Ki Hong Lee romances ‘Kimmy Schmidt’ on Tina Fey’s new Netflix show

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Audrey Magazine:

This past weekend, Netflix premiered Tina Fey’s new series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. While Fey doesn’t star in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt like she does in 30 Rock, the show is unmistakably hers with its sense of outlandish, wacky humor. Another commonality Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has with 30 Rock is toeing the line with racial humor, whether it’s the use of ironic blackface in 30 Rock or Jane Krakowski’s backstory in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

When Korean American actor Ki Hong Lee (from The Maze Runner and People’s “Sexiest Men Alive” 2014 list) shows up as an immigrant Vietnamese character named Dong in Kimmy’s ESL class, it’s hard not to see parallels with Long Duk Dong from Sixteen Candles.  As soon as Dong is introduced, he laughs at Kimmy’s name because “it means ‘penis’ in Vietnamese.”

There are numerous “dong” puns afterwards, but Kimmy quickly tells a character to get over the snickering since Dong is a common Vietnamese name.

The rest of the series both plays into and subverts Asian stereotypes with Ki Hong Lee’s character. On one hand, Dong is working as a Chinese food delivery boy, good at math (though this is mostly just used as an excuse to have Kimmy and Dong spend time with each other) and worried about being deported. On the other hand, Dong is the rarest of the Asian American male characters — a viable love interest.

Part of what made Sixteen Candles Long Duk Dong offensive and racist is that he is made to seem like a buffoon. Long Duk Dong is not a human character, he is simply an amalgamation of Asian stereotypes to be laughed at. His romantic interest in Molly Ringwald’s character is never taken seriously by either the other characters or the audience. And therein lies the key difference between Long Duk Dong and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s character, Dong.

While Dong’s character is not without stereotypes, he is never ripped of his humanity. His romantic interest in Kimmy is never played for laughs; they are both outsiders in New York, they share a childlike innocence and glee in the silliest things, and they actually like each other. It’s rare to see an Asian male character as a viable part of a love triangle and even rarer to see the Asian guy “win.” In Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Kimmy chooses Dong and their romance is shown as something real.

By the end of season one, Dong is stuck in a situation where he can either continue to show up in the second season or be easily written out (Ki Hong Lee is currently a guest star on the show). Yes, Dong is character that could be tagged as #YourFaveIsProblematic on Tumblr, but if Ki Hong Lee isn’t too busy running in more mazes, we would definitely like to see where his romance with Kimmy goes.

 

Margaret Cho’s Golden Globes bit accused of racism

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 Huffington Post:

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler didn’t shy away from controversial topics during Sunday’s Golden Globes, but some viewers felt one of their bits went too far. During the broadcast, Fey and Poehler interacted with comedian Margaret Cho, who played the newest member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a North Korean army general. Here she is getting a photo taken with Meryl Streep.

The segments with Cho — which also included the comic speaking with an exaggerated accent — were met with some outrage online. Numerous viewers called the jokes racist, while many critics cited the gags as a show low point.

Oh my gosh, the fake North Korean journalist is back. I’ve decided: This really needs to end,” wrote Emily Orley for BuzzFeed.

That bit with Margaret Cho as the Kim regime’s representative in the Hollywood Foreign Press, which managed a trio of awards-show sins: it was unfunny, racist, and incredibly long,” wrote Vulture’s editors. “Twenty years ago, Cho was the first Asian-American woman to headline her own sitcom — how did we end up here?

Cho has a long relationship with Fey, having played Kim Jong Il on “30 Rock.”

And while online reaction was negative, Fey and Poehler didn’t seem to mind too much during the show. The duo brought Cho back out on stage to end the 72nd annual Golden Globes.

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Link

Margaret Cho set to co-star in new Tina Fey sitcom

Hollywood Reporter:

 

30 Rock Emmy-nominee Margaret Cho has boarded the untitled comedy known as Cabot College, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The multicamera comedy takes place at a women’s college that has just opened its doors to men for the first time.

Cho will play the series regular role of Laura Thibault, the president of Cabot College who made the difficult decision to admit men into the school. She’s further described as a divisive figure on campus who does her best to welcome the male freshmen, but is often irritated by their antics.

Third Watch alum Bonnie Dennison stars as Thena, a pretty but uptight sophomore and hardcore feminist who is the leader of the sizable population of Cabot College that doesn’t want men on campus. Broadway actor Jack Cutmore-Scott co-stars as Charlie Deckard, a wealthy Kennedy-esque guy who enrolls in the college, much to Thena’s chagrin. Chelsea Lately‘s Fortune Feimster and CSI‘s Brandon Jones co-star.

Production on the comedy — which has a series commitment — begins in March, as Fox is poised to shift to year-round programming and away from the traditional pilot season. 30 Rock‘s Hubbard penned the script for the Universal Television vehicle and exec produces alongside Fey, Robert Carlock and David MinerPam Fryman (How I Met Your Mother) directs.

The casting marks a reunion for Cho with both Fey and Hubbard after the actress played Kim Jong-Il and his son, Kim Jong-Un. She earned an Emmy nomination for guest actress in a comedy for the former role. Cho, whose credits also include Lifetime’s Drop Dead Diva — where she’ll continue to have a role on the show’s upcoming sixth season — and All American Girl, is repped by WME.

Check out this link:

Margaret Cho set to co-star in new Tina Fey sitcom