Tyler Perry's House of Payne is an American comedy-drama television series created and produced by playwright, director, and producer Tyler Perry. The show revolved around a multi-generational family living under one roof in Atlanta led by patriarch Curtis Payne and his wife Ella. The show premiered in syndication on June 21, 2006, and new episodes were broadcast exclusively on TBS from June 6, 2007, until August 10, 2012. While primarily a comedy sitcom, House of Payne was known for featuring dark themes and subject matter, such as substance abuse and addiction. It also had elements of slapstick. The storyline of the show is serialized, with many references to past episodes, creating a continuing story arc.
The sitcom ran in first-run syndication for 10 episodes during mid-2006 on the Atlanta-area broadcast of WPCH-TV, along with nine other broadcast outlets across the country, as a limited run, with additional episodes to be available for national distribution on TBS in June 2007. An order of 100 episodes was later requested by TBS.
A cable record for sitcom airings was broken with 5.2 and 5.8 million for the two premiere episodes on TBS on June 6, 2007. However, the audience has declined to a recent 4.3 million as of the week ending September 30, 2007 and 2.260 and 2.099 as of May 19, 2010.
The principal cast remained the same (with the exception of Lance Gross being added), led by LaVan Davis. The original format of the series centred around C.J. (Allen Payne) and his family moving in with his Aunt Ella and Uncle Curtis (Cassi Davis and LaVan Davis). Robinne Lee had a recurring guest stint in Season 1–2 as Malik and Jazmine's principal, Nicole Jamieson, whom C.J. soon began dating. Rochelle Aytes originally portrayed as Nicole Jamieson in the test pilot episodes; whereas she was Malik's math teacher. In the test run, Ella and Curtis were originally C.J.'s parents, but in its current format, Calvin is their son and C.J. their nephew. Despite his top billing, Allen Payne is not considered the main actor of the series, especially due to his long absence in the fifth season. The show is recorded in front of a live studio audience but sometimes uses a laugh track.
At the beginning of the fifth season, China Anne McClain (Jazmine) and Denise Burse (Claretha) were removed from the series. The characters were written out, with Jazmine going away to a school for gifted children in North Carolina and Claretha marrying a prince and moving away. In real life, McClain and Burse left the series for undisclosed reasons. In the beginning of Season 6, both McClain and Burse have returned. Some of the cast members of Tyler Perry's House of Payne were on The Mo'Nique Show in October 2009. Beginning with seventh season, China Anne McClain has appeared infrequently due to her work schedule for A.N.T. Farm. Denise Burse was no longer credited as a regular cast member. She appeared in a recurring role.
Tyler Perry directed every episode of the first 5 seasons. Throughout Season 6, each episode has been directed by actress Kim Fields or her mother Chip Hurd. Tyler Perry directed some of the episodes in seasons 7 and 8 while other episodes were directed by Kim Fields, Chip Hurd, and producer Roger M. Bobb.
During the first 5 seasons, the show was rated TV-PG but due to a rapid increase of strong language and mature content (particularly sexual), later episodes are rated TV-14.
On September 28, 2011, TBS ordered 42 episodes. Newer episodes have been aired on TBS since October 21, 2011 with season 8, and concluded the series with a total of 254 episodes. The show aired its final two episodes on August 10, 2012.
The test run is included in the season one episodes.
House of Payne revolves around the Payne family who reside in the suburban Atlanta. It is noted that all main cast members are credited only for the episodes in which they appear.
Curtis Payne (LaVan Davis) is the show's main protagonist. He is often referred to as Uncle Curtis by his nephew C.J., his nephew's wife Janine, and their children, Malik and Jazmine. Curtis is known for his hackneyed jokes, overly loud delivery, and acting like a negative racial stereotype. He is overweight and has fainted once from a blocked artery, but he ignored the diet his wife Ella set for him, and is unable to stay away from his usual fatty foods. A noticeable running gag is when he jokingly pushes Ella to the side with one arm when he wants to go by, she usually lands on the sofa. Despite his immaturity in this matter, his maturity and responsibility are apparent in his job as the chief of the local fire department. In one episode, his middle name was revealed as Booker T. In the sixth season, Curtis was forced to retire; his nephew C.J. took over his job. LaVan Davis won an NAACP Image Awards in 2008 for Outstanding Actor In A Comedy Series for this role. In the first part of the series finale, "The Call Back", CJ asks Curtis to come out of retirement to oversee three departments that CJ runs. At first Curtis refuses to do it, and yells at CJ saying how they already forced him into retirement, and that he wasn't going back, but at the end of the episode, after talking with Ella, he decided to return.
