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An Asian Mom’s Assessment of K-Town The Reality Show

K-Town, reality show, reality TV, Ktown, Ktown reality showAsian American Reality TV on the Internet

I’ve watched 9 episodes of K-Town now, and I have to confess that my guilty pleasure is reality TV shows and celebrity trash magazines. I don’t watch them that often, but I used to watch The Hills obsessively when Lauren Conrad was on the show. I am greatly amused by Real Housewives of New York, Atlanta and Los Angeles but I hate the O.C. ones. (I grew up in the O.C.). My husband likes Jersey Shore and, back in the day, MTV’s Real World which started this whole mess of reality trash TV.

K-Town is the answer to The Model Minority Myth. Watch this show and you’ll agree that there is such a thing as Asian kids who are:

1) Illiterate (Thanks Scarlett! The “rice” in licorice is not pronounced as such. Read much?)

2) Sexy but Douchey (Thanks Jowe! It’s good to know that Asian men can be Old Spice Guy attractive but you take this vibe and turn it sleazy.)

3) Alcoholics (Thanks Steve! Your friends need to stage an intervention. Next stop for you should be Betty Ford. Once the alcoholic buzz fades, your friendships will make more sense as you seem to be in a constant state of confusion over who your real friends are.)

4) Liars (Thanks Jowe! Yes, it’s ironic that you’d lie to pick up chicks that you are a U.S.C. dental student — the very Tiger Parent dream your parents wished upon you. If you’d rather sell cell phones, just own it. No need to lie about it.)

5) Bad Ass Street Fighters (Thanks Violet! It wasn’t pretty when you dumped your drink on Janie when the real culprit was your ex-douchey boyfriend, Jowe. Janie was an innocent bystander. Was that cat fight for ratings? If so, it worked. A little at least. But it made you look desperate.)

My favorite “character” is Young, as a struggling hip hop dancer who parties too hard in support of his friends and misses his big audition. He redeems himself by dancing up a storm at Asian Night Dance Night but I was disappointed to see more Michael Jackson moves than Young moves. I think your choreography needs to be sharpened up. Next stop for you? I’d love to see you on So You Think You Can Dance or Dancing With The Stars but seriously, is there really a career in dance as a male isn’t an actor or singer? What is your future? Back up dancer? Dance instructor? I hope you have more ancillary performing arts talent but you’re coming across as kind, supportive and a person of integrity. Perhaps you can move back to Korea as a celebrity spokesperson/soap opera actor type.

Cammy gets a bum rap. They use her as a sex pot for her amazingly body in promo shots but there’s absolutely no story line for her! Same for Jasmine. And Violet’s story line is too Jowe dominant. I’d rather see more of her as a single mom.

I’d also like to get glimpses into their Tiger Parents. Steve’s story is fascinating; parents who married without love that turned into rancorous hatred of the silent kind. It explains his relationship issues but I’d like to see him evolve into a more fully formed emotionally intact person capable of a real relationship with … the love under his nose, best friend CAMMY! Can you please mine this story line?

And where’s Joe’s girlfriend that he supposedly has? Let’s meet her! And Young’s fiance too! Why does Joe hang out with all these younger friends? Is club promotion a full time job? It seems like fellow club promotor, Rachel Uchitel, had a side gig to make ends meet.

Some interesting side notes:

  • When I posted my post on LinkedIn Korean MBAs Working in the U.S., they demanded that I stop posting this kind of trash. They had no problems with anything else I had ever posted before. I think they find K-Town The Reality Show to be … trashy.
  • K-Town has 8,700 Facebook LIKES. Sadly, perhaps Hollywood is right? No one wants to see an Asian American Reality Show? That’s not good so please LIKE even if you don’t actually like or watch the web reality series.
  • K-Town Views on YouTube. At nearly 1 million views for the trailer, that’s not bad!
  • K-Town on Twitter. Oops, at close to 3000 followers, I have way more than you K-Town. That’s not good!
I think it’s important for a show like K-Town to go viral if we want to see more Asian Americans in the media being portrayed realistically, rather than stereotypes. Reality TV might just be the toe hold into the game, just like winning Survivor put Yul Kwon on the map.

What do you think?

Season Finale: K-Town the Reality Show, Episode 10

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Survivor: Cook Islands Winner Yul Kwon and Why Media Portrayal of Asian Americans Matters

Yul Kwon Asian American Survivor: Cook Islands winner TV personality JadeLuckClub Jade Luck ClubYul Kwon is the host of the PBS series “America Revealed” and winner of the reality TV show “Survivor: Cook Islands.” He has worked in law, government, business and technology, is the vice chair of the Council of Korean American Leaders and sits on the advisory boards of the Asian American Justice Center, the Asian Pacific American Legal Center and NetKAL. 

