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callie lee 29

Race & Ethnicity on TV

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Wow, just here a couple of days and I'm starting a topic!

One of my absolute favorite topics/forums from TWOP is discussing how race and/or ethnicity is reflected (or not reflected) in television. While I hardly ever contributed to the discussion, I loved reading the various opinions and debates that others engaged in. Hopefully those members will find this and continue contributing to my education (I've seen a couple of them pop up on here already).

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Thanks for starting this, callie lee 29. I'm going to stick with TWOP till the forums are gone, but I'll check this thread, too.

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Bringing over the conversation from TWOP - that article mentions Maggie Q's upcoming miniseries, where she plays the Chinese pirate Ching Shih. I'm thrilled. Maggie Q as a pirate? I can't sign on fast enough.

Less thrilling is the news that they've cast a white guy to play her nemesis-turned-lover. As far as I know, Ching Shih didn't have any white lovers, or if she did, they weren't all that important or notable compared to her relationships with Zheng Yi and Cheung Po Tsai.

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But galax-arena, don't you know that people won't watch unless there's a straight white male among the leads!  So the suits keep telling us, over and over, even when it's demonstrated to not be true.

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I love Maggie Q (RIP Nikita) and I love Francois Arnaud (RIP The Borgias) so part of me is happy that I will get to see two hot people hooking up on Red Flag, but the other part of me is annoyed that they insisted on casting a non-Asian male lead. Ching Shih was a badass, so I'm looking forward to seeing Maggie Q kick some ass in period costumes, but I also hope to see her cast in something similar to Nikita where it's not "let's cast an Asian actress in this Asian role." I want another role where she's cast based solely on her awesomeness.

 

Re: the Vanity Fair article - Too often the Asian female is the overlooked minority in discussions about race when it's actually one of the most underrepresented populations on tv and movies (and is usually either the dragon lady, type A, or smart doctor stereotype).

 

Of the three actresses pictured in the main photo for the article, I would only consider one of them a lead (Sandra Oh). The other two are secondary characters. Despite Tina Cohen-Chang being one of the original glee club members, her role has been pretty minimal on the show and I can count how many solos she's sung before S5. There were episodes where she barely spoke at all (and probably somewhere she didn't even get one line).

 

Even though Bev and Cristina fall under the smart Asian stereotype, I still liked their characters. Obviously Cristina has been much more developed since they've had ten years to give her storylines, but I liked Bev from the little that we saw of her. It's sad when you can count how many Asian women are on tv shows, not just as leads but at all. There are a few regulars (Joan on Elementary, Melinda and Skye on Agents of SHIELD, Sloan on the Newsroom, Angela on Bones, Catherine on Beauty and the Beast, for example) but based on the shows I watch, I feel like it's more common for them to be guest stars (Megan on Nashville, the Jabberwocky on Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Pearl and Anna on the Vampire Diaries, Niko on Revenge, Shado on Arrow).

 

I feel like Hollywood thinks no one wants to see that even if the male in question is not a lead. See: Tina and Mike on Glee. I have mixed feelings about how race plays into romantic pairings. In the case of Mike and Tina, I was like OF COURSE you have to have the only two Asian people on the show become a couple because how could they possibly let Mike hook up with anyone else besides Tina? But you make a good point about Hollywood not wanting to have the romantic love interest on the pirate series be Asian as well. Off the top of my head, the only other Asian couple I remember on tv in recent history were on Hawaii Five-O and Lost.

 

The other thing about the H50/LoT couples is that it made sense that in two settings with a lot of Asian people (Hawaii and Korea), there would be Asian-Asian couples. The reason it bothered me on Glee was that they took the only two Asian cast members and made them a couple. It seemed lazy but also typical that they wouldn't let Mike date any of the non-Asian characters.

 

Asian female characters are often paired with non-Asian male characters (Nikita and Michael, Ling and Fish) but off the top of my head I don't recall many Asian male characters being paired with non-Asian female characters. When Asian males are allowed to be part of a couple on TV, it seems to usually be with an Asian female.

