Saturday, April 4, 2015

I have to admit when I first heard that "Fresh Off the Boat" was going to become a real show on primetime it made me skeptical that it would be a floodgate to reinforcing toxic stereotypes about a facet of my Taiwanese Chinese American culture. This show is clearly not a representative of all Asian American culture but the fact some people have found that it should be is not so unexpected. It's probably due to the cultural thirst created by the fact that there are zero other shows on tv with an all Asian American cast that can even attempt at embodying some sort of relatable "All American family". If you can get past the horrible gong'ed out Cypress Hill intro and the terrible show name, I'll admit the show somehow manages to balance out.
Some episodes are actually pretty funny. The year I was born, "Long Duk Dong" became a quintessential pop culture icon of the 80's. He was basically a "fresh off the boat" geek equipped with a fierce butt cut and broken English one liners from some Asian country not worth mentioning in the movie. (Ironically, Gedde Watanabe who played Long Duk Dong grew up in Ogden,Utah to a Japanese American mother who was forced into a US internment camp during WW2.) But I guess we've come a long way since the time of screen stars like Anna May Wong who were forced to cinematically represent the evils of "Yellow Peril" which included "scheming, robbing, and killing". If the concept of Yellow Peril where "the vision of the menace from the East was always more racial rather than national,"(Americanhistorian,JohnDower) I'm not sure there is a show, a movie, an actor or actress(American born or not) to fix that fundamentally institutionalized westernized mindset of perpetual foreigner turned model minority. 

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