HomeBad Ass AsiansCrazy Ex-Girlfriend Making Filipino American History

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Making Filipino American History

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Josh Chan (played by Vicente Rodriguez III, far right) introduces his Filipino/American family.

By Ed Diokno

The Thanksgiving episode airing this Monday (Nov 16) on  Crazy-Ex Girlfriend, a new musical-comedy on the CW Television Network will feature, for the first time (to my knowledge):

  • Dinaguan: Yes that tasty pork stew sometimes described as “chocolate meat” to soften the shock of non-Filipinos when they discover that it is pork stewed in pork blood. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
  • A FilipinoAmerican family: Yes! There have been Filipino American characters on American TV before but this is the first time that an entire family has been presented to a nationwide audience adding more dimension to the male lead’s character.

The character Josh Chan, played by Filipino American actor Vincent Rodriguez III, is the object of the title character’s scary obsession.

If you haven’t watched the show before, here’s the premise.  Rebecca, a successful New York lawyer,  in a fit of dissatisfaction follows a former not-quite boyfriend across the country to suburban West Covina, CA, where, not-so-coincidentally, Filipinos make up the largest ethnic group.

Up to now, not much has been known about Josh, but as the series has gone on, we’ve learned that his father is a radiologist and that he confides in his Filipino American priest known as Fr. Brah, played by the writer Rene Gube, who is also a writer for the show.

Does that sound like your typical girl-meets-boy love story? Far from it! That’s what makes this show a delight. It’s edgy and willing to tackle topics that most vapid sitcoms would steer away from (i.e. a father’s love for her daughter “that sounds creepy” musical number on last week’s episode.)

Creating an Asian male to be the object of Rebecca’s unhealthy obsession is such a risk. Having his Filipino American story fill out is exciting for those of us who grew up with similar immigrant families who up to now have been totally absent from the American consciousness. And now we’re about to meet his family. America gets a peek into a slice of our country most of them have never seen.

Even more refreshing, the Filipino angle has not been exploited on Crazy. The inter-racial relationship between Josh and Rebecca (played by creator Rachel Bloom) has not been an issue. The relationship between the would-be romantic leads is between a crazy wannabe (perhaps mentally unbalanced) girlfriend and a hunk.

Mabuhay, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend!

Here’s a trailer followed by another short scene from this ground-breaking episode:

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  1. Actually, dinuguan was featured in an episode of ER over 15 years ago where the nurses went on strike and the temporary nurses all came from the Philippines. There must have been a Filipino wirter on the show because the episode featured a lot of Fiipino workplace quirks, such as a veritable feast in the staff room including Dinuguan which George Clooney was shown partaking of and offering to his co-star. And when the Nurse supervisor Abby gave an order to one of the new nurses, two of the nurses were shown behind her back making faces and saying " Hmmmph, sungit".

    • RE: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend making Filipino American history: Thank you for the correction about Dinaguans resume on American TV. Kudos to ER too for recognizing the valuable presence of Filipino medical staff in American hospitals. If only Grey's Anatomy would include more Filipino cast members to add to the authenticity of the hospital setting.

  2. RE: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Making Filipino American History: Imagine my surprise when I heard about this show following the Golden Globes & it led me to you. I'm impressed!! I will make sure my 1/4 Filipino sons know about this show. Great to see you & that you continue to be relevant.

    • RE: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend making Filipino American history: Blast from the past! Check out my blog Views From The Edge at dioknoed.blogspot.com


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