TITLE: TYLER PERRY'S HOUSE OF PAYNE - VOLUME SIX (EPISODES 101-124)
DVD Release Date: February 8, 2011 (Lionsgate)
Color / 2009
Packaging: Keep case
Number of Discs: 3
Number of Episodes: 24
Running Time: approx. 440 minutes
Subtitles and Captioning: English and Spanish subtitles; Closed-Captioned
Special Features: None
Another round of “Payne” as Lionsgate releases volume six of the hit TBS sitcom Tyler Perry’s House of Payne. 24 more episodes are crammed onto this three disc set, which originally aired in late 2008 and early 2009. For those unfamiliar (as I was before writing this review) the series was created by Tyler Perry, famous for stage plays and movies featuring the hilarious character “Madea” about several generations of one family under one roof. This set of episodes deals with several topics ranging from childbirth to the trials and tribulations of young newlyweds.
Janine (Demetria McKinney) gives birth to twins as she and C.J. (Allen Payne) and Calvin (Lance Gross) and Miranda (Keshia Knight-Pulliam) finally get married in the two part episode “Labor Paynes.” “Payneful News” deals with a sensitive topic as Calvin and Miranda have trouble conceiving a child. In “Slightly Payneful Truth,” Malik tries to teach an illiterate friend how to read. Could Calvin be cheating on Miranda with Mercedes? This multi-episode arc begins in “A Grand Payne.” “With Friends Like These” features another sensitive topic as Malik makes friends with another student with HIV, who is abused by other people at the school. “The Talent Show,” in which the firehouse holds a talent show to raise funds to keep the firehouse open, features a special guest appearance by R&B legend Gladys Knight. In “Bringing Down the House,” the Paynes learn their house has a cracked foundation and they must move. And in the last episode on the set, “Back Where We Belong,” Calvin tries desperately to sort out the mess between him, Miranda, and Mercedes, as C.J.’s young family prepares to move from the Atlanta Payne house to Chicago.
As this is a recent show airing on cable, runtimes seem to be fine, with the exception of “Games People Play” on Disc 2. It clocks in at only 19:23, whereas most other episodes are over 21 minutes. As I am not a fan of this show, I don’t know if anything is missing from it. Anyway, here are the runtimes for this set:
Labor Paynes (Part 1) (20:32)
Labor Paynes (Part 2) (21:32)
Your Wife is a Payne (21:32)
Casa De Payne (21:22)
It’s a Payne Growing Up (21:16)
Payne and Prejudice (21:32)
Payneful News (21:32)
Payneful Loss (21:30)
Payneful Employment (21:22)
Slightly Payneful Truths (21:32)
Joy and Payne (21:32)
A Sister’s Payne (21:12)
A Grand Payne (21:27)
Games People Play (19:23)
Help Wanted (21:32)
Old Lady Paynes (21:24)
I Don’t Know This Payne (21:24)
Paul Mall (21:32)
With Friends Like These (21:18)
Talent Show (21:32)
Bringing Down the House (21:32)
Moving Day (21:21)
Moving Out (21:32)
Back Where We Belong (21:30)
The set comes in an environmentally friendly keep case (thinner plastic, with the large recycle symbol taken out of the inside cover) inside a cardboard sleeve which features the same artwork: the show’s logo in a teal blue/green color and the family surrounded by police tape. The back has a different shot of the family, still with police tape, as well as a list of which episode is on which disc. The discs themselves each have different characters on them, with 8 episodes each on them.
Menu Design and Navigation:
The main menu on each disc is somewhat boring, with the show’s theme playing as photos of different characters wipe across the screen, with clips from the show playing behind them. Menu options are Play All Episodes, Episode Selection, Set Up, and Also From Lionsgate (Disc 1 only) which are trailers for “For Colored Girls,” one of Tyler Perry’s plays on DVD, and the other 5 volumes of House of Payne. Chapter marks are placed throughout the episodes in appropriate places.
Video and Audio Quality:
Video and audio quality is decent. Considering the show is done on a very tight budget (what other show cranks out this many episodes in a year?) and is shot on video tape with a “flimizing” process applied (something I hate), the video doesn’t look too bad, though it often looks washed out and overly bright. Audio is available in 5.1 surround and 2.0 stereo and sounds good to me. Each episode is closed captioned and also has English or Spanish subtitles.
There are no special features on this set at all, unless you count the trailers on Disc 1. I am aware that previous sets included at least a small number of features (character profiles, bloopers, etc.) but there are none to be found here. The box lists “4X3 Full Screen Episodes,” “English 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio” and “Subtitles” as special features, though those are really specifications. I didn’t think DVDs listed things like that as “special features” since the late 90s!
Surely they could have found something to include as a bonus feature, but alas, they did not. At least there are more episodes on this set than on prior ones.
This DVD set seems to be well put-together (despite the lack of special features), though I am not impressed with the show itself. Pardon the pun, but it was rather “Payne-ful” watching at times. Watching this set was my first exposure to House of Payne. The show does have decent moments (the childbirth scene in “Labor Paynes” was actually pretty good), but for the most part is plagued by weak jokes, overacting, and an abundance of “very special episodes.” A lot of the acting seems to further some of the southern African-American stereotypes that I’ve always hated. Show people as they really act, not stereotypes. I also don’t like how some plots are stretched over several episodes and seem really padded out. That can work for some series, but it makes me feel like they’re stretching on this one.
As pointed out in reviews for other volumes, the show is doing well for TBS and they’ve recently committed to a large order of future episodes. However, unless you’re a serious fan of this show, I’d stay away from this set. Even if you’re a huge Tyler Perry fan, this show pales in comparison with some of his other work, especially when you include movies like “For Colored Girls” in that grouping. I’d definitely try watching the show on TV before running out and buying any of the DVDs.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars - How our point system works)
Video Quality: 3/5
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Special Features: 0/5
Menu Design/Navigation: 4/5
-- Reviewed by Greg Brobeck on 03/13/11
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