“People are going to try and compare it to Desperate Housewives, says star Tiffany Haddish.
On his newest OWN drama, If Loving You Is Wrong, Tyler Perry proves women’s desire to love and be loved transcends race, age and socio-economic status.
The end result is a scintillating and slick sudser that debuts this Tuesday Sept. 9 at 9 p.m. ET/PT with a diverse cast, including Edwina Findley Dickerson (The Wire and Treme) as Kelly, a single, career-oriented mom; Heather Hemmens (Hellcats) as Marcie, a woman who desperately wants to have children with her less-than-scrupulous hubby Randal (Eltony Williams); and April Parker Jones (Jericho) as Natalie, a single, working-class mother who must decide if she can trust and forgive her eldest once he is released from prison. Charles Malik Whitfield (The Good Wife), Amanda Clayton (John Carter), Zulay Henao (Takers) and Aiden Turner (All My Children) round out the cast.
To celebrate the nighttime soap, which is a spinoff of Perry’s movie, The Single Mom’s Club, the network recently screened the series for journalists in Los Angeles. Afterward, the cast discussed If Loving You Is Wrong and their roles.
“Our characters go through a lot,” says Findley Dickerson, whose Kelly longs to be married. “Women go through a lot – whether it’s mothering, whether it’s desiring to be loved. Whether it’s trying to balance a career. Whether it’s domestic violence. Women experience a lot and our characters really reflect that.
“As Shakespeare talks about holding the mirror to nature, I believe that it will be a mirror for many women. And prayerfully, many women will receive a great deal of healing as a result of this project.”
The actors also connected with the material on a personal level. This includes newcomer Matt Cook, who costars as Natalie’s felonious son Joey.
Like his character, he and his siblings have different fathers. Meanwhile, Jones plays his mother and like Natalie, has children with different men – a reality that is more common than traditionalists might think, she says. Whitfield costars as Lushion, the father of Natalie’s precocious son Frank (Donielle T. Hansley Jr.) and a man with whom she could reconnect with romantically if she lets down her guard.
“I was a single mom with multiple kids and different fathers,” Jones says. “That is the reality of so many women. Learning how to juggle parenting and co-parenting with different dads. Natalie is going to be one of the more relatable characters in the sense that she’s so very strong. So strong, that it can also be a bit crippling.”
Because of the look of the show and its diversity, some are already drawing comparisons between If Loving You Is Wrong and Desperate Housewives.
But Tiffany Haddish (Real Husbands of Hollywood), who plays comedic foil Jackie, said this drama will illicit a very different audience reaction than the eight-season ABC series that ended in 2012.
“People are going to try and compare it to Desperate Housewives but I never watched Desperate Housewives and yelled, ‘No she didn’t just do that!’ Haddish said. “I was yelling and talking to the TV. And I know there are a lot of Americans like me that like to talk to the TV. They are going to be talking and tweeting about this.”
If Loving You Is Wrong debuts this Tuesday Sept. 9 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on OWN.