Monday, July 5, 2010
Tyler Perry: Rumors of Notorious 'Boondocks' Episode Runs Afoul, Rep Says It's False
Aaron McGruder sure knows how to push buttons.
Via his popular Cartoon Network series 'The Boondocks,' the Chicago native has given his bold and brash comedic take on everyone from Martin Luther King to Black Entertainment Television, causing controversy in his wake.
Now it appears that the reclusive cartoonist has set his sights on parodying the cottage industry known as Tyler Perry.
The June 20 episode of his satirical series, titled 'Pause,' features a character named Winston Jerome, a religious playwright-director-actor who also cross-dresses as a no-nonsense grandmother named Ma Dukes in movies and chitlin' circuit plays. The imagery immediately brings thoughts of Perry's star character Madea Simmons to mind. Granddad is cast as Ma Dukes' love interest, and his grandsons, Huey and Riley, break into the a well-guarded compound to rescue their beloved guardian and save him from a homoerotic religious cult.
Perry, arguably the most successful African American filmmaker today, has had several movies, including 'Why Did I Get Married?' and 'Madea Goes to Jail,' top the box office and in turn has become a powerful multimillionaire entertainment mogul. He also owns a compound in the Atlanta area.
Coincidentally for McGruder, Perry just happens to have the top-rated sitcoms on TBS with his 'House of Payne' and 'Meet the Browns.' And both TBS and Cartoon Network are owned by the same parent company, Turner Broadcasting.
According to the L.A. Times, Perry hit the roof after the episode aired and reached out to executives at Turner, including Entertainment Chief Steve Koonin and Turner Broadcasting Chief Executive Phil Kent, to let the network know that he was rethinking his relationship with the company. Kent is said to have acknowledged to Perry that he should've been given a warning about the episode.
People close to the show have said that the original script made even less of an effort to alter the identity of McGruder's main character. McGruder, it's being reported, also wanted 'Pause' to be the season premiere, but the network allegedly chose to mix it in with other episodes to perhaps cause less controversy. Though 'Pause' has aired twice, it is not scheduled to run again, and there have been discussions about it being banned from the channel forever.
In addition, several blogs and websites are unscrupulously reporting that Perry fired many of his staffers after the episode aired in an effort to control leaks about how he runs his business. Perry has remained silent.
When asked, a spokesperson at Turner told BV Newswire that the network had "no comment" on the status of the whole incident, as did a rep for McGruder.
While it seems everyone is keeping mum about 'Pause,' there's one person who is not biting his tongue about what's fact and what's fiction where Perry is concerned.
Regarding allegations that Perry has plans to sue Cartoon Network, and that he's also giving his employees pink slips, Kaleigh Thomas, Perry's assistant, said "none of [it] is true."
Just like his high-profile mentor and friend Oprah Winfrey, it's unlikely that this matter will make a big splash where Perry's projects are concerned.
After all, he's spearheading the feature-film adaptation of Ntozake Shange's 1975 play 'For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf' with an all-star cast that includes Janet Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, Kerry Washington, Phylicia Rashad and Hill Harper.
That's enough of a gig for Perry to not pause for the cause and give McGruder any of his energy.
Just yet, that is.