Television execs love "real" Asian men

Check out this picture. It is the cast of Beauty and the Geek 3 which debuts in January (here is a background on the series):

Is that Matisyahu with the white cap?

The CW (which I guess someone must still be watching) has decided to demonstrate that it is a network of diversity by featuring THREE Asian brothers in ONE reality show. This is unprecedented. We’ve now had a number of Asian Americans in reality shows but here three out of the eight men (competing for the mostly white women who are supposedly out-of-their-league) are Asian. What the F*ck? Can I get a “what what?” I mean, cynic that I am I always believed that the proper formula for a sexually charged reality show (The Real World being the paradigm) was to throw sex-crazed alcoholic white people together with angry black people and then add a homosexual in the mix to take the edge off. How do Asians fit in to that choreography? Oh wait…I get it. This is a show about Geeks. The guy in the middle with the glasses and red vest, that’s Sanjay from Westminster, California.

The producing team of Ashton Kutcher and Jason Goldberg (“Punk’d”) recruited an all-new group of eight gorgeous but academically impaired women and eight brilliant but socially challenged men for the third installment to test intellect and social skills. This cycle will remain true to the series’ format — pairing eight gorgeous but academically impaired women with eight brilliant but socially challenged men to test intellect and social skills — for a chance to win a $250,000 grand prize. [Link]

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Sanjay, if you are listening then call up Ankur from Season 2 for some advice. And let’s all be grateful for the CW for featuring real Asian men. If I was an executive there I would have picked 8 nerdy women and 8 dumb-as-dirt but socially adept men (and three of them would be Asian). But alas, I’m not the TV exec type. I’ll just continue to pick nerdy South Asian women to blog for SM to compensate.

92 thoughts on “Television execs love "real" Asian men

  1. Or if they did a role reversal? (nerdy women and good looking men)

    They wouldn’t have a positive stereotype to go off of so it would never happen. I’ve never seen a good looking but dumb as rocks male character on tv. And even those dense male characters are given some positive attribute that makes up for their lack of intelligence. Oh, and they almost always have attractive wives.

    This show just reinforces the idea that men are allowed to be severely deficient in one area and still be decent people. I saw the first season and the focus was almost completely on how badly the men were treated… but there was hardly any attention to the way men (in general, not just the geeks) treat(ed) women who they perceived to be incredibly attractive, but dumb by default. We saw the redeeming qualities in the nerds (kindness, intelligence, supposed ability to see beyond the physical) but not so much in the women.

    If the show is going to be about breaking down stereotypes it may as well break down the main ones it introduces.

  2. P.S. Am I wrong for proposing an Asian woman join the beauties at one point or another? Or are we just not “reality TV dumb” enough?

    I can just see the Asian beauty’s parents having a cow over their darling “beti” showing cleavage AND being dumb.

  3. They wouldn’t have a positive stereotype to go off of so it would never happen. I’ve never seen a good looking but dumb as rocks male character on tv. And even those dense male characters are given some positive attribute that makes up for their lack of intelligence. Oh, and they almost always have attractive wives.

    I guess this is one of the things I meant when I was talking about the gender politics of this show. At the end of the day this is just another TV show, right? It’s not like it pretends to revolutionize how we see the world.

  4. They wouldn’t have a positive stereotype to go off of so it would never happen. I’ve never seen a good looking but dumb as rocks male character on tv.

    Would Joey count? You know, that guy from that show with the six attractive people that are always at the coffee shop.

  5. At the end of the day this is just another TV show, right? It’s not like it pretends to revolutionize how we see the world.

    True, but I still wish they would have gone a little deeper into why the women acted the way they did… I’m sure their experiences hit a little closer to whats home for me though…

  6. Nerds. It’s not a positive term, no matter how much people try to appropriate it. I went to the college with a lot of really smart people, and the “nerds” are simply the ones that lack social grace. It IS possible to be both intelligent and socially capable, you know. We shouldn’t hold up awkwardness as evidence of brilliance or a necessary trait among the intellectual.

    Exactly. By definition “nerd” implies lack of social agility. The intelligence is just an add on bonus. Here’s a perfect description

  7. HMF, that is clearly a “geek” or “dork”.

    Clearly you are not well-schooled in the taxonomy of maladjusted elementary school youth.

  8. See: The Bachelorette Flava of Love

    Flavor of Love? Aside from the rampant coonery I cannot watch the show because seeing Flav makes my stomach curdle. I said attractive men… good lord I’m gonna have nightmares tonight.

