I read an interesting piece about POC representation in Macleans yesterday titled, “Three stereotypes walk into a diner…are walking ethnic cliches better than no cliches in sitcoms?”
I don’t always like how Macleans discusses things, but I have to give them props for quoting some really good points from Marissa Lee in this piece so that there’s no way (IMO) you can come away from it without giving the issue some real thought. Quotes below are from the piece.
Marissa Lee, who writes for the site Racebending, calls Han [of the show 2 Broke Girls] “an unimaginative, lazy and flat stereotype.” King [the creator] responded to hostile critics by pointing out that “the big story about race on our show is that so many are represented.” But Lee says people who wanted to see more minorities on TV are being “asked to pick between two disappointing options: ‘Would you rather be depicted poorly, or not depicted at all?’ ”
Ohh shut down!
…And Rob has gotten good ratings by being one of the few English-language shows to cater to a growing Hispanic audience; the jokes may upset critics, but viewers prefer it to shows that don’t acknowledge these groups.
But others say it’s not enough to be grateful for any diversity, even if the characters are offensive. “We shouldn’t have to choose between racist stereotypes or invisibility,” Lee says. She adds that it’s possible for a show to make these characters funny without making them offensive, pointing to the Harold & Kumar movies, which play on “the fact that stereotypes are simplistic and shallow. I don’t think 2 Broke Girls is self-aware enough to realize its stereotypes are simplistic and shallow.”
The problem with 2 Broke Girls may be that the ethnic characters aren’t popular enough to overcome any objections; Han, along with the other male characters on the show, has almost nothing to do except be the butt of the stars’ jokes. “When communities of colour complain about stereotypical characters like Han, we’re often told, ‘Can’t you take a joke?’ ” Lee says, but she thinks the real question for King is,
“Why can’t you tell any good ones?”
(Though, y’all considered, it;s preaching to the choir.)
is rife with ethnic stereotypes. It’s disappointing, really. I like Kat Dennings, but no. I am unimpressed.
I remember when he was straight up named “Rice Lee.”