My Perfect Family is a South African television sitcom created by Katleho Ramaphakela and Rethabile Ramaphakela and produced by Burnt Onion Productions which follows the growing pains of socially-awkward teen soap star Luyanda Nkosi as he takes on the role of trying to keep his already broken, dysfunctional family together.
It's not so much that he needs to try his hand at fathering his own parents because even though he acts more mature than most guys his age, truth be told, young Lu still needs guidance of his own.
But Luyanda Nkosi's maturity level has him believing that he holds the answers to his parents' constant bickering. See, his dream is to unite his parents once again, so that things can be as they once were...
Although, those few good memories of hope that Lu still holds on to, never did outweigh the match made in hell which was his parents' matrimonial union.
Mandla and Portia Nkosi have been divorced for all but two years now, and even though they've managed to bizarrely stay in the same house, after reaching a mutual agreement that will benefit the kids, there is still no love lost between them.
It is obvious to any observer that, although they don't realise it, Mandla and Portia still have feelings for each other, and belong together.
Told through the eyes of Luyanda Nkosi, we see how the awesome life of a seemingly normal teenager is not so awesome when it's surrounded by extraordinary circumstances.
Having divorced parents, who are constantly at each other's throats, trying to fight for the affection of their offspring; a self-conscious, materialistic, sister who lives in a dream world (Thando); a near-senile grandmother (Koko K); and a best friend who always manages to land Luyanda in mischief (Lovers) – these are the recipes for a disastrous life that Luyanda is trying to deal with.
And seeing that everyone else's opinions seem to matter most to Luyanda, he has cornered himself into trying to uphold certain appearances; appearances that involve the rest of the world believing in his perfect world.
Because ultimately, all Luyanda is looking for is just the perfect life – with "the perfect family."
However, The Perfect Life is just that little bit more difficult to attain when one has all this drama to deal with, on top of being a role model to other kids because of your fame status.
The geeky, know-it-all-A-student has been an introvert for the major part of his life but ever since his acting skills landed him a role on the popular local soap opera, The Highs and Lows, his star has soon enough catapulted him to the most famous guy in his school.
But the closest that Luyanda's fame gets acknowledged in his home life is at embarrassing moments when his dad makes him act out scenes from the soapie to impress his friends.
One would think that this would be the dream life for any kid but as Luyanda is finding out, stardom doesn't make growing pains any easier...
Luyanda Nkosi (Lethabo Gumede in Season 1, Sizo Motsoko in Seasons 2-4)
Luyanda Nkosi is a young, humble, 13-year old kid with more than his fair share of problems. He's cool and slick in his appearance... but has a peculiar nerdish aura about him.
Lu is currently one of the stars of the most popular local soap opera called "The Highs and Lows," and plays the part of Sifiso. As if the pressures of rising stardom weren't enough, Lu is at constant battle with this disease called growing up.
He's already a little more mature than most of his peers but also a little more introverted. This hasn't got him many fans at school because his silent demeanour often gets him misunderstood for being a little arrogant.
But he's working on that part of his life, and sometimes to disastrous end-results, thanks to the help of his best friend Lovers Plus.
Lovers is actually good for Luyanda's confidence in some ways, but is just as bad for his reputation in a lot of other ways. But Luyanda knows this very well and doesn't mind it in the least because it adds that little bit of adventure in his life.
Besides... they've been friends since nursery school.
Luyanda doesn't have the charm or confidence possessed by his groupie-best-friend Lovers Plus, when it comes to girls. This hasn't done much to help his cause in getting a girlfriend because like all the other guys at school, Luyanda has the biggest crush on the most popular girl in his grade.
He's had a serious girlfriend before (in a three-week-long-and-all-they-ever-did-was-hold-hands kind of way) but she soon got bored of him because he was "just too nice."
Luyanda is easily intimidated but has had the protection of being Lovers' shadow most his life and just like every other guy in his grade he lives in constant fear of the Blomming Spot Crew – a group of notorious matric bullies. We never get to see the crew but are blatantly aware that they exist.
Luyanda's inability to say "no" to anyone is often the source of great comedy as he always ends up landing himself in precarious, and often embarrassing situations...
Mandla Nkosi (John Lata)
Mandla Nkosi (42) is Luyanda's stubborn, yet easy-going, plumber father. Although he comes across as having too many lazy-like tendencies, the man is very much a disciplinarian.
But he would soon call out for Luyanda to come and change the channel on the TV, when the remote is bust, rather than getting off the couch to do it himself. "I put food on the table... when you've got your own family one day, you'll understand."
These are words often replayed in the Nkosi house, from the broken record that is Mandla Nkosi's mouthpiece.
Although very set in his traditional and old ways, Mandla tries overly-hard to be on the same level as his youthful son. With excessive uses of phrases like "for sheezy ma neezy," his attempt at being the cool father often comes across as embarrassingly creepy.
