A new British TV show which proudly claimed that it would “smash stereotypes” against Asians has instead been accused of crassly perpetuating them by its disappointed viewers.
Chinese Burn aired its first episode on BBC Three earlier this week. Following the edgy escapades of three young Chinese women in London, the show was billed as a “roundhouse kick” to traditional assumptions about race and gender.
“Sweet, innocent, submissive Chinese girls. Conservative and virginal — good at maths, ping pong and looking after men,” a preview voiceover begins before the sound of a record scratch and a new, rougher voice interrupts. “Screw that! Here are three Chinese girls who kick that shit in the ballbag!”
The show was written by two of its main actors, Yennis Cheung and Shin-Fei Chen, in response to their experience trying to make it in show business in the United Kingdom where they say they’ve only been cast in roles like takeaway workers, submissive girlfriends, and illegal immigrants.
“We’re not the other,” Chen told the Guardian in a laudatory piece before the show’s premiere. “We have similar goals and dreams and failures and fuck-ups.”
“Chinese women are never portrayed as ambitious, but we are,” Cheung added. “We want to work, we want to make it in other countries. We’re going to be OK.”
However, reviews of the first episode of Chinese Burn have been less than positive with viewers angry over a slew of stereotypical jokes made at the expense of Asian men which would likely leave Steve Harvey doubled over in laughter. In the 22-minute show, Chinese men are portrayed as having small penises and as ejaculating the moment they are touched by a woman. One of the women even declares that she would never have sex with a Chinese guy.
On the Reddit forum Asian Identity, the show has been denounced by disgusted users after one user shared his thoughts on the first episode:
I would put this down as the most racist television programme I have ever seen (well, it is honestly up there with the likes of Der Stürmer from 1923-45 Germany); a programme that is broadcasted on tv to millions of households. It is a new series that makes the US landscape look like it is 50 years ahead. I would never have imagined I would see the day where I can say that the US is 50 years ahead in terms of social progress. However, for me, it puts everything into context, regarding our struggle in the west. Completely ignore the fact that in the UK there is marginally better dating prospects for AM (a very small and inconsequential gap that is quickly closing anyway with the US). Look instead at the wider implications, we are so socially behind here.
After seeing this programme approved by the BBC, I would defend a hypothesis that the UK is arguably the most anti-Chinese place in the entire world. Per head, I am sure it has the most murders of innocent Asians for example.
The user also took the time to provide a lenghty list of the most offensive lines and moments:
“We’re Chinese girls in London bitches. And you’re going to love us long time” (mock accent)
Holding camera phone to other main woman: “Nice Thai prostitute. Scream like a Korean prostitute. Scream like a Saudi prostitute. Are you really auditioning for a prostitute again?”
Chinese male boss of one of the main females: “Have you heard about my one inch dick?” “My friends call me Hang, for large reasons” “You’re Chinese, so I doubt it, Hang.”
One of the main women:“Fucking racists, they want a Chinese prostitute that does martial arts and says shit like “Herro” …. “You said the audition was racist!” “Who cares? I got the recall.”
“D.A.G.S – ‘desperate asian guys’ – “overly groomed asian men who seem to follow us everywhere.”
One of the main women: “You sympathy fucker, there is no way I can touch that thing, I don’t do Chinese.”
One of the main women: “”Do” means have sex with. She does not have sex with Chinese people. She’s racist.”
Other main woman in response: “I can’t control how my body feels. It’s just when any of them comes close, it’s like drylands.”
One of the main women: “You came already?” (Protaganist starts yanking off Chinese joke figure in desperation to get her job back, in pub bathroom, and he ejaculates in 2 seconds. He is seen as a sympathy fuck, impotent, and the Chinese woman prostitutes herself to get her job back)
White Landlady collecting rent : “That’s what I love about you orientals. Cash only. Sayonara.”
One of main women “Handjob for five. Blowjob for ten. Happy ending guaranteed.” (In mock accent)
On IMDb, the show currently carries a 1.9-star rating with all five reviews being extremely negative. For example, here’s one:
It astounds me how shows like this can see daylight in this day and age. It’s 2017, people. Having stereotypical depictions of Asians is something that we should have grown past. Here’s what you’re in for if you actually watch this hot garbage: Asian. female prostitutes. Asian male premature ejaculation jabs. Overly done fake Asian accents. Asian females vehemently refusing to date Asian men. Stereotypical submissive Asian females. To the actors and actresses who starred in this: You should be ashamed.
Social media users have left similar reviews of the show on Twitter and Facebook. However, the review function on the show’s Facebook page appears now to have been hidden.
The show has at least received some praise for a short skit titled “How Not To Date a Chinese Girl” in which a white guy tries picking up a Chinese woman at a bar with a series of lame and offensive lines.
However the clip has also been criticized by a Erin Chew, a writer at You Offend Me You Offend My Family, a blog devoted to Asian American issues, for choosing a white British guy as the male pickup artist.
“Nothing wrong with a Chinese women dating a white guy if its for the right reasons but not all Chinese women date white guys and I think this is not a good representation, it in essence still portrays the power play of white supremacy,” Chew writes.
Welp, maybe episode two will be better?