Hosted by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García
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