7.19.2013

Danny Desai: The Brown Boy on ABC

All right, Twisters...this is for you.  Like Leo Princess said on Facebook, after a week like this, we need a tiny distraction.  So I'm going to do one of my infamous character studies, except this time I'll be using a different format.

The Promotion

Did anyone else notice this?


This is ABC Family's little promotional insert, and it's not kidding.  The central character on Twisted is Danny Desai, a white/East Indian mixie just the like the actor who plays him.  This is quite important, especially after the Cheerios commercial fiasco.

The Parents

British Palestinian actor TJ Ramini portrays Vikram Desai, Danny's father and brother of slain Tara Desai.  At the beginning of the show, we learn Vikram's been dead for five months.  An alcoholic with a horrible temper, he apparently got drunk and fell over the side of a corporate yacht.

His body, of course, was never found.

We're still learning bits and pieces about this character, and I hope to see more of Ramini as the series continues.  We know so far that he was a huge soccer fan who watched games with his son and hoped Danny would play pro some day.

Danny's mother Karen Desai is portrayed by Denise Richards and while some continue to question the casting choice, I think it was a good call.  Karen Desai is a woman on the edge; her son allegedly strangled her sister-in-law and was sent away for five years.  Five months before his release, she loses her husband.  And the whole time, the entire town's been treating her like a leper.  It's a hard adjustment after being the town Queen Bee.  So it's no wonder she drinks alone at home and hasn't changed a single thing about the house since the murder.  She's about to lose her mind, and may very well do so now that she recently discovered Vikram used to screw around on her.

The key is to focus on her eyes; Richards has some very expressive eyes and I'm more than convinced her character will snap soon if one more thing in her life goes wrong.

The Principal

I don't know who blackmailed actor Rob Yang into this role, or if he owed someone a blood debt, but the character of Principal Mark Tang is full of fail.

We learn very early on that Principal Tang (sometimes called "The Tang" by his students) is having some sort of sexual relationship with Karen Desai.  At first, I was like, "Oh, hell yes.  Karen figured that the best remedy for losing one Asian man was to get another.  Good job, ABC!"

Uhhhh...no.

Turns out they have some weird, fetishistic relationship in which he's submissive and begs to do shit like brush her hair.  When she blows him off, claiming not to be in the mood, he meekly sniffs the brush.  Apparently, she's just using him to influence the school board to get and keep Danny enrolled.

The Pals

Maddie Hasson plays Jo Masterson, the pal who's apparently willing to follow Danny into hell after one day of being around him.  Mind you, she insists at the beginning of the show that she wants to tell him off and then avoid him because his aunt's murder traumatized her.

But after minutes - and I do mean minutes - of interaction with Danny, Jo's immediately under his spell, and starts "following [him] around like a puppy dog," to quote another character.  While this shows us how lonely and ostracized Jo is (she only has one other friend and she clearly keeps him around for convenience), it also lends credence to the theory that Danny really is a sociopath, capable of flawlessly mimicking human emotion and manipulating people into doing what he wants.

Kylie Bunbury (*cue the squeals*) portrays Lacey Porter, another childhood friend of Danny Desai's.  Unlike Jo, Kylie became pretty, perfect, and popular to cope with the impact of the murder of Tara Desai.  She has all the pretty friends, goes to all the best parties, and is dating the captain of the soccer team a.k.a. Prince Bland.  Unlike Jo, Lacey's not so ready to trust Danny, she's not that easily swayed by his charm, and she's certainly not following him around constantly.  In fact, she prefers to neither speak nor be seen with him in public.

Of course...we've seen what happens when Lacey and Danny are alone in private.

I'm not going to talk too much about Lacey here because she already has a running series on the Black Girls Club, so check it out.

The 'Path

Firstly, congrats to actor Avan Jogia (*cue the screams*) for his Kids' Choice nomination for the role of Danny Desai (Source).  He's definitely earned it; I respect him as a young actor and think Twisted is going to be a hell of an education for him.  If he can make grown women swoon at the age of 21, then I can't wait to see what he does in his thirties and forties.  I sure hope he keeps choosing good roles.

