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DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! 2 Broke Girls’ Han “Bryce” Lee

September 23rd, 2011 | 10 comments | Posted by Jen

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?

[ 2 Broke Girls]

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Woman Comes Down With Chinese Accent After Migraine

April 20th, 2010 | 9 comments | Posted by Jen

Key-razy story via Boing Boing: Briton ‘gets Chinese accent after bad migraine.’

So. Apparently there is this thing called Foreign Accent Syndrome, where your normal accent is suddenly replaced by a foreign one. It’s usually linked to strokes and traumatic brain injury, and only a few dozen people in the world are thought to have it. One of those people is 35 year-old Sarah Colwill of Plymouth, England, who suffered a severe migraine last month that she believes left her with some brain damage.


Watch here:

I laughed when I watched this, I did, because this whole thing is totally bizarro and made-up seeming and it made me uncomfortable, as in Please-Lord-don’t-let-this-ever-happen-to-me uncomfortable. But Colwill’s experience of this strange affliction seems genuine and a little heartbreaking, and inadvertently illustrates the problem with how people with foreign accents are treated.

Strangers who meet me think I’m foreign. Also some people speak to me as if I am a bit silly, a bit stupid. At time, it’s quite hard, but it’s something I’m going to have to get used to, I think.

In an interview with the AFP, Colwill also said:

Continue reading Woman Comes Down With Chinese Accent After Migraine

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NBC’s "More Colorful," Except When It Comes To People

September 21st, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

In the last week, you may have noticed that NBC’s launched a new marketing slogan in its promos: “More Colorful.”

NBC Entertainment marketing president Adam Stotsky told Variety that “color is what we strive to do in our programming” and the slogan signifies “innovative programming” (like the unabashedly hacky Jay Leno Show, for example).

We think has a better take on NBC’s new tagline, however:

Meanwhile, if you still care, the fourth season of Heroes premieres tonight. Now there’s an NBC show with more colorful people!

Or, uh, more corolfur, as it were.

[ NBC (Unintentinally) Brings Back the Funny with their New Marketing Slogan]
[Entertainment Weekly: Diversity in Entertainment: Why Is TV So White?]


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M&M Cru v. ACDC Dance Battle: As Jesus Said on the Cross, "It is Finished"

August 6th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

The epic online dance battle between Miley Cyrus (M&M Cru) and ACDC went live Monday night–well, not exactly, since it was recorded on Sunday–at the Teen Choice Awards, which Miley also hosted. ACDC, led by Step Up 2: The Streets director Jon Chu and one of the movie’s stars, Adam Sevani, brought in the JabbaWockeeZ to close out their performance, while Miley inexplicably featured LL Cool J. Is this one of those things where LL is so uncool, he’s cool again? And, for that matter, was LL–superhuman abs notwithstanding–ever cool?

Fuckin’ tweens. Why’d you hafta go and make things so com-pli-ca-ted?

The M&M Cru was declared the winner by cougar-licious Fergie, which was kinda bullshit (notice how few shots there were of Miley actually dancing), but, then again, it’s really a win-win situation for everybody involved. Disney owns Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus’s ass. Disney also owns Touchstone, which put out Step Up 2: The Streets. To paraphrase The A-Team‘s Hannibal: I love it when a corporate plan to take over the internet in a fake viral campaign comes together.

That said, I saw Step Up 2: The Streets Monday night (it came out on DVD last month) and thought it was a pretty good dance movie. And I totally want to put one of those floor trampolines from that club scene with Channing Tatum in my living room. In fact, I wouldn’t mind putting Channing Tatum in my living room, knowwhatimean?

But I was surprised and disappointed by the Japanese foreign exchange student character, Kido (played by Mari Koda). Mostly because I can’t really comprehend why an Asian-American director would resurrect that archetype yet again–you know, the key-razy foreigner who speakee da Engrish and dong undastan the wor combin ow you mouse. Yeah, Mari is Japanese and speaks with an accent. But so much was made of her foreignness and inability to understand her friends that it took away from her brilliant dancing. And the world presented in Step Up 2 is a perfect example of what people mean when they say “post-racial.” It shows people of different cultures and races mixing without complication except in the case of Kido. That seems to me like having it both ways. And it’s not exactly what I’d call “stepping up,” Jon Chu.

I will say that the movie is decidedly Asian. Not because it features a couple Asian characters, but because it’s about a dance battle called “The Streets” and the lead character, Andie, is a street dancer. Ultimately, though, it’s not the street crew who wins, it’s the performing arts SCHOOL KIDS. So basically the message is that you can stay in school and be cool. Wait–did my parents make this movie??

Here’s the last, wet scene of Step Up 2 where the school kids triumph. Mari is in the black hat and her body’s like rubber:


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