'On Television, Asians Face Multiple ‘Situations’'
The seemingly endless train of new semiliterate reality shows following the “Jersey Shore” model — maligning a generally underrepresented ethnic subculture via a careful selection of its most narcissistic elements — chugs along. There’s the Brighton Beach version. A Massachusetts version is reportedly in the works. And, at long last, the cast of “K-Town Reality Show” was announced this week.
Curbed does the requisite character mapping between the new show, which follows a group of heavily coiffed Asian-Americans around Los Angeles, and its New Jersey-based predecessor.
But while the styles may seem the same, there appears to be something different about this show. For example, as the Racialicious writer Arturo R. García observes, the dead ringer to be an Asian “Situation” is a bit more sensible on camera than the original. This fact alone may doom the show. (Who wants to watch a “Sensible Situation”?)
The members of the band Ching Chong Song might have benefited from some of that sensibility when they sat down to name their group. Searching for the worst band name in New York, Sound of the City selected the alliteratively titled duo.
Apart from having a bad band name, the pair, both white Brooklynites, have faced criticism — and even protests before shows at New York University and Bryn Mawr — from Asian-Americans who find the name culturally insensitive and even racist. (It is, quite obviously, based on a derogatory expression.)
The band apologized to Bryn Mawr students after the school canceled a show in 2007, but appears not to have responded to the charges by changing its name. And now that it’s semiofficially the worst in the city, why change at this point?
In Queens, an Asian situation of a different sort has at least one local blogger riled up. It seems that a former Bollywood movie theater in Jackson Heights, shuttered last year during a film producers’ strike in India, will not reopen. At least, not as a cultural institution. It’s slated to be replaced by a Rite Aid pharmacy.