By Erin Chew, AsAmNews Staff Writer
The Ghost And Molly McGee, is an upcoming animated series produced by Disney which focuses on a joyful half Thai and half white tween named Molly who encounters a ghost named Scratch when her and her family move into their new house.
Molly is voiced by Ashly Burch, an actress who shares the same cultural heritage as her character, and it is this cultural heritage of being half Thai and half White, which is prioritized in this series. Burch tells AsAmNews that it is so important to see this representation and it was only when she was auditioning for the role of Molly did the directors mention that the character will be based off the cultural background of the person voicing her.
“I felt proud to know that Molly would reflect who I am and it was meaningful for me personally that she would be half Thai,” said Burch.
The conversation around Molly being half Thai allowed Burch to reflect on her own personal life experiences growing up biracial Asian and struggling to understand her own identity and where she belonged.
“There is an episode where “Molly” tries to reconcile the confusion of her own identity and tries to find out where she belonged. This is a direct mirror of my own experiences growing up and even as an adult I still struggle to comprehend my cultural heritage and identity. The question I have always asked and I still ask today is whether I am Thai enough, says Burch.
The friendship which develops between Molly and the ghost Scratch doesn’t start off on a positive foot, but it is a joyful and positive Molly which forges ahead to befriend Scratch regardless of their differences. There is a deeper meaning in this friendship which sends a message that diversity can only enrich friendships. Burch discusses this and mentions that the series is a celebration of friendships without borders/barriers.
I hope audiences young and old will watch the show and see that being friends with people of diverse cultural backgrounds isn’t scary, but it is exciting, fun and interesting. This is so telling about Molly as she meets a ghost and instead of being scared, she is just happy to have a friend.
There is a lot of diversity in the show – Molly is mixed race, her human best friend is Jewish background and all the other characters reflect what our current society looks like.
Finally, it is apparent that of late, Disney has been producing films, TV shows and cartoons which reflect a culturally diverse world. This is a great education tool for young kids to learn early that friendships are beyond race, and there is so much that can be learned from being culturally diverse. The question is, whether culturally diverse representation on film and TV has reached its peak or has it just started? Burch hopes this is a start of things to come.
“This fight for better representation and visibility of Asians has been happening for many years now and honestly, it has proven to produce successful films and TV shows.
We have learned as a community that we do not need White characters to validate our existence. Our Asian American stories are just regular life stories and the more we tell them, the more our stories and our identities will become a common place – so let’s keep telling them.
The Ghost and Molly McGee premiered on the Disney Channel on October 1, and will premier on Disney+ on October 6, 2021.
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