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April 05, 2009

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misfithausfrau

John Cho HAS to be the lead. Period.

Daddy Geek Boy

If you have the power to push for an Asian-American lead, than you should wield that power. TV Networks are going to go for the "broadest audience" they can. To them that means casting it blandly, casting it white. You may have to make a choice, to enter into a deal where you lose creative control or stay true to your principals. Your handlers are probably going to push for you to take the cash, if given the choice. I would decide now how you feel, so you can brace yourself when presented with it.

Good luck.

Randy

If you push for an AA lead, then you will have to find an Asian Male actor that is likable that the audience can relate to and has some good comedic skills.

As others have said, John Cho is the ideal choice. James Kyson Lee is another possibility. Bobby Lee is NOT a good choice.

How about that guy from Better Luck Tomorrow? Parry Shen?

DC

The Asian American talent's out there. Anybody who says otherwise isn't hanging around a lot of Asian American actors or is trying to obscure the fact that s/he buys into the "non-Asian audiences will never follow an Asian lead" mentality. If you're looking for a "known quantity," Ken Jeong might be available.

Even if the pilot doesn't get greenlit, at least you can walk away from the project knowing you did your best to create something you can be proud of.

Also, think about the writers. They need every bit of fodder to expand on, otherwise they're churning out According to Jim rehashes.

Maria from Colorado

First time reader/commentor:

LOVE your blog! Found the link on another favorite blog, AngryAsianMan.

Re your show. May I suggest that you pitch it to USA Network? They seem to use more diversity in their extra casting. I have seen several Asians named in production roles. Also they are promoting what they call the "Character project." Which appears to be a celebration of the unique diversity that actually comprises America.

http://www.usanetwork.com/characterproject/

My observation as a Black American woman who finds ALL races of men attractive, Asian men included, (at the top of the list actually) is that the dominant culture is reluctant to share the spotlight with ANY other group of people. Walk past any magazine stand and see who graces the cover of the majority of the magazines. Especially women's magazines. It's not just Anglo women, but BLOND,BLUE EYED Anglo women. The reality is that this society and the rest of the world is comprised of a beautiful mosaic of people.

The dominant culture KNOWS this, but they have been on top, in the world's spotlight as the world's most desirable people, for centuries. They are the group many other people of color try to emulate--That is HEADY, powerful, intoxicating. Human nature does not have a long track record of folks relinquishing anything that makes them feel good about themselves (read: better than others) willingly.

Yet, slowly in the age of Obama, the zeitgeist is shifting away from narcissistic obsession to inclusion and a REAL celebration of the world's great diversity.

My personal stand in solidarity with ALL the tribes of the world makes me long for greater diversity in all forms of media. I want to see shows about Asian people (S.E and E. Asian) Hispanic people, African, Middle Eastern. Just like I want to associate with black people from a variety of countries and people of every color and ethnic origin.

I refused to see the movie "21" on principle and in protest of the fact that the majority of the real life participants were Asian American. In my opinion, Anglo- American is NOT an acceptable casting option. You are funny, insightful, attractive (according to at least one white chic) and damn it dude you ARE ASIAN!

Why can't it be a show based on your concept, and "Oh Yeah, the bonus to the pitch is the dude just happens to be Asian" ?

I see Tim Kang as a good fit. That guy is EVERYWHERE in commercial land and he is SO appealing as an everyman. Besides, he's HOT!
John Cho is another favorite.

If Asian Americans want to break through that great American racial barrier, they are going to have to do what many black artists have done in the past, refuse to compromise in certain areas. This is one of them.

The best of luck to you!

A sister from Colorado


Liz

I think you're hotter than Tim Kang or John Cho. Have you ever thought about going into acting? How cool would it be to write, produce and star in your own show? That would have to be a first!

Celeste

It needs to be Asian or it's not MetroDad. Would Seinfeld have been as good without Jerry's Jewish parents?

There are MetroBoys and MetroGirls who need to see themselves on the screen, and families everywhere that will relate.

Derek Lee

Although I'm of Chinese descent, my kids are as American as apple pie. I'd love for them to be able to turn on the tv, watch a mainstream sitcom, and see characters who looked like them. Let's never underestimate the power of that. Go for it, MD!

JJ

Yo Korean brother.

