America is long overdue for a series featuring Asian American characters. As New York Times writer Wesley Yang points out, ”Fresh Off the Boat would be the first network sitcom to star an Asian-American family in 20 years and only the third attempt by any major network in the history of the medium.” ABC is offering a slate of new programs deliberately focused on diversity. ““Its our job to reflect America,” ABC-TV head Paul Lee said…” “we didn’t pick up these shows because they were diverse, we picked them up because they were great” (Kang). ABC is taking on the job of reflecting the diverse culture and bringing minorities to the spotlight for the first time. ABC’s determination in bringing in diversity can be seen as programs starring minorities families such as, Black-ish, Cistela, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, and Fresh Off the Boat. Yet, they are not limiting the audience, these shows tells specific stories that keep up with demographic changed but it tells it in a way that is relatable to all of America. ABC are picking up diverse shows that they think will have success. As New York Times writer, Jon Caramanica, points out, Melvin Marr, one of the executive producers states, “you have to remember we’re not making a show just for Asian Americans, we’re making a show through the Asian-American point of view for everybody.” It is a “fun for the whole family” comedy television series that fit in fine with the other shows on ABC.
Fresh Off the Boat may be seen as a historic moment but it is not what Asian American should be looking for. The challenges that Asian Americans face with this show is selling and embracing the exaggerated Asian stereotype or disregarding it and watching the ratings ...
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...ut if they watch a movie together, the structure of watching a movie together is a source of identification for them. The problem with this is that nobody can follow the rules of any hierarchy all the time. We are always violating the rules or at least thinking of violating them (Brummet, p. 206). For example, we may think racist thoughts and feel guilty because we know that those thoughts violate the principles of equality that many of our hierarchies insist upon. Conversely, this television series tells us that it is okay to laugh at the characters and their absurd ways. It seems as if they are telling the audience that it is okay to poke fun of these characters because they are jokes themselves. I am afraid that this will allow audiences to take these jokes to face value. Fresh Off the Boat may be a historic moment but it is not the one we should be looking for.
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