#FirstTimeISawMe? I’m Still Waiting.

“Representation is important.” You hear this message all the time, just like you do with “Climate change is real” and “gender is fluid”. All of which are equally true, but it sometimes feels like they’ve lost their gravitas, merely being used as buzzwords to keep the message in the zeitgeist.

Thankfully, there are initiatives that come around that remind you that these aren’t just slogans sparking political debate – they’re real issues that greatly effect society now and for future generations to come. In this particular case, one such initiative is the #FirstTimeISawMe campaign, which encourages people to reveal which character first represented them in the media.

The hashtag is a collaboration between Netflix and all-around cool organization Black Girl Nerds. They released this video earlier this month, and hundreds of people took to Twitter to share their own firsts.

Answers ranged from older TV characters:

To those that resonate with a lot of millennials:

To the contemporary:

For a lot of people, coming up with an answer to this is viral hashtag is probably easy. Especially if you’re white. And a male. In which case, you probably haven’t thought beyond your answer to a simple question. But when I decided I should chime in too, I realized (or just became completely mindful of) the fact that there hasn’t truly been one character that I felt fully represented me as a female Filipino-American. I was having a difficult time coming up with an honest answer.

I’ve touched on this before in my Fresh Off The Boat post (why aren’t you watching it yet), but the first time I remember seeing an *Asian woman* on TV was in 1994, when Margaret Cho starred in All-American Girl, a short-lived sitcom that was cancelled after one season.

Fun fact: There was a plot line in Fresh Off the Boat in which Emery and Evan want to become actors, but their reluctant mom Jessica (played by the brilliant Constance Wu) says, “You’re not going to become actors. You think they’re going to put two Chinese boys on TV? Maybe if there’s a nerdy friend or a magical thing where someone wanders into a Chinatown, but no.”

Cut to the end credits when they’re watching an episode of All-American Girl, and Emery quips at his mom, “So, no Asians on TV?”

The show centered on U.S.-born Margaret (Cho) who lives with her Korean-American family in San Francisco. Her much more Westernized POV on life is in stark contrast to the traditional, Eastern values her family has, and of course, comedy ensues. Sure, I too am a first-generation child who has arguably taken up American culture more-so than my parents, but I’m not Korean.

This problem kept coming up anytime I’d try to see myself in any of my favorite TV or movie characters. I speak to my parents in English when they talk to me in Tagalog like Jane does with Abuela in Jane the Virgin, but I’m not Venezuelan. I enjoy hip-hop and grew up obsessing over music like Eddie on Fresh Off the Boat, but I’m not a Taiwanese male. I so hardcore related to Dev’s dynamic with his parents in Master of None, but I’m not an Indian male wannabe actor. If you took Lane Kim’s upbringing in a religious household (and tbh, Lorelai’s hot/cold relationship with her parents and knack for pop culture), you’d be pretty close to representing me – but I continue to not be Korean.

In fact, the only example I could come up with of even seeing Filipinos on TV at all is Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – and that show just ended its second season. Overall, the show is superb and speaks to my interests of romance, comedy, tragedy, and musical theater, but moreover, for the first time, I saw a Filipino as a main character. And one that didn’t just ignore the fact that he’s Filipino. Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III) isn’t even a goofy sidekick. He’s the hot guy who is the one with the “crazy ex-girlfriend”. His name is literally in every episode title.

I already loved the show as soon as I finished the pilot, but what really turned the tide for me was the 6th episode titled “My First Thanksgiving with Josh”, written by comedy writer/actor and Filipino-American, Rene Gube (he also plays Father Brah). In this ep, Rebecca (Rachel Bloom) manages to get herself invited to Josh’s family Thanksgiving, despite the fact he’s still engaged to Valencia, who the Chans do not like that much. Because of this, Rebecca wants to impress his family as much as she can, which is why she teaches herself some basic Tagolog while cooking a traditional Filipino dish called Dinuguan (a stew with pork blood that I even refuse to eat).

