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Series / House of Payne

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Tyler Perry's House of Payne is an American comedy-drama television series created and produced by playwright, director, and producer Tyler Perry. The show revolves around a multi-generational family living under one roof in Atlanta led by patriarch Curtis Payne and his wife Ella. While it is primarily a comedy, House of Payne is known for featuring dark themes and subject matter, such as substance abuse and addiction.

The series began with a 10-episode syndicated run and was greenlit by TBS for 100 episodes, an unprecedented number for a new series. The series would run from 2007 to 2012, airing over 254 episodes by its eighth and final season—the largest number of episodes for any African American sitcom.

A short-lived sequel series, The Paynes, premiered on the Oprah Winfrey Network on January 16, 2018.

In February 2020, the show was announced to be returning with new episodes, airing on BET as opposed to TBS.

The inaugural BET season completely ignores The Paynes and picks up where the story left off in 2012, despite the eight year time gap. In-universe, it appears that very little time has passed.

This show provides examples of:

  • The Aggressive Drug Dealer: Blue, Janine's crack dealer. Subverted when he returns in Season 6 as a broken man dying from AIDS, seeking comfort and forgiveness from Janine.
  • Artifact Title: By season 6, the show’s title no longer fits given that C.J and Calvin finally move their respective families out of Curtis and Ella’s house and into their own homes - eradicating the premise of a multigenerational family sharing the same roof. From season 6 onwards, C.J’s house is the Payne residence we see most often.
  • Ascended Extra: Floyd. He was originally portrayed as nothing more than the owner of a local barbershop that the Payne men frequented. His backstory is eventually modified, establishing that he is in fact a longtime close friend of Curtis and Ella. Ever since, he has been portrayed as a prominent fixture in the Paynes’ lives, to the point that they consider him family and vice versa.
  • Back Door Pilot: The two part episode "Sad, Sad Leroy Brown" is one for Meet the Browns, both the television series and movie.
  • Bus Crash: The ending moments of season nine strongly hint that C.J. has been killed in a work-related accident. At the start of season ten, it is revealed that he survived.
  • The Cameo:
    • Madea made an appearance in every season except the fourth and fifth. Nikki, played by Keke Palmer, also made an appearance in the first episode.
    • Characters from Meet the Browns made sporadic appearances throughout the series.
  • Canon Discontinuity:
    • The ten syndicated pilot episodes.
    • Season 9 retcons the events of The Paynes as being nothing but a dream Curtis had.
  • Character Aged with the Actor: Played with; Actors Doc Shaw and China Anne McClain are in their 20s as of the BET revival season, but since they both still look much younger than they actually are - their respective characters Malik and Jazmine have not aged much. For instance, Malik appears to be a college sophomore. He was only a freshman in the last TBS season. Had the storyline progressed in real-time, Malik should have graduated back in 2015.
  • Descent into Addiction: Janine's crack addiction was the major conflict of the first season. She accidentally burned her and C.J.'s house, forced to leave their kids, left to live in crack house and eventually became a detached and unstable wreck. She eventually manages to go to rehab and rebuild her life with her family, but her addiction continued to affect the series throughout its run.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: C.J. is undoubtedly the most good-natured Payne male, yet he’s the one who endured more hardships than anyone else in the family. The poor guy has faced homelessness, poverty, divorce, two bad break-ups, and two job related near-death experiences. The latter resulted in a serious back injury he took a while to recover from.
  • Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off!: Curtis and Madea, and Ella occasionally.
  • Downer Ending: The initial series finale that aired on TBS ended with Calvin and Miranda failing to stabilize their marriage and prepping for divorce. In Season 9, they're still separated but Miranda desperately wants to reconcile with Calvin and stay together.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Starting in Season 5, the show starts frequently inserting the word "Payne" into the episode titles whenever it can. However, the writers have mostly ceased with the gimmick after the Season 9 revival.
  • Idiot Ball: Malik often grips it hard, forgetting lessons he learned in previous episodes and doing very foolish things such as stealing Curtis' motorcycle or swiping Curtis' gun and taking it to school.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Calvin Jr. almost dies in a fire after playing with matches while under Calvin and Miranda's care. The fact that he survived relatively unscathed was the only reason Tracie didn't take away Calvin's visitation rights.
  • Inciting Incident: Janine burning down her and C.J.'s home, which forces them and the kids to move in with Curtis and Ella.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Janine, of all characters, can be considered this after her recovery. It helps that she’s played by Demetria McKinney, a highly attractive woman. Malik’s girlfriend Lisa, an ex-stripper, definitely counts.
  • Out of Focus:
    • Jazmine and Malik only made a handful of appearances in later seasons due to China Ann McClain starring in A.N.T. Farm and Doc Shaw starring in The Suite Life On Deck and Pair of Kings.
    • The firehouse crew all but disappeared in the later seasons.
    • Janine and Jazmin have been largely absent but fleetingly mentioned on the BET revival. Janine’s absence is due to Demetria Mckinney’s busy schedule on two other television shows. While Jazmine is implied to be living on her own, it is unclear if either character will return anytime soon. Her absence is lampshaded by C.J. in season 11 when he complains to Lisa that his wife has become “the invisible woman”.
  • Poorly-Disguised Pilot: The Hernandez family received a lot of focus in Season 5.
  • Recovered Addict: Janine, from Season 2 onward.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Floyd is introduced midway through the series, as a family friend who has known Curtis and Ella since their youth.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Ella and Claretha.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: After Travis is convicted for shooting Calvin, and will likely get the death penalty, he is given a chance to speak to the court for his life. But he chooses instead to insult and threaten Calvin. In response, Calvin remarks that he has a life, a family, and a future, and that Travis just isn't worth his time.
  • The Unreveal: Whether or not Travis got the death penalty for shooting Calvin is left unknown because Calvin doesn't care what happens to him.