Ella Payne (née Ella Williams) (known as Ella Williams in episode "Til Payne Do We Part") (Cassi Davis), is Curtis's wife. She is a stay-at-home mother and the voice of reason. Curtis has been known to take advantage of Ella's good nature—and to be punished for it. Ella is the family's religious voice and the glue that holds it together. A good cook, she had a restaurant service in one episode. She is quick to offer emotional and moral support to everyone in the family, such as when Janine returned home. In Season 5, she briefly worked in retail. In Season 6, she quits to go back to school. Ella graduated from college and finally got her degree in Season 7. It is revealed that her middle name is Naomi. She tries to keep the family at peace the best she can, whether it's big or small. In the Season 8 episode "RIP: Rest in Payne", she keeps complete faith for her son Calvin, when she hears that he got shot in C.J. and Janine's home. She loves her family and wants her husband to keep her safe and stand by her which he does.
Clarence James (C.J.) Payne, Jr. (Allen Payne) and his family moved into the home of his Uncle Curtis and Aunt Ella when their own house burned down after his wife Janine accidentally started a fire while under the influence of drugs. C.J. is the father of Malik, Jazmine, Jayden, and Hayden Payne. These last two are the twin son and daughter born to Janine and C.J. after they reconciled and remarried. In the fourth season, C.J. found out he was adopted. He works at the firehouse with Curtis. At the end of the fifth season, he, Janine, and the twins moved to Chicago, but they returned in the sixth season after he was offered Curtis' job, and the family moved in next to Curtis and Ella. Despite being angry with and hostile towards her upon her return, C.J. never stopped loving Janine. In the early seasons, C.J. often has difficulty enforcing discipline with his children, but it is apparent that he is slightly more strict and hot-headed, often jumping to the wrong conclusions. In the Season 6 episode "Who's Your Daddy Now?", C.J. finally met his real father who happened to be white, making C.J. biracial. In Season 7, he was promoted to fire chief commissioner. He also became the boss of Janine and Roland in the public relations department. C.J. was portrayed as Curtis and Ella's son in the series' original format, but his character was changed to being their nephew.
Calvin Payne (Lance Gross) is Ella and Curtis's college-age son who rarely attends the same courses Curtis often complains about financing. Calvin liked to think of himself as a player until he married Miranda. Like his cousin C.J., Calvin spends much time working with Curtis at the firehouse until he becomes a partner at the barbershop. In the fifth season, he gets a job working for the same company as Mercedes and she accidentally kisses him twice: once while they are chaperoning Malik and Alexandra's date; the other, after Calvin has a fight with Miranda. He finds out that he has a son, Calvin Jr., from his former girlfriend Tracy. He and Miranda are expecting a child when she decides they should separate, but they agree to try counseling. They get stuck in an elevator and solve their problems with help from an "elevator lady" Edi who turns out to be Dr. Marcos, the marriage-retreat counselor. Calvin was arrested for back child support, but was bailed out of jail before the birth of his child with Miranda in the episode Payneful Resolution Resolution. In Season 7, Calvin briefly had a job as a manager of a supermarket. He then started working in the public relations department with C.J., Janine and Roland in Season 8. Calvin is the only main character who was originally not included in the show. In the season 8 episode "God Bless the Paynes", Calvin gets shot by a man who had harassed Miranda. The man saw the shooting as a way to get revenge at Calvin for beating him up. Calvin is later found by Janine and is rushed to the hospital in "Do or Die". He survives, but with serious injuries. In the series finale, "All's Well", his wife, Miranda, demands a divorce. The very last scene shows Calvin throwing a vase of flowers at the wall, and the series ends with the camera zoomed in on broken glass and rose petals.