    As far as the bachelorette goes, the winners were athletes and one was a business major… I don’t think jocks are automatically dumb so I’ll just leave that be.

    Would Joey count?

    I’d love to comment on this, but I have no idea who you’re talking about. The only “Joey” I know was on “Blossom

  9. Flavor of Love? Aside from the rampant coonery I cannot watch the show because seeing Flav makes my stomach curdle. I said attractive men… good lord I’m gonna have nightmares tonight.

    This totally made me laugh out loud. I have an iron stomach, but Flava-Flav gets the gag reflex going. Also, in the regular Bachelorette, wasn’t it much less watched than the Bachelor? I have no idea; I didn’t have TV for the 4 years I was in college.

    Would Joey count? You know, that guy from that show with the six attractive people that are always at the coffee shop.

    I don’t know because it’s not really reality TV. A lot of television shows have a ditzy, attractive male character, but usually as a foil for the leading male, right? I think the Joey under conversation is Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) from Friends, yes?

  10. Well I dunno. Can David Schwimmer EVER realistically be called a “leading male”?

    And they did spin Joey off into his own sitcom…

  11. A spin-off that totally sucked! I think they were trying to keep milking a show that should have ended at season 6 and had already been dragged out 4 seasons. The only character with a shallow enough story to keep it going logically was Joey.

    Also, you can’t forget Chandler (Matthew Perry), my personal favorite male Friend. :)

  12. I don’t know because it’s not really reality TV. A lot of television shows have a ditzy, attractive male character, but usually as a foil for the leading male, right? I think the Joey under conversation is Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) from Friends, yes?

    Yes

  13. Flavor of Love? Aside from the rampant coonery I cannot watch the show because seeing Flav makes my stomach curdle. I said attractive men… good lord I’m gonna have nightmares tonight.

    Bahahah, I know you what you mean, I just offered it up as a suggestion because every woman on that show “pretends” he’s good looking.

    And I wasn’t saying jocks are automatically dumb- but some of those guys were totally good looking and TOTALLY dumb!

  14. As far as the bachelorette goes, the winners were athletes and one was a business major… I don’t think jocks are automatically dumb so I’ll just leave that be.

    From Wikipedia:

    The Seasons

    * Season 1: Trista Rehn selected Ryan Sutter, and the two were married on TV in December 2003 <b>in one of the most widely viewed programs in the history of reality television.</b>
    
  15. Every friggin dating show features 80% dumb guys. Reality TV is better at this than most genres. I mean Blind Date? Taildaters? CHEATERS?!

  16. i apologize, i meant to quote this comment instead:

    Also, in the regular Bachelorette, wasn’t it much less watched than the Bachelor? I have no idea; I didn’t have TV for the 4 years I was in college.

    From Wikipedia:

    The Seasons

    * Season 1: Trista Rehn selected Ryan Sutter, and the two were married on TV in December 2003 in <b>one of the most widely viewed programs in the history of reality television.</b>
    
  17. * Season 1: Trista Rehn selected Ryan Sutter, and the two were married on TV in December 2003 in one of the most widely viewed programs in the history of reality television.

    As much as I hate to admit that maybe I actually watched, the tv show The Bachelorette was completely separate from Trista’s wedding, which is what you refer to in your comment.

    That being said I think having a “healthy” dose of nerdiness actually complements a bad-boy personality. Just my two $

  18. Also, wasn’t every subsequent season of Bachelorette pretty much ignored? I mean, come on, 90% of the show’s appeal was watching what happened next with Trista.

  19. Another (hot) desi actress hitting the networks is Indira Verma. She had a nice leading lady esque role in the HBO series, Rome, where she, alongwith great thespianism, showed pretty much all of her atributes. Starting this week, Indira is the leading lady ( playing what else, a nuero surgeon, with a firang sounding name) on the CBS medical drama, 3 LBS, which apparently is the average weight of the human brain.

    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0890055/

  20. If I have learned anything white women aren’t the ones out of my reach its the ones of my own race that are out of reach. Well, I can put in the Bangladeshi perspective on this… Some of my BD friends have said that they were told to stay away from all boys, even as friends (as teens)! They were interested in guys from their own background, but got no/little chance to date until later (when they weren’t w/ the parents or got out of undergrad).

    I’d go out with even the socially awkward desi nerds if my bubbly interest didn’t scare them so much that they would go the extra mile just to avoid me :)

    Yes, this has happened to me w/ a few BD (and other desi) guys! I used to be shy, but now I’m really looking for a serious/intelligent guy to date. Some I meet are too shy though…

  21. In my experience, Desi women actually are too interested in being with desi men. Its not natural. We’re not meant to stay within our little circles of self-imposed identity.

