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Tyler Perry’s The Have and the Have Nots was the highest-rated debut on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network with 1.7 million viewers and his second series, the new comedy Love Thy Neighbor also pulled in tons of viewers. According to the Los Angeles Times, the series premiere drew 1.65 million viewers, making it the second-highest series debut on OWN’s history. Then, a second episode of Love Thy Neighbor brought in an even larger audience — 1.8 million viewers.

Haven’t seen the Perry-written-created-and-directed series yet? Well, Love Thy Neighbor is set at the Love Train Diner run by feisty family matriarch Hattie Mae Love (Patrice Lovely).  The Hattie character has sparked a lot of controversy with complaints from a stereotypical portrayal of older black women to just outright mean, as another LA Times article remarked.

“Although she has a Madea-like quality in that she is played by a much younger woman, there is virtually no humanity in Hattie,” writes the paper, which points out that the series, particular the abusive nature of the Love character seems at odds with the Winfrey brand.  According to the Times, “… ‘Love Thy Neighbor’ simply, and unforgivably, equates rancor with humor, which is directly at odds with the brand Oprah has so carefully curated all these years — not to mention the uplifting mandate she originally imagined for OWN. ‘Love Thy Neighbor’ makes the ‘Real Housewives’ franchise look life-affirming.”

What do you think of the show?

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