More Than Serving Tea


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the television category.

#FreshOffTheBoat? I Liked It

Some quick, unedited thoughts in reaction to tonight’s premiere (FINALLY) of ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat because I want to know your thoughts. I’ll go first. (THERE ARE SOME SORT OF SPOILERS…)

  • I liked it. I thought it was funny. I like the kind of funny where I laugh out loud, and I laughed out loud. And my sons who are 15 and 13 sat down with me to watch both episodes and laughed, related, and repeated lines.
  • Constance Wu’s portrayal of the mother Jessica Huang was lovely. She loves her children and her husband, but she isn’t going to take things lying down. She doesn’t mince words, but she isn’t one-dimensional. Hmmmm.
  • There were as many “jabs” at white culture/people as there were stereotypes of Asian/Taiwanese American culture. White people food, white people bowing, white suburban SAHMs talking loudly, fast, and over anyone else alongside the grandmother who doesn’t speak English, stinky Asian food, and Chinese Learning Centers (CLC, which of course my sons thought meant College of Lake County). I grew up calling white people and their food “Americans” and “American food,” which to some degree still holds true in American culture.
  • There were so many moments that sent me back to childhood. The stinky food thing. My sons started reminding each other about “the time you brought insert-some Asian food-here” to school and what reactions they received. My parents sometimes still talk about how their clothes smell after being at Korean bbq restaurant. The CLC thing never happened, but the push to excel meant my parents MADE Korean language worksheets and photocopied academic workbooks (I couldn’t write inside of them because they would re-use the book for my younger sister or make new copies of sheets when I didn’t complete them correctly) for us to do OVER THE SUMMER.
  • Yes, some of those things that rang true border on stereotypes, which is probably why I read many, many comments about how the show was good but not perfect…
  • But WHY DOES THIS SHOW HAVE TO BE PERFECT??? Why are so many of us Asian Americans adding that caveat? How many shows are perfect? I get it. This is the first show in 20 years featuring a family that looks remotely like mine so there is a lot of pressure. The pressure is real in terms of the network, etc. but it isn’t real in that the “Asian American community” does not, should not carry the burden of perfectly representing our story because there is no one story. I understand the burden in so many ways, but again I want to be held accountable and hold others accountable. How might we be perpetuating the stereotype of the model minority by expecting, even daresay hoping, this show, this ONE SHOW, would perfectly represent a multicultural community? It can’t.
  • I’m grateful the show took on double standards and the word “chink.” I was caught a little off guard when it happened because you never get used to that, and why should we. But when the parents defended Eddie and asked why the other boy, who was black, and his parents were not in the principal’s office for using a racial epithet I said, “YES!” Now, I don’t know how many Taiwanese parents would’ve done that, but as a parent and as an adult who still hears “chink” thrown at me or my family I appreciated the call out. For the record, I didn’t punch back because I wasn’t going to start something I couldn’t finish. I swore back in Korean.
  • It mattered to my sons. I was surprised that they wanted to sit with me to watch it live because who does that anymore. But there they were laughing and following along. They both agreed it will go into the DVR queue and when asked why they liked it both of them said they liked seeing Asians on tv. “The Asians. They are like us.” Yes, they are.

OK. Unfiltered, quick, off-the-cuff thoughts to jump into the conversation. I’d love to hear from all of you, Asian and non-Asian American!!

  • Did you watch it? Why or why not?
  • If you watched it, what did you think?
  • What did you like the most? What made you cringe? Why?
  • What were the things you resonated with? What didn’t you understand or get?
  • Whatever else you want to add. 🙂
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In Times Like These We Are All Americans. Not Really. Let’s All Be Human.

By the time I finish editing this post, the name of the third victim killed in the Boston Marathon bombing will be making its way around the interwebs. Look at how the news media writes about her, her country. Please take a look at the comments on those stories. Maybe you will be surprised. I’m hoping to be surprised by our humanity, but so far not so much.

