Love Thy Neighbor Prepares for its Final Farewell (An Exclusive Interview With Palmer Williams)
Tyler Perry’s beloved show ‘Love Thy Neighbor’ will be saying its TV farewell this upcoming summer. The show entered its fifth and final season on March 4th, while celebrating its 100th episode on Saturday, March 11th. The show is one of the only comedic shows of Perry’s that airs on the Oprah Winfrey Network. As the cast prepares for their 100th episode, this writer was able to sit and chat with the one and only Palmer Williams. Palmer Williams is from Mobile, Alabama. He’s worked with Tyler Perry for many years now doing many plays such as The Haves and the Have Nots, Madea’s Big Happy Family, The Marriage Counselor, Laugh to Keep from Crying, and TV shows Love Thy Neighbor and The House of Payne. Most of which, he portrayed the character Floyd Jackson. I was able to talk to Palmer about working with Tyler Perry and how he felt about the show and it’s soon ending.
What’s it like working with the Tyler Perry?
It’s fun working for him (Perry). He’s very professional, but creates a relaxed atmosphere for me to work in. I’m the jokester on set, so I try to get people to break character on camera.
How much influence do you, as an actor, have on the storyline?
We don’t get much influence on the script but, he does trust us to do a run through by ourselves. We learn what our shoot schedule is and we film each scene three times over. On the first and second take, we do them as planned but on third one, he lets us cut loose. Sometimes it makes it into the final show and sometimes it doesn’t.
What has set ‘Love Thy Neighbor’ apart from the competition?
Honestly, stupidity. It’s just a cast of stupid people. We were the only comedy on OWN for so long and sometimes, people just want to laugh. The series worked as a release for so many viewers and Tyler as well. He (Perry) was able to be himself and the cast was like the bad kids in school that you always have to watch. They were exploratory, they got into things, the ones you have to put the baby gate up for and baby proof the house for. The cast really worked on a family aspect. Not just with us, but with other OWN show cast members as well. We saw Tike (Tike Sumpter, The Haves and The Have Nots), pregnant to having the baby to getting engaged. We were there when Andre Hall lost his mother and had to come to set to shoot.
Is it bittersweet that the series is coming to an end? How is it different than when The House of Payne ended?
This is a different pill to swallow because it came out of nowhere. It left us wondering when we were going to see each other. I knew it was ending (The House of Payne) and we were able to be tied for fourth for the longest running show with The Jeffersons and was able to work with the late great Sherman Hemsley. I’m going to miss my nieces and nephews and my sister in Patrice. Me and Patrice have known each other for 27 years. It stings a little more than (The House of Payne), but at the same time it doesn’t because I know we now have the opportunity to go do what God has ordained for us to do.
What advice can you give to those breaking into the entertainment world?
Invest in yourself. You have that passion, invest in yourself. The same amount of money you spend on a pair of Jordans, is that same amount of money you would spend on a resume and a headshot. And, be responsible with your art.
Lastly, how can people keep up with you and your future projects?
Palmer Williams J on Instagram and Twitter, Palmer Williams Jr on Facebook, and palmerwilliamsjr.com. And, tell your readers to let me know what they want to see on television.
It is a bittersweet moment whenever something comes to an end and I know this writer is going to miss the fun and energetic show. The final season of ‘Love Thy Neighbor’ airs Saturday nights at 9pm on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).