Tyler Perry’s “The Oval” premiered its first episode, and the show is anything but politics as is usual for Perry. Filled with drama, deceit, affairs and family turmoil, this production follows the rollercoaster relationship between the country’s first interracial president and first lady, as well as their children as the family attempt to navigate their new lives in the White House.
Though President Hunter Franklin (Ed Quinn) presents his family as a strong, virtuous and moral unit, things are far from what they appear. Just minutes into the pilot, following a failed attempt at a romantic gesture, Franklin engages in a tussle of slaps, punches and throw-downs with his wife Victoria (Kron Moore) as the two attempt to beat the living daylights out of each other. The couple’s physical altercation halts as a secret service agent announces that they have to begin preparing for the inauguration.
Victoria, a black woman who comes from a prestigious and wealthy background, selected her white husband Hunter in their college days as a means of accessing the height of social class. Later in the episode, it becomes obvious that the president is less interested in pleasing his wife as he is in pleasuring other women.
What’s almost worse than the first couple (as if anything could beat — no pun intended — domestic violence among a couple who are supposed to be the finest representation of American parents) is their children.
The couple’s son Jason (Daniel Croix Henderson) and his sister Gayle (Paige Hurd) are the face of disobedience, with Jason’s sly, conniving defiance, and Gayle’s blatant rebellion against their parents.
The episode also introduces lead butler Richard Hallsen (Javon Johnson), a long-standing and highly trusted member of the White House crew, his wife Nancy (Ptosha Storey) and their son Barry (Vaughn Hebron), a young man dealing with the complications of co-parenting with his formerly drug-addicted ex-wife Ruth. It is obvious the Hallsens will play a pivotal part in the show’s progression, especially after Barry — who presently has a loving girlfriend — is faced with a rape allegation from Gayle, who he accidentally injured following her attempted sexual advancement.
One can only imagine what is in store for this family, and what will come of the Franklin presidency. What can be expected, if anything, is that this First Family is anything but ordinary.