Malik Payne (Larramie "Doc" Shaw) is C.J. and Janine's college-aged son. He is a young adult whose interest in young women in his class is so extreme that he'll resort to desperate measures, such as trying out for the cheerleading squad, just to associate with them. Initially, he was often bullied in school as a result of his mother's drug problems. As a result, he is reluctant to welcome her back to the household. It is hinted that he is allergic to peanuts and that he knows how to cut hair. Beginning with the sixth season, Malik has appeared infrequently, due to Larramie Shaw's work schedule, as he also starred on The Suite Life on Deck on Disney Channel and Pair of Kings on Disney XD. His absence is incorporated into the storyline, as he goes to the ROTC during Season 6 and off to college during Season 7, which is a major continuity error as he advanced from elementary school to college in 4 years. As he prepared to go to college, C.J., Calvin, Curtis, and Floyd bought him three boxes of condoms because they were sure he would be experimenting with sex in college. His sister Jazmine was upset about him leaving for college. While in college, he dates a girl named Summer (Makeda Declet). Malik then marries Summer just that they can have sex. Summer then wants a divorce from Malik to transfer to a college in New England. But since Malik and Summer have only been married for a few weeks, they are qualified for an annulment and that's how their marriage ended.(Seasons 1–5, infrequently in Seasons 6-8)
Jazmine Payne (China Anne McClain) is C.J. and Janine's daughter. She constantly feels invisible and acts out to get her father's attention while her mother is in rehab. At one point, Jazmine had a brief crush on Malik's friend Kevin. Despite her apparent innocence and youth, throughout the series, she was known to be cruel and mean toward Malik and Kevin and schemed to make them miserable. She is also known to have sarcastic comments and sly plans to get what she wants. For undisclosed reasons, China Anne McClain was written out of the series during Season 5, which made her the only cast member to not appear in Season 5. She was re-introduced into the series when she returned in the sixth season. It is hinted that she has a fear of mimes that wear hats. On the premiere of the seventh season, she is 12 years old, and Janine lets her wear lip gloss, and she falls in with the wrong crowd. Jazmine has made infrequent appearances since the seventh season, due to China Anne McClain's work schedule, as she also stars in A.N.T. Farm on Disney Channel. (Seasons 1–4, 6, infrequently in Seasons 7-8)
Janine Payne (née Janine Shelton) (Demetria McKinney), is C.J.'s wife and the mother of Malik, Jazmine, Jayden, and Hayden Payne. A seemingly responsible adult and mother at the series' very beginning, she is later revealed to be a drug addict and the arsonist who burned down her and C.J.'s home. She and C.J. divorce after she leaves her family. Initially, she was only a recurring character and was rarely seen in the series except in episodes where she associates with Ella Payne, who helps her enter a rehab program and return to the family. Later in the series, she is often criticized by C.J., Curtis, and Malik for her irresponsible actions. She is apparently impregnated by her boyfriend, until an episode reveals that he's sterile. Since C.J. is the only other person, she has had intercourse with (in an earlier episode, where they were intimate when C.J. was drunk), she realizes that C.J. is the father of the coming child. C.J. and Janine remarry at Calvin and Miranda's wedding; almost immediately her water breaks and she gives birth to twins Jayden and Hayden Payne. Janine's parents are Larry and Liz Shelton. She and C.J. now live in their own home with their four children. In seasons 6-7, her role in the series has grown more central as she focuses more on her career than her home life—and becomes the target of romantic interest from her boss Roland until C.J. gets promoted to commissioner and becomes both Janine and Roland's boss and makes them keep their relationship professional. From that point on, C.J. and Janine both have the same job together and are able focus on both their career and home life together. (Infrequently in first two seasons)
