Thursday 14th December 2017,

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Spoiler Alert: ‘Fresh Off The Boat’ Deals with Issue that Resonates with Asian Americans

posted by Randall
Fresh Off the Boat

Jessica Huang (Constance Wu) schools Louis Huang (Randall Park) about Long Duk Dong from 16 Candles

I tweeted half way through last night’s episode of Fresh Off the Boat entitled Good Morning, Orlando, that it was possibly the best show of the entire series so far.

If you haven’t watched the show yet, I strongly suggest you do on Hulu or abc.com. The following will reveal some plot points, so consider yourself warned.

Good Morning Orlando was the first episode since the pilot when FOTB tackled the use of the racial slur chink that’s dealt so skillfully with an issue the strikes the heart of many Asian Americans–Long Duk Dong.

The nerdy and socially awkward character nicknamed Donger (Gedde Watanabe)  in the movie 16 Candles represents perhaps the most distasteful stereotypical portrayal of Asian American men in Hollywood films ever.

Often quoted lines such as “what’s happenin’ hot stuff” and “oh, sexy girlfriend” became the bane of Asian American men growing up in the 80’s.

Fresh Off the Boat
On Fresh Off the Boat, Louis appeared on a segment of a local morning talk show, Good Morning, Orlando.. He went on to do his impressions of Donald Duck and Rocky Balboa, drawing huge laughs from the two morning hosts.

Feeling good about himself, he returned home to be scolded by Jessica for perpetuating the Long Duk Dong stereotype of the goofy Asian American man. Louis at first defends himself, but later feels remorse and decides he’ll make it up with a second appearance.

This time he plays it straight as a professional business man, but Jessica wags her finger at him again, telling him he went overboard. She fears now people will think Asian Americans have no sense of humor.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Randall Park said “growing up, I never got called that (Donger). I never had those lines recited back to me as a kid. But I know a lot of Asian Americans who got teased when that movie came out, and Long Duk Dong became the bane of their existence for many years.”
 
You can read the entire interview with Park in the Wall Street Journal. Share your thoughts on last night’s episode below.

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