By Guest Contributor Kevin Wong
The plot for Fresh off the Boat is a classic “fish out of water” scenario. Eddie (Hudson Yang) is a 12-year-old Taiwanese-American, who moves from a diverse, city neighborhood in Washington, D.C. to a mostly white, suburban neighborhood in Orlando, Florida. His family consists of two younger brothers, a grandmother, stressed out mother Jessica (Constance Wu), and flustered father Louis (Randall Park), who wants to open a successful, Western-themed barbecue restaurant. Primarily, everyone’s just trying to fit in.
Jessica, for instance, takes up rollerblading with the neighborhood Stepford wives. This has great comedic potential- how does an Asian American woman clash with the expectations of privileged, suburban society? The Stepfords, to their credit, do not view Jessica as an intruder or an undesirable in their neighborhood – more so, they view her as a curiosity to be poked and prodded. It’s a nod to a more subtle type of racism that exists in the modern world. The term “racist” does not only encompass name calling and hate crimes — it encompasses passive discrimination, positive stereotypes, and microaggressions that, accumulated over time, can be comparably damaging.
The most interesting aspect of Fresh off the Boat is how it deals with Asian American masculinity. Each Asian male character has his own way of exploring it, and they each tend to do so through the lens of another ethnic identity, rather than their own. Louis, pursues the “cowboy” archetype, in an effort to bring more white folks into his restaurant. Eddie co-opts hip hop, black culture — he’s listening to Dre’s beats, quoting Biggie’s rhymes, and repping Nas’ Illmatic on his clothes. It’s illuminating.
By Arturo R. García
Considering that at least part of her success has been buoyed by Twitter, Scandal showrunner Shonda Rhimes’ apparent views on Twitter seem somewhat dismissive.
During her commencement address at Dartmouth University, Rhimes encouraged students to “pay it forward” with their education, including this bit of advice:
Find a cause you love. It’s OK to pick just one. You are going to need to spend a lot of time out in the real world trying to figure out how to stop feeling like a lost loser, so one cause is good. Devote some time every week to it.
Oh. And while we are discussing this, let me say a thing. A hashtag is not helping. #yesallwomen #takebackthenight #notallmen #bringbackourgirls #StopPretendingHashtagsAreTheSameAsDoingSomething
Hashtags are very pretty on Twitter. I love them. I will hashtag myself into next week. But a hashtag is not a movement. A hashtag does not make you Dr. King. A hashtag does not change anything. It’s a hashtag. It’s you, sitting on your butt, typing on your computer and then going back to binge-watching your favorite show. I do it all the time. For me, it’s Game of Thrones.
Volunteer some hours. Focus on something outside yourself. Devote a slice of your energies towards making the world suck less every week. Some people suggest doing this will increase your sense of well-being. Some say it’s good karma. I say that it will allow you to remember that, whether you are a legacy or the first in your family to go to college, the air you are breathing right now is rare air. Appreciate it. Don’t be an as*hole.
Rhimes is incorrect on at least one of these examples: Take Back The Night did not begin as a hashtag. That particular campaign against domestic violence can be traced back to the 1970s, and has always included in-person vigils and marches. So for her to say it is just a hashtag doesn’t square at all with reality.
But it’s also fair to point out that a href=”http://time.com/114043/yesallwomen-hashtag-santa-barbara-shooting/” target=”_blank”>#YesAllWomen and #NotAllMen emerged as vital conversation points in the wake of the shooting and stabbing attacks in Isla Vista, California. They also served as points of connection for people who might not be willing to open up in a “public” setting, allowing them to share their stories as they saw fit. That doesn’t make them “Dr. King,” but the idea of online safe spaces shouldn’t be treated as invalid, either.
Likewise, #BringBackOurGirls did the same for the mass kidnappings perpetrated by Boko Haram in Nigeria, and the pressure upon the government to respond.
So in those instances, it can be argued that the tags did help, because they alerted people to the problems at hand in ways that larger media outlets were not able or willing to do. And in the case of #BringBackOurGirls in particular, the tag was a visible part of the first demonstrations associated with it in Nigeria, let alone the ones that followed around the world. In other words, seeing the tag led people to do just what Rhimes is calling for.
Moreover, what if a person has no outlets — or at least, no safe ones — within their communities? What if a person is not physically or emotionally able to put themselves in the middle of events that are typically crowded, loud and, in a worst-case scenario, potentially dangerous?
Lastly, it cannot be forgotten that Scandal, in particular, has not only survived, but thrived in part thanks to being able to generate such heated online conversation and live-tweeting. As Think Progress reported last year, data has emerged showing that people “sitting on their butt” can have quantifiable — and thus, money-making — influence on a show:
Specifically, the study found that for 18-34 year olds, an 8.5% increase in Twitter volume corresponds to a 1% increase in TV ratings for premiere episodes, and a 4.2% increase in Twitter volume corresponds with a 1% increase in ratings for midseason episodes. Additionally, a 14.0% increase in Twitter volume is associated with a 1% increase in TV program ratings for 35-49 year olds, reflecting a stronger relationship between Twitter and TV for younger audiences.
