Random Rant: New Asians on TV

by Original Bitter Asian Men on November 13, 2007

So yesterday I turned on the TV to NBC a few minutes early before my weekly viewing of Heroes. I caught the last few minutes of some show called Chuck. From what I’ve gathered this season, it’s about some random guy who gets caught up dealing with some secret agent girl and he falls in love with her or some such.

Anyway the reason I talk about the show is because in the last ten minutes of the show yesterday, which is the only bit I’ve ever seen of the show, they had some goofy Asian guy run around. At the end of the episode his boss ships him off to Hawaii with the pretense of giving him a manager position but really they want him out since he finds out about the spying, plus he’s really annoying. The boss (who is not Asian, and is in fact black) also gets wistful saying that that means he’ll no longer be able to sleep with the guy’s wife.

That’s offensive on so many levels, but if you are a follower of the site you already know my main beefs with the situation. One thing I should add though – if the role of the Asian man in TV/movies in the previous decade or so was the martial arts superstar, recently there’s been a paradigm shift to goofy comic relief. The roots of this go back to William Hung or even as far back as Short Round in Indiana Jones. The whole point of the bit on Chuck appeared to be ‘hey look at this funny Asian guy, boy is he dumb’ with a little bit of ‘hell yeah I’m sleeping with that Asian woman’ in it. Even Heroes itself is a little guilty of this with their contingent of Hiro and Ando, though Hiro makes up for it by being a very awesome character. Ando, on the other hand, started out as somewhat of a pervert (being a bigtime fan of Nikki’s strippercam service, and later being all over Hiro’s sister) but at least he has been relegated to a more loyal sidekick role recently.

Every now and then there’s a decent Asian man around. From what bits and pieces I’ve seen of the new Bionic Woman, there’s a pretty normal-looking Asian guy there who is gasp not a martial arts legend or a comic goofball. But when there’re so few Asian men in the current media in general, the most impressionable minds are of course going to get filled with the images of that funny little Asian guy.

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