iCarly and iCarly goes to Japan

In the Nickelodeon teen series iCarly there are very little references or inferences to Asian Americans.

A spin-off / movie update of the iCarly series, however, was set in Japan where Asian American actors and actresses portray the native Japanese there.

There the iCarly cast are forced to find their way back to the set where their award show will be held due to the scrupulous Japanese co-hosts who plotted to have them miss the award show so that their shot of winning was higher.  How the Japanese co-hosts manage to lose the iCarly cast is through a random kung-fu fight and the chaperones are tied to massage tables with seaweed. Both scenes are completely insulting.

I think one of the more telling experiences however, is the lack of a response to this portrayal. Rather very few resources even attempt to analyze this episode/movie/show. A reason that comes to mind is because of the fact that the audience for this show is for adolescents. Yet, that is why I feel that this portrayal is even more damaging. The intended audience is set at such a young age that the usage of stereotypes and tropes will last even longer especially as this is one of the only times API characters/people are shown.

In fact, the only other reference I could find was a Yahoo answer asking if this portrayal was racist. Many agreed, while some felt that because this was a teen show any racist views are inconsequential.

https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100719081656AAFd6qk

I believe that this instance should not have been written off as it was. Rather, we should highlight and raise that no matter the show, instances like these are still damaging.

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Austin Powers Goldmember

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Growing up, Austin Powers was one of those series that was modern-day Anchorman, This is the End, etc. Everyone seemed to know this iconic movie and it ended up spawning a series of three movies.

Multiple people in Hollywood and other famous celebrities were featured in this specific film of Austin Powers Goldmember some of which include Beyonce, Britney Spears, Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and many other big names. Yet, with all of these celebrities and a multi-million dollar budget, no one condoned the usage of two Asian characters: Fook Mi and Fook Yu.

Not only is the naming of these two characters highly insensitive and derogatory toward Asians, but in another insulting manner both Fook Mi and Fook Yu are not only dressed in a manner that bares their stomach and skirts so short it bares lacy undergarments, but they are shown to be dressed as slutty Japanese school girls who offer themselves to Powers.

They have highly inaccurate, stereotypical accents with stilted English and further perpetuate the idea of the hypersexualized Asian women.

Yet another problem is that this is one of the few instances where Asian Americans are actually featured and where Asian Americans could get roles.

Diane Mizota talked about her struggles as she claims a top exec at a major network was quoted as saying, “Well, we’re having trouble there, because Asians are just not funny.”

http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/article/ASIAN-POP-Reality-Bites-Have-Fook-Yu-and-Fook-3302654.php

As brought up in class however there is the fine divide between choosing to take the racist jobs to no representation at all. In this case, however, I’m not sure as to which the best role would be.

Week 9 Blog Post

I definitely do agree that Youtube and other social media has been a great platform for many API community members to be discovered and found whereas before they were unable to do so. However, at the same time, it also limits them.

AJ Rafael, a Filipino American Youtube Star who got famous through his songs this past June announced how he was quitting performance citing financial reasons. Youtube used to be the big moneymaker and still is for numerous stars, yet recently there’s a progression of a ceiling. Much like the reality tv shows that are made to produce the next stars has been commonly criticized for failing to chart. Examples like America’s Next Top Model or the Voice come to mind.

http://newmediarockstars.com/2014/06/aj-rafael-announces-hiatus-from-performing-exclusive-letter/

I feel like Youtube might be the same way as evidenced with AJ Rafael.

Youtube is a great medium to get discovered and even do full-time. Stable? It is not. And that’s a bit worrisome since so many artists depend on Youtube.

Week 8

This week for FOB – I feel as though now the series is going through a weird standstill. Like its not inherently bad, but its not any good either.

As for the readings – Straitjacket Sexualities Ch. 4 & The Hypersexuality of Race Ch. 4 & 6.

SJS – This chapter discussed how in porn one of the issues Asian males face is the need to overcompensate their lack of representation by being “macho” with their counterparts. Or otherwise meaning as dominating over their female counterparts to a degree that treats them as lessors. This idea of being macho also normalizes and creates an impression of heteronormativity.

HSR – In chapter 4, Shimizu opens with discussing on yellowface in porn. This detail really surprised me. The producers wanted to have the exotic caricature, but yet couldn’t commit to it in porn? Granted Shimizu points out the lack of numbers, but still. Like really? Also, she brings up the important fact on how for Asian categories the film usually has attached the actual country – like Geisha Girl or Chinese girl. I thought this was another interesting fact because this purports the “Where are you from?” stereotype. The demure, yet sexual trope is brought up and the absurdity of the trope is discussed with the fact that they both sort of combat one another.

