I Am Koream


Source: I Am Koream, April 5, 2010

"Jersey Shore" Meets KTown?

Author: Sylvie Kim

Via 8Asians, casting has begun for a Koreatown reality series in the vein of MTV hit Jersey Shore. You’ve got your headshots ready, right? The show seeks:

“…attractive Asian-Americans with lively, strong, and unique personalities between the ages of 18 to 30 with equally interesting life stories and perspectives to share, especially individuals who know about and/or experienced the Koreatown life.

Translation: We want to exploit you as a vapid stereotype. Ka-ching!

When they say “Koreatown life,” I doubt they want to know what’s it like to bus tables at the tofu house or drive your halmoni to Sunday service. Koreatown + young Asian Americans = partying. Partying = limitless opportunities to make an ass of yourself on camera.

Some might argue that displaying Asian Americans in such a light is counter to staid representations of passive, nerdy yellow folk, but in my opinion, the hard-partying, materialistic, club-crazy Asian is pretty damn familiar, at least in your average metropolitan American city. So to me, it just sounds like good ol’ fashioned money-makin’ off of a cultural gimmick.

In some way, I do think it’s notable that Asian Americans are being seen as an audience draw for a reality show that has nothing to do with painful awkwardness or a bisexual orgy.

Then I ask myself: Do we really need a Korean or Asian American Snookie or The Situation? Haven’t Asian/Americans been pummeled enough throughout the history of Western media?

Now I’m empathizing with Italian American groups who protested the Jersey Shore series which turned “guido” from an ethnic slur into a term of endearment and introduced the ingenious acronym GTL (“gym, tanning, laundry” for those of you who aren’t in the know) as the supposed credo of proud Italian Americans everywhere. Most of us don’t want shallowness or stupidity inextricably linked with our entire culture. I admit, I watched Jersey Shore religiously. Perhaps we Asian Americans that indulged in some JWoww and Pauly D voyeurism are getting our comeuppance with the production of this new series.

But, according to the casting notice, not everyone on the show may be Asian American. They’re willing to take on non-Asians who are “obsessed with Asian culture or people in some way.” If I were cast on this show and they made me bunk next to some creeper with Yellow Fever, I’d be straight pissed. The Soju bottles and Louis Vuitton bags strategically placed on set by the producers and commercial sponsors would be flying.

Which I guess would make for good television…which means I’m totally gonna watch this show. In fact, I’m going to audition. Every reality show cast needs a black sheep who is antithetical to what the producers want on screen, someone who will be mercilessly ostracized by the other cast members and sent to the confessional booth in tears and with ragged remnants of self-esteem. I buy cheap clothes, drive a dinged-up car, rock the monolids, have a BMI over 17, my Korean sucks, and I can’t stand trance music. That could be me on TV! [Fist pump]

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