Miranda Payne (née Miranda Lucas) (Keshia Knight Pulliam) is Calvin's girlfriend-turned-wife. She was first introduced in Season 1 as a con artist who stole all of Calvin and Curtis' money for an art gallery. The character returned eventually, but what she did to Calvin and Curtis is only very briefly, infrequently, mentioned. She and Calvin married in the Season 4 conclusion. Miranda has a very troubled nephew; when Calvin was supposed to be in charge of the boy, it was actually the boy who ordered Calvin around. Miranda and Calvin began to have problems in Season 5. In the beginning of Season 6, a pregnant Miranda disappears; a couple of episodes later, Miranda says there is no baby, making Calvin believe she had an abortion, but she didn't. She is actually thinking about giving the baby up for adoption. Then, while all three couples (C.J and Janine, Curtis and Ella, Calvin and Miranda) go to a marriage retreat, Miranda asks Calvin for a divorce. But when she and Calvin go to a divorce mediator and get stuck in an elevator, they resolve their marriage problems with help from an "elevator lady" Edi who turns out to be Dr. Marcos, the marriage-retreat counselor. Calvin and Miranda had their baby in Season 7. In the series finale "All's Well', Janine, Miranda, CJ, and Calivin celebrate their wedding anniversary, but Miranda and Calvin never show up. Then Calvin shows up at the Payne House to take Miranda to the anniversary dinner, with a dress and a vase of roses. She interrupts him, and demands a divorce, saying that she'd been waiting for the right moment to tell him, but couldn't find one. The very last scene shows Calvin throwing the vase of roses at the wall, and it shatters. The series ends with the camera zoomed in on the broken glass and rose petals. (Seasons 3-8, guest star in Season 1)
Claretha Jenkins (Denise Burse) is Ella's friend and the Paynes' former next-door neighbor. Curtis constantly jokes about her annoyance at his presence. Claretha is a big gossip; she even rats out the family business to the media in a crime misconception. She is known for having a collection of wigs. She left at the beginning of Season 5 after marrying a "prince." In Season 6, she suddenly leaves the prince; she now goes out with Floyd. She has an exceedingly obese daughter named Huretha and was furious and disgusted when she went out with C.J. in the early seasons after Janine left, although Huretha was never seen on the show. In the Season 7 episode "Payneful Visit", it is revealed that she has leukemia. Since Season 7, she is no longer credited as a regular cast member. She appeared in a recurring role. (Seasons 1–4, 6, briefly in season 5, recurring role in Seasons 7 & 8)
Floyd Jackson (Palmer Williams Jr.) is Curtis' friend and the self-absorbed, proud owner of the Barber Shop. He shows little affection towards individual people, but in times of great need will come out and show affection. His first wife disappeared on him, but after he remarried, the first wife returned looking for a divorce. When he did sign the divorce papers, it turned out she'd written a book, and since he's divorced from her he gets nothing. He has a daughter named Olivia who was dating Zack, one of his barbers. In the sixth season, Floyd's second wife kicks him out so he moves into Curtis and Ella's back yard and started dating Claretha, until his second wife returned, having lost fifty pounds because she was depressed that they were splitting up. While Floyd had been hoping to string both along without either finding out about the other, until they bumped into each other in the Payne house and both subsequently broke up with him and Claretha kicked him out. He is the longest running recurring character on House of Payne. In mid Season 8, he joined the main cast. (recurring role, Seasons 3–7, main role in Season 8)
Larry and Liz Shelton (Dorian Harewood and Anne-Marie Johnson) are Janine's parents and have so far appeared in 5 episodes of the series. Curtis hates their visits. They are upper-class and appear snobbish towards the Payne family. Upon their first appearance, Claretha identifies Janine's father as a "dancer" known as Dimples, though no one believes her. Liz comes off as judgmental. Her relationship with her daughter is usually tested. In a Season 3 episode she stays with the Paynes after being kicked out of her house; she annoys everyone, mostly Ella, Curtis, and Janine. In a later episode, she visits the new twins and constantly criticizes Janine's parenting skills, going as far as to try to change the babies' names. When Janine finally confronts her, Liz reveals that her mother was the same way with her. Liz shows a more compassionate side during her visit in Season 6 after reading a letter to C.J. written by a deceased comrade's child
Eunice Williams (Aloma Wright): is Ella's mother who shows signs of Alzheimer's during her visit with the family. She shows strong dislike toward Curtis, but takes a liking to everyone else. Her last name is only revealed in Season 6 when Ella's maiden name is finally revealed. She reappeared in the Season 8 premiere episode "A Mother's Payne", where Ella and her sister Evie decided to put her in a nursing home after a frightening episode resulting from her Alzheimer's disease. In the episode "Amazing Matriarchs", it is revealed that she died.
