Skepchick Quickies 3.29


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. While I do think The Five-Year Engagement trailer shows some privileged, racial insensitivity (and seriously, what's with this chuckling over 'yellow fever' constantly, some-white-guys-I-know? Makes me uncomfortable when I'm around you), I don't think it's all that "shocking" sadly enough, or truly "anti-Asian" (like, they're actively lobbying against us). It's Hollywood being lazy as usual.

  2. I think it's probably neither lazy nor somehow anti-Asian or racially insensitive, but simply a reference to the original lyrics of the song, which inlcudes the line "north korea, south korea".
    I guess the author could have found a better reference as starting point for her article and a less exaggerated headline.

    1. I already pointed out that the article is too alarmist, but you went in the complete opposite direction.
      Since the original lyrics of the song begin with "Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnny Ray, South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio", the writer had to jump to the 2nd stanza to make that reference. So reaching for the North Korea, South Korea lyrics made that the point of the joke…kinda refuting the idea that it's "just" referencing the song. There are tons of lyrics in that song to use as starting points to make a joke, or ignore the original lyrics entirely, but nope, gotta go for the cheap laugh of white guys dating asian chicks…neither of whom get names.

      What, it wasn't funny if Chris Pratt sang about a list of Jason Segel's many previous girlfriends without having to point only specific ones out by ethnicity? Oh, I get it…it's only funnier if we made it about his proclivities for dating (nameless) Asian chicks for a while…like it was a phase…that "yellow fever" I mentioned. It's cute when Asian girls get fetishized consistently in Hollywood, and then they make jokes about them which gets them the designation of "this Korean" and "that Korean". At least, that's how I imagine they are listed in the account books to pay for the use of their likenesses.

      How is that not insensitive? Have you never stood around with a bunch of guys who would talk about how they love how exotic and "submissive" asian girls were. Meanwhile, I'd be staring daggers at them. And Jason Segel's character seems to be getting brushed with that paint. It's insensitive because Hollywood constantly sexualizes Asian women, while practically neutering Asian males on screen (it's getting better, but then someone made "2 Broke Girls"), so the Asian girl usually ends up with a white guy.

      Why couldn't it have gone: "Jewish chick, Latina, Irish lass, Indian girl, this Korean, that Korean, white girl with afro"? Why not show he had a much more "colorful" dating past, and up the edginess of that joke? Your point doesn't hold water that it was "just" meant to parody the song and not make a joke based on race since I didn't see any names similar to: Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, television … those white ladies got actual NAMES.

      It's lazy because the joke could have gone beyond simple "yellow fever" dynamics and a half-assed lampoon of a Billy Joel song that was released over 2 decades ago.
      Keep in mind, I'm not condemning the movie outright or anything like that. I tend to like Judd Apatow films, but this was just a badly done gag. It's ok…they can't all be winners.

      1. The north korea, south korea line is sufficiently close to the beginning that it isn't a stretch to use it, its the fourth line of about 40 after all. So I don't think that makes it the point of the joke. From the part of the scene that's in the trailer I guess the point is, that it is indeed a half-assed lampoon of a Billy Joel song that was released over 2 decades ago, performed by an embarrassing friend in an inappropriate context.
        Speaking of context…some on the character performing the song might be helpful in judging if it's the writers being lazy or maybe them writing a character that's lazy.
        Finally, I agree with you that Hollywood certainly has a bad track record of dealing with ethnic stereotypes, but this is 5 seconds in a trailer. As you mentioned with 2 Broke Girls, there are targets a lot more deserving of attention. 

        1. I still disagree, but seeing as how it's mostly subjective…and we both don't think it's much to get worked up about…the point seems kinda moot.

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