Because in times like these, we are actually not all Americans. Tragedy, despite what newscasters might have us believe, can often be quite divisive. I’m well aware of the many random acts of kindness, and how Bostonians literally opened up their homes and shared their resources. But when you heard about the bombing, did you think, even for a moment, “I hope the perp isn’t (fill in the blank with your choice of race, ethnicity, citizenship, etc.).”? I did. Remember Virginia Tech. That was only six years ago. The South Korean government apologized on the shooter’s behalf.

In times like these, the “other” is always to blame.  Don’t forget the erroneous reports about a Saudi national being held for questioning. Unless you are an American, and dare I say look “American”, your involvement, your presence may be called into question. There were plenty of people on the scene that looked like Timothy McVeigh or Terry Nichols. One comment on a news article read: “…we have enough problems without involving the Chinese.”

But the Chinese are involved. In fact, the world is involved. As far as I know, the Boston Marathon draws an international running community together. And she was there to watch, just like thousands of other fellow human beings.

She was a Chinese graduate student at Boston University, not much older than my own daughter, and very much like many of the college and university students I interact with through my work with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. In fact, before turning on the news I knew through Facebook this young woman had attended an InterVarsity graduate student fall conference. She had friends. She had a roommate. She was known. And she was loved.

This morning I heard a talking head on the television say that her name had not yet been released because her parents had not yet told her grandparents. Her parents were concerned the grandparents would not be able to handle the news.

In a culture like ours, where free speech and an individual’s right to bear arms like a battalion headed into war are sacred, where news and misinformation are often confused for one another, where the news cycle never stops on any front, it may seem odd to want to keep such important, personal, yet devastating news from loved ones when people are wondering “who is the third victim”. But for Eastern culture, familial ties run deep and are visceral. Perhaps it is because we in America expect to see a grieving loved one bravely face the cameras or give the media a quote or statement. We respect the grief, but we want to be allowed to be a part of it. But for this young woman’s family, the grief might just physically overcome the grandparents. Or perhaps, her activities here could call her entire family into question under a government in a culture that seems so unlike “ours”.

We may never know all of the details of her life, but that shouldn’t make her less human, less a victim, less important. I do not know if she and I shared a faith in Jesus, but in times like these I don’t care whether or not she was an American. She was my sister, bearing the image of God just as the unnamed Saudi national, Martin Richard and Krystle Campbell.

May the Lord have mercy on us all.

 


You Can’t Make Me But You Might Make Me Want To…Watch This

I tease my husband mercilessly about our obnoxiously large television that is mounted on the wall above the fireplace where a lovely family portrait used to hang. I should stop making fun of it because the tv paved the road to…a DVR – multiple shows recording automatically waiting for life to catch up to fantasy, sci-fi, reality tv, comedy, etc.

We all know that I watch LOST. (Finale party has already been scheduled, btw. If you live in Chicagoland, e-mail me for an invite.) But you may not know that I also watch Brothers & Sisters, Glee, parenthood and FlashForward. But that’s it. After those five hours of television have successfully recorded, I’m fine. We don’t always get to the show right away. We actually spent the dreary weekend watching Parenthood since we couldn’t do much in the garden.

But what else is out there worth watching? What are your top recommendations? Could there be anything else worth coveted space on the dvr?


Back When I Was a Little Girl Football Commercials Were About Beer and Boobs, Not Babies

Is nothing sacred anymore?

With the exception of one Super Bowl in the 80s, I’ve generally looked at Super Bowl Sunday as an excuse to eat chips and watch the commercials. During the regular season, football commercials tend to bore me. I am not interested in drugs to treat ED, and nothing, not even watching boobs (the fake version on women as well as the foolish male version) will convince me that one beer is better than the other. Super Bowl Sunday ups the ante on the commercials by charging tons more for airtime. Over the years there have been some great commercials that often entertained more than the action on the field.

So imagine my surprise over the stink brewing over a commercial set to run featuring football darling Tim Tebow and his mother Pam Tebow. The link is thanks to a colleague, and I have to agree with him and the writer of the Washington Post column,  Sally Jenkins. You may fiercely disagree with the message of and the values (and pocketbook) behind the commercial, but as a woman I am a bit frustrated and disappointed.