Jeffrey and Sandra Lucas (Wendell Pierce) and (Valarie Pettiford) : Miranda's wealthy parents who have appeared in Seasons 4–7. Jeffrey is a doctor and Sandra is a lawyer. In season 6, Sandra thought Calvin had something to do with Miranda's disappearance until she resurfaces.
Tracie Evans (played by Eva Marcille), is the mother of Calvin's first son Calvin Jr. and Kyle's aunt. Initially, C.J. developed a love interest in her shortly after his break up with Nicole. However, she later confessed to C.J. that she has been dating Calvin. She then breaks up with Calvin to reconcile with her old boyfriend. In Season 5, she returned and tells Calvin that they have a son named Calvin Jr., which upsets Miranda more when she already discovered that Calvin kissed Mercedes. In Season 6, she was in a car accident which claimed the life of her husband. She then asks Calvin and Miranda to take care of Calvin Jr. while she gets herself in order. Eventually she recuperated. She make a pass at Calvin on two occasions: once after Calvin and Miranda intervenes on her visiting unannounced; and the other was in Calvin's "man shower", indicating that she wanted him back. After Calvin pushes her away, she takes Calvin Jr. away from Calvin and Miranda. She then clears Calvin's bank account for back child support, the latter of which Calvin then gets arrested for. Her son is with Calvin for the weekend and when he goes to work and Miranda is asleep, Calvin Jr. plays with matches and sets the condo on fire. Tracie shows up at the hospital, with her new boyfriend, after she gets a call and tells Calvin she's getting full custody of their son and she attempts to fight Miranda and Janine. But soon her son wakes up from the coma, and she neutralizes her problems with Calvin.
Nicole Jamieson (played by Robinne Lee) was C.J.'s ex-girlfriend and Malik and Jazmine's assistant principal. She first appeared in the Season 1 episode "Teacher's Pet" where she visited the Payne household to bring back a hamster Jazmine took from the school. C.J. in the following episode went to the school to pick up the kids home from school only to find Nicole in her office telling him they already left. They were trapped inside the school building due to a storm that hit Atlanta. From there, sparks started to fly between her and C.J. Their relationship soon hit a bump when it is shown that Nicole is mentally unstable. It is most evident as she extremely jealous when C.J. speaks to another woman and even mentions another woman's name. In one episode, it was shown she even gets upset when C.J. says Jazmine's name while on the phone with her, which makes C.J. and Ella believes she is crazy. When C.J. breaks up with her after a huge argument, she gets destructive and breaks dishes at the Payne's house, she even threatened to stab him. Nicole has not been seen since Season 2. In her last appearance, she revealed that she was dating Calvin but that was never addressed again, and she hasn't mentioned since. In the test pilot episodes, Nicole Jamieson was originally portrayed by Rochelle Aytes, where she was Malik's math teacher and was normal and rather soft-spoken.
Kevin (played by Kyre Batiste-Loftin), was Malik's best friend who was a recurring character from Seasons 1–6. He was much like Malik in personality though slightly more dimwitted. He was very kind-hearted and generous despite the rare times he behaved selfishly. He often was involved in Malik's crazy schemes to get girls. He is last seen in the Season 6 episode "Drinking Game" where he and Malik were drinking when they were left alone in the house. He hasn't been seen or mentioned since.
Pookie (played by Quincy Bonds), was one of Calvin's closest friends since childhood; he and his younger brother Peanut act nothing like Calvin as they are both ghetto and appear to be thugs. They are still friendly but can be rough at times. It is stated that Quincy is his real name. He is last seen in the Season 6 episode "Payne Showers", in which Curtis throws a "man shower" for Calvin. In the Meet The Browns series, Nurse Renee is seen talking on the phone to "Pookie"—this is probably him because the Browns and the Paynes knew one another.
Peanut (played by Clayton English), is Pookie's younger brother; unlike Pookie, Peanut actually has a real name, Clayton. He, along with Pookie, was last seen in the Season 6 episode "Payne Showers". He hasn't been seen since.
Kyle Thompson (played by Dale Neal), was Tracie's nephew and Malik's friend. He appeared from Seasons 1–2. He is originally from Bronx, NY. Like Malik's mother Janine, Kyle's mother had a drug problem, and he was living with Aunt Tracie while his mother was battling her addiction. He and Malik stole Curtis' motorcycle and Curtis pressed charges against both of them, later dropping the charges when he realized that they were too extreme. It is hinted that Kyle dropped out of school. He was last seen in the Season 2 episode "It's a Boy," playing video games with Malik.
