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Unoriginal Asian Stereotypes in “Two Broke Girls” pilot

February 26, 2011

Racebending.com was recently alerted to a very stereotypical, appalling casting call for a Korean immigrant character on a CBS sitcom pilot, Two Broke Girls. It’s from the mind of Michael Patrick King, whose previous contributions to entertainment media include Sex and the City 2‘s awkward magic carpet ride to Dubai.

The character, “Rice Lee,” is portrayed as a stereotypically backward and socially stunted Asian immigrant, who is repeatedly mocked and corrected by his white co-workers (including Max, one of the titular “broke girls.”)

LEE
Hello today. I have check for you.

MAX GLANCES AT HIS PANTS AS SHE TAKES THE CHECK.

MAX
Thanks, camel toe.

LEE
What means camel toe?

SHE POINTS TO HIS CROTCH WHERE THE PANTS ARE HIKED UP. HE LOOKS DOWN, EMBARRASSED.

LEE(CONT’D)
Oh. Okay.

Lee can’t wear his pants correctly, can’t speak English properly, and doesn’t understand the concept of holidays. Because it’s not like Koreans wear pants, take English in elementary school, and celebrate holidays like Christmas.

In short, “Rice” is a disaster of a character, like something out of a Long Duk Dong time machine. It’s such a shame given CBS was recently honored for improving the representation of Asian Americans on television, and just sponsored Banana II, the Asian American bloggers conference.

The show is set in Brooklyn. 1 out of 10 people in Brooklyn are Asian American. This is the best the writers could come up with?

Check out Angry Asian Man’s article on the casting call: cbs pilot two broke girls: seriously, you named the asian character “rice lee”?

We sent this letter to CBS’s Chief Diversity Officer earlier this week.

While we can’t undo the hurt and humiliation felt by the Asian American actors who were given those script pages, we hope that our letter will start a productive dialogue with CBS and encourage them to reconsider optioning this pilot in it’s current form.

For more information, check out our review of the Two Broke Girls pilot screener.

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About the Author

Marissa Lee is one of the co-founders of Racebending.com

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  • Ughh. C’mon. SMH.

  • Achillies12

    I saw it and was immediately shocked. Nothing new with this.

  • Hellofeli88

    COme on.  Lightened up.  I am Asian and found the script and character of Rice Lee hilarious.  I enjoyed the laughs – especially on a Monday.  Who cares?  It’s just for FUN.  Chill people, chill.  And you can’t deny.  Some of the scripts are true facts. 

    • AirTwister01

      It probably is funny and hilarious to laugh at eh stereotype.
      Now put yourself in the shoes of an Asian American Male Actor trying to make a living to get that audition for lead roles in bigtime shoes or films. And the BEST you can get are roles like this one making fun of your own race.
      When EXACTLY will you get that big break Hello? It’s been about a Hundred years and Asian American Male Actors are still waiting while other minorities are making progress.

  • GirlA

    I actually gasped when I heard the line “He’s asian – don’t criticize him or he’ll go in the back and throw himself on a sword.” You’ve GOT to be kidding me! Who would actually think that’s funny?

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