GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

Oriental Characters

POSTED BY: TIGHTPANTS
UPDATED: Thursday, June 17, 2004 13:34
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Wednesday, June 16, 2004 3:21 PM

TIGHTPANTS


Hi all,

First off I would like to say that I am huge fan of the show … have bought the DVD and spent far more time in my boat than I care to admit, watching episodes.

The one problem I have though, is that although the history suggests that the Western and Eastern cultures melded, there are no central characters of Oriental decent.

Doesn’t that seem strange to you?



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Wednesday, June 16, 2004 3:29 PM

QUICKSAND


Isn't the PC term, "Asian?" And.... How do you know that they're not?

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Wednesday, June 16, 2004 3:55 PM

GUNRUNNER


They never got a chance! They only got a little over of a half season before it got caned.

Its possable that the Sino part of the Alliance is still controled by a more Communist and Isolationist goverment like on Earth. So thats why we've only seen Asian people in the Alliance Military and on hevealy populated worlds.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2004 4:09 PM

HAKEN

Likes to mess with stuffs.


Quote:

Originally posted by TightPants:
The one problem I have though, is that although the history suggests that the Western and Eastern cultures melded, there are no central characters of Oriental decent.

Doesn’t that seem strange to you?



The PC term is "Asian." And, yeah, it's strange, but unfortunately that's Hollywood's shortcoming.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2004 4:14 PM

OKKAY


Maybe by that time, if the cultures have indeed mixed that much, maybe there just aren't that many pure asians left. Maybe everyone's just mixed, which is why no one looks asian.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2004 5:05 PM

HOAGIE


there are a few background people that look asian, at least on Persephone. most notably the girl with the chinese characters tattooed down her right cheek.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2004 6:00 PM

GUNRUNNER


Quote:

Originally posted by Hoagie:
there are a few background people that look asian, at least on Persephone. most notably the girl with the chinese characters tattooed down her right cheek.


There is an Asian looking Alliance Trooper in Bushwhacked. He shows up twice I think, one he is over Captain Harken's Left Shoulder when they board Serenity and he is called in to Escort Mal out of the interogation room.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2004 6:02 PM

KOHAN


Quote:

Originally posted by Okkay:
Maybe by that time, if the cultures have indeed mixed that much, maybe there just aren't that many pure asians left. Maybe everyone's just mixed, which is why no one looks asian.




correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the Asian traits and features are generally the dominate ones. ie dark hair, brown eyes, tan skin and such. As oppose to the Aryan traits.

"If you take sexual advantage of her, you're going to burn in a very special level of Hell, a level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theater."

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Wednesday, June 16, 2004 6:36 PM

CANDALL


I agree with Kohan... if the case was that all of the races had been widely melded, we'd all look more Asiatic because:

(a.) The genes that cause "Asian" traits are indeed more dominant (ask any child with Asian/Caucasian parentage) and

(b.) At least at this point in time, people of European and African descent (those seen among the Serenity crew) are HIGHLY outnumbered by those of Asian descent (and that includes ALL of Asia, including India, which is a population POWERHOUSE.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2004 7:15 PM

ELVIS


I dunno. How oriental d'you need to be? River and Simon are named Tam--a fairly common Chinese name. Kaylee is just an alternate spelling away from Kai-Le.

As for looks, if you've ever hung out in Hong Kong, Tokyo, or in the Chinatown or Japantown of any major city you'll know looks can get fairly... exotic.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2004 7:41 PM

CANDALL


Well, I see your point, but I'll also mention that Kaylee's real name is Kaywinnit Lee Frye. Maybe just as Asian, though... except the "Kaywinnit" part...

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Wednesday, June 16, 2004 7:54 PM

ELVIS


Got me on that one. She does have an Asian look to her though.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2004 8:53 PM

MAKEROFPATHS


Quote:

Originally posted by Haken:
Quote:

Originally posted by TightPants:
The one problem I have though, is that although the history suggests that the Western and Eastern cultures melded, there are no central characters of Oriental decent.

Doesn’t that seem strange to you?



The PC term is "Asian." And, yeah, it's strange, but unfortunately that's Hollywood's shortcoming.



'Tis strange indeed. There may be something instructive in a couple of recent shows and the casts in them. Years ago when Joe Straczynski was casting for B5, he became unhappy with the fact that actors being pitched to him were pretty much of uniform culture. He hired new casting agents and insisted on blind casting for roles. More recently, the Battlestar Galactica miniseries cast seemed very reflective of current NorthAm society.
In the Firely universe of strong Chinese influences from language to clothes to foods and customs, it's very strange to see so few faces of that strong culture. I can't imagine this is Joss's ideal and the situation may very well have several reasons for being this way and possibly mostly out of his control, a.k.a. Hollywood's shortcoming, as Haken notes above.

