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With “February sweeps” right around the corner–one of the “sweeps months” when networks pull out all the stops to juke ratings so that, based on those increased viewership numbers, they can set ad prices for the rest of the year–I wanted to talk about the recent dustup over CBS’ new hit sitcom 2 Broke Girls, which will resume airing new episodes next week.
A few weeks ago at the Television Critics Association’s (TCA) Winter Press Tour, 2 Broke Girls‘ co-creator Michael Patrick King, who’s best known for his work on Sex and the City, became defensive over reporters’ questions concerning the broke-ass racial and ethnic stereotypes on the show.
If you haven’t seen the show, the stereotypes in question involve the show’s secondary characters who work at the same diner as the two broke girls. There’s Oleg, the pervy Ukrainian cook; Earl, the black, jive-talking cashier; and Han Lee, the diner owner, a Korean immigrant who speaks in heavily-accented Engrish and is frequently the butt of jokes because of his “foreign-ness.” Andrew Ti, the razor-sharp mind behind Yo, Is This Racist?, describes Han in a Grantland post as a “tiny, greedy, sexless man-child.” Most of the questions that appeared to anger King at the TCA event concerned the particularly offensive portrayal of Han Lee.
Filed under: 2 Broke Girls, 2 Broke Girls CBS, Asian Americans on TV, Beth Behrs, CBS, Ethnic Stereotypes, GTFOOHWTBS, Han Bryce Lee, Han Lee, Hit Shows, If Everyone's Telling You Something's Racist It Probably Is, Immigrant Portrayals, Kat Dennings, Long Duk Dong, Matthew Moy, Michael Patrick King, Others Otherizing the Others, Racial Stereotypes, Racist Stereotypes, Sex and The City, Sitcoms, This is Bullshit, Tone Deafness
I watched the pilot episode of 2 Broke Girls this week, even though multi-camera sitcoms really aren’t my thing. (Give me one hour dramas with teens or monsters or, even better, teens and monsters, any night of the week.) The CBS sitcom is about two women who form an unlikely friendship waitressing together at a greasy spoon in a not-cool neighborhood in Brooklyn.
And I liked it. Mostly. Beth Behrs is appealing as Caroline, the suddenly broke daughter of a disgraced Madoff-like figure, and Kat Dennings, who plays snarky Max, is infinitely watchable.
The same can’t be said for the show’s other characters, who are little more than a collection of broad, hacky, outmoded–even for network television–stereotypes, like Oleg, the pervy
Russian Ukrainian cook who hits on the girls all day long, or Earl, the old, black wisecracking cashier who appears to be bound to his chair in the corner, or, worst of all, Han “Bryce” Lee, the Korean immigrant owner of the diner.
Han, who changes his name to “Bryce,” so that, as Dennings’ Max puts it, “people [can] take him even less seriously” than they already do, is a clueless, little man who spreaks Engrish and has no grasp of American culture. In an earlier draft of the pilot, he was actually named “Rice Lee,” so I guess that’s progress?
No. Not really.
It being 2011 and all, shouldn’t “ethnic” characters be more by now than just the butt of jokes made by pretty girls?
Filed under: 2 Broke Girls, 2 Broke Girls CBS, Beth Behrs, Bryce Lee, Butt of Jokes, CBS, Do Better, Engrish Is Played, Ethnic Stereotypes, Funny Girls, Hacky Writing, Han Lee, Kat Dennings, Mr. Yunioshi, Network Television, Sitcoms, TV Stereotypes
We just learned that Grace Park will join the Embodiment of Sex (Daniel Dae Kim), in the cast of the forthcoming CBS redux of Hawaii Five-O.
Grace Park. DDK. Tropical climes. Bathing suits. Every week. In my living room.
Excuse me, please. I think I just wet myself.
Filed under: Battlestar Galactica, Beautiful People, Boyfriends, CBS, Daniel Dae Kim, Daniel Dae Kim is a God, DDK, Extra Panties, Fantasy Couples, Grace Park, Hawaii Five-O, Holy Shit, Jen's Boyfriend, Porn, Unbelievably Gorgeous Casts
Name: Daniel Dae Kim aka DDK aka our Jen’s boyfriend
Occupation: Actor, Restaurant Owner
Hails from: Hawaii via Pennsylvania (via South Korea)
Known for: Making us quiver with love tingles. We like the way he votes, the way he eats, the way he drives (kidding), ooooooohlala obviously the way he looks–and of course, how brilliantly he acts. Praise be the person who finalized DDK’s deal as a principal in CBS’s Continue reading AMAZIAN OF THE WEEK! Daniel Dae Kim
OMGOMGOMGOMG. Daniel Henney is coming over to MY house!!! No, seriously, ferreal. OMG. What should I do? More importantly, what should I wear? Something kinda casual, maybe, but paired with some strappy, devastating fuck-me shoes? Don’t want to appear desperate. BUT I AM DESPERATE DANIEL HENNEY LET ME LICK YOUR FACE. Okay, breathe. Do you think Daniel Henney likes risotto? I’ve been making a mean risotto lately. But, wait, what am I saying? He’s an actor. Actors don’t do carbs. Hmm. Maybe we skip dinner altogether then and go straight to making out? Yes, please! Hopefully he’s not one of those pretty boy actors who wants to be taken seriously and appreciated for his mind. No, really, that won’t do. I’M NOT HERE TO TALK PROUST DANIEL HENNEY I’M HERE TO WATCH YOU TAKE OFF YOUR PANTS GOT IT? (Oh please, Lord, let him be shallow and sex-starved, please, I don’t even care if he’s an awful lover like most ridiculously hot guys, I just want to see him naked.) Now, uh, where was I? Oh, right…DANIEL HENNEY IS COMING TO MY HOUSE. I better go and get ready. Trim my bangs, buy a magnum of decent red Burgundy and some Votivo red currant candles, dig up my nice underwear, maybe get a bikini wax, and definitely pop a Xanax. Yes, I think I can handle this. I can handle DANIEL FUCKING HENNEY coming over to my house, and I can play it cool. Or cool-ish. In the vicinity of cool, maybe, like the center of a medium-rare steak. We’ll see, no guarantees. Wish me luck!
