Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Must not portray East Asians as different

"How I Met Your Mother" co-creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas have apologised on Twitter after the latest episode of the hit sitcom was accused of racism.

The show which aired on CBS in the US on Monday night, faced a social media backlash after it depicted several of its title characters in what viewers are dubbing "yellowface".

"I want to say a few words about #HowIMetYourRacism.we set out to make a silly and unabashedly immature homage to Kung Fu movies, a genre we've always loved," series co-creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas wrote in a joint tweet, apologising for any upset that they may have caused.

"But along the way we offended people. We're deeply sorry, and we're grateful to everyone who spoke up to make us aware of it."

The episode titled Slapsgiving 3: Slappointment in Slapmarra focuses on one of the show's longest running gags - the slap bet.

In the episode, Marshall (Jason Segel) recalls how he learnt the Slap of a Million Exploding Suns on his "slapquest" from three grand masters; who as it turns out are played by Marshall friend's Robin, Lily and Ted.

The scenes were shot using generic, Asian-looking backdrops and Cobie Smulders, Alyson Hannigan, and Josh Radnor had their faces made-up to appear Asian, complete with black hair, black-rimmed eyes, and wearing Asian silk robes; Radnor even dons a Fu Manchu moustache.

Viewers of the show were quick to voice their disgust over the racial-based joke and created the hashtag #HowIMetYourRacism, which began trending shortly after the episode aired.

One viewer tweeted: "Yeah, seriously, that episode of #HIMYM was so bad I turned it off. I couldn't stomach it.

"Besides the gross orientalizing of the women, Ted wore a f---ing Fu Manchu 'stach! Who thought this was ok?



Dean said...

Oh goody! A chance to act offended. How dare a Caucasian wear a mustache not of European style.

It won't be long before humor of any kind is forbidden out of fear someone will be offended.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't most humour depend on humiliating someone? It's never been easier to be offended and shut someone down, line the pockets or both. Free speech demands that you have the right to offend some as much as they have the right to offend you. If you are not happy then tough shit. Should especially apply to prominent public figures. Being offended only feeds lawyers, something to avoided at all costs.

Anonymous said...

I watched it and didn't see it as offensive. If anything it was mocking the use of stereotypical portrayals of Asians that were created by Asians themselves with the thousands of cheap, kung fu, movies they created and exported to the English speaking world. These poorly dubbed and campy martial arts flicks were the obvious inspiration for this episode. Just like the movie Kung Pow a few years ago that also was a satire of those type of films.

Anonymous said...

So, whites being offended on behalf of others? Lamer than the show.