Critics point to the pro-life message as being inappropriate. Really? You may disagree with it, but how is it inappropriate? The commercial is running during a game in which very strong, grown men tackle each other, sometimes to the point of injury, while boisterous fans, some in various stages of inebriated behavior, scream encouraging words using colorful language while grown women wear clothing small enough for small girls shake their pom poms in order to create team spirit. Yes, let’s talk about what is inappropriate and question where our values are.

And apparently there is a flurry of investigative reporting happening as well because questions are being raised about whether or not Pam Tebow’s story is true. (She got pregnant in 1987 while on a Christian mission in the Philippines and got sick. Doctors told her that the pregnancy was risky, but she chose to go through with the pregnancy.) Some headlines are declaring Tebow’s story a “falsehood”. Have those writers and critics taken a look at some of the boobs (male and female) out there? There is plenty of falsehood to go around. Buying expensive but really cool shoes won’t make you cool, but that falsehood is what sells those shoes. My goodness, advertising wants you to buy into a falsehood – if you buy this product you will be happier, more attractive, more successful, more this and that.

Apparently a few of the organizations taking issue with the Tebows and their commercial are launching their own response because the best response to an inappropriate commercial is to create another one? I never imagined Super Bowl Sunday would become part of the pro-life/pro-abortion conversation because when I was a little girl football was about the game, the beer and the boobs.

Solution? Suggestions? Should CBS pull the ad? Do you find the idea behind the commercial offensive and inappropriate? And do you really think the Saints will reign victorious?


Has LOST Left You Behind?

More Than Serving Tea readers, do you watch LOST?

My husband and I are big fans. We jumped into the show at the start of Season 2 and because of the convergence of several personal transitions/crisis/circumstances we chose to self-medicate by buying Season 1 on DVD and spending many nights getting know Sayid, Jin, Sun and Hurley. We currently own the entire series. After Season 6 comes out we will need a new idea for a Christmas gift to ourselves.

Our appreciation for the show has deepened as our investment in the characters and what they stand for has increased. Tuesday night there were 17 of us watching the show’s final season premiere at our home, complete with Dharma Initiative food and costumes. We had guest appearances by Hurley, Charlie, pregnant Claire, the Smoke Monster, Kate, Eloise Hawking and Workman.

Seventeen of us – half of the group traveled from the city out to the burbs – gathered for food and fun in the middle of the work week to hang out, watch a great show and talk during the commercial breaks. The group was a fun mix of people who wouldn’t have any other reason to get together except for the fact that they all know me and my husband and we all love LOST.

LOST has created a community, and for me that has meant an excuse to invite people into my home and therefore into my life to break bread, drink some Dharma wine, watch a show and get to know one another. More than a few people having seen photos of our past LOST parties on Facebook have half-jokingly, half-seriously said they would start watching the show just to come to our goofy parties.

I’ve talked to many people who are not interested in the show at all, but many of them have commented on this community around the show. There is a sense of being on the outside, left behind. I know at least two people who have invested A LOT of time catching up on five seasons in order to catch this final season at the start. Is it that the show is that good or the community is that convincing?

Do you watch? Why? Why not?

Leave a comment. Better yet, the person leaving the best comment (as determined best by me and maybe my husband) about why you love the show or why you don’t watch the show in a limerick, haiku or iambic pentameter will win their choice of  1.)Dharma Initiative chocolates, 2.) Dharma Initiative iron-on transfer or 3.) a copy of More Than Serving Tea.

P.S. Here is a great article about why another fan is a fan.

UPDATE: Sorry I neglected to include a deadline for my little contest. This morning at 12:45 a.m. CST, just a few hours before the earthquake, my husband and I declared Sara as the winner of our LOST contest. Her prize will be in the mail this week.

But if you feel the urge to rhyme and write an ode to our beloved show LOST, please do so. We love LOST around here. With or without tea.