So on last night’s episode of the popular CBS sitcom 2 Broke Girls, Asian American actor Tim Chiou guest-starred as a handsome web designer who hooks up with Caroline, the blond broke girl. I know Tim and it’s great to see him play that rarity in Hollywood—a sexy Asian American dude with no accent who gets to kiss the girl (and a blond white girl to boot) and a whole lot more.
That should normally be the end of the story, but things get complicated by the fact that this positive Asian American male character is on a show where one of the other regular characters is…Han:
We’ve discussed Han on this blog before (here and here) and personally, I think he might be one of the most stereotypical and, yes, racist Asian American media image out there right now. As the character has been attacked by folks from both within and outside the community, I’m not alone in my opinion which leads to this question–is this “positive” Asian male character just a token attempt by the show’s producers to get their critics off their backs?
I do have sympathy for the spot the producers are in—short of creating a storyline where the Han character is violently killed off in some sort of fittingly poetic way (he contracts yellow fever and dies? Gets run over by a rickshaw? Murdered by the ghost of Mickey Rooney in yellow face?)—it’s still going to be a case of too little, too late for many.
As for me? I’ll give the producers a small benefit of the doubt. As it is, it looks as if Tim’s character will be just a one night stand—never to be seen again, but it’d be nice to see him on a recurring basis so that his presence will actually turn out not to be a one-time attempt to placate angry critics. Better still, why not just bring in more Asians? The show’s supposed to be set in New York City, right? The last time I checked, you can’t walk a block in New York without running into some Asian person
delivering Chinese food doing their calculus homework playing b-ball like a badass mofo.
Oh, and if the producers do decide to kill off Han and need ideas for the right way to do that? Just shoot me an email ‘cause I definitely got that covered.
So what do our readers think? Does the inclusion of a positive Asian American male in 2 Broke Girls make up for the show’s stereotyping of Asians or is it not enough? Chinky or not chinky?