HOLLYWOOD—I’m actually stunned to hear that Tyler Perry has crossed over to script his on shows on BET. Yes, Perry’s home has been on the OWN network for quite some time. He has delivered some hit shows including “The Haves and the Have Nots,” “If Loving You is Wrong,” “For Better or Worse,” “Love Thy Neighbor” and countless others. Unfortunately, Perry has nothing airing on OWN right now, but be advised “Haves and Have Nots” fans, the series will return on January 7, 2020, so be patient.
Until then, you can be entertained by Perry’s newest series “The Oval” which premiered on BET on Wednesday night, and it’s something you’ve not seen before. Perry did take a stab at politics in terms of a TV series with the short-lived TLC series “Too Close to Home.” That show just never gained its footing, even though it had the fantastic Heather Locklear as part of the cast.
“The Oval” takes a look at The White House from the perspective of an interracial couple. That is correct interracial couple in the White House. President Hunter Franklin (Ed Quinn), who happens to be White, is married to First Lady Victoria Franklin (Kron Moore), who is African-American. This is one hell of a couple, because they verbally trade spars, while physically attacking one another while holding one of the most powerful positions in the country.
Let’s just say this is drama unlike you’ve ever seen and can only imagine in the real world. It’s not just Hunter and Victoria delivering the drama, their children are just as bad in Gayle (Paige Hurd) and Jason (Javon Johnson), who give their parents a run for their money when it comes to trying to keep a lid on their wild antics. However, this premiere episode put way more focus on Gayle than Jason.
Let’s rewind a bit, the episode kicked off with Hunter and Victoria literally in a physical fight in The White House, just as they were preparing for their inauguration. Talk about a toxic relationship. We then flash-forward to meeting Nancy (Ptosha Storey), her son Barry (Vaughn W. Hebron) and his father, Richard (Javon Johnson), who happens to work as a butler at the White House.
I didn’t love the transition to meeting these others characters before fully fleshing out the key players inside the most powerful office in the world. However, I tagged along. Barry is having some relationship issues with his baby mama Ruth, who is a reformed drug addict who now belongs to a cult. Yeah, it’s a bit crazy America. There was a bit too much praise for the Obama family for my liking cause it felt a bit forced and not realistic. I see what Perry was doing, but it didn’t work for me. One reference is okay, but multiple references, a bit much.
Nancy is the voice of reason for her son, but her decision to allow her granddaughter Callie to see her mother, Ruth turns out to be a bad idea as we discover at the end of the episode. I have to give kudos to Kron Moore, whose portrayal of Victoria has me hooked right now. This woman is an enigma. We don’t really know why she’s staying in this toxic marriage, but she is. Not to mention she has a fractured relationship with her daughter Gayle who is quite the firecracker.
She refuses to dress for the inaugural ball, which makes the First Lady unleash her dark side. I got the sense that Gayle is not Hunter’s daughter, but Jason is indeed his son. That explains a bit of friction people, and that mystery makes me want to know more. That subplot involving Lily (Ciera Payton), who happens to be married to Donald (Lodric Collins), who is the Chief of Staff at the White House was a waste. Exploring their marriage would have been a lot more fun, then her one-time tryst with Bobby, a guy she randomly met on a plane, who she didn’t seem that interested in to begin with.
As the First Family made their appearance to the public, Gayle decided to be a no show angering Victoria, just as she realized that her hubby’s mistress was front and center for their first dance. Gayle gave Richard and Barry a run for their money as she flirted with Barry, who did his best to resist her advances. After refusing to give her what she wanted, she knocked her head and then accused Barry of rape which is a complete lie. It’s amazing how trying to help someone can turn into a nightmare, which is where it looks like Barry is headed.
Things culminated with Ruth refusing to return Callie to Nancy, just as her cult members stormed the house. Who in the hell leaves their doors unlocked nowadays for people to just walk right in? I did not love this first episode of “The Oval.” It lacked a bit of drama in my personal opinion, and it needed to be centered more on the First Family versus all of these sub characters. However, the standout was Victoria Franklin.
There is something about this character that I like and I want to see what else will unfold with her. So while not completed hooked, I want to watch a few more episodes before making my decision. “Tyler Perry’s The Oval” airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on BET.