Veronica (Angela Robinson) and Jeffrey (Gavin Houston)

Veronica (Angela Robinson) and Jeffrey (Gavin Houston)

*When Tyler Perry’s “The Haves and the Have Nots” premiered its first two episodes this past spring on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN, I wondered if it was poised to become the new “Dallas” of the 21st century.

It had all the trappings including the wildcard role of Candace Young (Tika Sumpter) who plays the “everybody-loves-to-hate” character like Dallas’ J.R. Ewing. The drama has certainly evolved. During the course of its 16-episode maiden season, “The Haves” has zigzagged its audience like a frenzied roller-coaster ride. The season finale set the stage for season two with multiple revelations ending on a high cliff-hanging note.

Most notably was the riveting, daringly vulnerable stand-out scene where Jeffrey (Gavin Houston) revealed to his parents that he is gay. The dialogue and delivery of Veronica’s (Angela Robinson) disappointment in her son was gut-wrenching as she revealed why she so strongly opposed his sexual orientation that has now dashed her hopes of him carrying on the family name.

As a tearful Jeffrey stood there and listened, his demonstrative anguish and despair was so believable as Veronica told her story of an abortion she had in college. How after getting married, having a stillborn, and several miscarriages, she thought God’s judgment was upon her. Then in total exasperation she dropped the bomb: the one that survived “had to be you!” They were mutually devastated.

It was a strong, very intense scene that undoubtedly raises the bar for the whole cast. More scenes like that are sure to give “The Haves” higher ratings and increased staying power. Kudos to all the cast, but for that particular scene an Emmy may be in the offing for Robinson and Houston. Stay tuned for season two in January! For the benefit of those who have yet to tune in, here’s a brief synopsis:

About “The Haves and Have Nots”:
[Tyler Perry’s “The Haves and the Have Nots” is a new television drama from the prolific writer, director and producer Tyler Perry. The show follows the complicated dynamic between the rich and powerful Cryer family and the hired help who work in their opulent Savannah, Georgia, mansion.

From the outside, the Cryers are the enviable face of success and wealth, but behind the veil, the family’s dysfunction threatens to destroy their world of privilege. Cryer family patriarch Jim Cryer (John Schneider) is a powerful judge whose double life, including tawdry affairs with high-priced escorts, puts his family and political ambitions at risk. His wife, Katheryn Cryer (Renée Lawless), is the ultimate matriarch, portraying a loving and dutiful wife, but she is willing to do anything to protect her family’s status. Their son, Wyatt (Aaron O’Connell), is a troubled, angry jock who cares little for his own image and finds himself in and out of rehab. His sister, Amanda (Jaclyn Betham), a struggling law student, tries harder to live up to her parents’ expectations but unknowingly has befriended a scurrilous young woman, Candace Young, with the power to ruin the entire family.

Hanna Young (Crystal Fox) is the Cryers’ maid and the matriarch of her family. Despite having no money, she has found other types of wealth through religion and virtue. She prides herself on her dutiful son, Benny (Tyler Lepley), the glue who helps keep the family together. Hanna does have one dark secret, however—her estranged daughter, Candace (Tika Sumpter), a manipulative opportunist who will stop at nothing to get what she wants. In a bizarre coincidence, Candace is shocked to find out that her newfound friend Amanda’s father is Jim Cryer, the very man who has been paying her for sex and who also employs Candace’s mother as his family’s maid. Armed with this knowledge, the stage is set for what will be, in Candace’s eyes, the opportunity of a lifetime.]