 

I'll be interested to see if Zheng Yi or Cheung Po Tsai even exist in the Red Flag mini series.

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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Bringing over the conversation from TWOP - that article mentions Maggie Q's upcoming miniseries, where she plays the Chinese pirate Ching Shih. I'm thrilled. Maggie Q as a pirate? I can't sign on fast enough.

Less thrilling is the news that they've cast a white guy to play her nemesis-turned-lover. As far as I know, Ching Shih didn't have any white lovers, or if she did, they weren't all that important or notable compared to her relationships with Zheng Yi and Cheung Po Tsai.

Right? It's one thing if the character was completely fictional, but it's based on a real person! Why the need to make up interracial relationships in this context? And if you're gonna make one up, why NOT have a Chinese male love interest?

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Hannibal's Hettienne Park discusses

her character being killed. She talks about a lot of stuff (including doing the body cast for her character's body being on display) but she also addresses the "Asian woman being killed off"

:

 

 

TVLINE | You wrote a long and complex blog post about

Beverly’s death, about fan outrage over the killing of a strong Asian female character,

about your experiences on the show and more. What prompted you to write that?

I’m on Twitter, and we try to interact with the fan base as much as we can. It’s because of them we got a second season. I follow Bryan’s lead because he’s incredibly generous, opening up those communication channels to people. I’m not sure if people realize it, but he hardly has time to eat or sleep. [Laughs] So the fact that he makes himself available to the fan base is amazing. He’s such a generous and caring person. I started getting messages from some of our fans that he was being attacked. I took a little peek and I was really saddened, because I think everyone’s entitled to their opinions, and I respect those opinions, but the way he was being attacked it went beyond the subject at hand. It got personal and vicious and ugly. He’s a fantastic human being, and him being accused of being racist and sexist was shocking and sad. So I just wrote it and stuck it on the Internet and it seemed to spread really quickly. I just wanted to stand up for my friend, really.

TVLINE | You addressed in your blog how there’s still a desire among minority viewers to see more representations of themselves on TV, to see more diverse casting.

It surprises me how attached people are to the character [of Beverly], though I do understand it. Everyone’s rooting for Will, and Beverly was his real lifeline.

As far as her being an Asian female getting killed off the show and people being upset about it, I understand that, too. When I was growing up, there were no Asians on TV. The only Asian I saw on TV was Connie Chung. And when I look back, I think it’s a shame [beverly] couldn’t have lasted ’til the end of the season, because I do think there’s a strong need for – forget about Asian – a strong female character who doesn’t have to play into any clichés.

There are strong women who exist in the world. It’s not like this is some crazy idea out of left field. And certainly there aren’t enough roles for minorities. It’s nothing new. Is it surprising that it’s still like that in 2014? It’s disappointing, but I don’t know how surprising it is. But I do believe it’s changing. And just the fact that Bryan was open-minded enough to even consider blind-casting this role, then giving it to an Asian woman, was great. It’s a step forward. I don’t really think of myself as Asian. I know maybe that sounds weird. But I just play it the way it feels right, and if people can identify with that, that’s great. And if the outside of me is Asian and people are rooting for that, that’s great, too.

Edited by Lisin

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Cool topic! 

I'm always on the lookout for characters who have that tricky balance of not being defined by their ethnicity, but not having it totally ignored either. 

Sidenote: I read something about how minorities are actually over-represented on TV compared to actual population ratios in the US. I wasn't sure if that was just some guy talking out of his ass or what though. I'm always clamoring for more diversity in TV, but I live in a pretty diverse metro area. I wonder if people in other parts of the country watch it and think "Mostly white. Yup. Looks about right."

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I read something about how minorities are actually over-represented on TV compared to actual population ratios in the US.