You've heard the story a million times by now.  At the tender age of eleven, Danny Desai is convicted of murdering his Aunt Tara by strangling her at home with a jump rope while she's babysitting him.  He does so while Jo and Lacey are playing a swingset right outside his home.

He never tells anyone why he did what he did.  When anyone asks him directly about what happened and why, he deflects.  He shows zero remorse for her death, and appears unfazed by his stint in juvenile detention, as demonstrated here (just fast forward to the end).


...Like nothing ever happened. Thus begins the whole "Is he or isn't he debate?" as to whether or not he's a sociopath.


"Person who wakes up every day in a pool of someone else's blood?" - Best...line...EVER.

Even Amaya, the Reigning Queen of All Things Dark & Twisty, had a little trouble with this show's premise.


I say he isn't; it's friggin' ABC Family and they'll only go so far.  But Avan still has to walk a fine line with this character; when he's being eerie or menacing he's extremely convincing.  When he's sensual and charming, it haunts you long after the show is over.

In fact, one of my favorite scenes is in the pilot when a jock confronts him at party by shoving him.  The music is chilling as Danny recovers, and you can hear onlookers catching their breath as they wonder who in their right man would lay hands on this guy.

Danny doesn't fight back; he doesn't need to.


Not to go all Negro on folks, but isn't there a general rule about not putting your hands on the dude who "just got out"?

At the end of the pilot, there's another body, and His Truly is the immediate suspect.  In the Age of American Brownophobia, I'm intrigued that a brown guy with a surname like Desai is cast as the favorite scapegoat/Boogeyman in a town that's predominantly white.  Though I think such social commentary through casting was unintentional, it's great commentary nonetheless.

I was also surprised we got a Blasian kiss just five episodes in.
Whereas Jo and Danny are very good friends -- they see eye-to-eye on a lot of things -- Lacey has built up a bunch of walls when it comes to Danny. But their obviously attracted to one another, and that attraction is starting to break down those walls. That gets explored further in the series, but a spark has definitely been lit. (Source)

I think there is a physical attraction that they didn't have any understanding of when they were 11. They're not very close, which is what's interesting. It's really a relationship of passion. They don't really know one another. (Source)

~ Avan Jogia, on Danny and Lacey*
And this is precisely what concerns me. Passion fizzles, especially teenaged passion.  Sparks can easily be put out.   So...are they doing the Blasian romance thing just to knock it out so they can end it sometime during Season One, and thus make room for Danny and [insert white girl here] for the rest of the series?

The Predictions on My Wish List

Screw family-friendly TV; LA Times promised a body count and you better believe I want one.  I don't want Danny cleared his of his aunt's murder.  I want Danny to be dangerous, I want the plot to get darker and darker, and I want him to have killed someone by the time the series ends. Take this scene from the pilot, for example; it's another of my favorites:



The next morning, Regina, the girl who's been sexually harassing him all night, is found dead, and at the end of the episode, Danny has the necklace she was wearing (it originally belonged to his Aunt Tara). Honestly, after that look of irritation on his face, a perverse part of me genuinely hoped he'd gone over to her house to kill her, just to get the necklace back.

See?   Stuff like that. I want fucked-up stuff like that, so if ABC needs to sell the rights of this show to FX or Showtime or HBO...then so be it.

What do you guys want from this show?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
*Yes, there's an entire YouTube Channel dedicated to Danny and Lacey, and while doing a little research, I'm pleased to see these two have a massive army of supporters.

Thank God they've also got the chemistry to back it up.

28 comments:

  1. If VikRam turns out to be Regina's boy toy, I will scream bloody murder. It's interesting that he was screwing both Karen and Tess in high school. T.J. Ramini should be in every single flashback. He's a grown man. ;)

    Don't worry about Rob Yang. He's earning his fuck you money like Lucy Liu and a majority of POC actors in Hollywood. Ting/Tang needs to throw himself off a skyscraper though. Spoilers indicate that he'll get worse.

