I think the supposed writers of politically incorrect comedy are completely aware that it’s politically incorrect and they are completely concerned with getting a rise out of people. That’s their goal, that’s what they do and they’ll keep doing it because people think it’s funny to take complete advantage of others sensitivities. It’s all too forced. There’s no subtlety in this humor therefore it’s not at all funny to me. I don’t get offended, I don’t think anyone has ever offended me in my life. I’m not sensitive to the ‘comedy’, but I’d rather watch something else.
without a Lisa Simpson figure to morally ground
Isn’t that Brian’s function? Although, I find Brian to be one of the most annoying characters in the show. His incessant moralizing is just kind of ridiculous, and seems to be intended more or less seriously more often than not. Still, there is that one great moment where Quagmire yells at Brian for like a couple minutes about how obnoxious he is.
Joe’s character was ’He’s paralyzed, but he’s also so strong and ultra-masculine he can still kick your ass at sports’, now it’s ’He’s paralyzed, haha, he can’t do stuff’.
I feel like I hear that complaint a lot, but I don’t really see it. I feel like Joe is still a fairly reasonable character…
And I guess I see people’s problems with their treatment of Meg, but the show still transcends the whole make fun of Meg thing from time to time… although sometimes only to make another Meg is terrible joke mildly surprising.
I don’t really feel like the overall tone of the show is to bully – the episodes always come to a pretty moderate, inclusive conclusion. Sometimes they use that conclusion to make another joke, but it’s still there.
My main problem with Family Guy is that it really is just two or three great jokes and a hundred cringes. And I don’t know why McFarlane thinks that a Broadway-style song will continue to be entertaining for five minutes out of a twenty-minute episode.
A new village voice article really makes me want to see the new Madea film. Just goes to show if a filmmaker tackles consistent themes and characters he is interesting from film to film. If Madea is a mammy figure as the article suggests, I wonder if her mainstreaming will help or hurt the character. Putting Madea with a bunch of white folks lessens the good will Perry gets from black audiences for hiring the best black actors. On the other hand, it may lead to even bigger profits. His next film The Marriage Counsler stars Kim Kardashian, and since this new one co-stars Denise Richards, seems Perry (even when not displaying those themes in the film) has a thing for the fallen woman.
Here is the article
For many, especially black people who see in her a mockery of our own grandmothers, Tyler Perry’s Madea is little more than a mammy—an insult to the matriarchal community figure that Perry claims to celebrate. And unforgivably, when compared with Flip Wilson’s Geraldine or even Martin Lawrence’s Big Momma, his black-men-in-drag-for-comic-effect peers, Perry’s Madea—that crass, violent, ignorant, bizarrely asexual depiction of a black Southern woman that he insists is based on women he has actually known—simply isn’t funny.
Yet it’s clear that millions see no historical pain in Madea and even find her hilarious. The six films in the series have broken box office records, and the seventh, Madea’s Witness Protection, coming Friday, seems poised to do the same. Few characters have appeared in so many films, and all of these movies have featured strong black casts, including such esteemed actors as Cicely Tyson, Angela Bassett, and Loretta Devine.
Until recently, Perry’s core moviegoing audience had been the people who love the Perry plays that Madea movies have been based on, and the people who love the people who love those plays. But that’s changing. Madea’s Witness Protection is decidedly not like the other films in the series: It is the first not based on a play and the first to co-star white actors, namely straight-to-DVD king and queen Eugene Levy and Denise Richards. Witness is no revised urban theater-circuit melodrama. It’s instead a comedy in which a beloved character has an adventure, like Ernest Goes to Camp.
Yet the first half-dozen films are not about Madea at all, and their repetitious stories can feel something like a round of black-pathology Mad Libs. In each, an untrusting woman damaged by past abuse—often from a well-to-do man—is forced to come into her own and along the way meets a handsome blue-collar man whom she is not at first open to (Diary of a Mad Black Woman 2005, Madea’s Family Reunion 2006, Meet the Browns 2008). She has been raped (Madea’s Family Reunion, Madea Goes to Jail 2009), emotionally abused (Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Meet the Browns, I Can Do Bad All by Myself 2009), or has had her children neglected by an uncaring baby daddy (Meet the Browns). This long-suffering “good man” wants her no matter how many children she has, or whether she’s on drugs, or how poorly she treats him (Family Reunion, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, I Can Do Bad, Meet the Browns, Madea Goes to Jail).