But besides his impressive resume, I find Yul Kwon an interesting role model and thought leader for Asian Americans everywhere because he realizes the importance of the media and how much it influences Asian Americans to be either included as part of the cultural melting pot or marginalized as stereotypes on the fringe.

Here’s his story of how he came to be in a position to be a positive Asian American media role model, happily relinquishing his career as an Ivy League attorney. Will his TV presence make a difference for your kids or mine? I think so. I actually do. On Survivor: Cook Island he was both Asian American, smart, strong, athletically gifted, articulate and charismatic. And he still has a Stanford undergraduate, Yale Law School background both as fall back and to say to the Tiger Moms out there that there are other successful options besides Doctor/Lawyer/Engineer/Accountant. Thank god for that!

He brings up a good point: if we don’t see ourselves portrayed in the media, it marginalizes us as a group. He intends to change that by being a role model for Asian Americans. But to really change how the media portrays Asian Americans, we must be filmmakers, producers, writers,  directors, and reality TV stars. Do you agree? Why or why not? Please comment. Yul’s story is below.

From CNN.com Red Chair Interview

“My parents immigrated to the United States fromSouth Korea in 1970 with big dreams, but little money. Since they couldn’t afford to put my brother and me in daycare or preschool, they encouraged us to watch television as a way to learn English. Every morning, my brother and I watched “Sesame Street” on PBS, which taught us how to count and recite the alphabet. Not only did our TV become another caregiver, it became the primary medium through which I learned about the world. It allowed me to see and experience things I’d never seen before.  It helped me imagine a better future for me and my family. I studied hard and eventually made my way to Stanford University and then Yale Law School. For a poor kid like me, television helped provide the inspiration and vision I needed to realize the American dream.

But as much as television was a source of empowerment and inspiration, it was also a powerful source of constraint. Television defined the way I saw myself and my relationships with other people, and I didn’t see a lot of people who looked like me. Asian-American characters were few and far between, and for lack of better alternatives, my favorite childhood hero was Big Bird. He wasn’t real, of course, but I didn’t care. He was nice, had lots of friends and was yellow – and hence, clearly, Asian.

In the rare instances I did see Asian-Americans actors, they were always portrayed as one-dimensional stereotypes. Women were submissive sexual servants or exotic dragon ladies. Men were inevitably math geeks who couldn’t get a date, or kung fu masters who could kick butt, but couldn’t speak English. In almost every instance, people of Asian descent were depicted as foreigners, not as Americans.

Over time, I internalized those images and grew ashamed of myself and my ethnicity. At school, I would mumble and talk fast because I didn’t think anyone would listen. I had a lisp, which people would sometimes mistake for an accent. I became afraid to speak for fear of being ridiculed. I eventually developed obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety and paruresis (“shy bladder” syndrome), the symptoms of which arose after I was bullied relentlessly in the bathroom by kids who called me “chink” or “gouk.”

It wasn’t until I became older that I began to address these problems directly, but even so, it took years to develop the self-awareness and confidence I needed to overcome them. As I found the courage to share my experiences with other people, I found that I wasn’t alone, that others had grown up feeling ashamed and ostracized. I came to understand how deeply and pervasively media had shaped the way I and other people in my community understood ourselves, and resolved that if I ever got the chance, I would try to drive meaningful change. ”

 

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Kelly Choi: New Host of Top Chef Masters. Love Her or Hate Her?

I hadn’t heard of  Kelly Choi from her TV show but I found her on Twitter. I’m surprised that I didn’t realize she’s a  new foodie host because my kids are obsessed with food shows both the competitions and the cake decorating ones. She’s the new host of Top Chef Masters and some gripe that she’s not a chef nor a cookbook author but was hired because she’s hot, hot, hot. Who can argue with that? She is hot! And kudos to her for that!

Kelly /Choi Top Chef Masters Host JadeLuckClub hot Asian American Models

Honestly, growing up I NEVER saw Asians on TV so it’s refreshing to have an Asian host hired for her looks though I suspect she brings much more to the table than that! And what I find so amusing is that while some say that she has been hired for her looks — ie.e she’s a bimbo — she happens to have a master’s degree from Columbia! That is an Asian upbringing for you. Even models must get a Master’s degree, no less from an Ivy League university!

Born in Seoul, Korea, Kelly is a former model, and won the Eite Modeling Agency’s “Look of the Year” contest, and has been voted as “One of the Sexiest New Yorkers” by the New York Post, and OK! Magazines’ “50 Sexy Singles.” Kelly’s 5’10” height landed her as a model with Ford Models. Kelly worked as a VJ for MTV Korea, as well as an entertainment reporter on the TV Guide Channel.

Eat Me Daily has an extensive post on her including a gossipy hater snipe attack.

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