Week 7

This is the third week of FOB and the release of the 5th episode.

Interestingly, the assigned article was actually an article I had actually highlighted last week discussing the fine line between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation through Eddie’s usage of rap and hip hop. It also details mentions of Eddie Huang’s memoir and how his parents actually beat him as a child – playing even more into the idea of tiger parents. But more so “Fresh Off the Boat allows us to consider the experience of being a non-white person in America from a non-white perspective” is the real clincher. There may be controversy over Huang’s abject liking of black culture, but this show gives us the mean to even discuss and debate over an issue that was never heard of before.

Now onto the 5th episode. The 5th episode details the dreaded “sex talk” that the Huangs are forced to give after Eddie and his friends at school somehow are able to turn a sexual harassment video into a dirty video. I really question the believability of this scene and feel as though it definitely gives a Western supremacy view on the idea of sexuality. (While a bit true) Louis claims the reason he moved to America was because “he wanted to raise his sons somewhere where they might be able to actually have sex with someone before marrying them, a place where the topic is less taboo.” But honestly? I’m just so confused at this episode from Jessica’s wildest fantasies from the news (which in a previous episode she didn’t seem that concerned a stranger was handing out drug stickers as in a meeting with the actual principal and police officers all she cared about was grades.)

So for me this week, FOB was a major dud. Funny as always, but not only does it make its own story line inconsistent, it doesn’t seem very real. Again as Constance had claimed in her Time interview perhaps it was because they decided to be more specific in this instance. Or perhaps it really did happen. I won’t know until I read his memoir.

Week 6

With the two latest episodes of Fresh Off the Boat completed I’m a little skeptical of the series as a whole, but I think I can be won over.

The first three episodes for the most part despite some drawbacks really drew me in with its refreshing commentary. Jessica’s, Eddie’s and Louis’ characters were actually getting developed really nicely so far. So, for the most part this series is a good 4/5 for me. It’s good, but not great, but it has potential.

Some articles that I’ve personally read about the show had some interesting feedback or information:

“Asian America is on the cusp of its “Obama Moment.” Not politically, but through media. Through a sit-com about a Taiwanese kid and his family moving to the suburbs of Orlando and trying to make a dollar out of fifteen cents.” – See more at: http://hyphenmagazine.com/blog/archive/2015/02/k-pop-why-fresh-boat-matters#sthash.y2bTzX1r.XjTdftGd.dpuf

It’s as if critics and casual viewers alike expect the show to be a standard-bearer, rather than “just” a sitcom.  http://www.vox.com/2015/2/10/8008953/fresh-off-the-boat-abc

http://fusion.net/story/46626/fresh-off-the-boat-uses-black-culture-to-talk-more-candidly-about-asian-culture/

This show like we’ve talked in class and many more articles in the interweb have discussed is that in a way because of how Hollywood and America’s media has worked is that this show, despite being just another show, has transcended to where its more than just another sitcom. Someone in class mentioned Constance Wu’s interview with TIME magazine explaining about her faux accent. http://time.com/3696111/fresh-off-the-boat-constance-wu/

However, while my irritation with the accent has wavered and given away slightly, still bothers. She sort of brushes off concern over her accent (which actually could be seen as something the real Jessica Huang would do, so kudos?) but in a way that doesn’t truly placate me. In a way, it reminds me of the actresses in the Hypersexuality of Race like Nancy or May who claim that they were just portraying their roles. But their roles ended up becoming major negative stereotypes against Asians and Asian Americans. So yes, Jessica doesn’t and shouldn’t represent all Asian American mothers. The fact is though, that people will do so regardless and so I am critical on that. Even Constance comments that its because they are attempting to be specific that makes it tough, but I believe even that is questionable since they do deviate from the memoir.

Like I stated in the beginning, I hope this show is able to make waves. (haha reference to the show…) However, I have a lot of nitpicky arguments and frustrations with the show (like the total filler episode of 4 that didn’t completely make sense in the timeline of the show.) I worry in that this show seems great right now, but I can’t really imagine being able to stretch this out into a multi season show. So we’ll see. I’m hopeful, yet not. I suppose I’m just confused.