Calvin Jr. (played by Cornelius Benton) is the son of Calvin and Tracie, and half-brother to Christian. He was introduced in the Season 5 episode "Surprise! (Part 1)". In Season 6, he stayed with Calvin and Miranda while Tracie was recovering from an accident. However, Tracie takes him back home after Calvin rejected her advances. He returned in the Season 7 episode "So Hard To Say Goodbye". He was playing with matches while Miranda was sleeping, which caused a fire in Calvin and Miranda's condo. Tracie checked him out of the hospital when he awoke from his coma.
Roland (played by Rick Fox) is Janine's boss, and head of public relations for the fire department. He was introduced in Season 6. His romantic interest in Janine has caused some clashes between him and C.J. Then C.J. becomes his boss after receiving a promotion and after C.J. tells him to keep his relationship with Janine professional, he agrees to do so. C.J. also tells him to hire Calvin after finding out that he needs a new member of the department, but he starts to regret hiring Calvin after having to correct his mistakes, like sending out a press release revealing the wrong day of when the elementary schools are supposed to tour the fire house. It is revealed that Roland is a widower and a recovering alcoholic.
Jayden Payne is the older twin brother of Hayden Payne, the younger son of C.J. and Janine. He was born 3 1/2 minutes before Hayden. In the later seasons after his birth, he has grown more than Hayden. He is seen more than Hayden. In Season 7, he is seen with Hayden where it was discovered that he may have autism.
Hayden Payne is the younger twin sister of Jayden Payne, the younger daughter of C.J and Janine. She was born 3 1/2 minutes after Jayden. She was the baby of the Payne family until Miranda and Calvin's baby was born. She is seen less than Jayden. In Season 7, she is seen with Jayden where she appears normal.
Christian Payne is Calvin and Miranda's newborn baby boy. He is also Calvin Jr.'s half-brother. His name was revealed in the Season 7 episode "Payneful Visit". We were not told what his name was when Miranda gives birth, but Calvin is heard saying his name when he tells Miranda that Christian is sleeping.
Angel O. Reilz (Joyce Giraud) was the co-worker of Curtis, C.J., Calvin, Keenan, and Bart at the engine 5 company firehouse. Angel is the only female of the firehouse and at times get upset with the guys for being inconsiderate of that fact. At one point she got so upset that she thinks about switching to another engine company and suing them. Angel and Calvin had a tendency to argue all the time; according to Calvin it was because she loved him. When Angel was upset she usually began to speak Spanish. Angel was also known as the best firefighter as evidenced by her several awards and medals. When the guys first meet her they assumed she was going to be a man (Curtis had read the "O" of her middle name with Angel, making it appear as "Angelo") and threw water on her as a joke. The character has not been seen or mentioned since Season 4.
Bart Holmes (Bart Hansard) was the co-worker of Curtis, C.J., Calvin, Keenan and Angel. He last appeared in the Season 6 episode "How Do You Like Your Roast?", in which he helped honor Curtis for his service as Fire Chief. The character has not been seen since.
Keenan Jared (Cedric Pendleton) was the co-worker of Curtis, C.J., Calvin, Bart and Angel. He last appeared in the Season 8 episode "Number Five's Fight", in which he protested against C.J.'s decision to close down engine 5 company firehouse.
Delante (Jason Dirden) used to cut hair at the barbershop. He was also one of Calvin's friends. In later episodes, Delante lived in the barbershop until Floyd found him and invited him to live with him. He had a brief relationship with Dana. He got married to some girl he met at the skating rink and moves away to Arizona at the beginning of Season 5. He has not been seen since.
Kiki (Bobbi Baker) is a barber at the Barber Shop. She isn't afraid to ask questions that others are thinking and is very abrupt. In Season 5, she helped get her brother hired, but he turned out to be a drug dealer, dealing drugs in the Barber Shop. She finds out in a later episode that he was shot. Kiki hasn't been seen or mentioned since Season 5, except for a brief appearance in the Season 6 episode "Rehabilitation".
