TV and Radio

April 2, 2013

Registering Concerns Over CBS’s “2 Broke Girls”

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Written by: MANAA

February 24, 2011- posts parts of a script for the CBS sitcom pilot “2 Broke Girls” from the creator of “Sex and the City Michael Patrick King. The potential series is described as a “multi-camera comedy about two 22-year-old girls who tackle life in New York: two broke girls, one expensive city.”

One of the characters, Han Lee, is described in the script as “33, Korean Born, Lovable, Thin Man; Thick Accent.”  He tries to adopt a new “American” name, Bryce, but he’s referred to as “Rice” and the female Max character constantly corrects his bad English.

Same emails a letter to Josie Thomas, CBS’s Senior VP of Diversity, expressing their concerns about the stereotyped character.

May 18-“2 Broke Girls” is added to the new Fall line-up.

June 2-The day after the CBS showrunner’s meeting with the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition (APAMC), Thomas tells APAMC co-chair Guy Aoki that Lee will still speak with an accent but they won’t put him down for it and that the coalition can wait until it airs and see what they think.

August 1-Aoki e-mails Thomas:  “Given the community’s concern about the way the Asian character played by Matthew Moy will be depicted in ‘2 Broke Girls,’ I’d love to see a copy of the pilot which reflects the changes to his character.  Thanks.”

Thomas says she checked with CBS’s communications department and was told they don’t distribute copies of their pilots except for screeners for the press.

August 19-Aoki asks if he can at least see the pilot if he comes to CBS or someplace in person.

August 23-Thomas suggests the office of Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i (VP Diversity) next week.

August 31-Aoki and MANAA board member Miriam Nakamura-Quan meet with Smith-Anoa’i on the CBS lot in Studio City to watch the first episode of the show.  In it, Moy still says his new name is Bryce Lee but because he can’t pronounce B’s, it comes out as “Rice Lee.”  Smith says she had a meeting with show creators King and Whitney Cummings (whose own NBC show “Whitney” will also debut in the Fall) to explain sensitivity concerns.

September 19-When it airs, the “Rice” part is edited out.  For the rest of the series, Moy is referred to as Han, not Bryce or Rice.

September 28-At the annual CBS meeting, Guy Aoki raises concerns about the character with CBS President Nina Tassler, who says she told the creators to “dimensionalize” the Han Lee character as time goes on.

October 3, 2012-At the annual CBS meeting, Aoki tells Tassler it hasn’t happened and that executive producer Michael Patrick King told the press (some of whom also criticized the character) to check with him in five years to see how he did in expanding Lee.  In other words, it doesn’t appear King is interested in following Tassler’s instructions.

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