Season 3, Episode 3: “About a Boy, His Mom, and the Man They’re Dating” (originally aired July 1, 2014)
Microsynopsis: Carol is at first shocked and then pleased to realize that Daryl (Charles Shaughnessy) has become her boyfriend. Owen is initially uncomfortable with Daryl, but after they spend the day at a ballgame together, Owen realizes he may have found the father he never had. Soon, Carol and Owen are arguing about who should get more time with Daryl. Meanwhile, Ok Cha and Roy challenge each other to a “spice-off,” a competition to see whose tolerance for the other’s cultural spicy food is greatest.
Good: If the writers are going for a Cheers-like sense of place, they do themselves a favor with this episode, in which more of the bar’s space is put to use than just the office in back and the bar up front. As the ringleader of the spice-off, Steve is put front and center while the action swirls around him. With Melanie serving as ringside physician, the nice, easy chemistry between these characters (which is one of the few things this show consistently nails) does most of the work, and the result is a friendly-neighborhood-bar vibe that the show seems to seek but seldom manages. There are two lines of dialogue I was caught off-guard by: one where Hank talks about our forefathers dying so that a black man could compete against a Korean woman in an eating contest (an allusion to Sonya Thomas and Eric Booker? I might be reaching, but it’s funny either way), and one where Steve offers a quick, legalese-sounding disclaimer absolving the bar of any injuries that might be incurred by the spice-off participants. Both lines had me laughing aloud, and that second one was a nice reminder of Steve’s former career.
Bad: I don’t find the ickiness of Owen’s relationship with Carol at all funny (most of the time), and this episode puts it right up front. The others’ discomfort with it continues to be mildly amusing, as a running gag, but I find it funnier as an unspoken ickiness. While the spice-off subplot is pretty good for character development, it’s not especially interesting. Most annoying is the complete absence of Susan in this episode.
Hapa moment: Although the spice-off is framed as Korea vs. America (at least culturally), Jack and Steve side with (and even lay money on) Ok Cha, giving the contest an our-family-vs.-everyone-else kind of feeling. It’s sweet, up until the moment Ok Cha calls Steve a “dumb sh**.”
Overall: The continued development of Steve as a low-key, charismatic leader of the bar’s activity is an encouragement. He’s a likable main character, and Melanie as his second banana works really, really well. Owen has some serious issues that, if the show decides it wants to go there, could really play well in the future for some dark comedic themes, although I’m unsure that would work with the show’s vibe as it currently exists. Still, it’s a pretty forgettable episode, one that even a fan of the show (which I am!) could probably miss entirely and not really miss anything.
Final Grade, this episode: C.
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It’s an understatement to say I have a soft spot for cats. So when I heard that Taiwan had a village full of cats, my trip simply would not be complete without visiting the Houtong Cat Village.
Upon arrival at the train station, everything is cat themed. Even the pineapple cakes are made in the shape of cats. Most of the cats are running loose, skipping over rooftops or lazing in little cat homes and carriers everywhere. Of course, the cats are the rock stars here, and those little fur balls definitely know it and live it up.
On May 10, 2014, over 500 people captured more than 2,000 moments through a collection of photos and films for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. The result, after curation, is today’s opening of A Day in the Life of Asian Pacific America 2014.
Statement of Appreciation from Guest Curator Eddie Wong
When the idea of doing “A Day in the Life of Asian Pacific America” percolated in my head, I knew deep down that the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center would be the ideal home for this online exhibit. Although it is a small and relatively new institution, its spirit is large and it embraces the mission to blaze new paths in interpreting the American experience through the lens of Asian Pacific America wholeheartedly.
I want to thank Smithsonian APAC and Curator Adriel Luis for growing this project from idea to reality. As you can see, the scope of the project is extensive, and we could not have achieved this without the generosity of all the photographers and videographers donated hours of work to help create this global portrait of APA life.
As someone who has worked in the APA cultural field for decades, I’m gratified to see that the spirit of cooperation burns brightly among our community and arts organizations. When the call went out to help publicize the project, many organizations stepped forward willingly and several went even further by sponsoring photography workshops and events to further build a sense of community among the artists who would band together on May 10, 2014.
I hope that viewers will not only see the commonality among our diverse APA lives but also appreciate the potential of our united communities. As we launch this exhibit on July 4, we assert our place in the U.S. and offer to it all our beauty, wishes, hopes and dreams.
Please Note: This story is fictional and was originally intended for a children’s book.
Eddy Murakami’s10th birthday was on July 4, 1941 and he knew he wanted a dog. He even had a name picked out already. The dog’s name was going to be Kuma, which in Japanese means, “bear.”
