May 19, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

House of Payne

type
TV Show
Current Status
In Season
broadcaster
PBS
genre
Comedy
We gave it a C

Give Tyler Perry credit for half an innovative sitcom. The writer-actor created (but doesn’t appear in) House of Payne, a series with a bleak premise about a fireman (Allen Payne) and his two kids living with his parents after his drug-addicted wife burns down their house. It’s tough to balance humor with these darker themes, and in this first batch of episodes, Perry occasionally pulls it off — but not without annoying TV moppets, a neighbor channeling Blanche Devereaux, and a grating laugh track. When the show returns in the fall, Perry should unleash Madea on the Payne household. They could use the laugh.

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