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Asian “Jersey Shore”: Busting Stereotypes One Fist-Pump At a Time

Elisabeth Dickson :: Thursday, July 15th, 2010 6:45 pm

Jersey Shore has guidos. Queer Eye had gays with great hair, and The Real L Word has lesbians with better hair. Now Asian-Americans are the latest group to be embraced/exploited/encouraged by producers to have sex on camera.

MTV Iggy reports that the cast of K-Town, a reality series touted as “the Asian Jersey Shore“, has been announced. The show, which has not yet been picked up by any major networks, will provide a close look at the lives of eight loud, crude and sexy Korean-Americans in L.A.’s Korea Town.

Although K-Town is one of a slew of Jersey Shore imitators hoping to cash in on the success of the original, promotional photos on the show’s Twitter suggest that K-Town will more than live up to the standards of taste, excellence and emotional poignancy set by its predecessor. And how could it not?

I mean, this happens

I’m guessing that this is the power couple of K-Town, the Ronnie and Sammi, if you will. You can tell by the way he tilts her head up ever so gently, so as not to spill on her American Apparel tank top. Also, check out the way he gazes into her eyes whilst drizzling his fluids into her mouth; any body language expert will tell you that maintaing eye contact with your partner is crucial to sustaining intimacy.

Oh! Also, this happens.
Although J-Woww famously declared that she preferred “eating ham and drinking water” over having sex with Pauly D, Jersey Shore never really put much emphasis on Italian cuisine. In this sense, K-Town looks like it’ll have a leg up on Jersey Shore in terms of food porn. This is great news for someone like me, who refuses to watch anything other than cooking shows and gratuitous sex on television. To quote Hannah Montana, it’s the best of both worlds.

This strapping young fellow is named Peter Le, and he is a body-builder. The Post calls him the Korean version of the Situation, except he’s better-spoken and he doesn’t make me vomit inside my mouth every time I see him. In fact, Peter Le is so hot that he makes the Situation look like a gay Walter Matthau; he also reportedly worked as a porn actor, which means that I will soon have to make numerous additions to my Netflix queue.

The diverse talents of its cast members aside, when K-Town airs people will probably accuse it of exploiting stereotypes about Asian-Americans. These will be the same people that leveled similar accusations against Jersey Shore; these people were humorless, but in the case of Jersey Shore they weren’t far off the mark. Jersey Shore reveled in many ethnic stereotypes, throwing the slur ‘guido’ around as frequently as douchebags say “that’s what she said,” and similar arguments could be extended to any show that focuses on members of a specific race or ethnicity. But I don’t think that it can be extended to K-Town.

If someone were to pitch a reality show about Asian-Americans based solely on stereotypes, that show would never get made, because according to these stereotypes, Asian-Americans are boring. They like to do math and play violin and serve as comic relief in Dude Where’s My Car and that’s about it. Asian men other than Jackie Chan and Jin from Lost are sexless and unthreatening. By contrast, Asian women other than Lucy Liu and Sun from Lost are sexually submissive and compliant.

K-Town is not exploiting these stereotypes - it’s ignoring them completely. These people may be taking off their shirts and drizzling shots into each other’s mouths and generally behaving like assholes for TV cameras, but in doing so, they’re proving that behaving like an asshole knows no racial or cultural bounds. The Asian Snooki and the Korean Situation might be able to eliminate these stereotypes in one fell swoop, simply by being loud, crude, sexy, and anything but boring.