Those of you convinced that the popular culture is so rigidly PC and reflexively liberal that there can be no more reliable guardian of American sensibilities when it comes to the subject of race and ethnicity—think again.
Cracked magazine, the only periodical you need to read, assuming you can’t afford a subscription to the Journal of Asian Folktale Studies, has done the heavy reporting on racism on television. Among the most vicious perpetrators of stereotypes:
Glee — yes, Glee! How could it be? Isn’t it a light unto the Red State nations?
[T]he two Asian characters on the show have the same last name. The Jew’s last name is Ben Israel and he’s as sexually deranged as Gladstone. The Latina cheerleader is actually named Santana Lopez, possibly because they had to cut Conchita Luisa Mexicasa out of the script. There’s even actually an Irish exchange student who is immediately believed to be a leprechaun.
Two Broke Girls. Granted, this sitcom has all the sophistication of a night at a strip club with a syphilitic Russian sailor handcuffed to an NCIS officer, but the crude sexual “jokes” are the least of its offenses:
[H]as anyone who is involved with this show, including the Asian actor, ever met an Asian person before? . . .
No, really, what’s going on there? The actor is from San Francisco and speaks perfectly clear English except on the show, where he’s Asian reporter Tricia Takanawa. His character has been designed specifically as an Asian stereotype — he’s a workaholic nerdlinger with an iPad who speaks like he just rolled out of the fortune cookie factory and is surprised to find a lack of bamboo in our crazy, Western world. The fact that he’s not wearing a funny hat, kung-fuing Kat Denning’s breasts and quoting Confucius while throwing ninja stars at rice-encrusted pandas just means I probably stumbled on a plot twist for next season.
The blatant racism in the show wasn’t lost on pretty much anyone on Earth who’s actually seen it, and you can read articles about it in The New Yorker, on Jezebel and in this particularly enlightening summary of a press junket for the show in which the creator insists it’s all OK because everyone gets made fun of and he himself is gay, so how could what he does be offensive? How could a gay man be racist?
And that’s the real punch line: The folks behind these two abominations think themselves too progressive, too liberal, too open-minded, to offend anyone who isn’t Christian, Conservative, or Mormon. And those groups don’t count: enlightened people are supposed to hate them. Any collateral damage is all a terrible misunderstanding, a kind of comedy napalm.
Which sums up most of what passes for comedy on TV these days.