Dana Carter (Denyce Lawton) has her own manicure stand at the Barber Shop. She is usually seen watching clients storm off angrily, not knowing what she said to anger them. In one episode her parents visited, thinking she was a doctor on vacation. She is half-African American/Korean. Dana hasn't been seen or mentioned since season 5.
Zack (Gary Owen) (Season 5) is the white barber who replaced Delante. He is a nice guy but he has trouble fitting in with black people, although they do like him. It was revealed that he had a date with Kiki prior to working at the barber shop. He was interested in Floyd's daughter Olivia. He is somewhat similar to Isaac Rosenberg (Troy Garity) in the films Barbershop and Barbershop 2: Back in Business. Zack hasn't been seen or mentioned since season 5.
Deshawn Spears (Bobb'e J. Thompson) is Curtis and Ella's recently acquired foster child. Deshawn comes from a broken home, and was initially hostile towards the Paynes, as he has had trouble with foster homes in the past. He later comes to accept that the Paynes are nice people that will take care of him. In the Season 8 episode "Mentoring Paynes", Curtis and Ella officially become his foster parents. However in the episode "In Payne", he decides to live with his mother.
The Hernandez family
The Hernandez family were the Paynes' new Hispanic neighbors who move into Claretha's old house, bringing their own family drama. Carlos and Rosalita are the parents of Diego, Mercedes and Alex. Carlos works as a police officer. He and Curtis often fight over petty things but eventually, the two began to bond. Rosalita became friends with Ella and they briefly worked together in retail. Consuela is the grandmother of the kids. She is usually seen drinking beer and watching TV. In one episode, Curtis and Malik helped her get her citizenship. The oldest son, Diego, had problems with his father; mainly due to his anger and depression from being in the war in Iraq. Malik becomes interested in younger daughter Alex. Calvin kissed older daughter Mercedes, keeping it from Miranda until Diego revealed the truth. Except for Diego, who last appeared in the Season 6 episode "Seal of Approval", none of the Hernandezes have been seen since Season 5.
Locations in Atlanta, Georgia include the Payne's home, a firehouse located across the street from the Paynes' house, a barbershop, the help center, and the schools Malik and Jazmine attend. The Payne home is a one-story building, and 5 rooms are featured throughout the series: Curtis and Ella's bedroom, Malik and Jazmine's shared bedroom, the spare bedroom (which was Calvin's until he moved out), the kitchen, and the living room, and the outside patio. Calvin, C.J. and Janine's rooms were never seen. The only part of the firehouse seen on camera was its day room. The firehouse and its characters, with the exception of Keenan, have not appeared on any recent episodes. The barbershop is a setting often used from Seasons 2-5, and it is similar to that of the Barbershop movies. Miranda and Calvin's condo was added. The living room was the only room that was shown. C.J. and Janine's house is another setting added on to the series. The kitchen and the living were always seen on camera. None of the bedrooms were ever shown. The college Malik attended was a more recent setting and various areas were shown.
The national premiere received 5.9 million viewers on June 2007—at the time, basic cable’s biggest sitcom audience ever. The show remained basic cable’s top-rated first run sitcom until TBS’s August 2008 premiere of sister series Meet the Browns. For the first quarter of 2011, House of Payne and Meet the Browns ranked among television’s five highest-rated primetime sitcoms with African-American adults aged 18–34 and 18–49.
Paul Katz of Entertainment Weekly wrote the program had a "bleak premise" and referred to the laugh track as "grating." He also wrote that "(Tyler) Perry should unleash Madea on the Payne household. They could use the laugh."
Movie Web wrote: "I try not to be cynical about TV shows, particularly sitcoms. I know how hard it is to try to write a funny, relevant and interesting television show. I also know that it takes a perfect storm of talent, writing and zeitgeist to capture these elements for an audience. Sadly, Tyler Perry's House of Payne fails to do so."
Ginia Bellefante of The New York Times commented on the sitcom's "narrative aimlessness and languorous pacing," and criticized what she saw as unexplained turns towards topicality. Bellefante did note that House of Payne had "the effect of affirming the progressiveness of a show like Norman Lear’s Good Times."
