“For the most part, what we see of Asian male sexuality is the assertion of a stronger Western virility at the expense of Asian masculinity. In short, the imagery takes Asian men lightly, as less-serious competitors for women, and less-competent fighters.” Sheridan Prasso, The Asian Mystique
The “Where’s Wang” tag allows us at WWAM BAM! to review how present this bias is within sitcoms and other tv shows having come out of the Hollywood machine (and other media) over the past few years, and review any media through an AMWF lens. This time we tackle an “Asian sitcom’.
Fresh off the Boat
FotB – don’t get me wrong, I do watch it, as a guilty pleasure and because I still enjoy seeing an Asian sitcom or TV show centered around Asians. And many times the jokes are very relatable as a person with Chinese in-laws. But the whitewashing and American patriotism on this sitcom does leave you with a desire to chuck up. Having watched the TV show and read the book, as well as the drama around the author Eddie Huang ultimately quitting and publicly distancing himself from the show, I have to say it is pretty terrible.
Huang’s memoir is real and raw, he tells it all, including the domestic abuse suffered at the hands of his father; and the fact that despite this, he still loves him, they’re still family. It’s layered, it’s messy, it’s life.
In the sitcom the father is a soft and squishy Asian business man with no backbone, always smiling and nodding, who could never be a threat to anyone, and is always running after the latest business fad trying to make money. He means well, but once again he is just the kind of guy you’d never take seriously but rather pat on the head to say “well done, boy, now go chase that pay check”. In the end, the show is really just another opportunity to show off how great America is; one of the reasons Huang decided to quit this ‘Asian sitcom’.
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