For the entire month of June, Eddy begged his dad to get him a dog.
“Dad, can I have a dog?” Eddy would ask every time he saw him.
And every time Mr. Murakami would say, “No.”
But Eddy wasn’t the kind of boy that took no for an answer. So he kept asking.
By the time his birthday finally came, Eddy hadn’t been able to change his dad’s mind. That’s why when his dad came home from work with a handsome 100-pound Akita, he had to pinch himself to make sure he wasn’t dreaming.
“Happy birthday,” Mr. Murakami told Eddy.
Mrs. Murakami asked him, “What are you going to call him?”
Eddy didn’t have to think about it. “Kuma.” And the funny thing was that Kuma really did look like a bear!
“That’s a great name,” Mr. Murakami said.
And from that point on, Kuma was part of the Murakami family.
Kuma and Eddy quickly became best friends. Kuma went everywhere Eddy went. They even slept in the same bed! His mom told him that he’d get bit by fleas, but Eddy didn’t care. He couldn’t fall asleep without Kuma right next to him.
Every day they visited Eddy’s other best friend, Julia, who lived right down the street from the Murakami’s. Kuma liked Julia because she tied fancy bows in his hair and gave him lots of hugs and kisses.
December 7, 1941 started like any other Sunday. Eddy and his mom went to the Church down the street. During the middle of the service, people began to whisper that Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Eddy knew his dad would want to know the news right away, so he excused himself and ran all the way home.
But when he got to his house, Eddy knew something was wrong. There was a strange car parked in the driveway and the front door was wide open.
Sullivan & Son is now in its third season, and it’s time to admit that it’s just not very good. It doesn’t suck most of the time, but it has sucky pieces in sufficient numbers to make it never as good as it could be, which saddens me, because, as I wrote last year, I so very badly want for it (and its hapa main character) to succeed. Last summer, I set out to do episode recaps for the whole season, but I just wasn’t strong enough of heart and steely enough of spirit.
But yay. The gods of hapa-ness smiled down upon my efforts anyway and renewed S&S for another thirteen-episode summer season. Not one to look a second-chance gifthorse in the mouth, I’m leaping in with refreshed resolve and am determined to leg it out for the duration. May heaven have mercy on my soul and may Vivian Bang notice my efforts and give me a big, wet kiss on the cheek the next time she’s in Hawaii.
For those too lazy to click back to my first recap last year, here’s a Pink Monkey breakdown of the SparkNotes explanation of the Cliffs Notes description of the show.
If you follow California politics, you may have been following the California State Controller’s race. John Chiang, the current state controller is terming out. California now has an open primary – where voters can vote, even if they are registered to a political party, can vote for any candidate, not only their own party. And when you have an open primary, the two top vote-getters proceed onto the general election in November. Because there were several Democrats who ran in the June primary, Republican candidate Ashley Swearengin came in first with 24.8% of the vote, though on election night, it looked like the 2nd most vote-getter would be another Republican, David Evans.
But as the days progressed, Democrats John Pérez and Betty Yee see-sawed back-and-forth ahead of each from a few hundred to a few thousand votes with 21.7% of the vote each:
“Lake County in Northern California was the last, with 6,053 ballots left to count. They were finally counted Monday, and although Perez pulled in more votes in Lake County, the new votes appeared to unofficially give Yee 484 votes more than Perez statewide. … If Perez asks for a recount, it would be the first recount by a candidate in state history.“
That is crazy close considering over 4 million ballots were cast in the primary. Personally, if I were Perez, I would definitely ask for a recount! But congratulations to Yee – Yee is currently on the Board of Equalization and is based in the Bay Area and I have had a chance to meet her a few times and a variety of political-related events. Since no Republican has been elected to state-wide office in California in a while, I think it is pretty much a given that Yee will be elected as California’s next State Controller this November – which is great to see another Asian American to be elected to statewide office (I’m assuming, since John Chiang won 55% of the vote for State Treasurer in the primary, that he will win in the fall as well).
When I was undergraduate at Princeton during the last century, instituting an Asian American Studies (AAS) program was a focus of the university’s Asian American Students Association. After decades of effort by many students, Alumni, and professors, Princeton University finally has an official program in AAS. Beth Lew-Williams will join the faculty to teach a course on Asian American history in the spring of 2015. While the long period of time it took to get this course can be looked at as Princeton’s intransigence, this development reflects an evolution in Asian American Studies.
Well, this video starring Jenny Yang and Eugene Yang was posted on YouTube by Buzzfeed Yellow back in the first week of June, but I still think of the video from time-to-time.
I just took a look, and the video has had over *4 million* views! A lot of the stuff that “white people say,” I can relate to. Thought I’d post for posterity’s sake.
