Archives for posts with tag: Scandal

The Fairy Princess has been watching a lot of Network TV.

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Mainly because she has a toddler, and as most Parents know, once you have a toddler, you do not get to go out as much as you had before.

Therefore I have noticed that some of my favorite non-Asian named but played by Asian American characters have been killed off, rather gruesomely, on Network Television and I can understand why some are getting upset. (Upset being the mildest word to describe what they are feeling)

Let’s break it down for those who cannot understand the fuss –

First to go:

1. Deborah S. Craig, aka Luli Zheng from NBC’s The Blacklist.

Luli Zheng...RIP

Luli Zheng…RIP

 

Now, Luli was a cool chick. She was. She had an MBA in Economics from Stanford, and was the youngest ever head of a Billion Dollar Hedge fund until, in a spectacular death blow to Tiger Parenting, she was charged twice with wire and securities fraud. However, she survived all of that and went on to manage James Spader’s character ‘Red’ ‘s money and was his lovah….all of which I enjoyed both as an audience member and as a fan of diversity.

And then…dum, dum, dum….Luli had her face blown off and brain matter splattered right there on Network TV in the episode “Anslo Garrick“.

KA-BOOM! Luli we hardly knew ye.

2. Julia Cho (not the playwright) aka Shelby Moss, on ABC’s Scandal

Fare thee well, Shelby Moss

Fare thee well, Shelby Moss

Poor earnest Shelby Moss, who in her work for the NSA ‘overheard’ the conversation between the “I love my Dead Gay Husband, who I just killed” Vice President played by the formidable Kate Burton and the “I let my live Gay Husband sleep with your Dead Gay Husband to get blackmail photos‘ Cyrus Beene, played by the brilliant Jeffy Perry,  in the Episode “No Sun On The Horizon”.

Poor Shelby, she was only trying to help when she turned the conversation in to Olivia Pope’s Sub-Gladiator Family, headed up by their Don Quixote, David Rosen.

But what did she get?

Bullet to the forehead, no warning, and buried in an unmarked grave by Scott Foley’s Jake, who is now ‘Command”.

Ouch. Not even a double tap.

Single shot. Brutal.

Probably Shelby Moss should have taken the hint when she walked on set, given the way Scandal handled it’s last API Character – ‘member Press Secretary Britta Kagen? 

Played by Keiko Agena.

Britta got filtered so Fitz could live....

Britta got filtered so Fitz could live….

 

Britta bit it too. Only fatality. Ouch.

To be an Asian American actor on Scandal is the same as being a ‘red-shirt’ on Star Trek.

 

Damn, they were only following orders, Kirk!

Anyhow, Asian American female characters dropping like flies in some spectacularly gruesome ways, how are the men doing?

Reggie Lee aka Officer Wu on NBC’s GRIMM

Officer Wu-tastic!

Officer Wu-tastic!

was attacked by an Aswang (Filipino monster) and wound up in a mental institution!

Alec Mapas Renzo on ABC Family’s Switched At Birth was accused of leaking Lea Thompson’s first draft manuscript!

"I was supposed to have done WHAT?"

“I was supposed to have done WHAT?”

 

Hmmm, the men, not so good. I mean, good that they are getting so much screen time, but they are dealing with a lot of stuff too.

Which is great!

Because that means more airtime, and that means that APIs are becoming part of the American Television landscape in a larger way, and that means, we are finally getting ‘our due’ as integral cast members! Bad stuff happens to Cast Members, because that is what a dramatic show is all about.

So if Reggie Lee has to go crazy, or if Alec Mapa has to defend himself, or if our Hawaii 5.0 bruddahs and sistahs have to enjoy huge character arcs, in the name of propelling their show’s drama,  all the better.

However one can see where Asian American audience members were perhaps having a rough viewing Network TV season, and then came…Beverly Katz.

Miss Katz regrets, she's unable to lunch today....

Miss Katz regrets, she’s unable to lunch today….

 

3. Hettiene Park, aka Beverly Katz, NBC’s Hannibal

Everyone likes Beverly Katz – maybe it’s the name, maybe it’s the no nonsense approach she has to science. Perhaps it is because Beverly Katz was indeed a breakthrough character in many ways, right from casting.

Hannibal Creator, Bryan Fuller first saw Hetienne in a play on Broadway called “Seminar”, and that may be where our public attachment started.