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Thursday, June 17, 2004 2:36 AM

HOAGIE


casting is always going to be a problem, no matter where you are. when the Sci Fi channel commissioned a movie of DUNE to be made (highly reccommended if you haven't seen it) they shot a good portion of it in the Czech republic, since the production costs are lower there. they cast many many extras from the Czech acting pool, causing all of the Fremmen to have a strange accent not entirely framiliar to western audiences. As Makerofpaths said, i think that the casting was probably three or four of Joss's wish-list people that he had worked with before and then the casting people saying "here, these people are good" and just going from there, not necessarily an intentional move.

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Thursday, June 17, 2004 2:49 AM

SHIKSA


It's also worth noting that culture and DNA are not necessarily inseparable. At one time, most of Europe was dominated by Roman culture, but that did not mean that all, or even most of the population was of Mediterranean descent.

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Thursday, June 17, 2004 2:54 AM

TIGHTPANTS


Ya, I agree with MakerOfPaths that it undoubtedly wan't Joss's ideal ... and don't read me wrong, I love the cast they have ... the chemistry is shiny ...

Given the wild west tailoring of this verse it was probably especially difficult to twist casting's collective bluecoated arm because lets face it "Asians can't be good and tough" .... I say this sarcastically because I have heard interviews with Jackie Chan where he complained of similar problems ... he wanted to take on more serious rolls but for whatever reason, Hollywood seems to still perceive Asian men as either bad guys, or cute good guys ... but certainly not big damn hero types that belong on a rouge crew of miscreant rabble rousers.

Anyway, hopefully that will slowly change in the future (and hopefully it wont take 500 years either )

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Thursday, June 17, 2004 3:17 AM

BROWNCOAT1

May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.


Quote:

Originally posted by makerofpaths:
Quote:

Originally posted by Haken:
Quote:

Originally posted by TightPants:
The one problem I have though, is that although the history suggests that the Western and Eastern cultures melded, there are no central characters of Oriental decent.

Doesn’t that seem strange to you?



The PC term is "Asian." And, yeah, it's strange, but unfortunately that's Hollywood's shortcoming.



'Tis strange indeed. There may be something instructive in a couple of recent shows and the casts in them. Years ago when Joe Straczynski was casting for B5, he became unhappy with the fact that actors being pitched to him were pretty much of uniform culture. He hired new casting agents and insisted on blind casting for roles. More recently, the Battlestar Galactica miniseries cast seemed very reflective of current NorthAm society.
In the Firely universe of strong Chinese influences from language to clothes to foods and customs, it's very strange to see so few faces of that strong culture. I can't imagine this is Joss's ideal and the situation may very well have several reasons for being this way and possibly mostly out of his control, a.k.a. Hollywood's shortcoming, as Haken notes above.



Unfortunately I think that Haken & MakerofPaths are on the right track. I think it is more a short coming of Hollywood and casting agents than any other reason.

"May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one."


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Thursday, June 17, 2004 3:57 AM

WREN


Sorry if this doesn't make sense, but I have to rush.

The lack of Asians doesn't seem strange to me, infact I am glad they resisted sticking in a 'token' Asian person.

People are generally terratorial. Although the governments may have melded that doesn't mean the people would have. The Westerners would have colonised some planets, the Easterners others. I wouldn't be suprised to find on some of the edge plants people who had never seen an Asian person.

The high society planets would have a more mixed population and would be more influenced by the alternate cultures. Inara works on these planets and their influence is shown in her shuttle.

Mal seems to stick to the 'Western' areas of space, so I think he hasn't had an oppertunity to socialise much with Asian people. Had Kaylee been Asian I think he would still have been willing to hire her.

If you were to set up a business which would you think? - I must hire at least one Asian person so if none apply I shall go out and recruit one, or I must hire the best person out of all my applicants?


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Thursday, June 17, 2004 4:21 AM

CARDIE


While I agree that its plausible that Asians dominate the Core and the Alliance rather than the fringe, there is no reason why some Alliance bigwigs with decent guest starring roles, like the captain in "Bushwhacked," could not have been played by an Asian. It does seem very odd, given the universe Joss has sketched out, that no guest star with a speaking part has ever been played by an Asian either. You get better representation than that on Law & Order and CSI!

Cardie

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Thursday, June 17, 2004 4:25 AM

INSIGHT SPINNER


Quote:

Originally posted by kohan:
Quote:

Originally posted by Okkay:
Maybe by that time, if the cultures have indeed mixed that much, maybe there just aren't that many pure asians left. Maybe everyone's just mixed, which is why no one looks asian.




correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the Asian traits and features are generally the dominate ones. ie dark hair, brown eyes, tan skin and such. As oppose to the Aryan traits.

"If you take sexual advantage of her, you're going to burn in a very special level of Hell, a level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theater."



Yes, phenotype blending should show more Asian traits overall and more blends in general.