    I'm all for Dacey since both Avan and Kylie are adults. Besides, his acting improves in her presence and that must mean something wonderful. He's so dull with everyone else. Their chemistry is amazing.

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    1. T.J. Ramini should be in every single flashback.

      Amen. Preferably shirtless and just out of the shower.

      Besides, his acting improves in her presence and that must mean something wonderful.

      So it's not just me! Their chemistry is straight dangerous. I never expected to be impressed by actors their age, but they're clearly serious about their careers. ABC chose very carefully for this show, and they'd have to, considering the premise.

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    2. Amen. Preferably shirtless and just out of the shower.

      Yes, please. I'm breaking the law to watch this show and I deserve something for the effort. ;)

      So it's not just me! Their chemistry is straight dangerous.

      No, it's not just you. Avan's clearly bringing it when he's with Kylie. Most of his scenes with Jo/Maddie are painful to watch.

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  2. The show sounds more and more intriguing, I think I might have to start watching it soon!

    I think it's kind of disappointing that it's on ABC family though. Like you said, it would be so awesome to see this take a really dark turn, the premise sounds cool. But I wonder how far they can go on such a network? I don't watch a lot of TV, so I'm not sure, but it would really suck if the writers were forced to take a more vanilla route, or if they did push the envelope and the show got canceled as a result :/

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  3. I have yet to see Twisted. My Wifi is doing fine now . I'm hoping that I can see Twisted between Friday and Sunday.

    If there is anything I would want for this show is for it...as some have suggested..to stretch more. These characters on this show cannot stay hidden with their talents. These guys aren't some settled bubble gum actors/actresses that can be easily typecasted. They are much more.

    Though Twisted has been touted as a family show, this show has to be real when it comes to these characters. They have to be the you adults that they are and ACT like it. They are not Justin Bieber and Selen Gomez. you can take these guys very seriously. I can see these guys ( If I keep looking at Avan, Im going to faint!) in more mature diverse genres of movies.

    I hope that Avan and all of these other charaters are utilized in thr right way. Too often, producers/directors have no idea what is best for the viewers.

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    1. If I keep looking at Avan, Im going to faint!

      Girl, who you tellin'. I have to avoid looking at him directly sometimes. Not to mention, his scenes with Lacey are jaw-dropping.

      I was feeling bad about being all Twisty, but now I'm hearing across the web that this show is really drawing in the older viewers. Kinda like when older girls and women started obsessing over Harry Potter.

      Now I watch and re-watch the eps all I want.

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    2. I know what you mean.Initially felt weird when I got crazy home over Avan.I'm old enough to be his mom and I have 2 younger brothers who are even a little older than he is.I'm glad to see that more older viewers are watching this well. I no longer have to feel guilty about my visual pleasures of looking at Twisted. I got to watch the 1st episode of it:Three for the road. I intend to watch more to catch up on what I missed.

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    3. LOL - I just realized he's younger than my lil sis.

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  4. Oh let me not forget to congratulate Avan and Kerry Washington on her Emmy nomination for Scandal.

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  5. For the love of goodness, I could not STAND how they made the principle in this show. I feel like I was the only one who found that entire hair brush(ing) thing creepy. On to something no one (so far) has brought up that I enjoyed: **SPOILERS**

    In the episode "The Fest and the Furious", part of the town has some sort of meeting where they discuss whether or not Danny should come to the Fall Festival that is held every year. Of course most (if not all) of the people are advocating for him to not be allowed to attend, but I found it interesting that the one black woman I saw, advocated for him to attend. Fast-forward to the festival where the one white guy decided to call Danny out in front of everyone, to the point where the same black woman from earlier came to his defense and Jo's dad (the chief of police) had to tell the guy to not put his hands on Danny.

    I found it interesting that in a town that looks to be predominately white, they chose to have the one black woman I've really seen so far (besides Lacey) to come to Danny's defense. Thoughts?

