The Asiancy: Rating the Representative Asian

What’s the “representasian” of Asian peoples in recent
U.S. television series?
Presented here in order of “best” to “worst” (and yes, please notice those “air-quotes.”)

Elementary

Elementary (CBS) starring Lucy Liu

Elementary (CBS) Created by Robert Doherty

Character: Joan Watson (Lucy Liu)
Represent-asian Stats: 2/5
a.k.a. “Careful! It’s almost like she’s not even Asian at all!”
– Role: Humorless sidekick
– Has disapproving mother

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Marvel's Agents of SHIELD (ABC) Created by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon, and Maurissa Tancharoen

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (ABC) Created by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon, and
Maurissa Tancharoen

Character: Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen)
Represent-asian Stats: 3/5
a.k.a. “I’m pretty sure we’ll soon get a training montage involving catching flies with chopsticks”
– Role: Humorless sidekick
– Knows kung-fu
– Rumors of exotic, mysterious past

The Mentalist

The Mentalist (CBS) Created by Bruno Heller

The Mentalist (CBS) Created by Bruno Heller

Character: Kimball Cho (Tim Kang)
Represent-asian Stats: 3/5
a.k.a. “Shouldn’t he be trying a little kung-fu at some point?”
– Role: Humorless sidekick
– Former gangmember
– Expected to automatically connect with any Asian victim/client

The Tomorrow People

The Tomorrow People (The CW) Based onThe Tomorrow People by Roger Price; Developed by Greg Berlanti, Phil Klemmer, Julie Plec

The Tomorrow People (The CW) Based on The Tomorrow People by Roger Price; Developed by Greg Berlanti, Phil Klemmer, Julie Plec

Character: Russell Kwon (Aaron Yoo)
Represent-asian Stats: 4/5
a.k.a. “I mean, how could he NOT be Asian?”
– Role: Wisecracking sidekick
– Raised by “tiger parents”
– Prodigy at piano
– Knows kung-fu

Hawaii Five-0

Hawaii Five-0 (CBS) Developed by Peter M. Lenkov, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci

Hawaii Five-0 (CBS) Developed by Peter M. Lenkov, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci

Character: Dr. Max Bergman (Masi Oka)
Represent-asian Stats: 4/5
a.k.a. “Good thing we can finally balance out the non-stereotyped characters on the show!”
– Role: Bumbling sidekick
– Smart sciencey-guy
– Prodigy at piano
– Sci-fi oktaku

Grimm

Grimm (NBC) Created by Stephen Carpenter, David Greenwalt, Jim Kouf

Grimm (NBC) Created by Stephen Carpenter, David Greenwalt, Jim Kouf

Character: Sergeant Wu (Reggie Lee)
Represent-asian Stats: 5/5 a.k.a. “Wow! U so asian!”
– Role: Wisecracking sidekick
– Filipino despite Chinese surname
– No first name for two seasons
– Can do soduku puzzles extremely well
– Gets attacked by Asian monster

2 Broke Girls

2 Broke Girls (CBS) Created by Michael Patrick King, Whitney Cummings

2 Broke Girls (CBS) Created by Michael Patrick King, Whitney Cummings

Character: Han Lee (Matthew Moy)
Represent-asian Stats: Off the Charts!
a.k.a. “Thanks, showmakers, for aiming below the lowest common denominator!”
– Role: Buffoon/antagonist
– Korean ethnicity played by Chinese actor
– Ignorant of American customs
– Emasculated, possibly sexless
– Characterized by greed, pettiness, meddling
– Exaggerated caricature (height/accent)

and the “winner?”

2 Broke Girls.¬†Remember, kids. Just because you make fun of all kinds of stereotypes doesn’t mean that any of it’s funny.

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