Asian Americans and TVLatest News and Opinion
Posted Wednesday 4/18/18 at 11:16PM EDT
Roseanne's jab at Black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat was "a dog whistle so strong that it might have brought Lassie back from the dead"
According to Emily Nussbaum, that one controversial joke about "all the shows about black and Asian families" explains Roseanne. Nussbaum says the joke was a racial dog whistle. If it wasn't, why not target shows about white families like The Middle or Speechless? Is it because those shows are "just like them"? "The jab," says Nussbaum, "was clearly aimed at Black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat, comedies that share ABC’s Tuesday schedule with Roseanne. The line establishes a few things. One is that the Conners don’t live in the same America as the Johnsons, from Black-ish, or the Huangs, from Fresh Off the Boat. There will never be a crossover episode—no fun clash, say, between an aging Jessica Huang and Roseanne, on a Conner trip to Florida. Instead, the Conners are themselves bored, alienated ABC viewers, unable even to remember titles, just that these are the 'black and Asian' shows."
- ABC having the No. 1 show with Roseanne hasn't happened since Who Wants to be a Millionaire in 2000
- What is the point of Mary Conner? The one black Roseanne family member is nearly invisible
- Johnny Galecki's return was a perfect metaphor for the revival's messiness
- David being back only made sense in an alternate universe
- Did Barbara Bush actually call Roseanne Barr "brave," as Barr claimed? Not exactly
- 90-year-old Estelle Parsons looked really good in her return as Bev
Posted Saturday 4/14/18 at 12:07AM EDT
Asian-American Bob's Burgers writer shares the aftermath of criticizing a Roseanne joke
Kelvin Yu, who also appears on Master of None, went viral with his tweets slamming Roseanne for a joke taking a shot at Black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat. "Many of the comments I received were supportive — retweets, likes and the always flattering fist emoji," he writes in The New York Times. "However, I have to admit that the loudest voices to me were the ones that were vitriolic and shockingly mean," including racially disparaging remarks. Yu writes that he found it "so galling that a show celebrating ostensibly marginalized Americans would consider shows about even more marginalized Americans a punch line, tossed off between two yawns and a meh, followed by a roomful of people laughing. And although, admittedly, I have no idea what it means to be white or working class, there are at least a half-dozen shows out there through which I can experience it vicariously. Meanwhile, white working-class people have one — and only one — current network show to help them understand the lives of Asian-Americans (hint: it rhymes with Shmesh Off the Shmoat)."
- Even the haters should appreciate Roseanne: "When a TV show — or any pop culture artifact — is drawing that kind of a mass audience, it has something to tell us about ourselves and the times in which we live"
- Here's your first look at Roseanne's mom Bev's return next week
- Seth Meyers has Roseanne "fans" explain to him why they love the show so much
Posted Wednesday 4/11/18 at 5:05AM EDT
Sandra Oh on experiencing racism: "I’m not going to not say that it’s not there, because it is"
The Killing Eve star opened up to Vulture about the long search for the perfect project, which she says was made more difficult because of the limited roles for Asian-American actresses. "Not only is sh*t hard, it’s extremely unfair," she says. "And racism exists. Let’s start there. I felt it, and I have felt it deeply. And I’m extremely fortunate. So I’m not going to not say that it’s not there, because it is. But it’s changing the mindset that being an actor of color, person of color, that you’re at a disadvantage in the creative life. That you don’t have opportunity. It’s all how you see the opportunity. And the clearer and deeper you get into what you really want, you just become a better artist."
Posted Friday 4/06/18 at 10:24PM EDT
It's simply not true that Roseanne is a rare comedy that tackles politics and the working class
ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey, in explaining last week why Roseanne in the wake of Trump's victory, said "we had not been thinking nearly enough about economic diversity and some of the other cultural divisions within our own country.” To which Vox's Caroline Framke and Todd VanDerWerff respond: "This falls in line with how some people, and especially conservatives, have been talking about the Roseanne revival. The way this logic goes, Roseanne is one of the only shows on TV that dares talk about 'economic diversity' and 'cultural divisions,' political correctness or whatever be damned. The weird thing about that line of reasoning, however, is that it’s not true. While Roseanne’s original run was indeed groundbreaking, in the years since, countless politically and socially relevant sitcoms have followed in its footsteps. Many of them are on the air right now; some are even already airing on ABC." In fact, Vox has a list of 11 shows that tackle politics and the working class, from One Day at a Time to The Middle.
