Tag Archives: diversity

Up In Smoke: The Racialicious Review of ‘Heroes’ 4.12

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García
Also Posted At The Instant Callback

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WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

A note about this week’s especially tardy report: Monday morning I had to undergo an emergency wisdom tooth extraction. The procedure required more than the usual amount of local anesthetic to prep me, because for most of the previous 10 hours, I’d felt like the tooth had grown flaming tendrils designed to stream shards of glass down my jaw and up my temples, despite my efforts to contain the pain; literally, I was popping antibiotics and pain relievers at a rate that would give Hollywood starlets pause, and it didn’t help.

I tell you all this because the experience was less frustrating than the latest season finale for Heroes.

True, “An Invisible Thread” did give us a pair of sincere OHMYGOD moments. But even when it’s good, this series can leave you dissatisfied. Why all the filler between the killer? The best and worst aspect of the episode was, it made stuff like 1961 look even more pointless in retrospect. And it brings other uncomfortable questions to mind:

1. Will less episodes mean more good episodes? Continue reading

Ethnocentrism Rears Its Ugly Head in the Cancellation of ABC’s “Eli Stone”

by Guest Contributor Nina, originally published at Threshold of Your Own Mind

Last year during Christmas, ABC had the genius idea to cancel Eli Stone. And by cancel, I mean completely phase out mid-season. The show was in the primetime line up and it aired before Boston Legal.

Eli Stone was set in a San Francisco law firm. It was cleverly written and extremely progressive. Like San Francisco, it had a gamut of diversity. It featured Black and Asian actors cast in roles of doctors and lawyers. The lawyers handled cases with gay, lesbian and trans issues. There was a strong social activist element to the firm where ethics and humanity were prevalent in the all too cut-throat world of lawyers.

Most importantly, the show dealt with issues of spirituality & alternative medicine. Eli Stone, the man for which the show was named, was a prophet who was struggling with the gift of sight. He saw the future and his third eye chakra was off the chains.

His gift was nurtured by a Chinese acupuncturist herbalist who studied and expounded on Ancient Chinese healing practices. He had to adopt the stereotypical “ching-chong” accent to get his white customers to believe his practice was legit, which only added to the cleverness of the show. The Chinese acupuncturist turned the stereotype on it’s head by adapting the voice of what “someone like him” should sound like. Continue reading

The Racialicious Roundtable For Heroes 4.11

Hosted by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

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One episode left in Heroes’ season, and the major players are coming together again in order to … uh, save the country from themselves. Or something. We’ve got villains riffing on the Obama campaign, a family pledging to work together for about two minutes, and one brave Roundtable willing to make sense of it all for you. So here we go!

Forget saving the country; with Tim Kring writing the closer, can the Heroes even salvage their season?
Mahsino: No. It’s like we aren’t jumpin’ sharks anymore, we’re jumping humpback whales. This show half-past ridiculous, how many times can we say “this changes everything” in one episode?
Jen*: I don’t see Kring saving anything. An hour’s not long enough, anyway. Something Arturo said was on my mind as well though – every series doesn’t have 10 sucky ep’s to have 2 good ones – why is Heroes like this?
Andrea: Ever since Kring went on his blame-the-fans campaign, I felt he lost interest in saving this show, and this season was another example of his neglect. I’m surprised NBC let him get away with this, considering how rough network TV’s having it these days.
Diana: There’s nothing to save. They didn’t even keep with the theme of this chapter. It’s just been a hodge-podge of crap all season.
Erica: The only possible salvation is that overused classic — it turns out it was all a dream and we can ignore it all!

dankoknifeLet’s talk terminal! Who do you see getting offed and why?
Mahsino: Nate’s getting offed. This show isn’t big enough for both Nathan and Sylar’s eyebrows.
Jen*: If wishes came true. I’ll take the obvious choice: Danko.
Mahsino: Somehow I manage to forget about his presence as soon as he’s not in the shot. I second that recommendation.
Diana: I’m with Jen on this one. Once Sylar pulled that knife out of his head, my thought was, “Danko the troll is gonna get it now.”
Erica: Yeah, Danko goes bye-bye. Sadly, much as I wish Nathan would finally give up the ghost, he’ll be sticking around to give Peter somebody to whine at.
Andrea: What? As much as we carry on about her, no one wants Claire offed? Or better yet, the show’s wigmaker? (The former ’cause she has to be about the most useless main character, and the latter…well, look at what zie’s been putting on the former’s head.)
Mahsino: Much as I might wish it to be so, I just don’t see her biting the bullet- that would just make too much sense. Continue reading