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    1. It's Christina Moses; she played a Guardian on Nikita. She's what's called a featured extra; she got the lines because she's guest-starring on the show.

      But the fact a brown woman was cast to defend Danny wasn't lost on me, and when she calls the white dude a "right-wing nut" it confirmed my suspicions.

      Makes you wonder if Danny was a white boy if these same people would worry so much.

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    2. "Makes you wonder if Danny was a white boy if these same people would worry so much."

      No, Ankh. He'd be a poor misunderstood boy with mental issues that can be worked out in therapy and with lots of hugs, remember?

      I really need to watch this show, someway/somehow. Hulu doesn't work here, so I guess I'll wait till tehs eason ends and get it after.

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    3. No, Ankh. He'd be a poor misunderstood boy with mental issues that can be worked out in therapy and with lots of hugs, remember?

      Good boy!!!

      I don't know if Amazon.com works where you are, but you can watch the eps there.

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    4. @Leo Princess

      He'd be a poor misunderstood boy with mental issues that can be worked out in therapy and with lots of hugs, remember?

      He'd also have an actual point of view on his own show. If Danny had been cast as "white," we'd probably KNOW if he was a sociopath because his pov would let the cat out of the bag sooner rather than later. I'll deal with this though because I like how Avan's playing all sides, like a true trickster.

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  6. "Sparks can easily be put out. So...are they doing the Blasian romance thing just to knock it out so they can end it sometime during Season One, and thus make room for Danny and [insert white girl here] for the rest of the series?"

    That's exactly what I thought when watching the show! It seems as through it can be that way or they will make Danny just like his father.But with how the show is going who knows what they have next for us. Either way at this point I'm loving the show so much I'm tempted to wait until the season is over and just watch everything back to back to stop all the suspense. I can't keep thinking about his eyes when I go sleep, wake up for work the next morning and realize that I won't wake up to them...*le sigh*.

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    1. The guy is too pretty for his own good.

      If they keep up the Danny/Lacey relationship, then Avan Jogia could single-handedly lay waste to the Korean obsession among some Blasians. He'll have Black women paying much closer attention to South Asians from hereon out.

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  7. I'm actually surprised Avan Jogia doesn't believe that Danny and Lacey know each other and that it might be purely physical. Wouldn't it be the opposite or in addition to? I understand the "acting on feelings they had when they were kids", just later, but there is a purity in knowing another person and choosing that person as a close friend BEFORE puberty where all of these other things get in the way. I would think that they know the purest forms of each other. *shoulder shrug*

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    1. @Nu

      Since the scripts themselves are designed to allow actors to interpret unless they are given specific directions, then it's possible Avan has CHOSEN to perceive the relationship this way. It would give Danny an easy out if he decides to walk away from Lacey and into the loving, yet dull, arms of Jo. Janny fans insist that these two are endgame and that the Black girl is merely a distraction.

      If Danny and Lacey break up, I'm done. Kylie barely gets enough screen time as it is and what little she gets tends to be Jo or Danny-focused. Spoilers reveal that Jo will even learn about Lacey's father's secret before Lacey does. Ugh. Ugh.

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    2. @Hateya

      "...Avan has CHOSEN to perceive the relationship this way. It would give Danny an easy out if he decides to walk away from Lacey and into the loving, yet dull, arms of Jo." ...or [INSERT WHITE GIRL HERE] or to be TOO GOOD for Lacey to have earned.

      ITA. He also knows more than we do since he filmed all the episodes and knows how everything plays out. That will make me sick... sick. (I like Jo, btw) but Lacey can't catch a break. People are waiting for her character to crash and burn. We know that she's not going to be popular anymore, but is she not even going to have a good relationship with Danny at that point?

      I mean, how different are they from a Romeo and Juliet to have the Danny/Lacey relationship characterized as basically being just about lust and not love, never love...? It sucks that one of the actors believes it as well and that is what is might get sold to us.

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    3. @Hateya - Last thing...

