If you haven’t heard, actor John Cho is starring in a new show this Fall on ABC titled ‘Selfie’ and NPR highlighted Cho’s unique position on being a romantic lead for the show:
“John Cho wasn’t supposed to star in the My Fair Lady-like ABC sitcom Selfie. (The pilot, which premieres Sept. 30, is much better than its not-very-good name, sort of like the ’90s Welsh band Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci.) The producers of the show were looking for someone more in the traditional Henry Higgins mold, namely British and oldish. Cho is neither, but as creator Emily Kapnek has said, the further they got into their search, the less the older and British parts mattered. Eventually, she said, “We just need a brilliant actor — and John’s name came up.” … Still, it’s not lost on Cho that his casting — as a somewhat-possibly-romantically interesting lead opposite a white woman on a major network show — really does mean something. … What Selfie does well, at least in the pilot, is not to make an issue of Henry and Eliza’s respective races. Henry is a brilliant marketer, who happens to be Korean-American. Eliza is a self-absorbed social media addict, who happens to be white. This is how it should be. … Sure, in a perfect world, there have been so many Asian-American male romantic leads that this casting choice is hardly worth noting as unusual or counter-intuitive, but as Cho himself acknowledges we don’t live in that world. There’s a reason we still have to call it “colorblind casting” instead of just “casting.””
ABC had made the first episode available online and through other channels (I watched it via Comcast-on-Demand) prior to its broadcast debut. Overall, I think the show still needs some work. I do like Cho and his character, but it’ll be interesting to see what plotlines can be developed in this sitcom, and how a potential romance between Cho’s character Henry and his counterpart, Eliza, can work.