Hyphen magazine - Asian American arts, culture, and politics


Hyphen TV: Goodbye Kitty

We missed you, Sun!

New shows! Is there anything better than new shows to fill all those empty summer television hours? ...Just me, then? Okay. So, Mistresses premiered this week, and I'm sad to say that it's off to a pretty boring start. Lost's beloved Yunjin Kim (seriously could not be happier to see her on TV again) plays Karen Kim, a psychologist and one of four women (or is it four MISTRESSES?) who get caught up in supposedly sexy adventures.

Karen was stuck with a decidedly weird storyline, as she fell for a married patient who was also very ill. They began an affair, and when the guy died, Karen sat with his widow and son at the funeral (it's weird to have the therapist of the deceased sit in the front row, right? Even the affair stuff aside?). Then it turned out that the son, Sam, knew his father had had an affair, and came to Karen to find out who the other woman was. Awkward! Instead of being like, "Get outta here, kid," Karen took pity on Sam, who immediately fell in love with her. Eww, this is a little too weird for me. Who stalks his dead dad's psychologist to get info, then starts bringing her flowers and getting kissy-kissy? The show is off to a weird (and yet oddly uncompelling...) start, but we'll give it a chance, right guys?

Please don't get with that guy's son. Ick.

Also premiering this week was The Hero, a competition reality show hosted by The Rock in which they're looking for...a hero, I guess? The show is strangely complicated with unclear goals; screen time is pretty evenly split between competitive action and in-house bickering, and there are too many stages to the first episode -- different numbers of people participating in different challenges with the possibility of someone secretly taking the cash and bolting. It's a bit of a mess.

But we're here to talk about Charles, a 39-year-old police officer and SWAT team member from Los Angeles who clearly wanted to establish himself as a big personality by doing a forward roll into the condo for his initial entrance, showily greeting the other contestants as they arrived, and introducing himself as The Rock to a confused woman. Thankfully, Charles is more than just talk, and he proved himself in a challenge where pairs of contestants had to rappel down the side of a building and swing into each other until they could clasp hands. Charles showed no fear at the height or swinging wildly in the air, and though he got into a bit of a spat with another contestant (at least half of these people appear to require some kind of medication they don't seem to be getting, by the way), so far he's a steady and collected contender for the title. Or for stealing the money. Or something. I'll get back to you after a couple more episodes.

Charles is like, "I just wanted to climb stuff"

This week also saw the premiere of the second season of Push Girls, and our pal Angela was dealing with heavy issues right off the bat. In finalizing her divorce with Dustin, Angela had to decide whether or not to stay in the house that she bought with her ex. In addition, her full-time caretaker and aunt, Judy, is no longer at a point where she's financially able to spend all her time taking care of Angela, a quadriplegic who needs constant aid and attention.

Angela decided to keep the house and hire a nurse, which led to a series of interviews with various women who didn't seem to quite click. Of course, Aunt Judy is family, and she has a special bond with her niece, so the task quickly seemed an impossible one. After we saw one particularly difficult night during which Angela called out for Judy every half an hour because of pains she was experiencing, it appeared that no one would be able to fill Judy's place. But of course, in the end they did find a lovely nurse named Nguette who seems not only a capable nurse, cook, and dancer(!), but was also attuned to the goofiness that Angela and Judy share. "They're very silly like my own family. I can be myself around them," Nguette explained. Nice! Hope your return to the masseuse world was great, Aunt Judy!

Hopefully Nguette will help lessen these tough scenes

Finally, we got to know someone awesome on So You Think You Can Dance! Shanshan Qiao-Rothlisberger is 25, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and performed a Mongolian bowl dance (I didn't catch the name of the dance -- please enlighten me in the comments if you know) that was just gorgeous and, as far as I know, the first of its kind on the show. After some discussion of "horse milk" versus "whore's milk" (always with the accent mockery, those guys), the judges got down to business with a standing ovation.

Nigel told Shanshan, "You have this beautiful, tranquil quality about your work...just calming to watch." Mary added, "Your arm movements in the beginning, oh my god. It kind of reminded me of [season 5 popper] Phillip Chbeeb as far as how liquid and soft and elegant and beautiful they were. You're stunning to watch." Of course, it's difficult to tell from a dance like hers whether she could cut it in the competition, so Shanshan was sent to choreography, where she made it to the Vegas round. See you next week, Shanshan!

On The Big Brain Theory, Andrew was a team leader for the first time when the judges chose his panini maker as the runner up idea in the mechanized food challenge. The teams had to build a machine that would feed delicious meals to a crowd of people with no human involvement. Andrew has a complex but impressive plan to line up bread, meat, and cheese in a circle on a huge slicer, allowing the sliced ingredients to gall down a chute and onto a grill. Teammate Alison thought the concept was too complicated, and she was partially right when the chute proved problematic in allowing the food to fall onto the grills. In the end, Andrew joined Alison in the eliminated group, though they still have a chance to win some money if they show themselves to be super extra deserving.

Things finally came to a head between Ming and Becca on Awkward. when Becca grabbed Ming and told her, "Your beard has been shaved," then kissed Ming on the mouth and repeated, "You broke my trust" in Mandarin twice. It was the kiss of death, of course, and Fred confirmed the seriousness of the situation when he met Ming in the sanctuary. "I knew the bitch had power, I just didn't know it was so far reaching," Fred muttered before explaining that he'd been framed in a cheating scandal at his school and was being sent to Idaho. When he asked Ming to come with him, she was understandably reluctant. So that's the end of their romance, I guess? Bummer.

You don't want the kiss of death

Ming confronted Becca, who mocked her for always being five steps behind. Ming countered: "I'm not Asian, I'm white. And you know how a white bitch deals with an Asian bitch? She gets in her face" (a callback to Ming's misguided attempt to get bitch tips from Sadie two weeks ago), Ming then punched Becca in the face, sending her down with a "Goodbye, Kitty" (get it?). The girls were called to guidance counselor/vice principal Val's office, where Becca claimed that the attack was unprovoked. "I'm a quiet girl from a nice Asian family. I don't even own a pair of high heels or a cellular phone." In the end, no one was buying the act. Val had 32 signed affidavits swearing that Becca walked into a door. All was explained when Ming left the office to a line of Asian American students bowing to her in the hallway. Is Ming the new Becca? Let's hope she rules with a just hand.

All hail the new queen?

About The Author

Dianne Choie

Dianne Choie's TV is in Brooklyn, NY. She has a cat, several reusable shopping bags, and other mildly annoying stereotypes of youngish people who live in Brooklyn.

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