It depends on the frame of reference, I think. I'm only going by some old numbers from a 2008 report (the first thing I found when googling, but I know there have been more recent stats since then), but going by those 2008 numbers compared to the 2010 US census, the percentage of white people is about accurate, black people are slightly overrepresented, Asians are slightly underrepresented, and Native Americans and Latinos are underrepresented. However, when you take into consideration how many shows take place in diverse metro areas like Los Angeles or New York, then it becomes total bullshit. 

Plus, how many of those roles are true lead roles? That 2008 report was for all roles. But there's a difference between playing the sidekick and playing the hero. 

Edited by galax-arena

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I'm making my transition from TWoP, so here is something I posted over there.

 

Lots of diversity coming to ABC this fall. Cristela, a comedy about Mexican American family. Fresh off the Boat, a comedy about an Asian American family. Blackish, a comedy about an African American family . How to Get Away with Murder, a drama from Shonda Rimes, starring Viola Davis (Looking forward to this, I have had a crush on that woman ever since Solaris.) And American Crime, a drama from John Ridley that looks like it will tackle the issue of race when an undocumented Mexican American is accused of the murder of a white guy.

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I'm making my transition from TWoP, so here is something I posted over there.

 

Lots of diversity coming to ABC this fall.

... And continuing something mentioned upthread, John Cho in Selfie looks to be a romantic lead.

 

Edited to add: Actress Chloe Bennet says changing her name changed her luck.

 

Chloe Wang's fortunes in Hollywood improved dramatically when she decided to change her surname.

 

She says within days of adopting her father's given name -- Bennet -- as a family name, she landed her first big acting gig.

 

That was on the TV series Nashville, in a recurring role as record company assistant Hailey.

 

"I was having trouble booking things with my last name. I think it was hard for people to cast me as an ethnic, as an Asian American woman," says Bennet in an interview with the Star. "But I still wanted to keep my dad's name, and I wanted to respect him, so I used his first name."

Edited by arc

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xaxat, one thing I noticed is the common theme: a comedy about a [ethnicity] family. Will these be really diverse shows, where the people the families interact with are a wide range of ethnicities (the Asian family has several Latino friends, for example) (and not in a token "some of my best friends are.." kind of way), or will they all be [ethnicity] and white?  I am hopeful for the first, but I'll expect the second -- that way I can be pleasantly surprised.

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I think the trailer looks cute enough. The mom steals the show. 

 

I'm not sure how I feel about the real Eddie Huang. Read an article where he defended the title, and I felt like some of the things he said missed the mark. I get that he wants to reclaim the phrase, and more power to him, and I don't find it that offensive myself (depending on how it's being used), but where he lost me was when he made this huge generalization about how Asians claim and wear the phrase with pride. Yes, some of us do, but that is absolutely not true for everyone. My own parents get pretty stung over it, even when it's used as a term of endearment.

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I totally get your issues with the phrase/title as well as the general conflict about Eddie Huang. I read his memoir (which the show is based on) and I had mixed feelings about it because while some of it was really interesting and pointed about growing up as the son of immigrants, some of it was a lot of posturing and trying too hard (which I understand is the point because it mirrors his real life persona).

 

I've watched his web series on Vice (which is also called Fresh Off the Boat) and he comes off the same way. He is very smart and often makes insightful comments in the moments when he drops his posturing. I recently read Roy Choi's book which had a similar story, and I can only imagine how frustrating it must be for immigrant parents who come to America hoping to give their children a better life, only to watch these children, who have more comfort and privilege than their parents ever did, deliberately choose to screw up their lives.

 

I doubt Fresh Off the Boat will last long enough to get to Eddie's bad choices later in life (high school and college), but I will be interested to see how much of the show simply feeds into the stereotypes of Asian immigrants for laughs (it is a sitcom, after all) versus depicting the struggle of trying to fit in. He is very vocal about not feeding into racial stereotypes so hopefully his sitcom will avoid that. I think it will depend on how involved he is with the show and how much of a say he has with the network/producers.

 

For the record, when I said I don't understand why the mother character is the only one with an accent, I didn't mean that anyone else should have one either. While I understand that his parents are immigrants so realistically they would probably have accents, I hate the fake Asian accent that the actress is using. I guess I should just be glad that she's the only one?