Not sure what I was expecting, but I don’t think I ever expected to see a white actress learning Tagalog while making a Filipino dish on network TV. That is not a thing I ever expected would happen. But then the episode continues, and we meet the rest of his family including his dad, mom (played by Amy Hill, who was also the grandma on All-American Girl), and sisters Jayma and Jastenity (who have perfectly ridiculous Filipino names). Not to mention there’s an entire ROOM full of Filipinos, or Asians that act like they’re Filipino at least, eating a mix of American and Filipino food on Thanksgiving, just like I did growing up.

“I saved you the pork adobo and turkey skin, anak (child/something my parents and aunts and older relatives still call me to this day)” Mama Chan to Josh

Plus there’s the other line that Mrs. Chan says to Rebecca in yet another slight to Valencia, by saying, “We are so thankful God sent you to us”, a precursor for when Mrs. Chan later invites Rebecca to mass that same night. This isn’t a thing that I personally did with my family, but I will say that I grew up going to Filipino Bible Study, was super active in my Protestant church, and went to Catholic school my entire life. So yeah, my parents love the Lord and I understand the Chan’s church on Thanksgiving tradition.

Later in the season, we’re introduced to Josh’s aunt, played by Queen of the Philippines Lea Salonga, and we get to see even more of the Filipino culture when Josh’s sister Jayma gets married. The men, including Jayma’s Jewish husband, all wear traditional shirts called Barong Tagalog, which are lightweight and embroidered and worn at formal gatherings. Again, never in my life have I seen so many barongs on American TV. I never could have imagined this.

So all this to say, that’s what I tweeted. I said I’m still waiting for the one person in media that I can relate to wholeheartedly, but the Chans are the closest thing I got. And lo and behold, they responded:

Vinny also tweeted back and I unexpectedly started a Twitter convo between the Chan family. #FangirlGoals, amirite?

But through my own delve into how Filipinos/Asians/Females are represented in the media and seeing all the responses from other POCs on Twitter, it’s just a reminder that we still have so far to go. There are so many more stories to be told, especially in America, where not only are we a melting pot, but minorities are lit’rally taking over the country. According to a 2015 U.S. Census Bureau report, by 2020, “more than half of the nation’s children are expected to be part of a minority race or ethnic group.” By 2060, the minority population is expected to rise to 56%, while the foreign-born population will reach 19% (that stat was 13% in 2014). Plus,  the population of bi-racial, or “two or more races” is projected to be the fastest-growing in the next four decades.

If this is the direction the U.S. is heading, doesn’t it just make sense for the media we consume to reflect the diverse makeup of this country? The more we see POCs in the media, the less likely we as a nation are to be culturally insensitive and racist. Just look at the LGBTQ community. Over the past two decades, the mere presence of characters like Willow and Ellen and Will Truman and Jack McFarland, Cam and Mitchell, have become part of pop culture history and “normalized gays” for those in the South or midwest or any area in the U.S. where being gay is considered against God’s will.

Perhaps most importantly, it’s the accurate portrayals of this community that have helped society embrace the real life gays and lesbians and transgendered folks we meet at work or in the grocery store. The same goes for all the POCs listed above – Brandy proved that she, too, could be a Disney princess in Cinderella (and get the handsome Filipino prince), America Ferrera inspired Latinas in both Gotta Kick It Up! and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants as a smart, confident young lady, and Regina King showed in American Crime that wearing a hijab might just be a superpower to become a badass who never gives up on seeking justice. These characters don’t fall into negative stereotypes that have long been shown in film and TV, which can subsequently give viewers a false sense of these minority groups. If you’re a white woman living in a small town in Alabama where the population is 95% white and all you see are black people on TV who are gangsters and drug dealers, I’m going to assume there’s at least a small part of you (if not whole) that believes this stereotype to be true of all black folks. Whether you realize it or not, the negative portrayal of minorities leads to invisible (and possibly outright) racism, sexism, homophobia, etc., which is why we need to keep having conversations like #FirstTimeISawMe.

Not only do we get to see others’ personal experiences with representation in media, but it’s a reminder that when you forget about skin color for just one moment, these are people just like the people in your bubble, who are going through similar trials and tribulations. That’s not to say we should be completely colorblind, but rather encourage the acceptance and appreciation of all cultures, no matter how different they are from our own.

I’m grateful that I live in a time where I can see Filipinos (and minorities as a whole) being portrayed in an accurate light on screen, and it gives me positive reinforcement that we aren’t an afterthought. That we, too, have a place in this society, despite what the horrible actions and hate crimes of other Americans may say. It provides an intangible sense of belonging that no travel ban or affirmative action law can change. It gives us the ability to open up the dialogue and insist that there is always room for representation of all people on TV and film. Despite knowing all this, we can always do better. We have to do better. And we have the power to do so.  If you’re a storyteller, tell your unique story to the masses. Pen a script. Direct a movie. Write a blog post. Yeah, Representation Is Important. And who better to represent us than, well, us?

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TV Characters We Need Back In Our Lives: 2016 Edition

A great songwriter once summarized the way we feel when our favorite TV shows come back on the air after a summer hiatus:

What ever happened to predictability
The milk man, the paper boy evening TV?
You miss your old familiar friends

But miss them no longer – they’re waiting just around the bend: the best returning TV characters of Fall 2016:

Rebecca Bunch from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

We considered including Greg Serrano and Paula Proctor in this list, but ultimately we had to give it up for this great show’s leading lady. It’s not just that Rachel Bloom is a writer/creator/actress/singer/comedian/all around fantastic human. It’s also that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend hinges on the audience suspending disbelief – it’s a musical comedy after all – AND identifying with a protagonist who sounds pretty questionable on paper, what with moving cross-country to chase her camp boyfriend from 2005. Rebecca, though flawed, has to be relatable, professionally competent, and get the audience in her corner. Against the odds, you believe that Rebecca has her head in the wrong place and her heart in the right one, that she’s out of touch with reality yet the smartest person in the room.

Jessica Huang from Fresh Off The Boat

Roughly half of Jessica’s lines from Fresh Off The Boat remind me of all of the 90s moms I knew during my childhood. The rest are cut straight from my internal monologue. Jessica is exacting and confident, at turns assimilating her family into American culture and criticizing it. Jessica is a rare TV parent: neither the tough mom nor the fun mom, she is a welcome break from the smiling-while-head-shaking moms from paper towel commercials and CBS sitcoms. Just watch her getting obsessed with Melrose Place and imagining intrigues in her neighborhood, or tackling her school-aged son with a giant stuffed bunny to teach him not to date rape, or spouting off about prosperity perms and tell me she isn’t the most endearing and “aggressive yet elegant” sitcom mom there is.

As an aside, we love actress Constance Wu every bit as much as we love Jessica, and if you don’t yet, you should too.

Tina Belcher from Bob’s Burgers

It’s impossible to pick just one favorite Belcher, but I’m doing just that and it’s Tina. I have a comedic soft spot for characters who have no reason to be confident but are anyway, and that’s Tina. Plus it’s just fun to watch her and thank your lucky stars that you’re not in that horrible junior high not really a kid/not really a teenager stage any more.

Liza Miller from Younger

To paraphrase Death Cab for Cutie (we were 19 in 2006, ok?), we would follow Sutton Foster into the dark – or to TV Land. Yes, the channel where your dad watches Newhart has original programming now, and Younger is really good – kind of like a TV version of goldfish crackers, where you can consume it for a half hour and the time kind of just disappears. Liza is a 40-year-old restarting her career and passing as a 26-year-old in order to do it, which is plausible because Sutton Foster has a portrait in her attic that ages in her stead. Plus Hilary Duff is in it too, and you know we loved us some Lizzie McGuire.

Rogelio De La Vega from Jane the Virgin

I binge watched both seasons of Jane the Virgin this summer and totally got hooked, largely in part to the great writing, the outstanding acting, and the character that is Rogelio De La Vega. I’ve never seen a fake actor so egotistical yet so lovable at the same time, and I think that’s credit to Jamie Camil, who plays the Telenovela star. He has a way of saying Rogelio’s lines that make you almost sympathetic to him, before you realize what he’s actually saying – and what he’s saying is usually the most ridiculous. #RogelioMyBrogelio

Porsha from Empire

I had a few complaints about the second season of Empire, and one of them is that there wasn’t enough Porsha on the show. As Cookie’s assistant she should probably be by her side more, yet not as much as I wanted. She’s hilarious, always has good comebacks, and is the perfect complement to Cookie’s sassiness. Also, she’s an amazing rapper IRL.

Coliver from How To Get Away With Murder

I KNOW I’m not the only person who ships this couple, mainly because there are many Tumblr blogs and gifsets dedicated to this hot, sweet duo. Connor and Oliver are maybe my fave romantic couple on HTGAWM because they just care for each other so much. Connor may be more broody about his feelings while Oliver is more outright, but there’s no doubt they’re meant to be. And I’m just the creep who reblogs their romantic moments on the Internet, it’s fine.

Betty DiMello from Masters of Sex

Annaleigh Ashford. Annaleigh Ashford!!!! I’ve always admired her talents from after since she’s a Broadway staple, but her acting skills are stellar in this show as a prostitute turned experiment volunteer turned receptionist turned closest confidant. It’s been quite the arc for Betty and Annaleigh as well, and I still think she should be nominated for more awards.

Captain Ray Holt from Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Captain Holt has grown on me so much over the years, and in the best way he can, he’s opened up to the Nine-Nine slowly but surely too. Andrew Braugher does such a spectacular job showing emotion in an emotionless character, and I can’t wait to see what happens next for him and Jake come season four.

Taran Killam from Saturday Night Live

I’m in complete denial Taran isn’t coming back for the upcoming season, so we’re just going to pretend he’ll be back.

Best of C+S 2015: Speculative Premiere Week: Meet The New Shows Of 2019!

So it’s 2016, huh? Sounds fake, but fine. In our final Best of 2015 post, we’re going to take it back to the future – here are all the Law and Order spinoffs, fat guy/skinny wife shows, and C-list celebrity comebacks that we’re pretty sure will be hitting our screens in 2019. Happy New Year, everyone! See you Monday with our all-new 2016 posts.

Maybe we’re getting a little carried away with our role as Fantasy Network Executives, but we’re pretty sure we can predict exactly what will be on tv in 4 years. Expect the new batch of series to contain a breakout SNL star, CBS’s latest Fat Guy/Skinny Wife offering, a movie franchise adaptation, a poorly planned reboot, and a patently offensive comeback or two. And Ryan Seacrest, always Ryan Seacrest. So what’s on the block for 2019? Set your DVR’s way ahead, it’s going to be quite a year!

Selfie Off with Ryan Seacrest

The top 10 selfie takers in America face-off (quite literally) in a variety of different challenges to see who can take the best photo. On a rollercoaster, next to a fire, in a haunted house, who will not let outside elements deter them from their photography skills and ultimately take the crown of America’s Favorite Selfie Taker? This show does not do well.

Sass and Grass

taraji franco

James Franco and Taraji P. Henson star in this buddy cop dramedy patrolling a rough Philadelphia high school, which has a bad weed problem. Except Franco may have a weed problem of his own.

Soul Mates

Teen ghost falls in love with a living teen (teen ghosts are the teen vampires of 2019).

Fantastic Four

Because if it fails on the big screen, let’s try TV instead.

The Franny

A reality show starring Fran Drescher, featuring her life as a TV producer and her close friendship with her gay ex-husband.

The George Lopez Project

In this George Lopez vehicle, he plays the George Lopez character from his 2002-2007 series “George Lopez.” He has moved to Tallahassee to care for his aunt with whom he has “comedic” (but not actually funny) spats.

Waffle King Juniors

The search for the best kid waffle maker is on. Hosted by Alton Brown, sponsored by IHOP. As the title suggests, Waffle King is already a show by this point.

Tiny Houseboat International

Features people looking to not only downsize their home but also sail the high seas (but not too high, these boats are TINY).

Roller Coaster Tycoon

In this Apprentice spinoff hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, the search is on for the next great amusement park mogul.

Pretty In Provo

Aidy Bryant stars as a Cool Mormon trying to juggle her mommy blog and etsy shop, while wrangling her kids Wren, Polly, and Olive-Lou. Her house and outfits are bright and adorable, and we… kind of want this to exist for real? AIDY?

Jerry Maguire

In this TV adaptation of Jerry Maguire, Jerry is played by that British kid from Finding Neverland (Freddie Highmore).

By The Book

Keri Russell and Barry Watson are former classmates at NYU who were academic rivals (there was always a sexual tension between them, but nothing happened). Now they’ve both returned to their alma mater as professors in the same English department and still have that feeling of hatred towards each other but also even stronger sexual tension. One of the students is young Gene Draper from Mad Men. There are sweeps week guest spots by Scott Speedman and Amy Jo Johnson.

Blueprint For Love

Taran Killam stars as a Ted Mosby type, but less pretentious and more funny and charming. He’s an architect, trying to follow the rules from an archaic dating guide to the letter in the hope of meeting “the one.”

Gal Pals

Katie Holmes and Ellen Page star as sisters who have to pretend that they’re dating in order to rent an apartment in San Francisco, a la Three’s Company.

gal pals

The London Editor

A career-driven American 30-something (one of our 2019 TV Rookies To Watch) who has no time for love spars with her London-based editor (Thomas Sangster, the kid from Love Actually). She pictures him as a grumpy old sourpuss, but discovers that he’s actually a young, charming curmudgeon. But they live on different continents and, again, she doesn’t have TIME for love!

Kangaroo Court with Bindi Irwin

Bindi Irwin travels to wildlife preserves across Australia, solving training problems and inter-animal rivalries: think Dog Whisperer, but with more kangaroos.

Gossip Woman

In this CW reboot of Gossip Girl, all-grown-up Jenny Humphrey is a touring musician who is haunted by a gossip blogger (still Dan). Inexplicably, Jenny and Dan (along with a few of their classmates) are parents to teenagers, who start to find that their own secrets are being revealed.

Silver Sisters

This reboot of Golden Girls features a cast of 38-44 year old women (the oldest allowable in 2019).

Meerkat Detective

A animated/live-action comedy about a Meerkat detective who solves crimes in Chicago using the social media live video app Meerkat.

Suburban Legends

After years in the city, Jake Potter moves back to the suburb of his youth, where he is reunited with all of his old childhood gang and they pick up right where they left off … to much head-shaking by his prim wife, Julie. There are ’90s and early ’00s flashbacks. This is CBS’s requisite Fat Guy/Skinny Wife show for 2019, and it stars Shia LaBeouf (who is fat in 2019).

Ill-Conceived

In this attempted comeback, Amanda Bynes plays a sassy, wealthy young doctor who recently took up a post at an inner-city abortion clinic as terms of some kind of probation. The show is quickly canceled because everyone hates it, and in the final episode to air Amanda discovers that she’s pregnant. Maybe Diablo Cody writes it?

CSI: Des Moines

It stars Dylan McDermott and Dermot Mulroney, who play Daniel Muldowney and Donny McDaniel.

Law And Order: Car Theft

When your car gets stolen, who you gonna call? Probably 911, who will tell you to call 311, who will refer you to this department run by Camryn Manheim.

So You Think You Lift, Bro?

Just two dudes facing off, lifting heavier and heavier weights as the competition goes on. It’s not a hit on primetime and gets cancelled after two episodes on Spike. Hulu’s fitness-oriented online platform MeatHead, picks it up and does great.

Floored

Brad Pitt realizes every A-lister is starring in a TV show so he does too. In a multi-cam comedy for CBS, Brad plays the super of an Upper East Side apartment building in New York City. He’s an overall upbeat guy and the quirky tenants (think Gilmore Girls or Parks & Rec townies) love him – but when his ex-fiancee moves into the building to live with her new fiance, his jealousy and cattiness comes out. The show airs after the Shia LaBeouf show.

Another Shonda Rhimes show

Doesn’t even matter what it’s about. It’ll be on and we’ll watch it.

