Franklin & Bash Episode 1-3 Review: Jennifer of Troy (and a bit about the portrayal of Chinese on television)

As it pains me to admit, I kind of like Franklin & Bash. Sure, it’s immature, but that’s the appeal. The show is just so ridiculous you can’t help but laugh. Take the premise of “Jennifer of Troy,” for example: A not overly attractive woman wants to sue her employer for firing her for being too attractive.

You wonder, how will Franklin and Bash prove this? Will the writers pull out something brilliant? Of course not! The courtroom devolves into a madhouse with the wildest antic yet, Bash making out with the client on the stand. I laughed out loud really hard at the sheer silliness of the whole thing. This show is flat out bonkers. The episode does leave something of a message, that beauty comes in many forms, but that clearly wasn’t the priority of the episode.

The other plot involves Infeld and the guy who is supposed to work on Franklin and Bash’s internet. The details aren’t important, but Infeld works his mystical guru magic and all is well at the end.

What I want to discuss is television’s portrayal of Chinese people. I was watching the X-Files episode “Hell Money” earlier today and after watching “Jennifer of Troy,” it struck a nerve. You will almost never see a Chinese person on television (or in movies, for that matter), whether it’s network or cable television, but when you see several of them, it’s always in a certain context. It’s like all the Chinese people are cordoned off in one area, completely separate from everyone else. They seem to live in a parallel universe–in the United Sates but with different values. They have a different social structure which requires expositional dialogue to explain.

Of course, this isn’t the case in real life. You can find large groups of Chinese all across the country living just like everyone else (and find old people without accents!), not just in secluded areas by themselves. I could go on about this in more detail if I had the time (shoot me an email if you want me to), but you get my drift.

Whenever I see this specific portrayal, I wonder why it happens. Isn’t liberal Hollywood supposed to be a bastion of tolerance and inclusion? Why does it choose to marginalize Chinese by painting them as an Other?

Score: 8.2/10

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