- Roseanne isn't the only "real" working class sitcom: What about Mom and Superstore?
- What about black working-class shows?: It's "frankly ludicrous" to say Roseanne represents the working-class voters who elected Trump
- Former Fresh Off the Boat writer Kourtney Kang explains her problem with this week's Roseanne slam
- Why the whole Black-ish-Fresh Off the Boat controversy is dumb: Roseanne is supposed to be a modern Archie Bunker!
- Is Roseanne's gender nonconforming grandson designed to appease "anti-trans feminists"?
Posted Friday 4/06/18 at 4:27AM EDT
Bob's Burgers writer: Here's why Roseanne's joke about Fresh Off the Boat and Black-ish was so offensive
Kelvin Yu addressed the controversy over Tuesday's episode in a nine-tweet thread. "At the very least, it's reductive and belittling, as if to say those shows are nothing more than 'Black' and 'Asian' in their existence," he wrote. He said Tuesday's joke "implies that the point of any show about a minority family is simply to normalize them. That's it. The stories, the humor, the characters... not important."
Posted Wednesday 4/04/18 at 5:25PM EDT
Why did Roseanne take an "unnecessary jab" at Black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat?
Last night's episode contained what one critic called a "snide dismissal" of Roseanne's fellow ABC comedies, which Dan Conner called "shows about black and Asian families." As the Shadow and Act blog notes, "in an effort to represent 'middle America,' the network has completely missed the mark, and seemingly the writers room as well, for this not only unnecessary jab, but one that has the audacity to compare what the show represents to the plight of black and brown families." Asked about the remark, Roseanne co-showrunner Bruce Helford said the show was "commenting on the fact that all sitcoms really want everybody to feel included of all diversities and it's kind of a funny thing. That's all. When we did the George Lopez show, we didn't want anybody to feel excluded because it was about a Mexican-American family. And I don't think anybody wants to be excluded because it's (a show about) either a black family or an Asian-American family."
Posted Friday 3/30/18 at 9:30PM EDT
Actors of South Asian descent are all the rage this pilot season
New Girl's Hannah Simone starring as The Greatest American Hero on ABC and CBS' Pandas in New York, which revolves around an Indian-American family, are just two of examples of how actors of South Asian descent are landing key roles this pilot season. "Typically, South Asian-American TV characters tend to be terrorists, funny foreigners, or quirky best friends," says Sulagna Misra. "But while several South Asian-American actors have been cast to play sidekicks on this year’s crop of pilots—and even more of them are playing doctors, another stereotype—other roles are breaking the mold."
Posted Friday 3/16/18 at 10:02PM EDT
TV's new class of "Sexy Asian hunks" are putting Asian male stereotypes to rest
"There is an undeniable new class of handsome Asian male actors dominating TV right now," says Greta Lee, pointing to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's Vincent Rodriguez III, The Good Place's Manny Jacinto and 13 Reason Why's Ross Butler. "These guys are putting to bed the absurd question Can Asian dudes be sexy? (An axiom that reminds me of a different one from not so long ago: Can women be funny? The simple answer to both being obviously, yes. You idiot.)," she says.
Posted Thursday 3/15/18 at 5:20AM EDT
Darren Criss is half-Filipino, plays a half-Filipino serial killer but says it would be "unfair" to identify as Asian-American
The Assassination of Gianni Versace star admits in a wide-ranging interview with Vulture that he has the "luxury of being half-white and looking more Caucasian," despite also being half-Filipino. So he says he has an advantage over fully Filipino actors like Jon Jon Briones, who plays Andrew Cunanan's father on the FX series. Criss says Ryan Murphy was impressed with Briones, and wondered why he had never heard of him. "He’s a Filipino man, dude," Criss recalls telling Murphy. "There’s only so many opportunities that people can lock themselves into accepting when they’re casting sh*t, unless he’s playing the Thai terrorist on CSI or something." Criss admits that his career has benefitted from his apparent white look. "I just look like a Caucasian guy, which is nice," he says. "I’ve got the multiethnic thing going on. People think I’m like Italian or Mediterranean. No, my mom’s very Filipino. I grew up with a Filipino mom." When asked if he identifies as Asian-American, Criss responded: "No. I think that’d be unfair. I think that’d sound like I’m reaching for the minority card on a college application. I think that would be unfair. Yeah, my mom’s Asian-American. She’s from the Philippines and came here and then married a white guy, and here I am. But maybe it’s because of the way I look. Maybe if I looked a little more pan-Asian and I was put in that box then I would be like, 'Yeah, I identify as Asian-American,' but maybe because the obstacles that may come up haven’t that I don’t think about it. But that’s a really interesting question. I’ve never thought about that. For better or for worse, I guess not. But I guess I am. What do you think? Am I? On paper I guess I kind of am."