You have an opportunity here. A golden opportunity to change the goddam racist tide of whitewashing the Asian-ness even out of Asian stories (Kung Fu, "21," Speedracer, Dragonball, Last Airbender) that has been going on over GENERATIONS(!).

You have a choice:

Let your story be whitewashed, and have yet another opportunity lost for the cause of Asian-Americans, especially Asian-American men (because let's face it, Asian-American women are making strong inroads for themselves already in the media). But get lots of money. You will probably even become rich.

Push hard for an Asian-American lead. Cuz let's face it, your story is an Asian-American one. A chance to help the Asian-American cause. But chances are, probably lose the deal. Lose all that potential cash. But possibly, just POSSIBLY seal the deal somehow, get that Asian-American lead, and change the media and America for the better just a little bit. You can champion the cause but at the risk of your own personal fortune.

We know what Jeff Ma (the real-life character behind "21") did with his golden opportunity. Walked away rich. But threw away the opportunity. He could have been the first the break the whitewashing cycle. Are you going to continue the whitewashing cycle?

Therese

Well, I'm pretty much as "WASPY" as one can get but I think a show with an Asian-American lead sounds great. As you said, there is definitely a need for a different or more well-rounded representation of Asian-Americans in the media, lead the charge!

KH

You're handsome for a Jewish man as well.

sweatpantsmom

Bravo on all of this! (My 88-year-old Japanese mom still uses the term 'Oriental.' Although she also says, 'wallamelon' and calls my favorite store 'Traitors Joe' so there you go.)

I don't think the desire to only date outside ones race is unique to Asian-American culture, though. Spike Lee has dealt with this issue a few times in his movies, and I grew up in an African American neighborhood and remember this being a recurring theme. I'll bet you'll find this in other cultures as well.

As for the sitcom, congratulations! And I hope it's the first one with an Asian male lead. Hang tough!

Alice

ITA about pushing for an Asian American lead! If they put some random white guy in, then you wouldn't be able to include that horribly hilarious 'cute for an Asian' line. (The layers of cluelessness on that one are just amazing.)

If they're interested in your writings, they'll want to leverage the blog's readership, right? Changing that element of who you are would make the whole story less MetroDad, and a lot more MegaConglomerate-FocusGroup-TargetMarket-SitcomDad, which isn't nearly as interesting as the real thing. Besides, if they take your material and do the aforementioned whitewash, they're going to look hella racist, and/or like they presume their audience to be hella racist. (Apologies for using the term hella - those years in the Bay Area sink deep hooks!)

Regardless, there's a space for this WITH an Asian-American lead. Keep pushing them 'til they see it.

Nikki

Fight the power, MD! I can't imagine a MetroDad sitcom with making the lead character Asian-American. It just wouldn't be the same.

Nils

Media representations of the "emasculated" Asian male -- It's true there's a lot of that, but there's plenty of exceptions, like Lee's "Lust Caution" or Annaud's "The Lover"

Lizzie

I think Asian men are incredibly sexy. Don't even get me started about Daniel Dae Kim and Sung Kang. I practically drool like a little schoolgirl whenever I see them onscreen.

twizzle

I hope you won't back down about the main character on your TV show being an Asian Dad. I mean, Asian-ness is the core of who MetroDad is! The guy had mother-fuckin' better be Korean, too.

Busy Mom

I think you should be the lead. If not, I'd be totally OK with Sung Kang.

Seriously, you should push for an Asian American lead. what great news!

Queen Lindsay

That's awesome about the sitcom. Yes, I am somewhat jealous! As far as the racial comments, I think that it's really a lack of knowlege, it's only ignorance.

JJ Daddy Baby Momma

Are you Asian?

Stay true.

Mitchell

Wouldn't it be funny if Sun and Jin from "Lost" played you and BossLady in a new sitcom? Everyone would be so used to them speaking English with their Korean accents. Then, all of sudden, they show up in this new show and are as American as apple pie!

jdg

dude, I don't think people will care if the main character is Asian.

I do think they will care if there's only one episode per month.

;)

I can't fucking believe I just emoticon winked.

sweatpantsmom

Bravo on all of this! (My 88-year-old Japanese mom still uses the term 'Oriental.' Although she also says, 'wallamelon' and calls my favorite store 'Traitors Joe' so there you go.)

