Sunday, October 01, 2006

Hollywood Show Biz

I previously posted some thoughts on Pinoy show biz, so I figure it's time to post something about American or Hollywood show biz. First up: African-American male characters in Hollywood. I was talking to some friends about Grey's Anatomy and the topic of Sandra Oh came up. Her character in the show is apparently dating an African-American in the show. I don't watch this show b/c it looks like a soap opera and as far as medical dramas go, I prefer ER, although that show has occassional soap drama, also. Anyway, I was telling my friends that I rarely see an African-American male character dating a white female character in TV or film. The show Scrubs comes to mind, where the black guy in that show (Donald Faison as Chris Turk) is dating a Latina woman (Judy Reyes as Carla Espinosa). If I remember correctly, I believe Ming Na's character in ER was also dating an African-American character. I then said that perhaps Hollywood has an easier time portraying an African-American male character date non-white female character, like in the shows I mentioned. Does Hollywood think viewers will be uncomfortable if a black guy dated a white woman?

My friends and I then discussed how Asian guys in Hollywood movies rarely get the girl in movies. Seeing an Asian female hooking up with a white, black or Latino guy in these movies -- no problem. Seeing an Asian guy hooking up with a white, black or Latina gal in these movies -- you've got a better chance getting struck by lightning. In The Replacements, for example, poor Chow Yun Fat barely got a kiss on the cheek from Mira Sorvino even though he was the star of the movie. My friends tell me Jet Li didn't have much luck with Aaliyah either in Romeo Must Die. Two leading men, both tough guy roles -- neither could get the girl. So why is it that the Asian male rarely gets the girl in Hollywood movies? Check out Media Action Network for Asian Americans for more on stereotypes or Wikipedia for some theories. Also, check out Angry Asian Man (yup, another angry website).


Post-script correction: The title of Chow Yun Fat's movie is The Replacement Killers, not The Replacements, which I think is a band. ;)

16 comments:

ipanema said...

Very good observation Wil. Why can't an Asian guy get the woman? hmmm...are they too tame for them? hahaha...sorry, thinking out loud. :) In the case of Asian women, well, even society protrays them that way. So they can easily get the man. There's something deeper which my brain can't crack. :)

Have a blessed Sunday!

snglguy said...

That's because the major studios in Hollywood are still controlled by conserative individuals. And they still need to appease a huge segment of the American moviegoers, especially those living in the bible belt, who are closet racists. It's all about money.... have a great weekend, will.:-D

Anonymous said...

in america, at least in california, it is not unusual for an asian man to be with a white woman. what the media shows is no where close to reality.

Alternati said...

I am an avid fan of Grey's Anatomy (and avid is a major understatement) hehehe... There is a white woman- black man relationshiop there between Meredith's mom and the head of her hospital. Oh ok... there WAS a thing between them. An exemption to the rule perhaps, but they had to break it to the audience gently, hinting on it every now and then before divulging it. A movie with a black-white couple is Save the Last Dance. It's a technically a teen movie, but it had some good things in there. I particularly remember the scene where the couple kiss just to irk a staring conservative old woman in the subway.

As far as Asian actors, yeah... no luck there yet. I could think of some but most are short-lived or under extreme circumstances... The indian guy with the white girl in LOST, the grandma and her husband in Malcolm in the Middle...
Conversely, there are a lot of white male-asian women characters but stereotypically in the Mail-to-order-bride plotline.

I wonder when I'll see a multi-racial couple on TV with a close to normal plot.

Wil said...

ipanema, that's one of the hollywood stereotypes, it seems. being tame, that is.

single, i'm inclined to agree with you.

anonymous, yup, i see a lot of those myself in real life. why hollywood seems scared to portray a more realistic asian male, single guy has a good theory.

Alternati, there's always exceptions to the rule, i agree with you there. but for the most part, hollywood still looks pretty conservative.

"The grandma and her husband"? Asian male husband? What???? So even when the asian guy gets the gal in Hollywood film/tv, they're already old?????? hahahaha. That's it! There's no hope. hehe

Toe said...

Hmmm... bakit nga kaya? Yet, Hollywood doesn't have any qualms about pairing off a fat white man with a sexy lady like in King of Queens and According to Jim, etc..

Wil said...

Toe, good to see you back. anyway, it seems that the target audience of hollywood studios is the white male. hence, even repulsive slobs like jim belushi or kevin james hook up with really attractive females in hollywood tv/film. Now, when I say 'repulsive slobs', I mean that in a good way. hehe

aurea said...

Yes, that's messed up. It's a stereotype in American culture, that Asian guys aren't viewed as masculine.

Wil said...

Aurea, yeah, that's how it is in hollywood unfortunately.

mari_elle said...

Well, it's definitely a far cry from the stereotyped dorky, geeky asians back in the day. At least asians get the lead, despite not getting the girl. ^v^

Anonymous said...

you're right here wil. btw, did chow yun fat get jodie foster in "anna and the king"? i can't quite remember if he did. i'm also not sure whether the real king got the real anna.

snglguy said...

Alternati> "A movie with a black-white couple is Save the Last Dance" - Actually, the first film to show an interracial relationship between black and white is the movie " Guess who's coming to dinner?" starring Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn and Sidney Poitier. I loved that movie.

Wil said...

marielle, yeah, i suppose i can look at the bright side -- the nerdy asian stereotype isn't as popular as it used to be. it would be nice though to see a normal asian male portrayal more often than not. thanks for dropping by. :)

bill, i didn't see that movie but my friend tells me that the king and anna only danced in the movie. btw, your profile is not linking when you comment, so you might want to sign in as anonymous but still put in your website url. it might be a blogger beta problem.

single, yeah, that was a good movie.

watson said...

Hmmm... let me venture my own theories. Perhaps it's what they think would make money. Having an Asian man get center stage might not relate with the western audience. Or, it's simply an ever-so-slight sign of discrimination.

bill bilig said...

thanks,
didn't realize that somethings not right. let's see how the "other" works. yes i think its a beta problem. i hope they iron out the kinks soon.

Wil said...

Nick, i think it's a little bit of both.

Bill, hope so, too. ;)