4.16.2011

Love, Off Kilter

"Fuck yo Miata with a strap-on, lil bitch.  We gettin' a Escalade."

~ Clinique
I recently did a post on the extremely adorable Indian-American actor Maulik Pancholy, whom I noticed while watching Showtime's Weeds.  While I get why that show is the way it is and the point the writers are trying to make, I took issue with a couple of things.

On the show, Maulik plays Sanjay, an out and proud young gay man.  Which is awesome, considering the East Indian attitude towards gay men.  Problem is, when Maulik initially comes out, he's met with excessive denial from other people, and one, a gangsta named U-Turn, orders a hoodrat named Clinique (Julanne Chidi Hill) to "fuck the gay out of him."  Clinique and Sanjay comply, and Clinique ends up pregnant.  And though Sanjay's homosexuality is more than confirmed at this point, Sanjay proposes to Clinique.  They end up getting married and moving in together, raising their son as - like it or not - a Blasian couple, in which Clinique is verbally abusive and thoroughly emasculating towards her husband.

When the show's main character visits the couple and sees their baby for the first time, she remarks about his size.  Sanjay explains, "Giantism runs in Clinique's family," to which the lead character replies, "Of course it does."

Maulik Pancholy & Julanne Chidi Hill as "Sanjay" & "Clinique"
Proud parents.
Why?  Why have a Blasian couple on the show embodying every negative ideal about both either side?  Sanjay as a proud, self-respecting gay man defying his parents and dating other men out in the open is one thing, a good thing.  Using his homosexuality to justify portraying him as a stereotypically weak, effeminate Asian man, however, is not a good thing.

Furthermore, the writers appeared to take great delight in making Clinique as masculine, hood, and overall unattractive as possible, supposedly for the sake of "comedy".   Roll your eyes if you've already heard that one.  Mind you, Julanne as an actress is no joke. From her website:
Still waters run deep with Julanne Chidi Hill. This gifted artist grew up in a place described as somewhere between the wilderness and the city. A graduate of the prestigious SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Theatre Arts and Film and classically trained at Oxford University where she studied extensively with John Barton (Royal Shakespeare Company) and Katie Mitchell (Royal National Theater), Julanne has a unique versatility that has allowed her career to blossom in television, theatre, and film.
And as I mentioned in my post on Maulik, the man is also a highly educated and trained actor. So why oh why were these two on Weeds?  Was the money that good?

14 comments:

  1. Oh man, I remember wanting to punch Clinique in the face several times. Not to mention hoping Sanjay would fan the muck up, say "To hell with this shyt!", file for divorce+sole custody and bounce as far away from Clinique as possible. Alas, they disappeared from the series after that point.

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  2. Alas, they disappeared from the series after that point.

    For which I am grateful.

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  3. How sickening can it possibly get?

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  4. What in the blue-green fucking hell????

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  5. WTF indeed, ladies, WTF indeed.

    After this, I basically was tired of Weeds. The lil sis tells me to keep watching, but I can't stand the main character, and I wanna see some POC.

    I can watch white people anywhere.

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  6. Now I feel bad for laughing at the quote. Its so sad how these stereotypes are played by actors you would hope would know better.

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  7. Again with the stereotyping? I get the feeling that these white writers sit around in a room coming up with this stuff and thinking it's really hilarious. But it's really not funny. It's really not.

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  8. Oh and I forgot... Clinique? Really?

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  9. The crazy thing is, a friend is asking me to help him write a game with a partner of his (the big boss is actually in a Blasian relationship too (BM/AW - and HE'S the bookish, quiet one, while the wife runs the household, too funny to me, but I digress) and being the head for the Game Narrative itself, game design and everything, I have to sit around and come up with everything from setting to characters (back stories and everything), so to be on the other side of the creative process, it sickens me to think of WHAT the writers sat down and did to pitch these characters, fit them into the WEEDS mythos and then have a exit strategy once the characters served their purpose. And trust me, those characters served their purpose.

    The writers had create a reason for who the characters were and WHY those characters had to be there, what their character flaws were and WHAT those characters were going to achieve in terms of the audience (how was the audience going to connect to the character presented, how they were going to either like or dislike the character and what were their [the writers] aims going to be in presenting them to the audience. Very sickening, very irritating and it justifies why I never tuned into watch WEEDS in the first place (I know too many weedheads, what do I want to watch that foolishness for; I've got better things to do).

    They kept those characters on for a reason, they kept them on their long enough to get their point across and now they've dumped them. We made some progress with positive images of Blasians in the media (i.e. Romeo Must Die, Ninja Assassin, Flashforward) and with the positive reactions, Hollywhite now wants to take us down a few pegs. We've got a loooooong way to go.

    PS: Sorry I went AWOL, bbs. Been trying to do really big things and haven't really had time to sit down and do anything as mentally stimulating as coming here and looking at articles and responding. Not that the stuff that I've been getting up to isn't intellectual, just...intellectual of a different type.

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  10. We made some progress with positive images of Blasians in the media (i.e. Romeo Must Die, Ninja Assassin, Flashforward) and with the positive reactions, Hollywhite now wants to take us down a few pegs.

    That's a damn good point. Can't believe I missed that.

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