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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
Sure, he gave us Long Duk Dong and “What’s happening, hot stuff?”–which has taken about a generation to live down–but John Hughes also gave us “Bueller…Bueller…” and “demented and sad, but social” and, more broadly, a primer on how to be an American teenager, which was pretty useful stuff when you were growing up the child of immigrant parents who couldn’t understand why you cried your eyes out when all your friends forgot your birthday and why you, say, always needed a new dress for every school dance. In his movies, Hughes laid out the quintessential teen rites of passage: first love, sweet sixteen, prom, losing your virginity, being a misfit. While most of his films centered around losers, they were filled with a healthy dose of feel-good fantasy, too–where the geek would get the girl (or boy, as it were), or the criminal would get pinned by the princess, where the girls you were supposed to fall in love with were more awkward than pretty–plotlines too implausible for real life but ones you’d cling to nevertheless, because weathering those years of rejection, growth spurts, acne, and stuffing your bra was hard enough as it was.
John Hughes stopped making teen movies right around the time I became a teenager, and I remember it being so sudden. Who was going to continue to guide me through that awful, confusing stage of life, and the next one, and then the next one? His death at age 59, from a heart attack he suffered while taking a morning walk in New York Thursday, feels just as abrupt and unfair.
Filed under: American Teenagers, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, John Hughes Dead at 59, Long Duk Dong, Pretty In Pink, RIP John Hughes, Sixteen Candles, Teens, The Breakfast Club, Untimely Deaths, Weird Science
Variety reported this week that Million Dollar Strong’s mock hip-hop video “What’s It Gonna Be”–a huge YouTube hit–will be expanded into a feature, with Old School director Todd “I Look Like a Douche in Orange Sunglasses” Phillips producing.
Million Dollar Strong is the brainchild of comedians Mike O’Connell and Ken “You Can Call Me Dr.” Jeong, who star in the video. Variety writes that the film “revolves around the meteoric rise of a delusional rapper (O’Connell) and his Asian foreign exchange student friend (Jeong) as they take on the hip-hop world.”
Normally when I hear the words “Asian foreign exchange student,” I break out into hives.
But Dr. Ken is a genius. He steals the show in “What’s It Gonna Be” while rocking a silver, crushed-velvet unitard. I have faith in him. I have hope. I’d have his baby if he let me.
So don’t fuck this up, Dr. Ken. Please.
(Thanks Davey Wavey!)
If you’ve ever watched the NBC series Heroes, you may have noticed how often the characters say the word “hero,” as though you, dear viewer, were in danger of forgetting what the show is about. Maybe this is why one of the characters is also named “Hiro”:
Not familiar with this Ron Howard gem? Then, boy, are you in for a treat. There’s another exquisite performance from Gedde “Long Duk Dong” Watanabe just waiting for you, like a fresh, steaming dog turd in the grass.
Here’s the good news, according to a story about models in today’s Sunday (No)Styles section: “For a long time, one rarely saw Asian models on fashion catwalks. Then markets opened in China, Japan, and Korea and the beauty of women like Ai Tominaga, Hye Park and Du Juan became irresistible…” In other words, ASIAN MODELS RULE.
And, in a separate Styles story about Asian pop stars (or the lack thereof), the bad news: “Asked to name the most popular Asian-American pop solo singer today, older generations might say the Hawaiian singer Don Ho, but younger Asian-American artists agreed on one person: WILLIAM HUNG…”
Since William Hung may be the primary reason why we started this website, I thought I would give him a personal shout-out:
1) You are the second coming of Long Duk Dong, the original DISGRASIAN whose indelible yellow-face appearance in “Sixteen Candles” ruined my adolescence.
2) You still can’t sing.
3) Your teeth are still f-ed up. Sue your orthodontist.
4) You’re fat.
5) Not only are you fat, you seem to be afflicted with “White Man’s Puff,” a disorder previously thought by geneticists to be limited to Caucasian men over 25 who drink too much beer.
6) You are the reason why Asian kids will get their asses kicked in grade school for the next 20 years. Happy?
7) I hate you.
all the best,