    But also, Sanjay actually looks pretty cool. Maybe he will be like that one Geek from last season who was actually pretty socially adept, and considerate and nice too.

  22. Every friggin dating show features 80% dumb guys. Reality TV is better at this than most genres. I mean Blind Date? Taildaters? CHEATERS?!

    I Love Cheaters.

    I would read your blog Neal.

    +++

    Didn’t ANYONE else on this thread/site try out for a reality show? Anyone? I know abhi tried out for jeapordy, I tried out for Hollywood Squares (not peppy enough), and I tried to sign my lil sis up for one of those makeover shows on E!. (she really like LOTR). Maybe this trying out to be on TV reality is an LA thing…

  23. It’s definitely an LA thing, when I lived there, everyone I knew tried out to be on one. Another friend tried out for the apprentice, to be the bitch character. Her bitchiness was put to the test in a rigorous bitch screening, unfortunately she didn’t make the cut. A friend of mine got on a makeover show, but during one of the interviews, her friend said something to the effect of “she has trouble getting men, and gets really depressed” or something to that effect. It pissed my friend of, and she pulled out of the show.

    “A recent poll said that 65% percent of the population is sick of reality tv….. and 35% of the population is ON reality tv…”

                                         - Conan O'Brien
    
  24. I was a quarter-finalist for the Real World when I was a freshman in college. I wanted it so bad. I thought I was such a contradiction. Nerdy Indian girl who makes out with girls. Only after looking through other Desis’ pictures on Friendster/Facebook/MySpace, it turns out the smart, wannabe-lessi Desis aren’t that hard to find after all.

  25. Nerdy Indian girl who makes out with girls.

    pickle. but for the distance, i know someone who’d like to meet you very much. now, tell me you share a thing for bif naked, and it’d be a match made in heaven.

    i feel so middle-aged auntie – trying to hook people up here.

    andd… btw i went through your blog at ennis’ hairy reference and found it kwite luvverly – like warm feta on a toasted chapati. sheee’s a contender fjolkes -

  26. Maybe this trying out to be on TV reality is an LA thing…

    Oh it has to be. Which is weird b/c Real World does open casting at Berkeley in a sketch location, and I never see desis in the line. Actually I’m lying, my frosh floormate tried out for College Jeopardy and made it to finals, but answered too many questions correctly and wasn’t offered a slot. Still, I think there’s totally community pressure on not doing shows like Cheaters, Blind Date, Real World, etc.

  27. Although I’m impressed that a Desi’s never gotten caught on the wrong end of the camera on “Cheaters”…

  28. Although I’m impressed that a Desi’s never gotten caught on the wrong end of the camera on “Cheaters”…

    Ooo, just wait. There is way too much ho’ing around for people to continue to go “uncaught.”

  29. While I’m proud of all the brown nerds out there, I’m a tad insulted that 1/3rd of the cast would be asian. Yeah, it’s okay to be realistic about the real-world ratio when it comes to unsavoury “roles” such as this, (taxi driver & terrorist roles included, not that I have anything less than respect for taxi drivers either), but you won’t find accurate representation on medical dramas. No, because that would mean putting minorities in more glamorous and glorious (highly-coveted) roles. Harumph :-(

  30. Last year, the WB greenlit a spin-off of Beauty and the Geek where the gender roles would be reversed. However, it hasn’t been mentioned since that initial announcement. I’m not sure if that means the show got lost in the transition to the CW or if it’s a “nothing to announce” silence. There is less of a mythology to play off, as there are far more stories about the pretty woman who learns to appreciate what the geeky guy has to offer, but it would build on Ugly Betty’s success.

    I believe there was an (East, IIRC) Asian beauty in the second season. She was the one other beauties hated because she spent time studying for the elimination quizzes when the other beauties were chilling in the hot tub and “didn’t belong” on the show because she was pretty and smart. She was likable until my mind would move to model minority stereotypes.

  31. Hmm…sad.

    I wonder if there will ever be anything for the geeky, intelligent male (Asian or otherwise) and pretty, intelligent female?

  32. I go to medical school with Sanjay haha i saw the commercial was like whoa he’s on that show haha!!!

  33. The TV show should be renamed, “Insecure White male producers and directors have to try to make fun of and stereotype Asians”

  34. It makes me want to resort to violence, and beat the shit out of these producers. And no, I won’t use kung-fu; it would be pure savagery. I’m so sick of this shit.