 

On the plus side, Danny Chung!

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One thing I agree with the mom about - central Florida humidity does a number on your hair. I'm also confused why the mom is the only one with an accent.

 

From watching the trailer, I thought it was interesting to watch the son seemingly appropriate hip-hop clothing and posturing juxtaposed with the scene where the black kid declares him to be at the bottom and calls him a chink.  And specifically, the subtext that the latter is wrong (as it should be) while the former is cute and funny.  

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Well, I think we're supposed to find him a bit ridiculous, if that opening shot is anything to go by, in the same way that weeaboos/koreaboos are ridiculous. 

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I'll watch and see how it's handled within the context of the show, as my perception of the trailer was that it's played for laughs (it's a comedy, so I think most things are likely to be ridiculous).  Which wouldn't be a big deal for me if there wasn't also the scene with the black student (possibly) being a bigot and hurling racial slurs.

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One thing I agree with the mom about - central Florida humidity does a number on your hair. I'm also confused why the mom is the only one with an accent.

 

From watching the trailer, I thought it was interesting to watch the son seemingly appropriate hip-hop clothing and posturing juxtaposed with the scene where the black kid declares him to be at the bottom and calls him a chink.  And specifically, the subtext that the latter is wrong (as it should be) while the former is cute and funny.  

Yeah, but they moved from Washington, she should be used to humidity.

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it's played for laughs

Yeah, it's played for laughs, but in a "this kid is ridiculous" sort of way. I laugh at weeaboos all the time. At, not with. Plus, the "chink" bit is played for laughs, too, in an "oh no you didn't" sense; it's merely the set-up for Eddie going apeshit on him. And we do see the white kid being a bigot as well when he taunts Eddie (I mean "Ying Ming") that he's eating worms. 

 

I do hope the show doesn't continue to go completely overboard with the hip hop persona though because that sort of caricature can get very old. I might laugh at weeaboos, but shove them in my face repeatedly and after a while I want to slap them instead of laugh at them. 

Edited by galax-arena

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Yeah, but they moved from Washington, she should be used to humidity.

 

From the people I know who live/have lived in DC - they perceive Florida humidity a lot differently, especially since it's like 6-8 months out of the year here vs primarily the summer there.  At least, that is what I've been told, I've never lived in DC.  I grew up in Georgia, and it was an adjustment for me, so I totally sympathize with the mom in that regard.

 

Yeah, it's played for laughs, but in a "this kid is ridiculous" sort of way. I laugh at weeaboos all the time. At, not with. Plus, the "chink" bit is played for laughs, too, in an "oh no you didn't" sense; it's merely the set-up for Eddie going apeshit on him. 

 

I'll just agree to disagree, especially since I don't have the full context of the show. I perceived it one way, you perceived it another.  That's fair. And I may totally change my mind after watching the show. 

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Well, I think we're supposed to find him a bit ridiculous, if that opening shot is anything to go by

But isn't hip hop posturing kind of Eddie Huang's deal in real life? To me, he's kind of both kidding and not kidding when he does it.

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Hmm, arc, you may have a point. Honestly, I don't know much about Eddie in real life because the first time I heard about him was via this show. I figured that the hip hop posturing was something that he put on as a kid, and that he became less silly about it as an adult, but that was just projection on my part. 

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Glad there is a topic on this.... small request though... use spoiler tags.  There's an unfortunate Hannibal spoiler above... not a show I watch but may have considered watching at some point.

 

I don't watch a lot of network television, but it does seem like there are more examples of "color-blind" casting than I was aware of.  At least when it comes to supporting roles.  But it's still lacking.  I actually don't like the term "color-blind" because I don't think there is a need to ignore a person's race... but especially when it comes to actors, I want to see things get to a point where ethnic minority actors are not defined by their race.  It is still the case if there is a lead role being cast in a series or movie that is not ethnic specific, it will almost always go to a white actor.  But I'll take progress when it comes to supporting roles.