I don't think the desire to only date outside ones race is unique to Asian-American culture, though. Spike Lee has dealt with this issue a few times in his movies, and I grew up in an African American neighborhood and remember this being a recurring theme. I'll bet you'll find this in other cultures as well.

As for the sitcom, congratulations! And I hope it's the first one with an Asian male lead. Hang tough!

Julie P.

1. Haven't you heard of the hyphenated American debate? How come Asian-(hyphenated) American doesn't bother you as well? You know how 10 items or less hurts your eyes? Well Asian-American hurts mine.
2. Correction about the electric fan/Korean mothers...you will only die if the fan is blowing on your head.
3. When I read Metrodad, the point of view I get is from a dad...not from an Asian dad...But yes on principle, should be an Asian American dad.

Michelle

I discovered your blog today via Angry Asian Man and have spent the entire day reading your archives. For the record, I'm a single 28-year-old Korean-American female with no plans to have kids anytime soon. That being said, I LOVE your blog. The writing is fresh. I love your perspective. And yes, you are a very funny man.

Keep up the great work and congrats on the potential sitcom deal. I can't wait to read more to see how it all turns out!

Katie

Long time reader, first time commenter. :)

The only piece of advice I can offer as someone who's worked in the insanity of the Hollywood machine (other than echoing everyone else with please push for an Asian-American lead!) is to not be afraid to walk if the deal they offer you is sub-par. Hollywood is geared toward "selling product" and a lot of people think that means that no one wants to see a sitcom about Asian-Americans. Luckily, there are some in Hollywood who value creativity and good content, and the trick to finding them is to not settle for anything less than someone you trust will do a good job.

Good luck!

George

Well by the looks of it race is importatnt factor. I havent really read much but the first few posts "redneck, chick vs media, oriental rug" all had quite a bit of racial dimension on it.

I say push for an Asian-American lead, the worst that can happen is a support Asian-American dude is the best friend but then you can push for more air-time for that character or have rotating episodes with focus on one main character then another etc

I think if you have enough people that america can relate too (ie white folks) you should be fine

JJ Daddy-O

Speaking of Texas rednecks, my Dad used to do a lot of work in Texas and he loved to tell the story about some guys he was dealing with there who referred to him as the "New York Jewboy lawyer". (Our name is Sullivan). That's OK, though, they probably didn't like New York Irish Catholic lawyers, either.
Anyways, mazel tov on the possible deal with Hollywood, Boychik! Who knew you were such a macher? Me and BabyMomma are kvelling!

YP

That's really cool! I agree that if the material's funny enough, it won't matter. However, that said, I wouldn't walk away from a great opportunity if it came down to it. But consider this - a big part of who you are and your humor is because you're asian. If you take that away in a character, would it lose some of the effect?

dLEE

If given the same opportunity currently presented before you, I would NOT allow anything short of an Asian-American male lead. Especially one with an Asian last name.

Daisy

At first I was kinda bummed when I heard there would a sitcom coming up, because I feel that so much of the beauty in this blog is heard through your lyrical words and I dont know how that would be portrayed through TV. But then I thought - this would be so great for you! And the show would be ground-stompingly hilarious!
Push through for what your are! There are so many different cross cultural experiences that make up America, especially NYC - I dont think there should ever be a reason to bend under pressure and change something as integral as the culture and race of the main characters.

I haven't hear anyone not Asian specifically mentioning that they wouldn't date within their own race for those reasons, but a black friend told me that "lighter is always better" which I found a bit weird...

Teresa

I think you'll have to face the brutal reality that no network is going to air a sitcom with an Asian-American lead in it right now. Network television executives are spineless bastards who don't have the balls to think outside the box. That's why all the best shows are now on cable. Maybe that's where you should think about selling the show, MD.

MidwestGal

I don't think the show should happen UNLESS the lead role is an Asian-American man. You ARE MetroDad!!! I personally think people who read your blog will be upset if they don't try and keep it true to life, and perhaps they'll lose viewers because of it. I'll protest! Seriously. And I'm a Caucasian woman in my early 30s from the Midwest. Originally from a tiny farm town in rural MN. No show should air on TV called MetroDad unless it's based on an Asian-American family: YOURS.

Thomas H.

