Tuesday, May 03, 2005

the weak become heroes

Asians Disappear On Primetime TV
A UCLA study released today (Monday) has concluded that Asian Americans are virtually invisible on primetime TV. The study, conducted for the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium, found that not a single regular character in CBS's entire line-up is Asian and that those Asians who do appear on primetime programs are generally relegated to minor roles on dramas. Writers of the study particularly praised ABC's Lost, which includes a South Asian character and a Korean couple who speak Korean (with English subtitles) on screen. It further noted that Asians are generally hired to play super-intelligent individuals, thereby reinforcing stereotypes. "I think we were expecting that there would be a discrepancy between white and Asian actors, just by watching television ourselves over the years," Nancy Yuen, who headed the survey, told the Associated Press. "But we were surprised by the extent of the discrepancy. ... They're rarely on. Even if they're part of the regular cast, it's a subordinate role." (FROM IMDB.COM)

Where have all the Asians gone? It's completely true. Have you ever seen and American movie or television show where the Asian characters were significant? The Asian cast member on the Real World never has an episode that centers around them. Jamie from San Diego is a perfect example. So I have decided the name the top 10 Asian characters from televison or film. The fact that there are so little roles to begin with is why I have to combine the two mediums here. Only American made Films and television shows qualify to make the list, and there roles can be so minimal that they are non-speaking or get killed very early in the show/movie. So here it goes:

10: ART CHUDABALA: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0160988/
Movie: Gleaming the Cube
This is Christian Slater's adopted Asian brother who is killed within the first ten minutes of the film by the Asian Mafia. Typical Asian Role: adopted, killed, american last name. Christian Slater's character has an underrated training montage in this film that is reminiscent of Kevin Bacon's peaking as a dancer in Footloose. They both train alone in dusty places to perfect something that is totally insignificant towards the end of the film. Christian falls off the skateboard and Bacon falls on the floor, but they both get up dust off and get back to training alone in the dark. See how insignificant that Asian role was? I had nothing to write about the Asian, but could go on for days about these training segments.

9: SIMON RHEE:http://www.isastunts.com/bios/simon.rhee.html
Simon plays Dae Han, who might be one of the more intimidating movie villains of all time. He wears a bad ass patch and is willing to kill anyone he faces in the Tae Kwon Doe ring. This dude just snaps necks without remorse. The movies also contains one of the most overacted scenes of all time. Eric Roberts gets his shoulder popped out by Dae Han and is lying in excruciating pain on the mat. He needs that shoulder back in his socket so when his boy Tommy comes over to help him he SCREAMS, "POP ET TOMMMMMY!" He is overracting so bad in this scene he might actually hurt himself. See this Asian is nowhere to be found by the end of this paragraph.

8,7: VICTOR WONG:http://www.newsreview.com/issues/sacto/2001-10-18/cover-6.jpg .
Movies: Tremors and Big Trouble in Little China
This legend gets numbers 7 and 8 because he showed his asian acting chops in two good roles. In Tremors he plays asian store owner stereotype:VICTOR WONG, who gets killed pretty early in the film by a creature that comes up through the floor of his store and eats him. In Big Trouble in Little China he helps Kurt Russel throughout the whole film. The movie is a cult classic that I used to love when I was a kid.

6: Bolo Yeoung: http://loserville.us/~chad_ghost/bloodsport8.jpg
Maybe the most bloated, scariest, ripped to shreds bad guy of all time. No way the coked up Van Damme could have defeated Bolo in real life. His character created one of the best movie chants of all time: CHONG LI! CHONG LI! CHONG LI! I don't think he has any lines throughout the whole movie...only death screams when he stomps on people's necks. He fights dirty too. He throws dust in Van Damme's eyes during the final fight scene prompting Jean Claude to overact while he tries to pretend that his vision is blurred. This scene is one of the reasons movies like this are so great. If you haven't seen this in a while you need to see it again...just watch FX at like 4 am.

5: Elliot Cho: http://boosanta.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/ferrell.jpg
Movie: Kicking and Screaming
This movie hasn't even been released yet, but the previews tell all. This kid pops up for about 10 seconds total in the trailers for this new Will Ferrell movie and I can't get enough of him. Scenes of him tripping over a soccer ball prompt people to say, "DID YOU SEE THAT CHINESE KID FALL OVER THAT BALL!(Explosion of laughter)" Typical role for an asian actor.

That's all I can come up with for now. If anyone has suggestions please post them. This is alot tougher than I thought it would be man. I even had to snake my way into using one actor for 2 different roles. In case you didn't notice I couldn't think of one TV character to note here. Steve Urkel kept popping up in my head whenever I tried to think of one for some amazing reason.


Only the German Version would have the bad guy on the cover:

Box Office Poision:

Hollywood will remake this in about 5 years:



sammmmmyg said...

Kevvy...very disappointed in your list. How could you forget Gedde Watanabe's role of Long Duk Dong in 16 Candles?

ERL said...

yes i too was going to mention long duk dong. what an obvious example of the asian sterotype - exemplified when he falls out of the tree drunk near the end of the movie.

KC said...

I am dissapointed in myself...but i am glad it got people posting...i know there are a ton more out there just waiting to be discovered. I just got caught up in all the horrendous action movies i watched when i was a kid.

KC said...

I was searching for the more obscure asian film roles to heighten their insignificance. Long Duk Dong will live forever on that exercise bike getting busy with the stacked chick in the sweatsuit.

John Spartan said...

What about Mr. Miagi. He was pretty asian.

mburke7 said...

kc, what about the giants team in Mr. Baseball.