I watched a special about Tyler Perry’s new studio in Atlanta, Georgia a few weeks ago. To know that a black man now owns the land that once housed a Confederate fort filled with those who fought and died for their belief in the continuation of the institution of slavery filled me with pride. One of the special features of the new studio is a complete replica of the White House. It was built to be the backdrop for a new show that Perry was producing: The Oval.
The storyline is about the first interracial family in the White House. The white father has become president of the United States. His Harvard-educated wife, the First Lady, is black and they have two biracial children. This family is the antithesis of the Obamas. The initial three episodes were unlocked by cable channel BET so everybody could see it.
(SPOILER ALERT FROM THIS POINT FORWARD)
To get everyone’s attention, the show started off with something sensational, and it did. The husband approaches his wife, and she tells him to leave her alone. They get into a confrontation, and she rears back and spits in his face. I admit, I was dumbfounded watching that scene. What kind of relationship could exist between two people if one spouse literally spits in the face of the other? Can someone ever overlook that? Then the couple get into a real knockdown, drag-out fight. The president is a womanizer — no surprise. The First Daughter is a smart-mouth little witch who the mother calls a “bitch,” and the First Son appears to be a sexual pervert.
It was a lot to take in during that first episode. I posted on Facebook that it had to be some of the worst acting in the world, and the actress playing the First Lady looks like a transvestite. I like the casting of everyone but her.
There are a number of other storylines going on at the same time. We have the head butler who is black, his wife and son. The son’s baby mama has been lured off to join a cult (one of the better and more fascinating story lines) and the son has custody of the child, whom the mother is constantly coming by to visit. The head secret service agent is married to a younger woman who also designed the First Lady’s inaugural dress, which has a big diamond-shaped cut out in back. If the press went ballistic over Michelle Obama’s strapless dress and baring her arms, I can imagine what they would say about a dress that was just a tad above the woman’s behind.
The designer is on a flight back to Washington, and for some reason she decides to have sex in the bathroom with a complete stranger. The man turns out to be a psychopath who robs her as a way to make sure she doesn’t forget their encounter. At some point I turned off the show because it was just too much. I had a cooling-off period and decided to re-watch it without the judgmental aspects. Plus the initial shock value had worn off because I was prepared for what I was going to see. Four episodes later, to my amazement, I can finally say it’s a good show and I want to see more.