I’ve never seen the Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job!, but if this is the kind of thing they do on a regular basis, I’m very, very a’feared.

UPDATE: England readers can check out this link because Cartoon Network apparently hates you :(

Since Margaret Cho’s All American Girl, there’s been a decided lack of Asian American on American sitcoms. And until Outsourced came along, All American Girl was the only American sitcom with a predominantly Asian cast. I have a lot of problems with Outsourced, but it’s leaps and bounds ahead of the thing that I am about to expose you to, The Chin Chens.

Let’s go to the official description:

The Chin Chens is a television show that details the life of a loving but unique family. They are unique because the family members come from different ethnic backgrounds. The father is Chinese and the mother is Vietnamese. They have three children, two of whom have chosen to “downplay” their own cultural identity in exchange for the American way of life. Like it or not, the grandmother is doing what she can to get the family back to their cultural roots. However, the inherent cultural difference between the parents makes for a humorous and educational journey in every episode.

It’s clear that they want to do for Asian Americans what The Cosby Show did for African Americans. How does it stack up? Let’s take a look at the highlight reel.

Wow. That was… wow. Where to begin.

  1. Fail 1, Leaning On Stereotypes
    The Cosby show was not about African American stereotypes. Just by having the show on primetime, Cosby knew it would challenge these stereotypes. Instead, the show focused on the Huxtable family, a family that everyone could relate to with problems that every family faces.

    What’s the first thing we see of the Chin Chen family? A discussion that basically reinforces two stereotypes. Asians can’t drive. Women can’t drive. Bravo. If you made it past this first segment, you are a brave person.

  2. Fail 2, The Accents
    I don’t know these actors so this could indeed be the manner in which they speak. But their Asian accents sound forced.

    Why bother with the accents? You already have a show with a family that doesn’t look like any other family on television. We get that they’re different. You don’t need to reinforce that with accents.

  3. Fail 3, The Chin Chens? Seriously?
    The name of the show is a terrible turn off. It’s too close the Crayon Shin Chan which is way better. But it’s also too close to “Ching Chong,” the stereotypical way Asian languages sound to non Asian language speakers.

    One of the things that I do like about Outsourced is that the name actually tells you what the show is about. Chin Chens makes it sound like the show is playing on Asian American stereotypes. I know, I should talk. My comic is named after an Asian American invective. Still, they should take a hint from All American Girl and Outsourced and come up with a more clever title.

  4. Fail 4, Where’s the Funny
    There’s a serious lack of the ha ha. The jokes all fall terribly flat. I found myself raising an eye brow when the laugh track would kick in to indicate a punch line. Really? That was supposed to be a joke?

    The bedroom scene is particularly painful. All the humor that might be there is completely sucked out by poor timing, bad editing, overacting, and weak writing. I’m not sure why the clip was included in the highlight reel because there’s no context for the fight, but it fails to draw me in as a dramatic piece nor does it make me laugh.

  5. Fail 5, It’s All Forced
    Nothing is more cringe worthy than a comedy trying too hard. That’s what ultimately brought down All American Girl and that’s what prevents The Chin Chens from being enjoyable. Now granted, this is only a three minute clip. But if the rest of the full episode is comedy gold, what the fuck is wrong with the highlight reel?

From the accents to the writing to the relationships to the sitcom cliches, The Chin Chens falls on its face before it even gets a running start. This show needs a lot of polish before its ready for prime time which is a shame because there’s certainly room for more Asian American sitcoms. In its current state, I don’t think it will find an audience, Asian American or otherwise.

Source: Angry Asian Man

This is cross-posted from my horrible Angry Zen Master blog.

There are moments of self delusion when I think that minorities have made significant progress in Hollywood, that there are non-token roles in films in which minorities play against stereotype, that American films are starting to portray the rich diversity of this country. And then I watch the Academy Awards and the homogeneous reality of Hollywood comes crashing in.

No One Looks Like Me

There were four Black presenters at last night’s Academy Awards, Morgan Freeman (who didn’t actually present anything), Jennifer Hudson, Oprah Winfrey, and Halle Berry. There was one Asian winner last night, Shaun Tan, who won for best animated short. And that’s all you get.

There was a decided lack of diversity in this year’s Oscar nominations. And thinking back over the 2010 movie season, the big films that everyone was talking about were pretty homogeneous in terms of casting. Just the same, there were plenty of diverse films released in 2010 that featured very colorful casts. So what’s the deal, Oscar?

Something’s wrong with the major studios. I’m sick of people telling me that things aren’t that bad or that minorities just aren’t trying hard enough or just aren’t good enough to carry a major motion picture. Bull. Fucking. Shit. 83 Academy Awards and I can count the number of minority winners on both hands? Fuck that. The big studios are either ignoring minority actors or think that general audiences don’t want minority actors. Cause lord knows there are a shit ton of minority actors looking for work.

Fear, Not Racism

I will not accuse the studios of being racist because that’s unfair. The situation is more nuanced that just mere ethnocentricity. But what baffles me is that while television programming is making decent headway on minority representation, major studio films are lagging behind.

I think it really comes down to fear.

Ticket sales are down and were sliding even before the economic fuck you. Studios blame the loss of revenue on downloads or streaming or whatever else they can think of while ignoring the quality of their product. With less money coming in, they’re becoming increasingly wary of new stories. This is reflected in the sheer number of sequels, remakes, re-imaginings, comic book movies, old tv show movies, and other remixed content that continues to fill up the studio slates. And as much as we complain about sequels and the like, the sad truth is that they get asses in to seats which makes them sure fire wins for the studios.

The studios have a winning formula which almost guarantees them money. It doesn’t advance the art of film, but it keeps them afloat. A major part of that formula is the cast make up. And here’s where I think the fear of change comes in. Since the original films these sequels and remakes are base upon feature homogenous casts that lack diversity, the studios think that the new versions must reflect those old casting choices. Never mind the fact that minorities communities continue to grow as the years roll on. Never mind that the more people see actors who look like them the more likely they’ll go to see these films. If the original cast lacked diversity, so too will this new cast.

Can We Change It?

The longer the studios cannibalize their old ideas, the more ticket sales will slip. It’s going to take a major slap in the face of movies for them to take notice. Everyone jumped on the 3D bandwagon when Avatar destroyed every single box office record. Will it take an Avatar sized hit for the studios to realize that audiences are ready for diverse, non-stereotypical casts?

I certainly think a message was sent when Airbender fared so horribly at the box office and was humiliated at the Razzies. But it’s going to take more than just a statement of what we don’t want. There’s got to be a big ass movie that everyone can get behind, minorities and non-minorities alike, that will prove to the studios that minorities can carry big budget films. Slum Dog Millionaire won a bajillion Oscars and should have been that, but it didn’t really impact the next year’s offerings.

I don’t know what kind of movie it will be that will finally break this barrier down. Maybe it won’t be a single film but a number of smaller films that will add up to a major movement. Maybe it will be a giant, blockbuster that comes out of no where. But whatever it is, I feel like it’s close. It’s gotta be. Maybe we won’t even recognize it when it happens, but when Oscar looks less homogeneous, we’ll know we’ve made it.

Today we pay tribute to Dwayne McDuffie, creator of the Milestone Universe, who passed away this week much too soon.

This is my humble take on Static Shock, one of McDuffie’s most well known characters. I never liked the white mask so I simplified his color scheme to a two-toned gray and orange.

This is a pretty awesome bit of role reversal with the ladies objectifying the hapless dude who jumps in on their multiplayer. But it also gives me a whole lot of twisted ideas to draw in the next Super Art Fight Unleashed where they let me draw really twisted and fucked up shit.