 

There are exceptions of course... I haven't seen The Mindy Project and honestly I should check it out given it's the one show on television with an Indian American lead... and from what I gather her ethnicity is not the focus of the show but presumably not ignored.  It seems comedy has largely been a genre where new ground can be broken when it comes to ethnicity and audiences can accept a minority as the lead.  Ground has been pretty slow to break with drama series though.  

 

I was hopeful when I saw that Kal Penn had been cast in Battle Creek.  But it turns out he's a supporting player.  The show has a multi-ethnic supporting cast, but the two leads are of course white actors who are arguably lower profile than Kal Penn who headlined three pretty popular Harold and Kumar movies (another example of how comedy can be a genre where the white ceiling breaks).  Dean Winters is fairly well known from the "Mayhem" insurance commercials.  I have no idea who the other guy is.  I imagine the suits don't believe audiences would accept Kal Penn as a lead player in a drama series.

 

Frankly I think they are wrong.  10 years ago I never would have thought Americans would elect a black President.  But ultimately people voted for one because he delivered the most resonant message (lets not let that comment veer into a discussion of whether he's lived up to the message).  I think people would similarly accept a drama with an ethnic lead if the show was good and resonated with viewers.  It's just going to take a suit to finally take a chance...

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@Ronin Jackson - I'm not seeing any spoilers.  So I'm not sure what you're referring to. That said, if you see spoilers, you can report it and the mods will deal with it (spoiler tag) or you can PM a mod about it.

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As much as I adore Viola Davis, I cannot muster any enthusiasm for her upcoming TV show.  I'm ambivalent on Shonda Rhimes, as I appreciate that she brought a solo black female lead back to dramatic TV for the first time in DECADES when networks and other showrunners had no fucks to give about it.  But then she proceeded to prop up and woobify Mellie (who I actually liked very early on), along with making Olivia Pope a seemingly supporting player rather than lead, and she completely lost me.  With no evidence beyond watching the preview, I suspect that How to Get Away with Murder is really about the students, but the network is using Davis' as a draw. I hope that I'm wrong. 

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Now I'm even more pissed that they cast a white guy as the lead of Tyrant (the story of a Middle Eastern leader's family) because it actually looks like it might be good. But I can't watch it on general principle.

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Maybe it's me but I feel that black actresses are being replaced by actresses of other ethnicities.  What I mean is that shows where, years ago, the minority would be a black woman, today they cast a Hispanic or Asian woman.  I wonder if that is because of romance, having the woman of color get involved with a white male character.  I wonder if show runners feel that fans and maybe the show runners themselves have issues with black women in romantic pairings with white men.  I don't know, but it's something I've felt for a long time.  However, it's good to see other women of color on TV, so it's not totally a bad thing.

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There's something about Susan Park's role on Fargo that I found really powerful. Her character is pretty minor but there was something about seeing an Asian woman in a setting largely associated with a white population and speaking with a distinct American regional dialect that felt pretty boundary-challenging. It might be a small step but I appreciate that Fargo hasn't translated a mostly-white population into an all-white cast, for once.

 

Actually, overall, how often do PoC actors get to play a role that calls for dialect that isn't a stereotype?

Edited by Wax Lion
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I started watching Chicago Fire last season but I think I'm done with the show when it comes back.  Something about that show doesn't sit right with me and I now know what it is:  The lack of black women on the show, not WOC but black women.

 

There are two black men on the show, Boden and Mills.  Boden is brown skinned and Mills is lighter skinned and I don't know if he's supposed to be biracial (because it seems that producers think all light skinned blacks are biracial...NOT TRUE FOLKS).  Anyway, there are two black men and no black women in the regular cast.  Boden has a secretary who is black, but IMO she's portrayed as being kind of negative, which bothered me because it seems that whenever a black woman is in a TV show, she's more negative than positive, I don't like that one bit. 