Conversations With Dead People: The Racialicious Review for Heroes 4.11

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García, also Posted at The Instant Callback

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WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

Give credit where it’s due: writers Adam Armus and Kay Foster took a premise that could have imploded big-time – Sylar coming unraveled – and turned “I Am Sylar” into a taut, capable lead-in to next week’s season finale.

Tying it all together, of course, was the Big Bad’s stumbling all over his new power. The story starts 18 hours before the final shot of “1961,” as we see the implausible occur: the Man with the Plan losing himself so badly in his new shape-shifting power, he wakes up wearing the face of a recent victim. Things get so bad for him he actually takes advice from Danko, who wants nothing more than for his heaviest hitter to keep racking up the metahuman notches.

MicahSylarAlong the way, though, an equally unlikely voice emerges on Gabriel’s other shoulder: the much-missed Micah. Whereas maybe even a few weeks ago, Sylar would have shredded Micah like so much confetti, his state of confusion allows the kid to urge him toward something better. That appeal gets Micah a reprieve and an assist from Gabriel, but it opens up a whole other can of worms. Continue reading

Fade In Magazine Talks Racism in Hollywood

by Latoya Peterson

Arturo sent me an email a few days ago, asking me to add this to the links. But when I looked at the source material, I knew I had to do a post.

In an article called Minority Report: Hollywood’s Dirty Little Secret, Fade In Magazine pulls anonymous quotes from professionals working in the film industry about their jobs. Fifty percent of Fade In’s readers are in the industry and from what I can tell, the magazine appears have the qualities of both a mainstream glossy magazine and a trade magazine. The mag has been in publication since 1994, so it appears to be credible. And if they are credible, and all the sources they quote are who they say they are, it is one of the most illuminating piece I’ve ever read on racism in Hollywood.

In addition to the graphic above, which accompanied the article, check out some of the major quotes:

Screenwriter “Hollywood’s not liberal. That is such an oxymoron; such a joke. There are so many things… I don’t even know where to begin, because it’s so pinned up, because you have to control it. One of the things that Hollywood, along with society, has successfully done is blame the victim. You’re the victim of racism, but they blame you if you say anything. You will never be able to get behind a computer again in your life.

“Hollywood is anything but liberal. I call them liberal bigots. Hollywood is filled with liberal bigots, and they use the thing of being liberal as a reason for being bigoted, for if they’d listen to themselves talk, and listen to their friends talk, they would find that they tell way too many black jokes, ethnic jokes.”

Screenwriter “I wrote a very celebrated movie. I busted my ass, worked hard. I would meet with the director from nine o’clock in the morning – to talk, not to write – until about twelve or one o’clock in the morning. Now, it took that long, because he was on the phone, all of the time, chitchatting with his friends. It should have been a shorter meeting. Then I would write until two or three o’clock in the morning. I finish the script and do all of this work, and then him and another white guy lie and say they wrote it! And white Hollywood believed them over me. I couldn’t fight it, because if I tried to fight it, if I were to scream racism, I’m done. He did something on the set that pushed me to the point as a man where I could have kicked his ass. Then what would have happened is the owners would have been on me: ‘Violent black writer loses his temper and beats up white director.’ Even though all of Hollywood knows that this guy is a jerk.

“Then I had to go through the whole shame of going to meetings where people were asking me, ‘So did you really write this? Can we see samples of other stuff you did?’ Even though this guy has never written anything that they can point to and go, ‘Oh, well, he’s written this.’ Since then, he hasn’t written anything, but because he was white… He said in the arbitration letter, ‘I didn’t want anybody to know my efforts were being done because I didn’t want to undermine Mr. [name withheld].’ Can you believe that? I literally cried when I read the arbitration letter. So he played the affirmative action card, [claiming] that I was an affirmative action writer. There are whites in this town who still to this day believe that this white man [wrote the script].”

