I’m Going To Get In Trouble For This …

And yet I’m still writing …

Oh god, Sonal, this is going to be one of those rants where you will inevitably make your friends very mad at you, yes?

No … ok, yes …

Is there any way to stop you?

Short of tying my hands up and possibly throwing away my computer?

Yes?

Uh, no … sorry.

Duck and cover?

Possibly … maybe even do a sneaky creep out the side door and run for your life?

Oh shit, it’s going to be one of those …

Uh … possibly … sorry … look, there are a couple of you, who are very, very dear to me who were involved with the filming of A Thousand Apologies and it’s great that you got the work and the experience and I hope it opens more doors to getting you on screen more (because you both rock). And you know that I speak my mind. To a fault. To a great big massive, yet passionate, fault. So knowing all this we can easily surmise that, after watching the first episode online, I hate the show.

In fact I hate it so much, I’m about to rant it out here. None of it reflects on you (the friends who are in it) at all … but if you are sensitive about it then, I’m going to be rather brutal, in my typically untactful brutal way … you may want to click off or, if it makes you feel better, read one of my more recent posts that are the product of my general malaise …

A 253 word disclaimer? Oh you really hate it.

Yes. Yes I do. I had been warned it was bad. Very bad. That still manged to be an understatement on how bad it actually is.

To bring you up to speed A Thousand Apologies is a new comedy sketch show that has just started on TV3 back in New Zealand. So far so ho hum, yes? Well this show’s point of difference, is that it’s a “pan-Asian” comedy sketch show … here’s a bit of their media guff:

Through parody, satire and farce A Thousand Apologies lampoons stereotypes and situations that resonate with all New Zealanders. From overachieving Chinese children to overqualified Indian taxi drivers, the show uses irony and subversion to deliver its laughs.

Let’s start with the first, possibly most important bit they forgot from the show – the laughs. It’s not funny. Granted, the final Scribe parody with the neighbourhood shout outs raised a smile, but the rest was dire. Forget the content (which we’ll get onto, don’t you worry), it goes for the obvious gag and language with all the subtlety of a giant, upside down, fluorescent pink cow in the middle of a square (yes, the Underbelly’s huge venue in Bristo Square, during the Festival, is a giant upside down purple cow, there are many things you can call it, subtle isn’t one of them … now imagine it fluorescent pink). This is yet another show that will be put up as a lousy reason why New Zealanders can’t do comedy (we can, we really, really can … we need better programmers to stop shit like this getting out on air). The situations that various characters find themselves in are completely unreal – and no, it’s not farce, farce is heightened reality, it takes the everyday and then pushes a situation into the surreal and absurd. Since when do you find a person playing with a soft toy whale saying “don’t eat me” while a woman of South East Asian extraction stands near by? When would you ever find anyone doing that? When would a situation like that be funny? Perhaps as a passive aggressive means for a couple to vent the frustrations of their relationship using various characters … hmm the scene in my head is quite funny, I’m keeping the rest of that to myself for later use …

Why the hell is there a man in drag playing some of the female characters? There’s no reason for it when there are plenty of South Asian actresses in the cast other than to display some Indian women as screechy and garish. And since when are second generation Indian kids involved in a complex series of arranged marriages? Oh wait, I’ve skipped into content.

Fine, content it is then – so when was it fine to be racist towards Pakeha, sorry, no, white people? Why are the majority of white people in the first episode of this programme portrayed as racist, ignorant or sheep shaggers? In an interview with the Herald, the makers say they ‘hope to continue the path paved by bro’Town‘s success” … you know why bro’Town is funny? Because the makers are taking the piss out of themselves as well as everyone else. Yes, we have the racist elite white group in the very first episode but they are balanced out by the near adoration granted John Campbell and Helen Clark. Also, bro’Town is worked around characters and story lines. This is a sketch show, you can’t do the same thing so let’s look at what is obviously an inspiration for these writers Goodness Gracious Me. Goodness Gracious Me is ground breaking stuff, I love the show and own the DVDs – here’s why it works: if there is a racist gag to be made, the Asian characters are the butt of it, they are the ones being racist, the situations that they are in clearly mirror reality (albeit in brown hues), also known as satire. Classic examples: Going Out for an English and Jonathan.

Back to the arranged marriage scene. Really, second gen-ers (kids like me – children of immigrants … although I’m currently an immigrant myself so … oh, never mind) are having arranged marriages with other second gen-ers in New Zealand? Really? And their parents are fresh out of the 1950s (one character actually complains that he won’t have a daughter in law who can’t do the dishes – it’s 2008, dude, buy a dishwasher)?! Also, since when does wearing a sari equate with backward values? Come meet my sari clad mum and lets see how you fare telling her that housekeeping is a good quality in a daughter in law or that domestic violence isn’t serious unless the iron is on … she will fuck you up.

Which brings me to the second big issue I have with the show (the first being that in this show white people are racist) – reinforcing stereotypes. Reinforcing? No, rebuilding them into twenty story structures and encasing them in impenetrable steel. Racist whitey, arranged marriages, child prodigies, thick rimmed glasses, heavy accents, Hindu Vs Muslim – and that’s in one 21min episode. God help us with what else is to come in the rest of their season …

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3 Responses to “I’m Going To Get In Trouble For This …”

  1. I didn’t see it but the Capital Times fulla had similar things to say – http://www.captimes.co.nz/column/24/TubeTalk.boss

    You in any trouble yet?

  2. Yes!

    This is THE WORST new show on TV3, closely followed by that Millen Baird travesty that’s right after it.

    Shuchi Kothari is the worst kind of ‘creative’. The kind that doesn’t understand social relevance, and more importantly, sketch comedy. Heck, any kind of comedy.

    The show LOOKED like shit. Was it shot by a bunch of film students with no real experience?

    The writing was retarded.

    I was seething just sitting through it.

    Anyway, at least Shuchi and her crew are laughing all the way to bank.

    And as a sidenote, Bro’Town ALSO sucks.

  3. I’ll only know that I’m in trouble when I get back to NZ and find that no one is talking to me … again …

    To be fair, for the most part the cast are all experienced and, outside of this show, are very, very good, talented actors.

    But I gotta say, I like bro’Town – the first episode is a very fine piece of television and satire.

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