Monday, March 13, 2017

The Genius of Medea's Message

Writing through the character of Madea allows Tyler Perry to speak freely on just about any subject. The character allows him certain freedoms, or a distance from the material he uses for his jokes and “real life” examples. Generally, people are okay with being lectured by an elderly woman on how they choose to live their lives, and if they aren’t, they will at least humor the woman and let her finish. If a middle-aged man were to lecture such a broad audience on love and life, people might not be so open to receiving his material. After all, what could a man know about chafing while wearing pantyhose?

I don’t know anything about the Madea movies, or even about Tyler Perry, but this book seemed to be an excellent introduction to them both. In the introduction and epilogue, Tyler Perry comes off as a good-natured guy who wants to use humor to impart a lesson to his readers—much like the other authors we’ve read. He accomplishes this through Madea. I don’t know what I was expecting of Madea, but I sure didn’t get it. She is not at all what I thought she would be (she’s almost dangerous), but somehow, I took her advice seriously. Underneath every joke about being a stripper, or only marrying (and killing) her husbands for money, there is some real advice on love and life. The best part of the advice, in my opinion, is that Madea’s character allows the readers freedom to take the advice or leave it. If you think it’s good advice, you take it. If not, you can dismiss it as coming from a crazy old lady and move on with your day. It’s a genius move on Perry’s part. He can say just about anything without having to worry too much. His views on love and life and perfectly veiled behind the character of Madea, and that subtle distance from the truth allows the humor to grab the audience’s attention and make them listen to what he has to say. This is all possible because the audience gets to listen to a film character they are familiar with and maybe are more likely to trust.

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