 

There is Dawson, a Hispanic woman who is the only WOC on the show.  I have a funny feeling about her.  My feeling is that since the show is kind of generic, the producers wanted a WOC but probably didn't want a black women because maybe they felt that if they had a black woman, especially a brown skinned black woman, they'd have to put her in a romance with a black man because in their eyes, no way would a black looking woman be with a man who wasn't black.  I noticed that in the show 'Southland' with Regina King's character, and it happened to Whoopi Goldberg when she made 'Jumping Jack Flash.'  For some reason, producers must think that men of other races are repulsed by black women, or that black women are repulsed by men of other races, something ignorant like that.

 

What also bugged me was when Boden finally found love and guess what, it was with a woman whose ethnicity is a question...well to me she looks like my mom when she was younger, but she's not a brown skinned black woman.  I have no issue with interracial relationships at all; but I just find it curious.  I also found it curious when Mills got involved with a white woman, which again didn't bother me.  I don't know, but from watching Chicago Fire and Chicago PD, it seems that brown skinned black women don't exist; at least not in a positive light. 

 

And that does bother me. 

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I was hopeful when I saw that Kal Penn had been cast in Battle Creek. But it turns out he's a supporting player. The show has a multi-ethnic supporting cast, but the two leads are of course white actors who are arguably lower profile than Kal Penn who headlined three pretty popular Harold and Kumar movies (another example of how comedy can be a genre where the white ceiling breaks). Dean Winters is fairly well known from the "Mayhem" insurance commercials. I have no idea who the other guy is. I imagine the suits don't believe audiences would accept Kal Penn as a lead player in a drama series.

Dean Winters starred in Oz and had recurring guest star roles on Rescue Me and 30 Rock (the latter is what I believe landed him the All State commercials). I think he was also a regular on L&O: SVU which is a shell of its former self but still chugging away.

The other lead on Battle Creek is Josh Duhamel who starred on Vegas for five years. I don't know that Kal Penn is more high profile than either of them. I'd say between the three of them, Dean Winters is probably the most respected as a dramatic actor due to his role as Ryan O'Reilly and Josh Duhamel is probably the biggest celebrity of the three since he's married to Fergie. I think Kal Penn is known for the Harold and Kumar movies and because his character on House committed suicide (which allowed him to accept his job at the White House).

I'm not saying he's some D list actor or anything because he's not some unknown guy who can't act his way out of a paper bag. He has name recognition and he was good on House (the only dramatic role I've seen him in) but I think in terms of comparing him to the two leads, Winters and Duhamel have more established track records as leads on drama series. I feel like the networks tend to want at least one well known lead when they cast for dramas. I'm not saying I think they need to (look at how well Sleepy Hollow did in its first season with two leads who weren't super well known actors), but they like that safety net for marketing purposes.

To be honest, I hadn't even heard of Battle Creek so I'm withholding judgement about the characters and casting for now but it's nice to see that Kal has a new show this fall. I can't remember the last time I saw an Indian actor playing a cop.

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I think in terms of comparing him to the two leads, Winters and Duhamel have more established track records as leads on drama series.

 

 

 

Fair enough...  I admit my point about who has better name recognition among the three actors was  made from a position of ignorance... I never saw Oz or Vegas and from a personal standpoint (I am Indian American) I have followed Penn more, so I'm hardly neutral (Penn was the dramatic lead in the film The Namesake... which again I'm probably more familiar with than others just by virtue of it being a film about Indian Americans... and he was very good in that film).  I'd like to say based on the H+K movies and The Namesake Penn has had the most feature film success, which normally would translate fine to television marketability.

 

That being said, I still stand by the main point I was getting at, that the main reason Winters and Duhamel are more viable as dramatic leads for the series than Penn, from the perspective of television executives, is because they are white. A white actor who had had Penn's feature film success would have no difficulty parlaying that success to lead roles on television (i.e. there would not be an argument that actors who have television recognition are more viable as television dramatic leads than actors who have feature film recognition).

