and thought it was pretty ambitious of OWN to try to launch its own daytime soap, when even the networks can barely keep those on the air. My mistake! The Haves And The Have Nots isn't a daytime soap; it just looks like one. If this pilot wasn't shot in a day, it sure looks like it was -- and when you work at that pace, some things have to be sacrificed, like lighting design that doesn't make the African-American actors look like ink blots with eyes, and sets that don't look like an eight-year-old's diorama.
Are all Tyler Perry shows this shoddy?
I could find out if I watched the premiere of Perry's Love Thy Neighbor -- a sitcom based on a character from one of his plays -- when it airs its first two episodes tonight. But since this is only a tinder question, and not one that's actually burning, I'm going to take a hard pass.
Is it possible that Oprah Winfrey thinks this show is good?
I don't expect Winfrey to keep up with TV the way that, let's say, I do. I'm probably less busy than she is (or more committed to living my best life, depending on your perspective). I definitely know she doesn't watch The Late Show or The Colbert Report or Chelsea Lately, because her interviews with the hosts of all three of those shows came across like she had just phonetically learned their names, in their driveways, right before she met them. She apparently heard of Scandal partway through its third season, because she did a whole show on that. And then...that's it? I'm guessing? So maybe she doesn't know that TV has come a long way since she used to watch As The World Turns on sick days when she was in high school, and presumably no one who works for her is going to tell her. But can someone please anonymously send her a DVD set of...not even something crazy good like Mad Men, but maybe, like, Nashville? She should know that she could be doing a little better.
Is Hanna supposed to be the heroine?
The series starts with Hanna (Crystal R. Fox) getting a job offer to work as a housekeeper/maid for Katheryn Cryer (Renee Lawless): Hanna having therefore been firmly established as a Have Not, we're presumably supposed to root for her over the capitalist pigs she works for. But Hanna is shit-talking her employers and their friends well before cocktail hour on her first day and showing no respect or gratitude to Celine (Eva Tamargo), the friend who got Hanna the job. By the time it's revealed that Candace (Tika Sumpter), the prostitute Cryer patriarch Jim (John Schneider) slept with earlier (I mean, it was his birthday), is not just a friend and classmate to Cryer daughter Amanda (Jaclyn Betham) but also Hanna's daughter and a con artist, I kind of hoped Candace would burn the house down using that rotten bitch Hanna's wig as kindling.
Is the sober companion going to do it with the drunk rich himbo?
Wyatt Cryer (Aaron O'Connell) takes off all his clothes on a flimsy pretext in his first minute onscreen. He's angry and bitter and has Jeffrey (Gavin Houston) following him into the bathroom and sleeping in his room to make sure Wyatt stays sober -- which he doesn't; Wyatt breaks his forty-five-day sobriety before the episode is over, so as long as Jeffrey's already been derelict in his duties, he might as well just forget professionalism altogether and nail his charge. It's possible that this did happen in the show's second episode -- which, this being a Tyler Perry joint, would mean Wyatt and Jeffrey both went on to die of AIDS in the fourth act, which would be a shame for all the obvious reasons as well as the fact that this idiot's body is literally the only reason to watch this show again.
And it's not enough.