Check out the trailer for the first series of episodes for Myx TV’s newest reality TV show on the Asian American diaspora, which includes the awesome Kristina Wong being Wong-licious (she’s the one in the “…Reparations for Yellow Fever” episode)!
Spoiler alert! Which hopefully you would have figured out by the word “recap” in the title.
This post will deal with the first five minutes of episode 3. That’s right — the first five minutes.
There’s a lot that could be said about this episode, but I think this pretty much sums it up:
When last we left our fearless heroes and heroines, Jowe (aka “Prince of K-Town”) and Violet had shared a fleeting, soju-drenched, kiss in the hallway of a local K-town club. Some time later, the Prince was flirting with some random pants-less smoking girl at the bar. This girl, by the way, has a voice like fingernails on a chalkboard. She sounded like a vapid West Coast Valley Girl who’s been doping with cannisters of helium. She sounded like Alvin and the Chipmunks on Xanax. I’m really sorry to say it: she sounded like she was looking to get punched in the face.
Anyways, as Jowe (perhaps we should actually call him the Prince of Revisionist History?) puts it:
Look, I don’t know if the Prince was consciously trying to hook up with Random Pants-less Smoking Girl. But, I’m siding with the women on this one: approaching a girl and telling her that she’s pretty is a come-on. It’s pretty much the textbook definition of a come-on. Whether or not you should be picking up a girl while you’re partying with your ex- in the same room is a whole other topic for conversation; but, let’s not pretend that the Prince wasn’t trying to get some play just there.
Anyways: blah blah blah, “Oh, you’re not wearing pants?”, yadda yadda yadda, “Bitch!”, ker-splash. Let’s fast-forward to this week’s episode. One drunken alcohol… water… does-it-really-matter-flinging later, and Random Pants-less Smoking Girl tears after Violet (screaming “Oh, HELL no…!”), who is immediately whisked away by a flabbergasted, and surely cock-blocked, Jowe.
Okay, Jowe. If you’re reading this, let me give you a teeny-tiny piece of advice. Trying to have this conversation:
… just hours after you and your friends did this:
… and just minutes after you and your ex- did this:
… is just plain dumb.
And, it’s especially dumb to try and have this conversation in the middle. of. the. goddammed. dance. floor. Cue, Scarlet, who has decided that this particular conversation needs to be a three-way.
Honestly, what Scarlet says isn’t really relevant. Hilarious, but not really relevant. What’s relevant is that at this exact moment, Random Pants-less Smoking Girl shows up with her own glass of soju, and flings it wildly over the verbal menage-a-trois.
Which prompts Violet to throw yet another drink at Random Pants-less Smoking Girl.
(Yes, it took me something like four or five rewinds to get a grasp of this play-by-play.)
So, let me pause here for a moment. That’s not one -… not two-… but, three drinks thrown into someone’s face in the span of, what, like fifteen minutes. I’ve gone my entire adult life having never flung a beverage at another human being, while these girls manage to set some sort of Bizarre Drink-Flinging World Record in less than 30 minutes. Somehow, I feel like all this time I’ve been doing it wrong.
Anyways, three drinks are thrown, and (of course) all hell breaks loose. Honestly, at this point I kind of felt bad for Random Pants-less Smoking Girl: this wasn’t just an ordinary catfight that she suddenly found herself in the middle of. This was, like, some sort of coordinated catfight. It was like something out of Animal Planet — y’know where the lions circle around the wounded baby zebra and then go in for the kill? There was strategy. There was planning. There was fuckin’ flanking maneuvers. While Scarlet shoves Random Pants-less Smoking Girl to the ground, Violet grabs her by the hair. Scarlet flees for cover, some hand-slapping happens, Random Pants-less Smoking Girl connects with Violet’s left eye, and then the Prince breaks the whole thing up.
Mike Le, was right; this show totally busts stereotypes. Specifically, the stereotype that all Asians know kung fu.
And, my favourite part?
Later, Violet sums up why she was so worried about getting a black eye in a line that’s equal parts sheer awesome and sheer bitch:
Honestly, that’s the kind of line that would ordinarily make me hate a girl. Except, that later on, when the Prince drags Violet off to Hookup Hallway to talk about their feelings, Random Pants-less Smoking Girl confronts them both one more time, tries to start the fight again, and calls Violet fat.
Really? Violet? Fat? She’s fat like I’m seven feet tall and playing for the New York Knicks.
So, really, in the end it’s kind of just one big ‘ol superficiality slug-fest. And, in that context, I can kind of forgive Violet for being supremely bitchy.
After more insults are flung in Hookup Hallway, Random Pants-less Smoking Girl leaves. And that’s when we finally get to see:
The girls and the guys break off into separate groups to tell their sides of the story. And really, it’s kind of a brilliant piece of gender role-playing: Violet tells an emotional recounting of how Jowe is playing with her emotions while the girls help her process, while Jowe and the boys really can’t figure out what the big deal is. Jasmine, aka Jazzy (cutest nickname ever), encourages Violet to get the Prince out of her life.
Courage wound up, the Prince drags Violet back to Hookup Hallway for yet another “can we talk about our feelings?” chit-chat. Violet starts cussing and swearing. She’s revved up, infuriated and exasperated (and possibly still a little drenched with soju).
At this point, I’m rooting for the girl: come on, Violet, you can do it!
You can tell him off! You can get in his face, give him a piece of your mind, and -… and-…
(And, of course, wouldn’t you know that Young missed it all…?)
Tune in to my next recap post when I cover the second half of K-Town Episode 3.
I applaud Jen for being vigilant in this matter. As she describes in her post, the consequences of this stereotype to hard-working, honest Asian American men is profound. We could be talking about scores of Asian men turned away by employers who require shirts be worn every day of the week — even Casual Friday! Thousands of Asian men might find themselves applying for jobs in fields where they won’t be unfairly penalized due to the anti-shirt stereotype. Do we really want our Asian brothers forced to work as strippers, cabana boys, and life guards?
Think about the self-hate and shame that will be invoked amongst decent, well-meaning Asian men when they hear phrases like, “Hey, dude, chill out! Keep your shirt on!” or “What are you, a nudist who lacks commitment?” Think of the pain Asian men will have to endure when they become targeted by new racial slurs, like “shirt-hater”, “Chippendale”, or “nipple-flasher”. And will Asian men who take their shirts off — even while performing reasonably no-shirt activities like swimming or taking a shower — be accused of being sellouts for perpetuating the shirt-hating stereotype?
But, I do disagree with Jen on one thing: let’s put the blame where it belongs. The “shirt allergy” stereotype against Asian men did not begin with Peter Le, Young Lee or Joe Cha. No, these boys are mere symptoms of an institutional stereotype that just hasn’t received sufficient media attention until now, when K-Town finally exposed the stereotype’s full impact on our Asian brothers. These poor souls are only acting as they think they’re supposed to, because the “Asian men hate shirts” stereotype has been so deeply internalized into their self-identity. In a way, these men are heroes, for bravely shedding light on a silent oppression.
Consider how many other innocent Asian men have fallen victim to this syndrome:
So, you ask — whom should we really be blaming?
Well, I think the answer is clear — the blame lies squarely on the man who first brought this dastardly stereotype to American audiences.
That’s right: Bruce. Effin’. Lee. That frickin’ nipple-flasher.
Act Now! I’m declaring August 1st to be National Asian Male Shirt Solidarity Day. Wear a shirt and show your support. Spread the word.