Knowing what mainstream media likes to do with stories that originated from Azn people, they'll probably make the father a white guy and everyone else Asian, and the entire show will consist of a bunch of look at those exotic Orientals/they all look alike/look how short they are "jokes." Principle is the only thing that truly matters. It's not like you're dying of starvation or something where you have to sell out for money. If you can't translate what you feel and write on your blog to the real world and change some people's minds, then you might as well shut down this blog. You'd be a hero at best, and a martyr at worst insisting on a real Asian American dad.

Mariana

So many sitcoms look alike now. Sitcoms in general don't seem to be doing well. As far as I'm concerned, casting a Caucasian isn't exactly the recipe for success, so what does a network have to lose?

On a cynical note, it's a very uphill battle to convince a network to take that chance, but the positive publicity of the one that does should be reason enough to cast an Asian-American male.

On the suggestion of Phil Yu for John Cho. He'll be hot off Star Trek and has comedy cred already from Ugly Betty and Harold and Kumar. He's a good candidate if he's not tied up in film.

Absolutely LOVE your blog! You had be hooked at Peanut's Halloween costume!

Lisa

I vote for keeping the family Asian American. Tell the tv execs that Asian kids are way cute even as babies, plus they stay cute when they grow up. The Asian American perspective is also a little tiny bit of what makes your blog unique, and your family stories are hilarious. That's why I subscribe. If didn't have the extra spice, I don't know if it would be as interesting. If they whitewash it, the show is just another bland family sitcom, like 10,000 of the other ones out there.

I was afraid to date Asian American men for a long time because I was very independent and didn't want the baggage. But I then met the most interesting guy in the universe who just happened to be Asian American and married him.

Hey Asian American guys out there, Asian American girls who are not anorexic are interesting too. You should try talk to them sometimes.

Bonnie

Hm...

I think pushing for the Asian American lead would be the best way to go. Plus, you'd only be advancing the efforts of Asian Americans trying to make it mainstream and change the impression others have on them.

Honestly, if you can craft it in a way that makes it interesting to look into Asian American culture, people would watch it.

Besides... with the whole boba and tea thing, there seems to be... a bit more love for Asians.

And... Sure, Asian Americans are considered a minority. However, in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and other big cities, Asian Americans are abundant. Having a story based on an Asian American will change the way Asian Americans look at themselves and their culture. Like the two ladies who said they wouldn't date an Asian American, their opinions might change with what you're doing.

Hope all goes well!

mark

keep the character aa that would make it more significant other wise its just another show,

the aa women who say they wont date a guys should also say they only date white guys, that is why af am and latin ams dont have the same situation probably bc they dont get asked out by white guys as much which is in and of itself a reflection of racism , aa women are seduced by the status of dating the white guy

Randy

The bottom line: if they cast a white lead you will be lobotomizing much of the innate humor that forms the essence and appeal of this site.

The worst, WORST thing they could do is cast a white male lead and make the wife Asian. That would be perpetuating all kinds of negative stereotypes and I really urge you to avoid that scenario at all costs.

tipoftheiceberg

the lady who said "kissing an Asian-American man felt like kissing her brother" probably don't regularly interact with asian men. If the only people of a particular race/gender combination you knew were related to you then every time you meet somebody of this race/gender combination you will be reminded of your relatives. Seems like in one of your old posts you write that peanut thought every older asian man was you. This feeling goes away when these people actually start interacting with asian men more.

This may not necessarily be the type of person your daughter becomes, but I assure you that her life will be filled with girls just like these. Girls who may have a lot of influence on her.

I say you should hold out on a deal until they are willing to cast a full asian american family. might I add korean american?

the only time I've seen a normal asian american family on american tv is this home depot commercial. It's powerful in that it's so amazing to see an actually asian american family on american tv. at the same time this is very sad in that it's just a god damn home depot commercial.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGMmA47TZCM

a fan

how's YOUR acting? you're clearly hot enough. ;)

Kevin Park

I grew up in Chicago surrounded by a large Korean-American community. However, a few years ago, I had to move down to rural Georgia for an academic project. I think I might have been the first Asian person that a lot of these people had ever met. I don't think there was another Asian person within 250 miles of me.

Needless to say, it was pure shock. People were amazed to hear me speak English. I could literally see their jaws drop. After awhile, I made a few friends and although they were constantly peppering me with questions about being Asian, I like to think that they eventually became friends.

My point is that nothing changes one's racial perceptions like proximity. The more we see and get to know people with different backgrounds, the more we realize that we're all a lot similar than we are different.