Further, the study found that the correlation between Tweets and TV ratings strengthens for midseason episodes for both age groups. An increase in Twitter volume of 4.2% and 8.4% is associated with a 1% increase in ratings for 18-34 year olds and 35-49 year olds, respectively. Moreover, by midseason Twitter was responsible for more of the variance in ratings for 18-34 year olds than advertising spend.
So what do you think, Racializens? Was Rhimes off-base?
By Guest Contributor Monique Jones
Fox’s latest high-concept sci-fi drama, Hieroglyph, is as fascinating as it is potentially problematic.
The show begins airing early 2015 with a doozy of a storyline: Master thief Ambrose is taken from prison by Pharaoh Shai Kanakht to find the dangerous and magical Book of Thresholds. The story also incorporates sexual and political scandals thanks to the machinations of Pharaoh Shai’s half-sister Nefertari Kanakht; his advisor, Magister Bek; Ambrose’s lost love and second-rate priestess, Peshet; Vocifer, a peddler and old friend of Ambrose’s; the Pharaoh’s captain of the guard, Rawser and Lotus Tenry, a palace concubine and spy for the enemy kingdom.
Oh, and there are also vampires, for some reason.
Everything (except for the vampires) sounds great, but there are some pros and cons with this show. Let’s go down the list.
by Kendra James
There was one clear winner at the network Upfronts this year: DC Comics.
Yes, DC Comics a company that hasn’t managed to do much this year except piss off their fans, came from behind, hurdled over the teen barrier that is the CW network, and dominated the fall 2014 pilot season. Thanks to pickups on NBC, FOX, and the CW, DC (in part with Marvel’s presence on ABC) has managed to leave CBS as the only network without a show centered around superheroes.
Of course, with a demographic needle pointed exclusively at the 45 and older column and two more NCIS and CSI spinoffs headed our way, it’s possible CBS just doesn’t care. Not that CBS was the only network with a line of uninspired pickups for the fall season– there’s plenty more of that (and the full details of DC’s television takeover) under the cut.
By Arturo R. García
Friday brought some surprising news, as Comedy Central announced that Daily Show longtime “Senior Black Correspondent” Larry Wilmore had been picked to take over the valuable post-Daily slot starting next year from Stephen Colbert, with the show being retitled The Minority Report With Larry Wilmore.
Besides hosting the show, Wilmore will also serve as executive producer, with the Report maintaining its production link to its predecessor through Jon Stewart’s Busboy Productions.
The network’s release did not shy away from the significance of Wilmore getting this spot, either:
“The Minority Report with Larry Wilmore” will provide viewers with a distinct point of view and comedic take on the day’s news from a perspective largely missing in the current late night landscape. Hosted by Larry Wilmore, the series will feature a diverse panel of voices currently underrepresented in comedy and television.
But, the concern’s already rung out on Twitter: Does the title already point toward self-limitation on Wilmore’s part? What do you think of Wilmore’s hiring and the show’s prospects?
By Guest Contributor Monique Jones
Columbus Short confirmed that he had been fired from ABC’s hit show Scandal late April. His departure is a result being charged with misdemeanor spousal battery against his wife, Tuere Short. “At this time I must confirm my exit from a show I’ve called home for three years, with what is the most talented ensemble in television today,” Short said in a statement.
After thanking the show’s creator, Shonda Rhimes and the cast, Short said, “Everything must come to an end and unfortunately the time has come for Harrison Wright to exit the canvas.”
With the confirmation of his departure, it puts the show and fans at a crossroads—who will pick up where Harrison left off and become the next right hand to Olivia Pope?
It would seem that certain qualities are necessary in order to be a great second-in-command at Pope & Associates. Those qualities–an infinite amount of charm, cunning and the ability to play a little dirty–seemed to be what kept Harrison employed. So, with that in mind, I have list of eight actors and actresses (yes, actresses!) that could become the new Harrison. All of the actors meet the criteria of:
- Being either glamorous or alluring in some capacity, which the character could use as an assist to their charm technique
- Playing roles with a certain amount of intensity, and
- Are either available for new television roles or are on shows that could allow for a dual role on a different show (like if a show is shooting in the off-season or something). Let’s jump into it.
By Tope Fadiran Charlton, Arturo R. García and Kendra James
After threatening to go out by blowing the president up, Scandal ended its third season by making him whimper, in an oddly melancholy episode that actually did seem to change everything for Olivia Pope and her associates — if not end them altogether.
Remember, the series has not been confirmed for renewal, even if signs suggest we’ll see a new season announced soon.
But do we even want to see the show return after a third season that was inconsistent at best? For this special edition, Arturo and Kendra were joined by friend of the blog Tope Fadiran Charlton, whose work can also be found at Are Women Human?
SPOILERS under the cut