Happy birthday to our lovable, hot friend Kunal Nayyar! He and The Big Bang Theory co-star Johnny Galecki happen to blow out candles on the same day–today, and we hope they do it together while toasting the success of the only sitcom currently on the air that actually makes us laugh.
Have a great, great, great day, Kunal! DISGRASIAN loves you!
Is that really you, Julie Chen (pictured below with her network president, er, husband, Les Moonves)?
This week, we celebrate the 39th birthday of Julie Chen, aka the reigning Queen Missus of the CBS empire. We envy her shiny-and-full-of-body coif and pretty eyes (we bet she’s got a sweet-bangin’ GPS system in her car, or some other cool gadget like that, too).
May she continue to look this lovely and ageless until robotic eternity! Her very existence makes us want to turn 39, too, like NOW.
Hails from: San Francisco
Why He’s a Babe: We contend that 35 year-old Tim Kang is the reason why CBS gave its hit panty-dropping procedural The Mentalist a full-season pickup. Think about it. Who doesn’t want more of those sad, soulful eyes? That strong, silent-type presence in every other scene where Simon Baker is eye-fucking the scenery? That unyielding straight face, tailor-made for comedies (or do we mean farces?) like The Mentalist, where serial killers leave smiley-faces for signatures? And how about the way he puts on them latex gloves? Can we get some w00t w00t-action from the back section? So what if the man never speaks
MUTASIAN ALERT? Just the way he gives the Hardass Asian Read in an interrogation room to fresh-scrubbed criminals is enough to sustain a series, right? That’s our story anyway, and we’re sticking to it.
Happy birthday to Connie Chung, who turned 62 on Wednesday. Her dragon lady eye-makeup and softball-style of journalism has made us squirm over the years, yet we can’t help but love her. For a long time, she seemed to be the only dignified Asian figure on television. She was not only drop-dead gorgeous, but she kicked ass in her profession, becoming the second woman to co-anchor the evening news (after Barbara Walters). Connie spawned a whole generasian of imitators, but she remains an untouchable icon (not to mention drop-dead gorgeous, decades younger-looking than 62, and chic as all get out). We also love that, despite her beauty and achievements, she still possesses some endearing, cuddly qualities, like converting to Judaism for hubby Maury Povich–which makes her Chewish–and poking fun at herself.
CBS announced today that they will not be airing any more episodes of their new reality show, Secret Talents of the Stars, which first aired on Wednesday.
For those of you who missed the premiere, it featured George Takei singing the country classic, “On the Road Again.”
…But he can’t be faulted for the cancellasian! We don’t know about you, but we found his performance to be incredibly sweet and endearing, in addition to the fact that we loved his shirt and had no idea his voice had such a rich timbre. For what it’s worth, we simply love Takei–he kind of reminds us of our respective dads, who both actually have pretty damn good singing voices, too.
This performance was better suited for a party hosted by DISGRASIAN, set on a dimly lit stage in a K-town karaoke bar, and fueled by vodka and scotch. Don’t blame Takei for the death of Secret Talents. He didn’t art direct the stupid show. He just rocked it!
I regretfully admit that I’ve suffered through four full episodes of CBS’ Kid Nation–a clumsy, abhorrent reality mindfuck dripping with heavy-handed producing, “preditorial” cobbling of thin storylines, forced moral dilemmas, hackneyed challenges, and cheesy emotional final acts. I HATE this show–something I’m not inclined to say about any program on television (having myself slaved to make ‘em for years)–it’s cruel (40 days out on the prairie? We could have broken them down in 14), abusive (freezing cold temperatures and no visible chapstick), prosaic (I’ve seen plenty of Jeff Probst imitations in my day, but this is ridiculous), and likely to scar the cast members who are actually “kids” (they range from way-too-young 8 to old-ass 15 in age) for life.
There is, however, a sick and twisted part of me that watches the show every week, if only to wonder and wonder and wonder what kind of parents signed their offspring up for this horribly executed social experiment. If you look closely, you can see and hear them pretty clearly:
’cause you’re pretty. Let all them poor and ugly folk take care of that nonsense.
You protect yer face. If they don’t like it they can DEAL WITH IT!”
This most recent episode, titled “Bless Us and Keep Us Safe,” centered around the heavy-handed and divisive topic of religion, which made me cringe at every step–from one kid not seeing the big deal about oils and candles and Hanukkah, to the feel-good prize of various Holy Books that the kids were guilted into choosing.
But again, I found myself watching the whole thing, dreaming about the parents that were responsible for the tiny voices and words coming out of these characters. And for the first time all season, some of these kids were Asian.
And little 9-year old Alex, the cherub with the one big tooth, finally got to speak after being rendered mute in 3 previous episodes. When he did, he made an incredibly articulate speech to the group about finding religious similarities– before collecting data detailing on the groups various religions and sub-religions. He’s obviously been doing his homework. If his Mom and Dad are anything like them, I totally wanna hang.
That said, who the hell signs their 9-year old to be on this damn show?!?!?