      I find Jogia's quote extra disturbing because it's like the onus is on Lacey for the two to get to know each other better (which I don't buy). Both Lacey and Jo have been trying to get information from Danny, but Danny constantly deflects. When Lacey wants to talk about how he is feeling, actually, when anyone wants to discuss how Danny is feeling, he blows them off, "I'm fine", "It is what it is", he changes focus, etc... Who REALLY knows Danny, isn't that a part of the PLOT? Jo doesn't seem to know Danny anymore than Lacey, yet Danny was able to get into her good graces early on entering into a familial "friendship" (which apparently everyone sees as "true blue"). If we use the logic of his quote, his friendship with Jo should be considered as superficial as his romantic relationship, if that is what they want us to believe about Danny and Lacey. In both cases, Danny is getting his way without giving the two girls anything of substance about who he is NOW, back. Both relationships could be considered superficial, if they like, but controlled by Danny. Maybe, the reveal will be how he used everyone, although, I don't see what they'd do for a second season.

      That's it... I hate that quote, but it is preparing me for the worst.

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    4. @Nu

      .or [INSERT WHITE GIRL HERE] or to be TOO GOOD for Lacey to have earned.

      This is the scenario a fair number of fans desire. If the powers that be decide that Danny's TOO GOOD for Lacey, then I'm done. Done. Done. There won't be any going back.

      People are waiting for her character to crash and burn. We know that she's not going to be popular anymore, but is she not even going to have a good relationship with Danny at that point?

      Some verbal fans have been clamoring for this scenario since episode #1. Dacey will be the end of Lacey. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. The Great Roll Reversal? If Jo morphs into Lacey, then I'm done with American television until "Sleepy Hallow."

      Both relationships could be considered superficial, if they like, but controlled by Danny. Maybe, the reveal will be how he used everyone, although, I don't see what they'd do for a second season.

      I believe Danny's feelings for Jo and Lacey (love or lust) are genuine; nonetheless, despite this intimacy, he can still use them and his mother. To what end though? He's playing a game with Kyle and the rest of the police for the sake of playing? It's extremely dangerous with the necklace and that sneaky-assed Rico in play.

      It sucks that one of the actors believes it as well and that is what is might get sold to us.

      It's possible he recognizes how WEAK the plot is and has merely tossed out a red herring. Avan clearly gets more and more comfortable with Kylie with every single scene. If it's just lust, he should play it as such.

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    5. *sniff* I missed a bomb discussion.

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  8. @Nu

    I mentioned something silly, didn't I? I wrote Avan should play Danny as a player, but I forgot that Danny has no POV. He's not the protagonist. We aren't allowed in his head. His motives about everything is a mystery. *shakes head*

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  9. Is anyone else completely pissed off that Danny and Lacey were broken up by the half baked, racially biased writers who just don't want to see a pretty black girl STAY with a handsome non-black guy?



    For those of us, like myself, who prefer to date interracially and know that interracial relationships between black WOMEN and NON BLACK men CAN and DOES LAST, WORK OUT and end HAPPILY EVER AFTER, it was a total slap in the face!!! Thanks a lot Twisted. Danny & LACEY were the whole reason I watched the show, so thanks a lot for putting him with Jo in the most boring, odd pairing in tv history.

    ABC-Family is as racially biased as ABC and hell will freeze over before I tune in again! No Danny and Lacey=No more me as a viewer. Twisted officailly sucks and I hope they don't get a third season.

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    1. So I read a recap of the finale and I just had to cringe. If I were Kylie Bunbury and Twisted actually did get renewed, I'd tell them not to bother with Lacey. I'd be ducking out.

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  10. Yes, it was awful. They treated the character of Lacey horrible on the show. I was such a huge fan. I'm very disappointed. They received a lot of backlash from fans. It's very sad. The writers ruined the show. The ratings were bad too.

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  11. Every review says it. The show went downhill fast. Nothing makes sense anymore. It's all a mess. Why did they break up Danny and Lacey? Fans loved them together. The ratings have been dropping since the show came back. For the last two episodes the ratings were bad, It sucks the show went this way.

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