Tag Archives: serenity

joss whedon and the blurry line between homage and appropriation

by Special Correspondent Thea Lim

I don’t really like Joss Whedon.

Phew, there I said it. Sure I admire Whedon’s gender politics, but I find his dialogue and characters glib and unbelievable.

But my real problem with Whedon is much more superficial.

While most people were enjoying the full use of their patella, I spent last July lying in front of the TV after having the anterior cruciate ligament in my left knee repaired. To cheer me up my loving roommates bought me the boxset of Firefly. I loved the movie Serenity and I will always have a soft spot for Buffy (well, seasons 1 & 2) so I was pretty thrilled. But after the first episode opened with a coupla blonde actors speaking some sort of mangled hybrid of Mandarin and Cantonese, I wasn’t so sure.

After screening several episodes where – apart from being space cowboys and quasi-anarchists – the cast of the show wear kimonos, carry paper parasols, and talk about making pau, I started to get more and more annoyed. But was I just being a jerk? What was so wrong with the array of East Asian symbols and decor on the set of Firefly? Was I preventing myself from enjoying a perfectly good TV show by being some sort of yellow fever watchdog? Continue reading