Posted Wednesday 2/28/18 at 12:25AM EST
UCLA's diversity report finds that minorities are still underrepresented on TV
The Los Angeles Times, reporting on the annual study, notes that "overall, people of color remained underrepresented, considering they were 40% of the U.S. population in 2016... On TV, 18.7% of scripted broadcast leads, 20.2% of scripted cable leads and 12.9% of scripted digital leads were people of color."
Posted Tuesday 2/20/18 at 9:05PM EST
Fixer Upper's Joanna Gaines: I was teased as a child for being Asian
“If you haven’t heard my story, my mom is full Korean and my dad is Caucasian,” she says. “Kids in kindergarten would make fun of me for being Asian and when you’re that age you don’t know really how to process that; the way you take that is, ‘Who I am isn’t good enough.’”
Posted Tuesday 2/06/18 at 11:36PM EST
Why Fresh Off the Boat aired an episode that was about 50% in Mandarin
Jeff Chiang says of writing tonight’s episode: “Working as a TV writer, I never thought there would be a primetime network sitcom centered on an Asian family. The fact that I get to work on it and pull so directly from my childhood, being a half-Chinese kid raised in a Mandarin-speaking household, is still hard to wrap my head around.”
Posted Tuesday 1/30/18 at 8:39PM EST
BoJack Horseman creator confronts the “whitewashing” of white actors voicing minority characters on his show
Raphael Bob-Waksberg recently discussed with a Twitter follower why the Vietnamese-American character of Diane Nguyen was voiced by white actress Alison Brie. It’s something he’s wanted to talk about, but it's a topic that hasn't been brought up to him. “I think I used the idea of color-blind casting—(of) ‘It doesn’t really matter” — as an excuse to not pay attention,” he says. “I just said, okay, let’s find good people for every role … But I think if you’re not paying attention, you’re going to end up with mostly white people just because that’s how our industry is set up. If you want to go against that, you have to be active about it. You have to actively hire people of color. You have to actively think for every role: Can this be not a white person? If I’m not thinking about, it’s not going to happen.’”
Posted Thursday 1/25/18 at 9:04PM EST
Female Indian-American reboot of The Greatest American Hero gets an ABC pilot pickup
The new Greatest American Hero follows a 30-year-old Indian-American woman from Cleveland who takes on the William Katt role. The revival is from the Fresh Off the Boat team, with writer-producer Rachna Fruchbom penning the pilot.
Posted Friday 1/19/18 at 10:48PM EST
Why is The Assassination of Gianni Versace interested in killer Andrew Cunanan’s sexuality but not his Asian heritage?
Darren Criss, whose mother is Filipino and father is white, portrays Cunanan, who is the product of a Filipino father and a white mother. Yet for as much as this American Crime Story season delves into Cunanan’s struggles with homophobia, it seems to deemphasize the fact that he is of Asian descent, says Inkoo Kang. Kang credits Ryan Murphy for hiring a half-Filipino actor for the serial killer role, but points out that there are only a handful of TV shows with Asian leads. “So it’s a bit strange, and off-putting, that the latest series with an Asian lead—one of the most anticipated shows of the year, it so happens—isn’t being described as such,” says Kang. “In fact, its network—once a standard-bearer for prestige TV’s lack of diversity—is highlighting the drama’s focus on queerness and homophobia—and by doing so largely erasing its main character’s racial identity, especially in the first half of his story.” Kang adds: “A few character details here and there suggest Andrew’s racial self-hatred and the prevalence of anti-Asian racism within the gay community, but the relative sparseness of these implications is all the more noteworthy in contrast with the richly developed portrait of the decade’s homophobia.”
- Darren Criss on avoiding a “whitewashing” controversy: “I would joke with (Ryan Murphy) saying, ‘Hey man, I would love to do this, but if you don’t want me to do it with you, I defy you to find another guy who looks kind of like him, who’s in the same age range, who’s in your Rolodex of actors. Because if you don’t cast a half-Filipino guy, the Filipino community is going to cry bloody murder. So I don’t know what your other options are!’"