What Temptation Taught Me: An Open Letter to Tyler Perry

Friday, 03 May 2013 21:30 Written by  Jasmine Browley

Dear Mr. Tyler Perry,

Ten dollars, a bucket of overpriced popcorn and two hours led me to the conclusion that you and I will never be BFF’s. I will never be your Oprah. Well, at least not when you have your writer/director hat on. Your latest effort, Temptation, broaches the ever taboo topic of infidelity, on the flip side. As opposed to depicting the tried and true cheating husband/scorned wife scenario, you decided to think outside the box. Way outside. I must present a forewarning that this article will include some major spoiler alerts, so please refrain from sending me angry emails.

Here’s a quick and dirty synopsis. Judith (played by the super talented Jurnee Smollett-Bell) loves hard. So hard that she finds herself married to her childhood best friend Brice (Lance Gross) at the age of 21. Relocation, real jobs, forgotten birthdays and six years of marriage doles out a humdrum married life for Judith and Brice. But, no one really knows their unhappy until something piques their “happy gene” right? Well, in walks the proverbial antagonist, Harley (played by Robbie Jones) with his white teeth, butter pecan muscles, and social networking money. He piques her “happy gene.” Then, what feels like 10 minutes later, she leaves her husband, becomes a coke head, loses her religion, and contracts the monster (HIV).  Poor Judith then goes on to lead a seemingly, miserable and remorseful life, while Brice moves on with his with a flourishing business, pretty young wife and adorable son. (Insert heavy sigh here).

Okay, Tyler we get it. DO NOT CHEAT. Lack of monogamy causes all types of pain and can bring about life altering emotional consequences. Although you could have spared us the melodramatic overkill, I do see your point. Overall, although I might be wrong, it seems that you were simply trying to provide a visual accompaniment to the age old saying “If you cannot appreciate what you have, then you get what you deserve.” Because of your sophomoric, yet well-intended attempt at elevating our moral consciousness, I will give this not-so-good movie a pass. As I watched, I realized that I didn’t vilify Judith like you probably wanted me to. Actually, I couldn’t help but wonder if my romantic fate would eventually parallel that of Judith’s.

Here’s why:

· I was raised in a small suburb outside of Chicago, much like the small southern one of Judith’s.

· My mother is a bible thumping, “spare the rod, spoil the child” traditionalist who kept me sheltered from the opposite sex…hard; much like Judith’s.

· I have been in a full-blown committed five year relationship since my late teens, much like Judith.

· I am (how should I put this?) bored in my loving, yet inattentive relationship, much like Judith.

See where I'm headed?

Even before I saw this terrible…uh I mean not-so-good movie, I often wondered, “Am I missing out on my Mr. White Teeth-Butter Pecan Muscles-Multi Millionaire because I jumped for the first guy that paid me some attention?” I questioned God about the particular “butterfly effect” that just so happened to land me in a spot where I second guess my choice of a romantic partner, and wonder where the “romance” actually went. I ponder about our drastic difference of opinion about our future. I even dread the idea of being in a union for fifty-eleven years where the most exciting thing about it is nighttime fantasies about someone else. To make matters worse, I’m inundated with social media updates from my friends and strangers alike depicting their fabulous “club hopping single-dom.” But then, reality gut checks me. Being a nosey journalist, I am susceptible to thoroughness. I can always decipher the “I’m fabulous and no man can handle it” pictures from the “I look cute and I hope I can attract somebody, somewhere, anywhere” pictures. It’s all in the eyes.

Their eyes don’t have that same glint of smug satisfaction that mine does after every meal he prepares me or every errand he runs on my behalf. Their eyes don’t shine like mine every time I recall our long, silent conversations because we have that “couple’s telepathy” you develop only after really knowing someone.

I had to quickly remind myself that anything worth having requires maintenance to up-keep. The “unconditional, unshakeable, reliable, I love you so much I want to have a conversation with you while defecating” kind of love that I have with my boyfriend is something that no amount of club pictures or an imaginary Mr. Right can put asunder.  It might require some work. But, that’s totally okay.

So Mr. Perry, there were a lot, and I mean a lot, of things you could have done differently with your latest cinematic effort. I’ll save my suggestions for another letter (because I know you’ll do something else to deserve it). But underneath it all, you have a really good premise here. You’ve taught this unappreciative girlfriend that her “happy gene” can be piqued by her loyal and reliable boyfriend as long as she lets it. I guess what I am trying to say is now I realize more than ever, that a little appreciation goes a mighty long way.

Yours truly,

Jasmine Browley

P. S. I really don’t like that coon-ish Madea and Sophia (from The Color Purple) commercial you convinced Oprah to do for OWN. Ok, that’s it. :)

Jasmine Browley

Jasmine Browley

Jasmine Browley holds a bachelors degree in psychology from Chicago State University so naturally she has an opinion about EVERYTHING. She is currently pursuing a graduate degree in journalism and publishes a bi-weekly blog, jasminesjournals.com.

She can be contacted at jasminesjournals@gmail.com or via twitter at http://twitter.com/jazbrow.

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