In the end, the woman learns that in order for anyone else to love her, she must love herself and that she can only do so through the powers of Christian forgiveness. Each movie also teaches that the educated and wealthy are irredeemably evil—and that black women are angry.
That’s why the first installment of the series, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, uses the word “mad” not to indicate insanity but anger. It’s why, in that same movie, Madea rips apart the clothes of the new woman in her granddaughter’s estranged husband’s life and then destroys the husband’s home with a chain saw while exclaiming, “This is for all the black women who have been done wrong by a man!” It’s why, in Family Reunion, the best of the series, another mad black woman throws hot grits on her abusive fiancé—a nod to a real-life horror endured by Al Green—before beating him with a frying pan.
This violence comes at Madea’s suggestion and is presented as an act of triumph. Madea’s brutality can be funny when it’s a pop-culture joke, such as when she declares that she was the first person to shoot Tupac: “We was arguing over a parking place. I didn’t kill him, though. No, that wasn’t me.” But is it the occasional inspired bit that has made Madea a star? Is it Perry’s repetitious storytelling and ugly view of class in black America? Or is it just his bizarre, recycled take on Mammy?
A six-foot-five-inch black grandmother with cartoonish breasts, a lopsided wig, and a wardrobe that could double as a collection of shower curtains, Madea is the latest version of a stereotype so ingrained in the American consciousness that it’s hard to see at first what Perry brings to it that’s new. But there is a complicating layer of ridiculousness: Madea has a decades-long criminal record, admits that she used to be a stripper, eschews religion, and carries a gun in her purse. Like the classic mammy, she is a caregiver, but she also doles out verbal threats and punches.
It’s unlikely that these traits existed in any black elder Perry or anyone else has ever known, especially because over the run of the series, Madea’s actions have increasingly defied physics and logic, resulting in less purely stereotypical slapstick comedy. By Madea Goes to Jail, Perry was drawing easy laughs from the silliness of this authority-defying old woman acting violently enough to be put behind bars, where more than a few gags were cribbed directly from Dr. Evil’s prison stint in Austin Powers in Goldmember. Jail wallows in another Mad Libs–style secondary plot with Keshia Knight Pulliam (Rudy from The Cosby Show) as the hooker with a heart of gold and Oscar nominee Viola Davis as her Christian counselor. But it was the first Madea film with Madea herself as the protagonist. Cameos by Dr. Phil and the cast of The View rounded out the mainstream appeal of what is more a comedy with a melodramatic thread than a melodrama that uses Madea for comic relief—perhaps why Madea Goes to Jail had the largest opening weekend of any film in the series. Can Witness Protection do even better than that? Someone is certainly counting on it.
This time, Madea is holding her own in a fully mainstream film that seems more akin to 2003’s Bringing Down the House, starring Queen Latifah and Steve Martin, than to any previous Madea movie. Like Bringing, Witness Protection caters to the racial anxieties of audiences by presenting skittish white people who are loosened up by a black character who is also out of place in a new element—in other words, a “culture clash comedy.” In that sense, Witness is more of the same, but for sparing us his twisted fantasy of black sorrow, Witness Protection might be the biggest favor Perry has done for black film in years.
@TOMMY all your criticism of FG in this thread has been of things the show deliberately tries not to be.
I am gonna go out on a bit of a limb and say Madea wins this weekend (at least among the new releases) doubt word of mouth will be good on Mike and doubt Ted will do much beyond 18 mil
Since we (okay I) have been talking about the mainstreaming of Tyler Perry, thought this trailer to be on point.
This will likely be the first Perry film mubites (besides me) might want to see.
I don’t think I’ve seen a Tyler Perry movie. Ed Burns is in that one so I may be interested.
I’m so confused. I mean, Alex Cross?? I wasn’t expecting Morgan Freeman to play him forever but I don’t know about this. Oh well, I could be pleasantly surprised. I’m sure my mom will want to see it :)
“This will likely be the first Perry film mubites (besides me) might want to see.”
To be perfectly honest, his other work sounded interesting until I heard more about them. This seems even less interesting because it’s not even his own thing. And in regard to what Mubites are drawn to:
1) Not Tyler Perry.