That's why it amazes me that we've yet to see an honest depiction of Asians on television. I'd like to see us reach a point where we could just look at a character on television and not have race play any factor whatsoever.

I think MetroDad would be a perfect vehicle for attaining that goal.

Hapa Dad

John Cho could be good but personally I'd rather see a more masculine representation of Asian men cast on the show. I love John Cho but he's a little skinny and we have a lot of ground to make up for!

Jae Young

Hey, Metro Dad. Congratulations on this advances! As a Korean-American woman living in NY, I would love it if you pushed for your family to stay Korean-American in the sitcom. Granted, doing so could potentially put you in that precarious, scary place Margaret Cho was in when she had her sitcom in the 90s based on HER family. I think it was worse for Margaret Cho in a way cos she was playing herself. Having someone tell you that chopsticks are meant to be worn in your hair, well, yeah, there are no words. Telling her she was too fat is a separate issue, but that's just good old sexism there.

Whatever you end up doing will be that same negotiation we all face, when dealing with racist assholes like those movers, or studio execs, who may not be nearly as open but in their own way as insidious. You could also decide not to sell your show. Like everyone else, I'd like to see the Metro Family come to life, but if it can't be realized in the way you want, you could always choose to not sell it. Of course, since it is about money, in the end, it's up to you. Peanut's got to eat after all...

Hum, you know, I hate that statement that Asian-American women make about "dating my brother/cousin/dad" re:dating other Asian men. I always assumed that was internalized racism, i.e. the assumption in the US that all Asians look alike. Dude, have you ever heard a Korean woman from Korea say she won't marry a Korean guy cos it would be like marrying her brother/dad/cousin?

Steven P.

I like to think that great television can be a ground-breaking medium. It can tell stories that we'd never hear. It can move us to laughter or tears. Or it can inspire us to think about the world around us.

Sadly, it seems the best television shows appeal only to a small audience (The Wire, Arrested Development, Life on Mars, Friday Night Lights.)

So I don't expect any network to pick up MetroDad with an Asian-American lead. That's too bad. Done right, I could see your show being a truly funny and intelligent sitcom that doesn't succumb to comedy of the lowest common denominator.

However, stand up for what you believe in, MD. I get the impression that you're fairly successful in your day job and that you never started your blog in the hopes of landing a sitcom deal.

Perhaps it takes an outsider like you to shake things up and make a stand.

helen

I'm a big fan of K-Pop and I can't help but laugh when I see Korean artists like Rain or BoA try to crossover into the U.S. market. Despite the fact that they might be global superstars, the odds of them making it here seem pretty slim. For starters, none of them speak the language.

That's why if we're going to have Asian celebrities onscreen or in the movies, the roles are going to have to be written and performed by real Asian-Americans like yourself.

I hope you stand your ground, MD. I get the feeling that you will.

gary

Hi MD, I'm an Asian Australian and a recent (as in 2 days) subscriber, but already hooked on your blog. On behalf of the AA's here you have our absolute support - ok, maybe a bit presumptuous. I totally relate to what you're saying about AA women dating non-AA men (not to mention everything else in your last 2 blogs) - seems to apply Down Under as well, but things are changing. As a 37 yo father of 3 I'm glad that my kids won't have to put up with same crap that we did.

beloved

Congratulations on a possible sitcom & book deal! Excellent!!

Obama is in the White House, and lately this often causes me to break out in spontaneous bouts of optimism for this nation of rednecks. I know we have a looong way to go, but hey, I'm a dreamer.

I say you should definitely push for an Asian American lead. And it must be someone who does not have an accent. I mean no ill intent (my own husband obviously has a heavy accent), but maybe if Americans are exposed to Asian American actors without accents ('cause far out dude, some Asians were actually born here!) maybe they'll finally get it and stop referring to people as Oriental, for god's sake.

Disgruntled Asian

I just read that Bollywood (and obviously Indian) star Anil Kapoor, last seen as the game show host in Slumdog Millionaire, is joining the cast of Fox's 24 next season.

Get this? He's going to play "a Middle Eastern leader!

An Indian guy is going to play a Middle Eastern guy. I thought the days of blackface were over. This is criminal!

Joann

I can see what you mean, about the content of the show being above the label of "race."

At the same time though, this could be THE opportunity to have an Asian-American male on television.

please don't let this opportunity slip up.

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