Screenwriter “I went to a meeting at Warner Bros., with a producer and a director and an exec. I’m sitting there, and I’m a black writer going to write about this black guy. I won’t say what he did, because that’d give away who it was. So before the meeting started, the three white guys started telling towelhead jokes: ‘This towelhead this, this towelhead that.’ And I’m sitting there listening to them tell these towelhead jokes. The Warner Bros. exec started it, and then the producer and this director chimed in on it. I couldn’t believe this was taking place. I didn’t say a word; you know I’m not going to say an N-word joke or tell a towelhead joke because I’m next. So I’m listening to this. Then, afterwards, they then start talking about this black project, which I had no interest in pitching, because I thought, ‘You’re some of the most insincere sons of bitches I ever met in my life’ – motherfuckers is the better word. I had another life before I became a writer, and I’d never heard any shit like this before. I probably gave them one of the most insincere pitches I ever gave in my life because I didn’t want to be a part of [anything with] these three assholes. I couldn’t believe they were doing it. It was totally unnecessary.”

Continue reading

The Racialicious Roundtable For Heroes 4.10

Hosted by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

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Oh boy, where to begin with “1961″? With the awkward, Forrest Gump-ish approach to reframe the Heroes canon into pre-Civil Rights Act history? The needless retconning of two previously admirable minority characters? The continued hammering over the head with how “special” the Benetrellis are?

Actually, this time we’re starting off with a different type of Open Mic; Roundtable member Andrea had expressed some concerns with me about the imagery dredged up by the family’s digging through the metahuman camp. I wanted to give her the space to elaborate, and then get our other members’ responses.

skullAndrea: As I told Arturo and Mahsino in emails, I’m really sick and tired of the show playing hopscotch with events surrounding human-rights violations and figures–and doing it in such a contrived way. From namedropping (Harriet Tubman, Che Guevara) to framing their struggles with the gub’ment (Abu Ghraib), these pop nods are, I suppose, to show the show’s profundity and relevance, of showing the creative team’s understanding the ramifications of societies dealing negatively with difference, but it just feels shallow…and pushes the show to further irrelevance. And it’s kinda ironic, considering how the writers push the characters of colors further to the peripheries of the storylines with each season, if not outright killing them. ::sigh:: And this week, we get images of internment camps/mass burials wrapping around the poorly done story of Bennetrellis and the Company’s origins. I was really put off.

Erica: I hate it when historical tragedies are given trite treatment like this. Japanese internment camps deserve more respectful coverage than, “Oh, by the way, something similar to our current fictional portrayal happened before, and it was bad, so this is bad.”

And yes, Peter, Angela could have told you all about this in a restaurant, but then how would she have desecrated the graves of dozens of victims (including her parents and, to the best of her knowledge, sister) of a paranoid government? “Oh, Nathan, while you’re digging there, be sure to get your grandfather’s watch, I’m sure he wanted you to have it.”

Mahsino: You know, this whole thing probably could’ve been made interesting if they brought in Hiro and Ando. At lease with them there, it wouldn’t have made the reference to Japanese internment camps seem so out of left field.

Diana: They are definitely trying too hard. The show was much more interesting in Season 1 when we were getting glimpses of the future which was a whole other reality. They’d be better off if they created another reality with its own rules and quirks. This following the topics of the day is unimaginative, lazy and just makes  the show more soap-opera-ish.

jen*: This ep really pissed me off. A filler episode dealing with internment camps? Angela’s treatment of the memory was none too respectful, either – considering those bodies were supposedly of her family. Then, after the dust literally settles, it’s all buried again.  No more bad memories – let’s make a new company! Continue reading

Raiders Of The Jumped Shark: The Racialicious Review Of Heroes 4.10

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. Garcia, also Posted At The Instant Callback

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WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

“You could have told us all this in a restaurant.”
Peter Petrelli

It’s never a good sign when Petey’s argument makes the most sense. But he’s exactly right — “1961″ was, quite the pointless trip in the wayback machine, an ostensible origin story for the Company wrapped around a maudlin effort at “reconciliation” for the Benetrellis.

coyote sands2Picking up from last week’s events, the family comes together at Coyote Sands — the site, it turns out, of a metahuman relocation camp and some sort of subsequent massacre involving the members of Angela’s family. But the vacation’s not all fun and tomb-raiding; the former Angela Shaw is there looking for her sister Alice, who was apparently so traumatized that she’s been living in a bunker at the camp for more than 50 years.

