HomeAAPI Actors‘The Afterparty’: Hilarious whodunnit with a quirky Asian family twist

‘The Afterparty’: Hilarious whodunnit with a quirky Asian family twist

By Erin Chew

Apple TV+’s murder mystery comedy The Afterparty returns for a second season. This genre-bending comedy explores a different character’s account of one fateful evening, all told through the lens of popular film genres and unique visuals to match the storyteller’s perspective.

Returning for season two is Tiffany Haddish as Detective Danner, Sam Richardson as Aniq Adjaye and Zoë Chao as Zoë Zhu.

The cast for Zoe Zhu’s family in this series includes John Cho, who plays Ulysses (Zhu’s absentee uncle), Ken Jeong who plays Feng (Zhu’s father), Poppy Liu who plays Grace (Zhu’s sister) and Vivian Wu, who plays Vivian (Zhu’s mother) in the series. It is a very interesting family affair mystery, which will surely leave audiences with question marks and lots of laughter.

As a returning cast member, Chao mentions how she feels this show is a turning point for Asian/Asian Americans especially when this new season is also based upon her character Zoe Zhu’s family members – who all become suspects in this whodunnit mystery.

“It is awesome to have this Asian big-name cast as my family in The Afterparty. I feel my role as a detective in this series alongside Tiffany and Sam shows that Black and Asian actors can be the main characters in a successful series. The fact that this season has more Asian characters who don’t just play on their identity in being Asian shows that we are getting towards positive change and this series is part of that”, Chao discussed in a recent interview with AsAmNews.

Playing these funny, interesting and quirky characters requires a lot of personality to be injected into the role or else it just becomes a joke without layers and complexity. Definitely not something easy to do. Veteran actor Cho (Harold and Kumar, Star Trek, Searching), commented about how he made his character Ulysses interesting and not just one-dimensional.

Ulysses is Feng’s half-brother and absent uncle of Zoe. He is sort of this world traveler who knows a little bit about everything, but who thinks he is the authority on all things. To be a character that is funny, yet real and not just one dimensional, it does require an injection of bits and pieces of myself and my life’s experiences into the character. Doing so, makes it more natural to play and makes the character more engaging to audiences”, Cho mentioned.

For Jeong, who is receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2024, playing a father in this series resonated with him. Jeong stated that the biggest role he has ever achieved was being a father to his children and the best husband he can be to his wife. This is no different from how he played Feng in the series.

“Playing Feng is just me projecting my own life and issues into the character I play. Feng is desperate to connect with his daughters, his brother and his wife, and that is no different from what I try to do every day with my own wife and children. I am a proud family man in real life, and it is this awesome experience that has allowed me to bring Feng to life”, Jeong discussed.

The premise for season two of The Afterparty revolves around a wedding that gets ruined when the groom is murdered and every guest is a suspect, and this includes Zhu’s family members. This brings up issues that occur within intergenerational Asian American families.

This was the discussion point for Liu, who plays Zhu’s sister Grace. She points out that where it shows the conflicts and deep-rooted issues the family has, the most important thing for audiences to take from it is that it’s all about the complexities and the importance of being a family.

The Afterparty-graphic featuring the cast
Apple TV+

“The most exciting part is that at the heart of this season it is about an intergenerational Asian American family, and each of us as members of this family get to live our lives without having to unpack our identities or having to always talk about race and trauma. Of course, there is space for that but in this season of The Afterparty it is more about examining how our identities shape us as a family in a silly and funny world where a crime needs to be solved”, Liu explained.

This sentiment about the focus on family was echoed by Wu, who plays Zhu’s mother in the series. Wu has had a long and distinguished career in China playing major roles in big-budget Chinese dramas. In the US, she is most known for her roles in The Last Emperor and in The Joy Luck Club. Being in The Afterparty is also her first ever role in a comedy series in the US and this was something which challenged her but also gave her a lot. Wu talks about how exciting being part of a comedy was and that playing the matriarch she drew from her own experiences being Chinese and the importance of family in Chinese culture.

“This is my first time playing in a Hollywood comedy series, so the entire experience was so exciting and to work alongside veterans in the comedy world like John and Ken. They taught me so much about the tactics of how to be funny and act in a comedy. The experience was so fruitful but it challenged every acting bone I have. In terms of the theme I agree with what Poppy said, and where the comedy part challenged me, playing a mother who loves her family wasn’t as hard as I could draw from my own culture, learnings and experiences in being Chinese and how we place importance on family”, Wu stated.

Season two of The Afterparty will stream exclusively on Apple TV+ on July 12, 2023, with the first two episodes debuting together.

AsAmNews is published by the non-profit, Asian American Media Inc. Follow us on FacebookX, InstagramTikTok and YouTube. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support our efforts to produce diverse content about the AAPI communities. We are supported in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.


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