Edited by Ronin Jackson
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Duhamel was also in the Transformer's movie series (the 3 with Shia LeBouf). I would say that all three are probably equal once it all evens out. That being said, Duhamel may be the weak link dramatically, if it actually ends up being a serious drama versus a procedural. IMO, Penn is probably the better actor of all of them. I guess we'll wait an see.

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Apropos of nothing:

 

I can't remember the last time I saw an Indian actor playing a cop.

 

The latest I can remember is Shawn Majumder as a detective on Detroit 187.  Unfortunately, that's the only one I can remember.

 

Personally, I find it more offensive (as a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant) that pretty much the only parts that Indian American actors can get these days are for Middle Eastern characters, and the majority of those are terrorists.  But that's just my opinion.

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Sri Lakan Bernard White played  a Latino Detective Molina in the syndicated Dragnet in 1989

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Person of Interest of course is dead to me.  I had heard that the show was huge with black people, so what do they do?  Kill off the only black person on the show, that's what they do.  Another case where a stupid writer didn't know what to do with a black female character, so they killed her off.  They didn't have to kill of Carter, they could have written her off, but because IMO, white, male writers don't know what to do with black female characters, they went to nut city and killed her off. 

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Person of Interest of course is dead to me.  I had heard that the show was huge with black people, so what do they do?  Kill off the only black person on the show, that's what they do.  Another case where a stupid writer didn't know what to do with a black female character, so they killed her off.  They didn't have to kill of Carter, they could have written her off, but because IMO, white, male writers don't know what to do with black female characters, they went to nut city and killed her off. 

 

She says that she was always planning to go after 2-3 seasons: http://insidetv.ew.com/2013/11/20/person-interest-taraji-p-henson-interview-carter-death. She has a new series starting soon, so it's possible she just wanted to do something different.

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She says that she was always planning to go after 2-3 seasons: http://insidetv.ew.com/2013/11/20/person-interest-taraji-p-henson-interview-carter-death. She has a new series starting soon, so it's possible she just wanted to do something different.

 

That may be true, but why not have her character go to the FBI?  Why kill her off?  It is still my belief that TV folk these days don't know what to do with a black woman, especially a brown skinned black woman.  It's like they are afraid to put her with a white man for fear of....well, I don't know what.  Or maybe they're just shitty writers.

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Or maybe they're just shitty writers.

 

Despite living in or near Los Angeles, a large city full of diversity, Hollywood writers all too often assume the demographics of northern Europe. It's appalling.

 

My original response in this thread, which I revised and ultimately deleted, asked why there was only one black person in the cast. I don't watch the show, which is why I didn't post. But maybe that's the question we should ask.

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That may be true, but why not have her character go to the FBI?  Why kill her off?

 

Because that's a better story? Before she was killed off, she spent the first half of the season as the show's main protagonist, more or less. I don't think the character needed to die, but having her just decide to leave would have been a huge anti-climax.

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I thought it was a pretty shitty story to have her killed off.  Shitty writing.  To me, it's as I said, these writers have zero idea what to do with a black woman, so they kill her off.  End of story.

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Sigh. So True Blood

decided they needed to kill off a major character to prove this season was serious... and killed off a black woman who had been around since the beginning (but went down some terrible story paths, but who didn't on that show?)

Edited by Wax Lion

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That entire article is one big, "Yes, exactly!" (I'm glad there's rumbling about the casting of foreign white actors over Americans of ANY ethnicity) but specifically, this.right.here:
 

Bassam Al-Fayeed could have been played by an actor who was entirely or half from any one of those countries, or whose parents or grandparents were entirely or partially from any of those countries. We span the globe looking for white guys to play white guys, but the "Tyrant" team hit a wall when it came to the quest for Middle Eastern actors who might want to be the lead in a major cable television show.

That has to be it, right? There literally must not be enough Middle Eastern actors out there, right?

 

I mean, the general American viewing audience (maybe even the industry) knows fuck all about Rayner, but it was doubtful that Omar Metwally could carry the show? What? Just...what? I want this show to tank so badly, but then it'll just be an excuse not to bother trying again.

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