I Hate Tyler Perry

Image stolen, as always, from Cracked.

Fuck him. Fuck him up his obnoxious, egomaniacal ass. I see the posters for that stupid movie he did with Eugene Levy everywhere, and they make me wish the picture(s) of him on the poster were real so I could punch him right in the face(s). Why does he insist on putting his name in the title of every movie he makes? In this case, it means that the full title starts with two possessives. That’s just wrong. And since Madea is played by Tyler Perry, he might as well call the film Tyler Perry’s Tyler Perry’s Witness Protection. Scratch that–why not just call it Tyler Perry? His audience will eat up anything with his name on it, and since everything he does is the same, there’s hardly any point in pretending that this movie is any different just because there’s a white person in it. I haven’t seen the movie, nor do I plan to, but if Perry’s last 57 movies are any indicator, this film will contain lots of sassy black humor followed by nuggets of “wisdom” that will have the lapdogs in the audience whooping and hollering. I have yet to hear Madea say anything that would be out of place in a Hallmark card (well, if Hallmark cards weren’t so goddamn white), but her audience seems to think that her sayings are insightful. Well, maybe if you don’t like to think. Which they don’t.

Tyler Perry’s filmmaking is one thing. His social conservatism is another. I’ve seen hundreds, if not thousands of movies covering every era and genre from Italian neo-realism to kung fu to big-budget blockbusters. For many years, I was a true aficionado, watching any movie by any director or starring any actor so long as it was supposed to be good. So I hope you understand how serious I am when I say that I have never come across a filmmaker whose work is as repetitive as Tyler Perry’s. Not one. Every one of his films has the same dramatic beats, the same basic characters, and the same damn message. Is he scared that people will stop watching his films if he challenges them even one bit? Maybe he’s right. How many Tyler Perry fans do you know? I don’t think I know any. They all operate in a sphere that is completely removed from my own experience. They don’t go to the movies for the same reasons that you and I do. They are–I hate this phrase–not like us.

Take away Tyler Perry’s skin color and religious beliefs, and what do you have? A self-righteous, hacky closet case. He has no right to compare himself to Booker T. Washington or other civil rights pioneers because they were devoted to making people see past their skin color. Perry wants them to see it and nothing else. Yes, a person’s race is a part of their identity, along with their ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and what have you. Perry’s work goes beyond expressing pride in who he is. He uses it as a label to prevent himself from allowing any outside influences to slip in. He’s made movies with white people. I’d love to see him make an interracial love story.

I’m going to shift gears now. I do that a lot, and in this case I have no better excuse than that I’ve run out of things to say about Tyler Perry and have something else I’d rather talk about. I was kicked out of my apartment not too long ago just for rubbing one of my roommates the wrong way. Readers of this blog know that already. She said that I have an edge to me. It’s true: I’m not a very friendly person. These past few weeks of grad school have reminded me of why that is so. Whenever I’m nice to people, they take advantage of me. Some people are able to be nice and still get what they want. I’m not one of them. The only thing that ever works for me is being the biggest asshole I possibly can in the hopes that the only people who still want anything to do with me will be people who love the real me.

My grad program is a fairly inclusive group. There are just under 70 of us, and we take all of our classes together and see each other every weekday. I’ve been friended on Facebook by people I barely know just because we’re both involved in this program. I haven’t made too many friends so far. It’s not that I don’t believe there are any people worth knowing in this group, just that I shouldn’t assume they’re my friends because we have one thing in common. Case in point: I’ve spent the past few weeks working on a presentation with a partner. It’s a part of a larger assignment that involves a group of close to a dozen people. The presentation is tomorrow. I was originally assigned to be the leader, and my partner to be my helper. Just yesterday, the group leaders told me that since my helper had done more research, she was now the leader. Before I wrote this, one of the leaders interrupted me while unwinding to tell me that I wasn’t being enough of a team player, and that I should get to work helping my partner. What a fucking cunt. I’m not angry at my partner–she did more legwork than I did, and probably deserves to be leader. But the decision should have been made sooner. I’ve been freaking out about this presentation for weeks now, and right before I was told that she, not I, was to give it, I was actually starting to feel pretty confident. I should have known that the floor was about to drop from under me.

If there is a reason as to why I hate Tyler Perry so passionately, that’s it. His movies teach that all you have to do is open your heart to the good people of the world, and you’ll be alright. That may be true. But you have to know who the good people are first. And if you want to do that, there is no worse way to begin than to get hung up on labels.

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