home
WIMN’s Voices: A Group Blog on Women, Media, AND…

2 Broke Girls Finale: Long Duck Dong Redux?

jchius Icon Posted by Joanna Chiu

May 6th, 2012

As tonight’s season finale of CBS’s hit new sitcom 2 Broke Girls illustrates, three decades after Sixteen Candles’ cringe-worthy portrayal of foreign exchange student Long Duk Dong, degrading stereotypes of Asian men continue to proliferate in popular media.  2 Broke Girls premiered last fall with the highest rating for a new comedy series since 2001.  

The show really had potential. The friendship between the two lead female characters is refreshing, and it could’ve even been the 21st century’s version of Roseanne. But instead of exploring race in a fresh and innovative way like Roseanne did with class, 2 Broke Girls merely exploits the setting of racially diverse New York City to make crude, gratuitous gags. 

Fortunately, insightful and often very funny responses to racial stereotyping in 2 Broke Girls from Asian bloggers including Phil Yu, Andrew Ti and Allan Lee demonstrate that there are ways to entertain and engage audiences without relying on the sorts of tired tropes deployed by 2 Broke Girls.

The character played by Kat Jennings, Max, is a sarcastic working class waitress at a Brooklyn diner. When a pampered young heiress, Caroline (played by Beth Behrs), gets cut off from her trust fund and comes to work at the diner, the pair become unlikely friends. Together, they vow to save up money to realize their dream of opening a cupcake shop. It’s refreshing that the two main characters have a genuine friendship, when women on TV are often portrayed as catty and competitive. Alas, it goes downhill from there.

Garret Morris plays Earl, the street-talking black cashier of the diner, Jonathan Kite plays Oleg, the horny Ukrainian cook, and Matthew Moy plays Han (Bryce) Lee, the “man-child” Korean owner of the diner. 

The casting call for Han Lee described the character as “33, Korean Born, Lovable, Thin Man; Thick Accent.”

The particularly cruel characterization of Han as an asexual, clueless immigrant has drawn the most criticism from viewers and critics. Han appears in the show with a high-pitched, “generic Asian” accent, a propensity to flail his arms around a lot, and is the target of much vitriol from his employees. 

In this clip, Oleg calls Han a “small mouse” and “a woman.” Beth delivers the most emasculating blow when she leans down to comfort Han by telling him, “Every woman knows that size doesn’t matter.”

Asian-American critics have certainly not responded with silence or passivity, as negative stereotypes of Asian men might suggest. Six months before 2 Broke Girls even aired, Phil Yu, published and commented on  excerpts of the pilot script at Angry Asian Man:

“LEE

Why no? Blonde good for business and she worked in all good restaurants in Manhattan.

MAX

You are not hiring someone who refers to the color yellow as “mustard.” No way, Rice.

LEE

It’s Bryce. 

MAX

You don’t pronounce your R’s, I don’t pronounce by B’s.

LEE

You show her strings.

MAX

Ropes. And no. That would require me to be patient and listen and that’s just not my thing.

MAX TURNS AND LEAVES. LEE FOLLOWS AFTER HER. 

“Ooohhh snap!,” Yu commented in his blog, “You see what they did there? With the mixing of the Rs and Ls joke? Damn, that is some original shit. And “Rice”? Who is the comedy genius coming up with this stuff?”

I pray that this character gets re-tooled before they go into production,” Yu concluded. 

When the show came to air, Han Lee’s character turned out to be even worse than critics had anticipated.

In Schema magazine, Allan Lee checks off all the stereotypes that Han embodies. 

1) Poor English: Check.
2) Homogenous Asian (Every Asian looking person is the same. Han is Korean? I’ll take your word for it): Check
3) Sexual ambiguity/mocking of male prowess: Check.
4) Jokes about height and size: Check.
5) Asian does/knows martial arts: Nope. Too bad, this one would have been the most interesting one.
6) And, to top it off, bad jokes about penis sizes: Check.

In a column for Grantland, Andrew Ti, creator of the addictive “Yo, Is This Racist?Tumblr blog, profiled Han as the “most racist character of the week.”  

“For real, it’s distressingly easy to imagine the writers sitting around and listing off every single ching-chong stereotype, ultimately deciding with some sorrow that a Fu Manchu mustache would be impractical for budget reasons,” Ti wrote.  

Ti also speculated why caricatures like Earl, Oleg and Han continue to appear in highly rated primetime shows:  

“I fully recognize that this show is not, you know, created with an Asian dude living in L.A. as the target demographic, but rather the much larger, and definitely more lucrative, audience of Americans for whom the diversity of New York represents a dangerous and head-scratching Other. (Actually, it’s probably worth further noting that I understand that almost all of TV is geared toward this audience.)” 

With so many sitcoms, dramas and reality shows glorifying massive wealth and pitting women against one another, it makes sense that some fans living all over America would appreciate the cross-class bonding among 2 Broke Girls’ two female leads. But when Asian-Americans make up 0.2 percent of news coverage in the U.S., racist portrayals of one of the very few Asian-American characters on TV can have a significant impact, especially when he appears in a show as popular as 2 Broke Girls. 