In a lot of ways, this method of relating with his two kids works well for getting the point across, but in many other ways... it's just not cool.
Mandla comes from a humble background and is a plumber by profession who, after working his entire life for different plumbers, has just started his own business. To him, plumbing is not just a job; it's a service to mankind.
He's overly proud of his skill and places himself in the same league that doctors and educators occupy.
Portia Nkosi (Baby Cele in Seasons 1 and 2, Charmaine Mtinta in Seasons 3-4)
Portia Nkosi is Luyanda's 38-year old, overly extravagant and outspoken mother. With beauty queen looks, she also possesses a "no-nonsense" poise about her.
A control-freak by nature, Portia is overwhelmingly fussy and dominant, with a fastidious eye for detail. This is the very reason why Portia is just the right person for the job of being Little Lu's Manager.
No-one would actually do a better job because she takes crap from nobody, which is inevitably why her relationship with her and Mandla ended up in a divorce. Portia also plies her trade as an estate agent, while managing her son's career.
When Portia Nkosi finally filed for divorce from her husband, things didn't go as smoothly as they had been planned. But that shouldn't have been a surprise to either party because she knew very well that her husband was just as stubborn as she was.
The only thing they could inevitably agree on was the fact they that they couldn't agree on much. Until this day, the splitting of any of the household goods, along with the house itself is an issue of contention.
So, for the sake of refraining from arguing about splitting their children as well, they amicably decided (well... after an incident involving boiling water and broken vases) to stay under one roof until both kids were old enough to move out of the house. They are subsequently trapped in this already failed marriage.
Behind the constant bickering and exchanges of insults though, Portia and Mandla fail to see that they both still have feelings for one another – something they'd rather kill each other for, before openly accepting.
Thando Nkosi (Thando Thabethe in Seasons 1-3, Tessa Twala in Season 4)
Thando Nkosi is the 20 year-old "kugel" older sister to Luyanda. She pretty much takes after her mother in the looks department. It's a pity that the same can't be said about her smarts though. Thando is about as bright as the lights in a romantic setting.
Her dreams involve plastering the covers of international magazines and something about Brad Pitt and a wedding; and although she has been featured in one or two ads, there's really never been much to write home about Thando's career. It's always been overshadowed by her smarter, younger brother.
After matriculating, Thando took a year's break to work as an au pair in Europe and on her return her parents forced her into finding a job to supplement her decision of studying part-time.
She desperately wants to move out the house but of course, as with everything else, Thando wants her parents to be the sole funders of this initiative – neither of them wishing to budge to her demands.
Now Thando works at a cosmetics counter in a large retail store, attempting to save up for her big move out of the Nkosi home.
This, however, proves to be easier said than done because the huge staff discount she gets on the latest fashion at the retail store, doesn't help her cause much in saving for her freedom.
She will inevitably be trapped in this situation until she finishes school and finds herself a full-time job.
Cornelius "Lovers Plus" Mavusa (Neho Moloko)
Cornelius "Lovers Plus" Mavusa (14) is Luyanda's misfit best friend from nursery school. Neither his real name, nor the nickname are anything that Cornelius is proud to be called, but Lovers Plus seems to be the only one that's really stuck to him (the school kids gave it to him because of the goalkeeping skills possessed by this soccer mad teenager).
He's very much a troublemaker and is always urging Luyanda to use his fame status to get away with murder...
Gogo Gugulethu (Lillian Dube)
Gogo Gugulethu (Gogo Gugu or Koko K – 60's): Gogo is an over-the-top extrovert who's not afraid to give in her two cents on anything.
She loves telling tales of her younger days and how admirable she was and how all the guys used to follow her around; even after getting married to her deceased husband.
Gogo has an innate ability to entertain people even when she's not trying. Her sarcastic nature has a lot to do with this because one never knows when to take her seriously.
She lives on her medication, as she's easily susceptible to illnesses in her old age. But she takes advantage in milking this situation and is constantly seeking attention by always mentioning how she's nearing her death or how she's about to leave the earth any second now.
Everyone knows not to take her seriously by now and this irks her even more.
Jo-Man (Bonginkosi Twala)
Jo-Man (40's) is a random clinger to Mandla. He's Mandla's helping hand in Mandla's new plumbing business.
He's not featured in every episode but when he's seen, he's normally making himself feel right at home – whether it be putting his feet up on the couch; or making himself a meal in the Nkosi household.
They always question it but nothing ever gets done about it because everyone else has assumed it to now be the norm.
Jo-Man is a fairly chubby guy and pretty messy in his trait. He tries to come across as being a smart guy but often gives the most random quotes as pearls of wisdom. Quotes that have neither anything to do with the situation nor do they make any remote sort of sense.