First off, as everyone knows, (but if they do not they can read this AAPAC study on the dearth of APIs on Broadway) Asian Americans on Broadway in seasons where Miss Saigon or King & I are not playing are low to non-existent. To be an Asian American on Broadway is to defy incredible odds. To then be able to propel it into a television role is exceedingly rare, so of course Asian America would embrace Beverly Katz, er…Hettiene Park, er…Beverly Katz. (because you see, she’s a character, ahem)

Here’s glam, but understated, Beverly going head to sewn-on head (onto another body, you have to watch the show), with monster Hannibal Lector, who has planted evidence to frame the mentally nimble but unsteady, Will Graham. Beverly is the only one, using reason and logic and science, who finally comes to the realization that Will is telling the truth.

So she goes to Hannibal Lector’s house. Alone.

Repeat that last part, she goes to Hannibal Lector’s house alone. Would YOU go alone to someone’s house if you thought they were a mass murderer who eats his victims?

Probably not, but it makes for good television.

Good television, good storytelling, good craftsmanship is why people watch the show. Any show.

Unless you watch reality tv exclusively.

The one, the only Honey Boo Boo

Honey Boo Boo, Ladies & Gentlemen, Honey Boo Boo

 

Now, there are many, many reasons that fans attach to a character and a show. Asian Americans in particular have been so long ignored on the TV landscape that we attach rather strongly – so there was a resulting uproar when poor Beverly Katz turned around and saw Hannibal seeing her, in his basement, pawing through his stuff.

Characters die for all sorts of  reasons on television. Sometimes it’s a production decision, sometimes it’s an actor’s decision, sometimes it is a combination. A non-meeting of the minds. Or it is a decision based on, oh, what is that thing we all tune in for?

Oh right, the story.

You can be sad when your favorite characters die on a television show, for example…

Dan Stevens as Matthew Crawley on Downton Abbey

 

Josh Charles as Will Gardner on The Good Wife….

 

But let’s not get hysterical.

There are really good things coming for Asian Americans who like seeing Asian Americans on television or in films –

Cast of the Pilot, Far East Orlando - Constance Wu, Ian Chen, Hudson Yang, Forrest Wheeler, Randall Park

Cast of the Pilot, Far East Orlando – Constance Wu, Ian Chen, Hudson Yang, Forrest Wheeler, Randall Park

And there are some really good things already up and running:

Arden Cho on Teen Wolf

Arden Cho on Teen Wolf

Rex Lee in the Entourage Movie

Rex Lee in the Entourage Movie

The Cast of TBS's Sullivan and Son

The Cast of TBS’s Sullivan and Son

Grace Park & Daniel Dae Kim

Grace Park & Daniel Dae Kim

Christina Chang and the cast of Nashville

Christina Chang and the cast of Nashville

Chloe Bennett & Ming Na

Chloe Bennett & Ming Na

So we are not NON Existent on Network TV, get that out of your head. We’re there. Not everywhere, but we are there.

Of course you are allowed to be sad about poor ol’ Beverly Katz, who likely will ‘get served’ on this evening’s Hannibal.

panch'an) refers to small dishes of food served along with cooked rice in Korean cuisine.

panch’an -small dishes of food served along with cooked rice in Korean cuisine.

 

However you must remember….your favorite characters dying on one show means that soon – they will be on another show playing someone else you can grow to love just as much. Or perhaps they can go and do a play or a musical on Broadway and you can see them live, up close and in person.

Being on a Network Television show in a role that recurs opens many doors, it is the gateway to a career that can be challenging, as a minority, to get noticed in. When Hannibal started, no one outside Broadway knew of the range and talent of Hettiene Park.  Now, as of the numbers last week show, 2.5-2.7 million people have seen Ms. Park and what she can bring to a role. She will be just fine. She will live on – not as Beverly Katz, but as someone equally cool. Same goes for Deborah S. Craig and Julia Cho and Keiko Agena….they will all be fine.

You can be angry – but be angry at Beverly Katz, who was stupid/confident enough to walk into a psychopath’s house alone without backup. While you are at it, be mad at Cousin Matthew for driving too fast, and be mad at Will Gardner for taking on an unstable client.

That anger will be equally as useful.

Flipping out to flip out is not going to get you more Asian Americans on television. Flipping out to flip out, means you become, forgive the color inclusion but it’s the term, white noise.

No one will listen.

The Fairy Princess is not down for that, nope, not at all. You cannot cry racism or institutional racism or any other isms ad nauseum. Activism is useful when it is active. Not when it’s all about yelling. I know this, because my Family has, for generations, been activists in this country.

Beverly Katz is dead. RIP Beverly Katz – your passing will enhance the opportunities for actress Hettiene Park, and the storyline of Hannibal, and for those of us who watch it, we are grateful for your sacrifice.

And remember….

