The Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt has not only generated a lot of buzz among Netflix fans, but Asian Americans as well.
Many were impressed that the show featured a Vietnamese immigrant character named Dong who had a flirtation with the show’s main White character.
After all, you can probably count the number of Asian American men on TV displaying any sort of sex appeal on one hand.
Rafu Shimpo reports that the Dong character as played by Ki Hong Lee has also had its detractors.
Many have been upset about Dong’s accent. Can Asian Americans ever get beyond playing the perpetual foreigner?
I always feel uneasy when Asian characters speak with accents. Yes, I recognize that most immigrants do have accents. I’m probably jaded because so many of these characters who speak with an accent become the source of jokes.
Overall, I would give Dong a thumbs up in the advancement of Asian American portrayals on TV. If you look at the clip below, Kimmie’s relationship with Dong is positive. The two seem to have chemistry. The accent seems more for authenticity than comedy. Dong’s relationship with Kimmie works.
Guy Aoki of Media Action Network for Asian Americans breaks the Dong character down in Rafu Shimpo.
What do you think? Do you give Dong a thumbs up or down?