The show won “Favorite New TV Comedy” at the 38th People’s Choice Awards, drew 12.75 million viewers at its peak, and with its lowest rated episode averaging 9 million viewers, it is expected to run for at least a few more seasons. 

Bloggers like Phil Yu, Andrew Ti, and Allan Lee, along with a slew of critics in outlets from TIME magazine to Think Progress have effectively pressured the show to make a few changes. In one episode in February, they brought on a “hot Asian guy” to have a one-night stand with Beth.

But is a random hookup enough to undo a season of stereotyping? Share your thoughts in the comments below – or directly to CBS (you can use these tips to write an effective protest letter to the network).


21 Responses to “2 Broke Girls Finale: Long Duck Dong Redux?”

  1. Elton Kneeland
    July 12th, 2013 09:51
    1

    There are spam comments in your blog. In addition, your website is simply stimulating issues on my IE 8 web browser.

  2. radio arvila
    July 22nd, 2013 02:08
    2

    Fulgurous article, I suppose it is one of the prizewinning I’ve ever seen

  3. Compro oro Roma
    August 1st, 2013 12:37
    3

    Thanks a lot for sharing this with all folks you really recognize what you’re talking approximately! Bookmarked. Please also consult with my web site =). We will have a link exchange arrangement among us!

  4. anonymous proxy
    August 6th, 2013 01:44
    4

    Fulgurous article, I suppose it is one of the prizewinning I’ve ever seen

  5. chemical suppliers
    September 25th, 2013 00:51
    5

    Though I do not necessarily concur with the idea in totality, I regard your point of view.

  6. chemical suppliers
    October 2nd, 2013 01:19
    6

    Hi! This is kind of off topic but I need some guidance from an established blog. Is it very difficult to set up your own blog? Im not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick. Im thinking about setting up my own but Im not sure where to start. Do you have any points or suggestions? Thank you

  7. Free Music Magazine
    October 26th, 2013 01:16
    7

    Thanks for sharing excellent information. Your website is so cool. I am impressed by the info that you have on this web site. It reveals how nicely you understand this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for more articles.

  8. my company
    September 2nd, 2014 08:09
    8

    Well, it is good news everyone. IOS 7.1.2 hasbeen launched and at this time you are able to jailbreak iphone-5/5s/5c by Pangu having a free untethered device.

  9. çağrı merkezi
    September 4th, 2014 04:08
    9

    Thank you for the beautiful topic, that you provide to us

  10. gallery.tarthorst.net
    September 5th, 2014 02:25
    10

    Hey there! Quick question that’s completely off topic.

    Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My site
    looks weird when viewing from my apple iphone.
    I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to resolve this
    issue. If you have any suggestions, please share.
    With thanks!

  11. Seo company west palm beach
    September 6th, 2014 01:16
    11

    Looking to get your local West Palm Beach business to the top of Google? Our SEO West Palm Beach service will do just that.

  12. st ives cornwall
    September 6th, 2014 03:08
    12

    Rough Coast is a community interest company that creates, manages and runs businesses for best human health.

  13. SEO in Boca Raton
    September 6th, 2014 03:19
    13

    SEO Delray Beach is an Internet Marketing agency focused on great search results by using SEO, social media, Wordpress and video marketing.

  14. barbie wild vids
    September 10th, 2014 15:26
    14

    In the wߋrds οf Jack Kerouac: “It’s not what you write, it is the way you write it.”
    Ԝell, you do iit incredibly ѡell!I jսst cannot decide iif
    tߋ share this web site ԝith mу friends οr keep іt aѕ
    mmy oաn private secret…

    Ңave ɑ look at my web page … barbie wild vids

  15. hydrodipping
    September 16th, 2014 21:53
    15

    Camo dipping is a great way to add a camouflage pattern to any item. Hydrodipping works on many materials, including plastic, metal, wood or glass.

  16. http://www.rifleguard.com/what-are-the-best-shooting-gloves/
    September 16th, 2014 21:57
    16

    Guide to Purchasing the Best gloves, glasses Next to your gun itself, the most important piece of equipment that you can have for your shooting needs.

  17. 5.11 taclite 2 gloves
    September 19th, 2014 00:39
    17

    Guide to Purchasing the Best Recurve Bow. Before compound bows, recurve bows were, for a thousand years, the best that science and technology had to offer to make Best Bow.

  18. blacked out tail lights
    September 22nd, 2014 02:45
    18

    The show won “Favorite New TV Comedy” at the 38th People’s Choice Awards, drew 12.75 million viewers at its peak, and with its lowest rated episode averaging 9 million viewers, it is expected to run for at least a few more seasons.

  19. Vanquish fat reduction
    October 2nd, 2014 05:01
    19

    The urgency to drive digital revenues increased this year as media companies sought new ways to offset declining print revenues or to build sustainable digital-only publishing brands

  20. Pure Green Coffee Bean Plus Reviews
    October 10th, 2014 18:55
    20

    Pure Green Coffee Bean Plus Reviews

    WIMN’s Voices » A Group Blog on Women, Media and News

  21. clash of lords 2 hacked apk
    October 13th, 2014 17:01
    21

    clash of lords 2 hacked apk

    WIMN’s Voices » A Group Blog on Women, Media and News

Leave a Reply