Tyler Perry isn’t the first actor/director to turn to controversy in order to achieve success – Madea stands an example for this, being universally bashed by the critics. However, success wasn’t the only thing he had in mind when creating this character.
As he said when defending his work (and he did plenty of that), Madea was the way in which he vent out all the problems he had. He didn’t want to do it in a dramatic way, so he chose comedy. After all, a playful movie reaches much more viewers than a dramatic/tragic one.
As Tyler Perry also said, he had quite a rough time before becoming famous, even being a homeless and sleeping in a car for over 6 months. However, he didn’t retreat in front of life, but he had the faith and the strength to overcome all the obstacles. It is well known that the greatest stories come from one’s personal experiences – and this is also the case of Madea.
Some people might see her as promoting what is called the attitude of a gangster. Even other African-American directors say that Tyler Perry’s Madea represents nothing else than a step back for the entire African-American culture.
However, since I mentioned faith, Tyler Perry’s intention is not that – his movies are laces with moral dilemmas, predicaments which are always overcome with the help of the good old faith in God. So, if one needs to say something about Madea, then one should also mention this.
As said, it is easier to teach through comedic stories than through dramatic/tragic ones. I am not talking just about the number of viewers Madea reaches, but also about her playful manner – to say so, she is like a simple game, a game that attracts through its simplicity and that ultimately teaches the Christian moral values.
The critics might say that Tyler Perry’s Madea is too superficial and that it doesn’t put the man’s intellect to work too much. But not everybody is a critic and not everybody knows the ins and outs of making a movie.
Tyler Perry speaks for the masses, in a way. He speaks for those that want just to relax with some popcorn while watching a movie. Watching Madea is not an unbearable task (such as watching, for example, Michael Haneke), but it gives away some precious advices.
Satire equals controversy in the case of Tyler Perry’s Madea. And this is rarely achieved by a director for so long.