Think about it for a second: a firefight involving superhumans at a government facility, and the site is still wide-open? And, there’s evidence of spontaneous weather patterns generating in this one particular zone and nobody – not even Primatech — sussed out something weird was going on? And the camp can’t be as remote as we were led to believe if the nearby cafe has been able to stay in business this whole time. Surely somebody would have noticed a weird woman wandering around town? Continue reading

The Racialicious Roundtable For Heroes 4.9

Hosted by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

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What can you get from a first encounter? As our Roundtable demonstrates this week, plenty. We begin this week’s installment with a scene that the show’s creators might not have thought too much of when they wrote it. And about the giraffe … uh, don’t ask.

A friend of mine asked why the Asian trucker Hiro and Ando encountered annoyed me. So here’s the thing: the scene took what could’ve been a poignant (or even pleasant) moment – Hiro and Ando meeting a second-generation immigrant – and reduced it to a cheap “good ol’ boy” punchline. Grafting a stereotypically “white” persona onto a person of color doesn’t make it any less of a caricature. But what’d you make of that scene?

Diana: The funny thing is, I actually knew of an Asian kid in high school that spoke with a very strong Southern twang, so the Asian trucker thing really wasn’t that far-fetched to me.  Although, I will admit that everytime I heard this kid speak, it was always surprising to hear that twang coming out of someone who looked like he did. So aside from the comedy, I thought the Asian trucker character actually forced you to think about stereotypes and assumptions people make based on someone’s looks.

Mahsino: While I see where you [Arturo] are coming from in terms of offense at the trucker being a punchline, but I actually found it kind of brilliant. The longer I think about this, the more I think I liked it because it challenged the Heroes definition of what it means to be American. Think about it, all the characters of color (with the exception of Micah) are imported from somewhere else. I think that’s what was so jarring about the trucker being American, and why it made sense for Ando to assume he was Japanese- because really, besides silent extras one could assume Americans (except the president) are all white and Minorities are all foreign given how the Heroes-verse operates. Long story short- I liked the twist. Now whether I liked the actual lines the trucker got are another story.

Erica: I wasn’t sure about this scene when I watched it, and I’m less sure now. My intial reaction was, “Oh, that’s convenient, they meet a Japanese trucker.” Then he talked, and I said, “ok, my bad, Japanese-American.” I like Mahsino’s explanation of the positive interpretation you can have of this scene, and showing non-Benetrelli Americans can only help this show’s dismal portrayals of reality. But at the same time, it still just doesn’t feel right — and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that something that makes me vaguely uncomfortable has a good chance of outright offending somebody else, so it’s probably not good.

Jen*: I like the actor, so when I saw him (before he said anything) I was like H&A – wondering. The accent got on my nerves a bit, because it seemed forced, and I’m not quite sure about referring to Japan as “the mothership”. But it definitely breaks the monotony of every American being either Black or White.

Andrea: I agree with you, Arturo. As I said on your OP’s thread at The Instant Callback, “That, ahem, ‘Texan twang’ coming out of the Asian-American trucker’s mouth was just awful. The accent missed the mark of a Texan accent and even a Southern accent. It’s as if the director just gave the actor the direction of, ‘Give me your best stereotypical Southern!’ ‘No, more stereotypical ‘hick.’” Nooooo, more stereotypical ‘trucker.’ NO!!!! More ‘Southern Hick Trucker!’” So it wound up sounding like the horrendously caricatured mess that insulted my ears when I watched the ep. And out of that, it was another Asian character to be laughed out, the butt of a joke. Sorta like Hiro (98% of the time) and Ando (60% of the time, 100% of the time this week.)” Continue reading