Tyler Perry Filmed an Entire Season of a Sitcom in Four Days

Madea Goes to Jail

Tyler Perry is quite the businessman. I remember first hearing about him as a popular playwright and assuming he was doing something along the lines of Neil Simon when in actuality he was wearing a dress and saying “hellur,” but he somehow turned that into a billion-dollar industry.

Perry isn’t letting the COVID pandemic slow him down, either, because he filmed all 19 episodes of his latest TV show Bruh in just four days, which is about the same rate Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune record episodes.

The New York Post explained how Perry worked his quarantine schedule:

Sitcom “Bruh” was the shortest order, 19 episodes, and the shortest shoot, four days. The BET+ comedy, which started filming Sept. 3, finished today.

Since July 9, when the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta opened its doors for the cast of “Sistas,” Perry successfully filmed 82 episodes of his BET series “Sisters” and “The Oval” and BET+’s “Ruthless” and “Bruh.”

Perry filmed new seasons of his series amid the coronavirus pandemic using a quarantine bubble model, sequestering cast and crew on the lot for the duration of a shoot.

Overall, there were 32 shoot days and 51 quarantine days total for the four series, with weeklong breaks between production of “Sistas” and “The Oval” as well as “The Oval and Ruthless.” (Perry and his crew stayed in continuous production after “Ruthless” to shoot “Bruh.”)

Perry’s quarantine bubble model involves check-in testing as cast and crew arrive at the studio, with everyone staying in their rooms until test results come back.

His model worked, and there were no cases of COVID during the entire time except for the people who tested positive when they were first checking in.

I can’t imagine the shows are very good, though, unless Tyler Perry has the most amazing cast and crew ever assembled. I watched part of the first episode and I can assure you he doesn’t. So let me explain a little bit about how television production works,

Your average soap opera usually has a 12-hour shooting day, with rehearsals early in the morning followed by roughly ten hours of shooting to produce a 36-minute episode (the runtime without commercials). This is considered a particularly breakneck pace and is the reason soap operas have a reputation for poor quality, along with a distinct visual language.

Perry’s Bruhs is a multi-cam sitcom, which usually take an entire week to film an episode, and are in production for 26 weeks to film 22 episodes, which includes table reads and several days of rehearsals and 2-3 days of actual shooting per episode.

If we assume Perry had extra-long 14 or 15 hour production days, that’s only three hours to rehearse and film each episode and an absolutely grueling schedule for the cast and crew. It would essentially require every actor to nail every scene in one or two takes after a single run-through of each episode.

Having seen some of those Madea movies, however, I can only conclude Perry isn’t all that concerned with quality. Jeopardy can shoot five episodes in a day because it’s basically a live competition, there are no scripts, no second takes and no rehearsals. Actually, I think there are brief rehearsals so contestants can learn how things like the buzzers work so the show goes smoothly, but it’s not like they have to film it again if someone gets a question wrong.

It’s amazing that Tyler Perry was able to cram all his shows into a three-month time frame for everyone’s safety, but I feel confident that when all is said and done Perry will have made something that wishes it looked as good as a soap opera, and it’s really hard to imagine anything looking cheaper and more rushed than a Tyler Perry sitcom produced under normal circumstances.

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