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Desc:The doll that's Asian American.
Category:Humor, News & Politics
Tags:SNL, racism, saturday night live, political correctness, Asian Americans
Submitted:Hugo Gorilla
Date:12/29/14
Views:1520
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Comment count is 16
Robin Kestrel
We made her from a place of fear.
infinite zest
The gong at the end is pretty great. But what's the context here? American Girl dolls have always come from specific countries, with a little history booklet to go along with it, and I don't think anybody had a problem with that, even when I used to model as.. well I was sort of the male counterpart in the fashion shows. Fuck you I got 100 dollars and you didn't when I was 12. So you had Southern American Girl, who's parents owned a plantation and German American Girl, who got the fuck out of East Berlin, and an Asian American Girl who might have been part of baby lift, and that's an interesting history lesson vs. Barbies, and one that's maybe not a dreamhouse and car story, but an historically accurate one.
Bort
How do you make the doll "Asian American" without using anything that could be considered a stereotype?

I blame Suey Park for this.

Maggot Brain
Oh, I think we've just gotten lazy with our stereotypes. Take Suey Park for example. Park is a very Korean name~so jokes about Kimchi, pro-gaming, pop-music, and teacher worship.

infinite zest
Oh yeah I had already forgotten about that whole thing. It's true, just like black comedians usually mention something about their ethnicity (I'm sure there are plenty who don't but I'm just thinking of the big names) and white comedians often go into a sort of self-loathing routine about first-world white dude problems (again, I'm sure there are plenty who don't but I'm just thinking of the big names.) It's funny because after I posted above, I was reading the news and there was a story about how 2014 was a landmark year for Asians (not necessarily Asian Americans) in TV and film (for example Bong Joon Ho's American debut with Snowpiercer, and John Cho's starring role in the sitcom Selfie, which was cancelled, but probably because it wasn't very good..)

And it got me to thinking when was the last time I saw a piece of American, or Western, TV or movie, or even the news where an Asian person wasn't played off for laughs or as a sidekick (see Cho, Mr. Sulu, or Cho, Harold and Kumar.. see I'm doing it already) and the fact that we say "Asian" instead of "Korean" to describe him, or Joon Ho. I'm sure there's a parallel over there, and a relatively unknown white actor might be described as "American," or "white" but the famous ones are American, British, Scottish, etc. right?

Bort
"Selfie, which was cancelled, but probably because it wasn't very good"

Bort was a big fan of "Selfie", so come to whatever conclusions you like. But I very much liked the chemistry between the leads John Cho and Karen Gillan (yes, Amy Pond!).

infinite zest
Hmm.. I don't know anything about the show outside of the article. Maybe it had a case of Arrested Development or Community, where it was kind of too good for the ABC audience. Or, maybe mainstream TV audiences just weren't interested because casual racism. Not because Cho's Korean, but because he's probably just "that Asian guy from the Star Trek movies" to most people, and Gillan was on "some show on PBS or something, one of those British things.." they're great but they're not faces like (ugh) Ashton Kutcher or.. well that's the only one I can think of. I can't "ugh" NPH, even though How I Met Your Mother looks pretty terrible.

Well shit, if Gillan is in it I'll definitely watch it and start a petition to get it on the air again, I will! Ms. Gillan, if you're reading this, um.. well wikipedia doesn't mention anything about a boyfriend or significant other..

Bort
First episode or two were a little rough when they were sounding out the characters, but they've gotten into a pretty good groove. The show starts out with Eliza (Karen's character) as a woman obsessed with social media and with getting ever-more Twitter followers, but eventually realizing that she doesn't have any actual friends, and it's probably her fault somehow. So she turns to a marketing guy at her job (Henry, John's character) to try to help her "rebrand". At first Eliza was pretty unlikable, even if they painted her as sympathetically as they could (she was always the ugly shunned weirdo as a kid, so when her looks kicked in she didn't have a good social grounding), but after a few episodes she's got actual friends and is a lot of fun.

John Cho, too, sells it as a guy who is too organized and too planned-out to live in the moment. Every now and again Eliza challenges him to expand his horizons as she has to expand hers, but more than anything he benefits from having someone who has come to see him as more than "that uptight Asian guy". And of course the will-they-or-won't-they-ness ... since there's only one more episode to go, I'm guessing they will, because why not. It would wrap up the show pretty well.

This show takes place in the brief period when Amy and Rory were split up, so sorry, she's going to go back to Rory eventually. That's how it has to be.

snothouse
I don't think this is a parody of "American Girl" dolls.

spicediver
I totally lost it at the joke about the chefs hat and the dog. See? Even focus groups won't save you, kids!
Anaxagoras
Nononononono.

I keep coming back to this clip over and over and over.

Binro the Heretic
HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!

CULTURAL SENSITIVITY RUINS ALL FUN! AM I RIGHT?

Seriously, fuck everyone involved in making this thing. It's meant to appeal to assholes who want to reinforce their shit-headed idea that non-white/non-Christian people are "too easily" offended. It just tells them they'll never make "those people" happy, so they might as well not even try.

It reminds me of the time when SNL came under fire when white actor Dana Carvey created an Asian-American character named "Ching Chang". I shit you not. And Carvey portrayed him as a bowl-cut-having thick-glasses-wearing broken-English-speaking seller of live chickens.

And then when there was an inevitable backlash, he mocked the people who had written in asking for a more positive portrayal of Asian-Americans.
Bort
Granted, there are assholes, but this is still a tricky one. Beyond the usual issues of how you apply tasteful signifiers of a character's background, what qualifies as respectful for white Barbie is often a stereotype for Asian-American Barbie. You can make white Barbie a math whiz and it's a step forward; you can make Asian-American Barbie a math whiz and it's that old stereotype.

Perhaps you can pull a string and the doll says "Wait, can you ask that question again, I got distracted real quick, there was a bird outside my window."

Binro the Heretic
"You can make white Barbie a math whiz and it's a step forward; you can make Asian-American Barbie a math whiz and it's that old stereotype."

That's as may be, but the whole bit was still made to appeal to assholes and their warped sense of "injustice".

"Non-white people get upset when white people make jokes about them. IT'S SO UNFAIR! A-bloo-abloo-abloo-hoo-hoo! We can't even make jokes about how black folks are good at dancing or how jewish people are good with money. Abloo-abloo-abloo!"

Anaxagoras
...or it could just be a reference to how dolls are nothing but stereotypes, (that's what a doll *is*, usually) so creating an ethnic doll is almost guaranteed to be problematic in the modern age where people are more aware of how stereotypes can be harmful.

And of course, studiously avoiding ethnic dolls is itself problematic.

But hey, don't let rational thought get in the way of your misplaced outrage.

Bort
"That's as may be, but the whole bit was still made to appeal to assholes and their warped sense of "injustice"."

It probably appeals to them, but not necessarily exclusively to them. Kind of like the Greendale Human Being: the people who get the joke best are likely to be liberals.

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