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"Asian guys in my show? Not gonna happen!"

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Atlantic Pacf., Mar 7, 2015.

  1. Crackerbox

    Crackerbox King

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    No, it doesn't do anything to depict Asian-Americans or African-Americans in a better light. It's showing a one dimensional Southern redneck that is a ridiculous caricature. It's an extremely shallow illustration at Hollywood's normal appeal to the lowest possible denominator.

    Glenn is a token Asian-American. Be an African-American male on the Walking Dead, and you automatically get red-shirted like on Star Trek.
     
  2. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Quad B

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    Every character is a caricature. Some very select few are grown beyond that, but most are not. It isn't 'appealing to the lowest common denominator', it is just crafting the product.

    A character in their first appearance on screen, in fifteen seconds or less, should deliver a concise "this is who I am" to the audience. The objective being that the character can then be built or used by the writer to get a predictable result to the audience.

    If in his third scene the character is brutally slaughtered I do not want to account for half the audience liking him and being appalled while half the audience hated him and is glad to see him go. I'm not trying to make some sort of interactive thing where at the bottom of the screen it says "if you hate this guy go to the snack bar and come back in eight minutes to develop that plot, if you like him the next eight minutes are for you".

    Even if it is a character to be built into a multidimensional "real" person, building that person requires a fixed point to build from, and that fixed point has to be something that the entire audience grasped quickly and in common. A caricature. If they have differing initial impressions there is no way to successfully build the character.
     
  3. Crackerbox

    Crackerbox King

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    Nope, there are quality tv and film projects where the opposite is true. Characters are fully fleshed out. In fact within postmodern serialization, we've seen tv evolve into a medium with long running mytharcs and character development.

    Having one dimensional caricatures is not the mark of a quality tv show. It's obviously going to resort to stereotypes like Two Broke Girls.
     
  4. Gori the Grey

    Gori the Grey The Poster

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    Yeah, but is a zombie show one where you're going to get richly developed, three-dimensional characters?

    (I haven't watched Walking Dead; maybe it is aiming for that, for all I know.)
     
  5. Crackerbox

    Crackerbox King

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    That's a complex question. The comic book is a strange departure from previous zombie films like Romero's vision. That was truthfully about capitalism and excess, and the American consumer as cannibalizing themselves. Romeo has criticized the show.

    The show is meeting a middle ground, especially in the Fifth season, to be much more than just a zombie genre show, more than a post-apoc show, and really is a drama show with zombies in it.

    Regardless, Glenn (the Korean-American character) is really just a token for much of that time. He was largely known as the fetch it boy for the group, and only later as a zombie killer.
     
  6. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    That's a fair criticism of Merle, although I'd counter that this characterisation is in part to develop a contrasting, counter-stereotypical characterisation of Daryl, so it's not simply lazy writing.

    Is that really what you demand of fiction, that every point of plot and characterisation promote ethnic minorities in some active way? That seems like an invitation to some very deeply patronising story-telling, not to mention some very boring stories.

    I agree that the series has a bad habit of treating African-American men as disposable goods, but I don't really understand the claim that Glenn is a "token" character. He's one of the integral members of the group, with as much emotional depth as the rest. He's also one of the major audience-identification characters, because while the other central male characters tend towards brooding alpha masculinity, Glenn fills the role of everyman, at least if you're a male under the age of thirty.
     
  7. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Quad B

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    Just out of curiosity, does anyone else see this response as a clear indication that only the first line of the quoted post is being responded to?
     
  8. Crackerbox

    Crackerbox King

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    No, I've maintained all along, that merely to depict Asian-Americans as normal would be enough. There's no need to hammer home some beneficial aspect each time. That would simply be pandering.

    For much of the series, Glenn has been the guy to get things from town. He was good at it, and the group was willing to risk him in that manner. I've actually just rewatched all of the episodes to give The Walking Dead a second chance, and only far later does he become known for his zombie fighting ability.

    Showing Glenn as any other character trying to deal with the situation, as any white character, would be a huge step up. And African-American characters? They're lucky to last for several episodes as they love to kill them off. They're considered disposable on the show as many folks have pointed out in irritation.
     
  9. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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  10. Crackerbox

    Crackerbox King

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    Making zero deal about the ethnicity of the character, and simply telling the story. Is that difficult? Glenn should be no different than any white character. He's just another American trying to make it.

    Imagine Two Broke Girls, not with some moronic depiction of an Asian-American boss with a ridiculous accent, but a normal American boss who just happens to be Asian-American incidentally.
     
  11. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    They do show Glenn as facing the same problems as the white characters. In the first season, yeah, he's thinly drawn, but so are most of the cast until they get thinned down. And for the second season, if he appears to carry less of a weight, it's because he's a young guy without attachments- Daryl is also thinly drawn in that season, for the same reason- which changes when his relationship with Maggie becomes a major thread.

    He's not as proficient at murdering things as some other characters, but why would he be? He's a dorkly delivery boy in his early twenties, while not a cop or a hunter. If that's your measure of representation, then almost nobody is getting a fair shake.

    At what point in the show does Glenn's ethnicity become an obstacle to his characterisation?
     
  12. Crackerbox

    Crackerbox King

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    From the very beginning by making Glenn a Korean delivery boy. He's not a boy. He's a man, an American man.
     
  13. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Quad B

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    Do you think white guys working as delivery boys saw this depiction as demeaning to Asian Americans?
     
  14. thomas.berubeg

    thomas.berubeg Wandering the World

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    I'm not seeing where your characterization of Glenn is coming from at all. Glenn, from the start, is as richly drawn as any other character, and indeed more so than most. He's the one, in the first episode, who makes the effort to save Rick from the Tank, and his role has only grown from there. Yeah, before the apocalypse, he's a delivery boy, but that's just a job that any young deadbeat 20 something would have (And Glenn, before the apocalypse, is a deadbeat... I don't remember if that's from the show of the comic, but he basically states that he had no real future beyond that, which is as far from the Asian Stereotype as possible,) I don't see how his being Asian has anything to do with that.
     
  15. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    I largely agree with your post but I disagree with the binary meaning. The word has many meanings and people mean different ones when they say it and people interpret different meanings when they hear it.

    To suggest whenever a white person utters/writes that word they are saying "I am better than black people" is some dogmatism and not taking on a more challenging analysis. It runs close to smarm. Both white and black people mean all kinds of things with that word and use or refuse it for all kinds of reasons.
     
  16. Owen Glyndwr

    Owen Glyndwr La Femme Moderne

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    They can mean whatever they want by using the word, but ultimately that is the subtext of what they are saying.
     
  17. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Quad B

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    Moving the binary into the nebula of subtext doesn't make it more accurate.
     
  18. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    Except when it's not? Words evolve. Populations evolve. Context matters. Sure, too many people are hurt on the listeners' end for white people to be handling that word in most contexts. But there's no "ultimately" subtext. You're assuming intent.

    Don't fall for dogma.
     
  19. Tee Kay

    Tee Kay Justice guaranteed

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    Good for them.
     
  20. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    I don't follow. In what way does fact that the colloquial term for his job title contains the word "boy" represent an obstacle to characterisation, and what does that have to do with his ethnicity?
     

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