Variety's Phil Gallo wrote: "In the first episode, House of Payne rolls through a collection of stereotypes and characters familiar to TV auds. ...It's old-fashioned in structure, sets and characters. Despite having his name in the title, Payne is straitjacketed into a straight-man role; the saving grace is the grumpy father figure Curtis as Davis huffs and puffs his way through the unnatural dialogue. As the mother Ella, Cassi Davis is all exaggeration—from the bug eyes to the girth—and she isn't given the material to make her character either outrageously humorous or poignantly comforting. She doesn't seem particularly real."
Tom Shales of the Washington Post said: "Three generations of an African American family share—sometimes—what looks like an enormous house in the Atlanta suburbs, and things sort of happen to them. Some things happen repeatedly, such as the patriarch of the family telling everybody to 'get out' or 'go home,' apparently desiring the company of none of them. ...At times one wishes that, yes, House were Payne-less. ...(T)he program has a long way to go before jelling as a believable unit. ...(T)he acting styles conflict or seem barely to exist." Shales also criticized the program for some of the subject matter, such as Janine's crack addiction, stating that "It's commendable to try to introduce serious and topical material in sitcoms, but the way it's done here is awkward and cringe-inducing."
House of Payne was the only situation comedy to be sold into broadcast syndication for the 2008–2009 television season.
Tyler Perry's claim to fame is with the popularity of character Madea, who has appeared in numerous Tyler Perry plays and their film adaptations. When the series debuted on TBS in June 2007, Perry made a guest appearance as Madea. Actor David Mann reprised his Mr. Brown role, and Keke Palmer returned as Nikki, a bully who stole $20 worth of Malik's lunch money over a period of time, money which Madea, Nikki's foster mother, used at a casino. Perry returned as Madea for a Christmas episode of the show on December 5, 2007. Perry again returned as Madea to act as Curtis's wife on March 5, 2008. She has appeared in one episode every season, save seasons 4 and 5. She is one of Curtis' arch enemies.
In the series, Janine's drug problem and going to rehab are possible references to Diary of a Mad Black Woman. The events of the episodes "Sad, Sad, Leroy Brown" parts 1 and 2 came directly before the movie Meet the Browns, when Brown learns his father has died. The events of the episode "Weeping May Endure for a Night" happened somewhere in the middle, directly after the funeral and the reading of the will, where Brown found out that his father left him a broken-down house which Brown turned into a retirement home. Even though in the episode "Weeping May Endure for a Night", the Paynes claim to have attended the funeral of Brown's father, in Meet the Browns, they are nowhere to be seen. This may be because Lance Gross, who plays Calvin Payne in the series, plays a character named Michael in the film and LaVan Davis, who plays Curtis Payne, plays a bus driver. Curtis claimed Brown made them wait in the cemetery for two hours while he gave his father a tour of Atlanta (his last request), but in the movie, Brown stayed the entire time. The episodes serve as a backdoor pilot to Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns, a spin-off of the film and play as well as House of Payne.
In the episode "I Can Cry If I Want To", Brown attended Curtis's 50th birthday party and stresses the Paynes out while he is there.
In the episode "Sad, Sad, Leroy Brown (Part 1)", when Brown's house burnt down and he gets kicked out of Cora's best friend's house. He stays at the Paynes' residence, much to Curtis's dismay and soon becomes a pestering houseguest.
In the episode "Sad, Sad, Leroy Brown (Part 2)", when the Paynes tries to kick Brown out of the house, Brown claimed that Curtis broke his back, but Curtis knows the truth that Brown's back was not in pain, and he only faked it to get the Paynes to let him stay with them. However, Ella believes Brown and insisted on him staying with them until his back gets better.
In the episode "Weeping May Endure for a Night", Brown, Cora, and Will come by the Paynes' residence after Pop Brown's funeral. Brown is upset because Pop Brown left him a run-down house which makes Brown think his daddy hates him until he realizes that Pop Brown wanted him to open up a retirement home.
In the episode "Meet the Christmas Spirit" (Meet the Browns), Curtis and Ella Payne drop in for a visit at the hospital to put on a play for the children.
In the episode "Oh Christmas Payne", Brown and Cora drop in for a visit.
In the episodes "What You Know About Me" and "Payneful Divorce", Cora's former high school student, Milo Jackson, attended the same college as Malik.