I remember when I started my first job out of college in Connecticut, within the first week I started, when I said I was born-and-raised in Massachusetts, an older colleague of mine asked, “No, where are you really from?” Though as I had blogged before, when I was getting my passport renewed a few years ago in San Francisco, I was asked if I was at there to get my citizenship. WTF?
I really like when the Asian American guy says to the white woman, “You know, I’m really into white girls.” If I were an Asian American woman, I can’t even imagine being on the receiving end of a line from a white guy who would openly say, “You know, I’m really into Asian women.”
Glad to see this video has gone viral and is so popular!
One of my favorite things in the world is little kids doing kung fu. Aside from the complete attack of adorable, I think it has to do with the wistful regret of not having done martial arts myself as a kid because of family funds at the time and also gender issues (little girls don’t do kung fu). Whenever I want a little pick-me-up video, watching videos of little kids doing martial arts really makes my day. The one above is an oldie but goodie. Wushu Cutie is probably a teenager by now. Hopefully, a future MMA fighter?
Next we have the absolute emobdiment of cuteness, two twin girls in the most adorable tae kwon do match ever fought. They’ve got a good rhythm going on there.
Finally, we’ve got a stone-cold killer karate girl. The commitment she puts into her last kiai is priceless.
Anyone know of any other good ones?
If you live in the Bay Area or in other urban areas, you may notice that periodically, advertisements go up for a “Shen Yun Performing Arts.” These usually have a picture of a Chinese woman doing some sort of traditional dance like the ones shown (the image shown shown here is not from Shen Yun, though). Sometimes people will be handing out flyers or cards advertising these performance in various public places. Having known nothing about them, I was always curious about this group. In this review of a Shen Yun performance, our founder Ernie talks about his experiences at one of the Shen Yun group’s performances.
Ernie points out that Shen Yun is run by people from Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong), a religious group suppressed by the Chinese government. He was taken a bit back by the political content and religious content of the show. He did like most of the performances though. This is a just brief summary – they really don’t do justice to what Ernie wrote and it is much more amusing to read those yourself.
But just when you find yourself charmed at the thirty dancers in unison, out pops an an interpretative dance about how a mother is killed in front of her daughter by goons in black and red shirts with the hammer and sickle symbol upside down, the most unsubtle subtle reference to the Chinese government ever. The daughter ascends to nirvana and is reunited to her mother holding a bunch of scrolls: Falun Dafa manifestos. (I would include a photo as text doesn’t convey the majesty of this moment, but, you know, photography strictly prohibited.)
Which feel out of place after twenty men do a synchronized dance using ancient drums, right? It turns out the production company are a group of exiled Falun Dafa practitioners based in New York City. They’ve been exiled because one man’s pathway to enlightenment is another man’s evil cult. After all, Shen Yun is not allowed to perform in China, which they remind you about by the emcees, in programs, and in their finale which I’ll get to later.
None of this is advertised, as a person meditating on a bus stop with large text saying “COME LEARN ABOUT HOW OUR BUDDHIST-BASED DOCTRINE IS OPPRESSED” will not bring as much old people through the doors than, say, a pretty girl with silk sleeves leaping through the air.
For his efforts, the Shen Yun group did tweet him and thank him for the review. This surprised him somewhat, as the review wasn’t exactly glowing. Perhaps they are of the school that any publicity is good publicity.
Since the Houston Rockets didn’t make it past the first round of the NBA playoffs, Jeremy Lin had the opportunity to do an interview with the Huffington Post Live to: “talk about basketball, life beyond “Linsanity” and his latest projects off the court with the Jeremy Lin Foundation.“ I think this is the longest interview with Lin I’ve seen ever – over 20 minutes worth. So all you Lin fans out there, check it out!
By Eugene Hung
This post is the last of a series that has introduced 8Asians readers to some of this year’s V3 Digital Media Conference (V3con) honorees, speakers, panelists, and performers. The V3con Opening Awards Reception will be held on Friday, June 20, 2014 and the V3 Digital Media Conference will be held on Saturday, June 21, 2014 at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo, Downtown Los Angeles.
What’s your security clearance level?
You’ll need a pretty high one, because each of the sessions we preview here will be held at S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy, in the great hall where the Wall of Valor sits! You know, the Wall of Valor to which Agent Ward (that creepy, two-faced HYDRA sleeper scum) took Skye (the Hapa Hacker from Hunan) to see the names of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents killed in the line of duty?
Oops, that was on TV. You won’t actually need a security clearance, but each of these sessions will indeed take place in the Japanese American National Museum’s Aratani Central Hall, which doubled as the setting for that scene in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. These featured programs include: