MetroDad On T.V.? And Is He Going To Be A White Guy?

Monday, April 06, 2009

I caught news that blogger MetroDad has a potential book deal as well as a TV series in the works right which is pretty damn cool, but one of the more interesting notes about this is whether or not he should be pushing for an Asian American lead versus a White Male lead:

Currently, I'm in discussions with several production companies to turn MetroDad into a network television sitcom. All three companies are major players in the entertainment industry and their interest has resulted in my getting agency representation and a potential book deal. Right now, it all looks very encouraging so I'm crossing my fingers and keeping my expectations in check.

Here's the dilemma...

How strong am I willing to push in order to keep the main character Asian-American? Am I willing to jeopardize any potential deal? Would I walk away from the opportunity on principle? As I mentioned above, I feel very strongly about the need for the media to portray a better representation of Asian-American men.

The sad reality is that no network is likely to pick up the sitcom if the lead character is Asian-American. That's a factor beyond my control. Let's face it. America probably isn't ready for a comedy centered around an Asian-American father raising his daughter in New York City.

On the other hand, someone's got to be the first to try, right? How do we know America won't accept an Asian-American lead character in a sitcom if nobody even tries? I'd like to think that if the material is funny enough, people won't even notice that the character is Asian-American. Is that realistic? I hope so, my friends. I hope so.
I'll just tell you right now that I wouldn't want to be in his shoes because there really is that question of what to push for, when, and in the end, what will make the most impact.

It's kind of like asking yourself the question that if you want to make a difference in social justice do you set on down and work for a NPO, or kick it corporate, make a ton of money, and then take those $$$ and use it for good?

Take a look at this weekend's box office where the Justin Lin directed pic (#4 in The Fast and Furious line) took the top spot at the box office. With the film pulling some serious weight, it should give Lin even more leverage behind the scenes in bringing Asian American talent to the forefront on all levels (something he's already done).

So having an Asian American behind the scenes definitely isn't a bad thing.

But when will we have a T.V. sitcom with an Asian American male lead? And if you have the chance to push for it, do you do it if it means the sitcom and any power an Asian American has behind the scenes goes with it?

It's a tough question.