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And if you cannot…..(I don’t know why, maybe you are a vegetarian, as am I) then it really may be as Elementary as…

Lucy Liu as Dr. Watson in Elementary

Lucy Liu as Dr. Watson in Elementary

 

 

Here in the States we are quickly approaching Thanksgiving – which is when we are all supposed to look at relatives and friends at a giant table, before gorging ourselves silly, and say what we are thankful for. It could be…well, anything.

You could be grateful that you hosted this year, and thus avoided hours and hours of insane traffic. You could be grateful that you got all A’s this semester. You could be grateful that you look ten years younger than your old boyfriend who by interesting co-inky-dink has shown up to be seated directly across from you, which does not bother you in the slightest because you are blissfully happy in a stable relationship with a killer job AND a cute little non-yappy dog who wears holiday gear on his head with no problem.

Howdy, Pilgrim

The Fairy Princess has been to a lovely party this evening where she caught up with friends old and new…and she has decided to make a grateful list. Partially because when you have been feeling under siege for an extended amount of time, it is hard to see what good things are happening. However, good things ARE happening and I wanted to just take a moment and red-necked-nize, as Honey Boo Boo would say.

(Look at me, I’m all “Anne of Green Gables” with my ‘glad list’.)

I loved these books as a kid,
Anne of Green Gables by
LM Montgomery

1. I am grateful that my post about La Jolla Playhouse’s production of The Nightingale brought attention to Casting Discrimination in American Theater. (That is self-congratulatory, but one is not going to kill you – just go with it)

You know we are p.o’d when
you get graphics!

2. I am thankful that La Jolla Playhouse hosted a talk back with it’s Creative Team. This is the first time that the Asian American Acting Community has had the opportunity to have dialogue on this issue. Could it have been more…ya know…more? Well sure, of course. But the message was heard, and in their next two shows, there were Asian Americans in lead roles.

Cindy Cheung & Christine Toy Johnson
at La Jolla’s talkback…they look so pissed off
I feel like I need to go practice piano & bring home an A
TIGER ACTRESSES!
RRROOOOWWRRR

3. I am thankful that the Royal Shakespeare Company and Artistic Director Gregory Doran perpetrated a cultural theft upon China – because otherwise how would the dialogue that opened up Internationally, between the American and UK Asian Artistic communities have occurred? Do I think that Gregory Doran handled his criticisms poorly? Ummmm, let me think, give me a minute, oh wait – YEP. YEP I DO.

The Orphan of Zhao…by way of
Exeter.

(Has that guy apologized yet? Cuz, I mean, I WROTE IT FOR HIM)

4. I am thankful that for the first time, there will be a talk held by British Equity on the issue of Casting East Asians in theater and television on the British stage.

Good thing British Equity is going
to look for the East Asians…because
apparently they have been misplaced

5. I am thankful that East West Players, the longest established Asian American theater company, and the oldest ethnic theater company in America, hosted a Forum on representation. They did not have to, but they did.

6. I am thankful that the LA Stage Alliance helped East West Players put that forum together, and that it was on the web, and I could see it in New York, as I was unable to attend.

7. I am grateful my six month old has cut one tooth.

Here he is a the CAPE Poker Fundraiser
with DWTS Carrie Ann Inaba and H5o’s
Ian Anthony Dale – This kid is a playah

8. I am thankful that shows like GRIMM, GREY’S ANATOMY, HAWAII 5.0, DWTS, NIKITA, GLEE, THE MINDY PROJECT, HOUSE M.D., ELEMENTARY, WALKING DEAD, THE MENTALIST, GO ON, COMMUNITY, DROP DEAD DIVA, ROYAL PAINS, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT, and SULLIVAN & SON have Series Regulars that are APIs.

(I am probably missing some, for which I apologize, the Fairy Princess only has 1 set of eyes to go with 1 set of wings)

9. I am thankful that there have been recurring roles for APIs on ONCE UPON A TIME, NYC 22, SCANDAL, PRIVATE PRACTICE, just to name a few.

(Hey Show Runners, wanna bump up those folks and make them regulars? How hard could it be?)

10. I am thankful that my Family made it through Hurricane Sandy.

11. I am thankful that there are shows being written like ALLEGIANCE, which set box office records for The Old Globe Theater in San Diego, proving that Asian Americans on stage, telling their stories, can be moving and universal.

12. I am thankful that the one of the things I make really well – is one that is welcomed during this holiday season, no matter where I go. (Irish Soda Bread is not for all occasions)

Crumb topping…YUM!

Have a Great Thanksgiving no matter where you are – and if someone tells you to ‘kow tow’ or to shuffle your feet, or
to ‘do it again with an accent’ and you don’t feel like doing it – tell ’em the Fairy Princess says to –

KISS YOUR FAN TAN FANNIE!