2) Not Rob Cohen.
3) Not James Patterson.
In other words, bad stereotype actor in a bad action director’s film based off of a bad pulp writer’s bad character.
At least Madea is trying, if only superficially, to be about faith, family, and values.
That Alex Cross movie looks worse than Madea. Matthew Fox as a bad guy? Gimme a break.
The mainstreaming of Tyler Perry Part III
from cinema blend:
“I love sci-fi,” Perry tells BlackFilm.com while promoting his upcoming film, Madea’s Witness Protection. “I love the Alien movies and the Alien franchise. I was very disappointed with Prometheus, but I love that whole franchise. Those are my favorite movies. I’m actually working on a sci-fi movie right now.”
from slant magazine (seeing this today if I am able)
Madea’s Witness Protection is Tyler Perry’s 14th feature film and the 7th to star Madea, his most popular creation. Madea, the linebacker-sized mammy performed by Perry in drag, has always been either the sticking or selling point of the seven films in which she’s featured, and even though she usually exists only in the margins of her own movies, she’s the one element nobody forgets. Most of the Madea movies are framed the same way: A young woman, often a victim of some form of abuse, struggles to find a way out of the lifestyle that binds her, often with the advice, support, or physical backing of Madea, who, much like Mexico’s Cantinflas, functions as both comic relief and moral backbone. (Perry is an exemplary manager of tone, oscillating back and forth between seriousness and slapstick wildly; that he manages to juggle laughs and feeling without mucking the two is one of his defining qualities as a screenwriter and director, and it’s consistently the most interesting aspect of his work.) This formula has served Perry well, because it allows him to work a fully realized emotional center into films that might have otherwise played out as straight-up comedies—and because the drama becomes just as important as the laughs, it never feels like an afterthought.
One of the most striking things about Madea’s Witness Protection, then, is that it hews more closely to the tone of a comedy than perhaps any Perry film before it, largely because the typical struggling-black-woman subplot has been exchanged for one about a hapless white man named George Needleman, played by Eugene Levy. Levy brings a great deal of humor to the film (as does Denise Richards, who plays his yoga-loving trophy wife), but his subplot, in which he’s ushered into witness protection after taking the fall in a corporate Ponzi scheme, has less inherent pathos than, say, the story of a young woman whose abusive fiancée won’t allow her to leave him, which was the robust plot of Madea’s Family Reunion. Witness Protection is the first Madea film not based on one of Perry’s enormously successful plays, which, along with the introduction of a few recognizable white stars, has lead many to speculate that this is Perry’s attempt to open his franchise up to a broader audience. But make no mistake: His peculiar, distinctive approach hasn’t been the least bit diluted, which is to say that Perry fans will find as much to love here as in any of the films that came before it.
That the film is slightly more streamlined as a comedy does, however, make it easier for Perry to work more of his trademark Madea gags into the proceedings, and as a result Witness Protection is the funniest Madea film yet. Its most memorable set pieces—particularly a run-in with airport security that goes about as expected—necessitate some slightly awkward narrative contortions, but the film moves ahead so briskly that it never quite feels like it’s stumbling. How funny you find these one-liners will depend principally on your interest in Perry’s style of humor (which is to say that if you disliked any of the previous films in the series, Witness Protection is unlikely to change your mind), but it should be clear even to the unamused that Perry handles structure and pacing better than most comic filmmakers working—and in a manner that’s entirely his own.
Because the Needlemans are less serious protagonists than those who starred in Madea’s earlier outings, Witness Protection seems at first like a distinctly airier and therefore arguably less substantial work. But Perry finds a workable compromise in Jake, the son of a pastor who lost his church’s $114,000 mortgage fund after losing it in the same scam that framed George. Jake, remorseful of the mistake but unable to break the bad news to his father, becomes the much-needed heart of the film, and his scenes give Witness Protection just enough emotional heft to round it out, elevating it above the more tepid Madea Goes to Jail territory. Perry’s films, after all, are appealing for their earnestness and warmth as much as they are for their quips and sight gags, and it’s telling that even if Witness Protection is the most straightforward comedy feature he’s produced to date, it remains buoyed by the same open heart that makes his best work so endearing.