For Better Or Worse – Michael Jai White and Tasha Smith star in “Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse.”
Over the past five years, Tyler Perry’s TV output, with TBS’s “Meet the Browns” and “House of Payne,” has been traditional three-camera sitcom slapstick with a laugh track, a set-up that goes back six decades to “I Love Lucy.”
With “House of Payne” nearing retirement, the Atlanta mogul is effectively replacing it with “For Better or Worse,” a relationships dramedy which uses one camera and nixes the laugh track. Topically and somewhat stylistically, it’s closer to shows such as “The Game” and “Let’s Stay Together” on BET than “House of Payne” or “Meet the Browns.”
But like his first two television shows, he mines characters made popular in his films. One of the three couples on “For Better or Worse” is from the “Why Did I Get Married?” movies: loud, opinionated Angela (Tasha Smith) and feisty but loving Michael (Michael Jai White). Angela is the owner of a successful beauty salon married to Michael, a former pro football player who has started a new sports program called “C-Sports Now” with Richard (Kent Faulcon) and Joseph (Jason Olive).
The twist: Joseph is dating Keisha, Michael’s ex-girlfriend and mother of his teen daughter (Kiki Haynes). Richard’s wife Leslie (Crystle Stewart) is Angela’s best friend. In the first episode debuting tonight, Angela and Keisha have it out, cat-fight style.
TBS has committed to ten episodes upfront. If it does well, the network will pick up another 90. That’s the Tyler Perry formula.