Much has been written about how 2 Broke Girls demeans Asians so I’ll quote from these sources: One of 2 Broke Girls regular characters is Han, the owner of the diner where the titular girls work. Han is a diminutive, thickly accented Asian man who is regularly made fun of for his lack of sex appeal, broken English, and general uncoolness. From: Vulture.
According to Racebending, Bryce Lee (Han) plays like a caricature of failed American Idol contestant William Hung. Perhaps this was deliberate, since Two Broke Girls has a very 90’s sitcom aesthetic, but the character is anachronistic. Because the actor clearly sounds like an American actor attempting to affect a foreign accent, and given the character’s emasculated personality and ignorance about English is played for stereotype-based laughs.
Historically, minorities have frequently been laughed at, and have only rarely been laughed with. This is the fear we have with the character of Bryce Lee. The type of derision many Asian American immigrants face in their daily lives is not a laugh track. Dispelling assumptions people have made about you (because of crappy media representations and stereotypes) is no walk in the park, either.”
Later, 2 Broke Girls attempted to “right this wrong” but only compounded their insults against Asians. Yes, there was an attractive, tall, unaccented Asian on last night’s episode…there were tons of raunchy [ethnic] jokes (“Maybe let him browse your yahoo”, etc) and commentary on the Asian’s guy’s technical skills (“webmaster”), a not-joke about how the guy in question “Did that thing where he pretended he was going to choke me” and, of course, more apparently obligatory jibes about Han’s sexual orientation/effeminacy. (Han: “I am a man in a man’s body.” Max: “We’re not talking about your nightlife.”) (Vulture)
In explaining away the demeaning nature of 2 Broke Girls, Michael Patrick King broke ground for stupidity on the subject. First, as a matter of course, the offender’s alibi or defense should never be considered in validating or measuring the offense. The current state of society misunderstands racism in that it assumes that the ‘intent’ matters. Modern racism is more a product of subconscious prejudice than anything else which means the offender is rarely aware of their biases. Also, to the extent, it is intentional or rather reckless (in that, they know it’s offensive but don’t care), they will never admit it.
In the press conference King says, “The big story about race on our show is that so many are represented. The cast is not only multi‑ethnic, including the regulars and the guest stars”. You will hear this line from whites regularly. It is to say- if we include minorities, we should be thanked. No introspection of how minorities are represented.
He goes on to say about Han, “I like Han. I like his character. I like the fact he’s an immigrant. I like that he’s trying to fit into America. I like the fact in the last three episodes we haven’t made an Asian joke, we’ve only made short jokes” From: Entertainment Weekly. See how generous King is. Now he’s tried to avoid blame for racist material, but instead trades in the ‘short Asian stereotype’ without claiming it’s about Asians. This is the kind of stereotype that makes a girlfriend’s friends flinch when she announces she has an Asian boyfriend.
The reason King likes Han is that he is an inoffensive, submissive Asian male who defers to whites and can be played for laughs.
Though a large number of Asians are born in America, Hollywood perpetuates this notion that we are all immigrants, outsiders. Notice that whites have a diverse set of personas on the show whereas Asians do not have a strong, masculine role. This is by design – and King is at fault.
The fact that 2 Broke Girls continues to mock minorities shows that King hasn’t learned a thing. Attempted humor is the last refuge of unapologetic racists.
CATEGORY OF OFFENSE: Denigration ( Mockery of Asians)
MEDIA TYPE: TV Show
OFFENSE DATE: January 1, 2019