Ironically, on Serenity, the folks with some arguable or even theoretical African heritage are more successfully at a visual blended look -- but I can even buy a mix for Jayne -- just not really with Asian. Morena (who is Brazilian -- where people are pretty mixed up), can give us some South Asian echos pretty successfully. In fact, you would expect most folks to be the color of Gina, Ron or Morena. Also, if you think about Indonesians -- they blend right over to the Melanesians of Irian Jaya (which is the other half of Papua New Guinea, who look African.

If Hollywood had the resources, we would have seen more of this, so I agree this is a problem with our time and not necessarily with Josh's vision. At the same time, there are things in FF that tell me that this is definitely a white-vision of this blended future. People aren't perfect, you know, and those culture-wide biases come through in many ways (remember the "mammie/slave" character in Safe? yuck.).

This "oversight" would be more distracting if we didn't have such a perfect rapport among the cast.

Thank goodness this race stuff is all something we made up.




insight spinner
__________

Just an object. It doesn't mean what you think....

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Thursday, June 17, 2004 5:01 AM

CYBERSNARK


It's definitely not a Joss issue; I've read in interviews about Asian-American actors having trouble finding (i.e., not even being considered by casting directors for) roles that call for more than just "doing snap-kicks."

-----
We applied the cortical electrodes but were unable to get a neural reaction from either patient.

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Thursday, June 17, 2004 12:28 PM

KOHAN


Quote:

Originally posted by Shiksa:
It's also worth noting that culture and DNA are not necessarily inseparable. At one time, most of Europe was dominated by Roman culture, but that did not mean that all, or even most of the population was of Mediterranean descent.




okay, not to be too picky. what what percent of Romans made up of the Roman Empire? and what Percent of east asia (not counting the majority of the russians) makes up the earth's population?

not to say that there's no validity to your statement, but unless the America side of the Alliance brought "small pox" to the Asia side, I'm having a bit of a hard time convincing myself about this situation.

but then again, that's just me...

-------------------------------------------------------------------
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Guess I'm just a good man.

Well, I'm all right.
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Thursday, June 17, 2004 12:32 PM

KOHAN


Quote:

Originally posted by TightPants:
"Asians can't be good and tough" .... I say this sarcastically because I have heard interviews with Jackie Chan where he complained of similar problems ... he wanted to take on more serious rolls but for whatever reason, Hollywood seems to still perceive Asian men as either bad guys, or cute good guys ...



Bruce Lee so quickly forgotten? How about Jet Li? (dispite of his choice of hollywood films)

-------------------------------------------------------------------
"You know, they say mercy is the mark of a great man.

Guess I'm just a good man.

Well, I'm all right.
"

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Thursday, June 17, 2004 12:35 PM

KOHAN


Quote:

Originally posted by Wren:
Sorry if this doesn't make sense, but I have to rush.

The lack of Asians doesn't seem strange to me, infact I am glad they resisted sticking in a 'token' Asian person.




yeah it does make sense, but... so far I an't seen the "token" asian yet.

at least not one with audible speaking line.

-------------------------------------------------------------------
"You know, they say mercy is the mark of a great man.

Guess I'm just a good man.

Well, I'm all right.
"

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Thursday, June 17, 2004 12:42 PM

KOHAN


Quote:

Originally posted by Cybersnark:
It's definitely not a Joss issue; I've read in interviews about Asian-American actors having trouble finding (i.e., not even being considered by casting directors for) roles that call for more than just "doing snap-kicks."




yeah, like "that asian guy from american pie"...
I mean even he can be serious if given the opp....... nevermind, bad example.




-------------------------------------------------------------------
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Thursday, June 17, 2004 1:34 PM

ANNIK


Quote:

Originally posted by Kohan:
Quote:

Originally posted by Shiksa:
It's also worth noting that culture and DNA are not necessarily inseparable. At one time, most of Europe was dominated by Roman culture, but that did not mean that all, or even most of the population was of Mediterranean descent.




okay, not to be too picky. what what percent of Romans made up of the Roman Empire? and what Percent of east asia (not counting the majority of the russians) makes up the earth's population?

not to say that there's no validity to your statement, but unless the America side of the Alliance brought "small pox" to the Asia side, I'm having a bit of a hard time convincing myself about this situation.

but then again, that's just me...
"



I think the point here is that Roman culture was heavily entrenched among the former Gauls by the time the Empire crumbled.

Just like lots of us Gwai Loh in Edmonton celebrate Chinese New Year's with a lot more effort than the one on Dec 31/Jan 1. I don't think I'd be mistaken for being of Asian descent, but I'm delighted to participate in various cultural events and practises I've picked up over the years, not the least of which is the wonder of a good pair of chopsticks and easy-to-eat, delicious food.

Cheers,
Annik
... my sister's a ship. We had a complicated childhood.

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