About two weeks ago I started watching another show, as I am wont to do, mostly because my schoolwork was piling up and I needed a reason not to do it. The show was CBS’s 2 Broke Girls, and after catching up on the first eight episodes I was linked to this article via a review on the A.V. Club’s TV Club.
The article discusses 1/2 of the show’s creative duo Michael Patrick King, who was an executive producer on Sex in the City, and his reasons for disregarding critics who are calling him out on perpetuating racial stereotypes. I’m going to present his quote first, then the alleged racist portrayals.
“I’m not going to change. No, absolutely not.”
“I believe that anybody, when you see them for the first time, you judge them based on the surface.”
First (and foremost) on the docket is Asian-American actor Matthew Moy, who plays Han (Bryce) Lee, the owner of the diner where the two leading ladies work. To be fair to King and CBS, a lot of the racial idiosyncrasies described here in the casting sides were toned down a lot in the actual airing of the show. Yes, Han still speaks terrible English, has a very poor understanding of holidays and anything else American (“And the Very Christmas Thanksgiving”), and makes an obvious reference to William Hung (“And the Rich People Problems), but it’s all in good fun.
The following are two clips. The first from Moy’s appearance on Criminal Minds, and the second of his character on 2 Broke Girls.
Well, you may be asking, has the show deepened Moy’s character? Maybe all we’re seeing is this surface King was describing. To answer your question, not really. Moy continues to speak hilariously broken English, but has since become more of a nerdy stereotype than anything. His accent has become distracting at best, and continues to baffle me since Koreans are good at English. It’s like Han was raised in a remote village or much further North.