Dubya

George W. Bush stars in this docu-series about the months leading up to his first big art show installation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He shows a stressed side we’ve never seen before but manages to keep his positive attitude a crack a few (a lot) of dad jokes in the process.

 

Shows You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: Last-Minute Binge Edition

If you’re anything like me, you make a list of all the things you want to do at the beginning of the summer, and then you procrastinate and blink and it’s September all of a sudden. TIME, MAN. Since there isn’t toooo much going on television wise in the summer months, it’s usually a good time to binge-watch the shows you’ve been meaning to forever. But like I said, it’s September already and those fall premiere dates are right around the corner. However, you still have a window of time to catch up on those buzzed-about shows in time for the new season, so we’ve made a handy list of programs we think you should binge instead of that home improvement project you’ve been putting off. You can do that later.

Traci’s Picks

For Modern Family fans who also like New Girl and miss Don’t Trust The B- : Fresh Off The Boat

Seasons to catch up on: 1

Next season begins: Tuesday, September 22nd on ABC

Why you should be watching: I wrote an entire post for this show right after the pilot aired, and I still stand by everything I said. In summation, it’s funny, every single actor from the kids to the grandma are beyond fantastic, and Asians. Also, the show’s creator, Nahnatchka Khan, also created one of those Cancelled Too Soon shows, Don’t Trust the B- (In Apartment 23). Miss you “James Van Der Beek.”

For Shondaland fans who enjoy legal dramas and have plenty of patience: How To Get Away With Murder

Seasons to catch up on: 1

Next season begins: Thursday, September 24th on ABC

Why you should be watching: Viola Davis is a HBIC in the courtroom and as a professor in the classroom, but in her personal life, she’s got some probs. But also, Viola Davis is a gift to television and to acting.

For Mad Men and True Detective fans who miss Pacey Witter and are okay with watching adultry: The Affair

Seasons to catch up on: 1

Next season begins: Sunday, October 4th on Showtime

Why you should be watching: IDK if you’ve noticed, but all the shows I picked are 15 episodes or less. You can do this, ya’ll. One of the great things about TV in this era is that a lot of accomplished actors aren’t afraid of the “TV stigma” like before (as in TV sucked, movies rule). All four of these leads, Josh Jackson, Maura Tierney, Dominic West and Ruth Wilson are both stars of film and TV, but together, it’s like watching a theatre play with A-list movie stars in the comfort of your own home. The basic conceit of the show should be enough to lure you in – two people in fragile marriages have an affair, and the story is told both in the male and female perspectives. Add a twist of a murder, plus the acting chops and you get a great show. Also, apropos of nothing, Josh Jackson recreating an iconic season one scene from Dawson’s Creek .

Molly’s Picks

For hip-hop fans and pop culture junkies who love a good Biblical drama but think that the ACTUAL Biblical drama airing this year looks a bit much: Empire

Seasons to catch up on: 1

Next season begins: Wednesday, September 23 on Fox

Why you should be watching: I know we’ve drummed this one up in a few other posts, but basically you should be watching because it’s very, very good.  The show centers around Lucious Lyon, a music mogul who must hand his “empire” over to one of his sons – straight-laced Andre, rejected gay son Jamal, or rising star Hakeem. Oh, and his wife Cookie was just released from prison after 17 years, which means – you guessed it – 90s flashbacks. Taraji P. Hensen as Cookie Lyon is one of the most compelling characters on television right now. Obviously there are some amazing musical performances too, but they fit into the story organically, it’s not like Glee or anything. Plus there are only 12 episodes for you to watch.

For Breaking Bad fans who also enjoy dark comedy like Six Feet Under and anthology series like American Horror Story or True Detective : Fargo

Seasons to catch up on: 1

Next season begins: Monday, October 12 on FX

Why you should be watching: The Emmy voters were right: this gritty-yet-quirky crime drama is fresh, compelling, and weirdly sort of funny – and also, there are only 10 episodes to watch. Technically you don’t even need to catch up because it’s an anthology, with each series standing alone. All are set in the north country, but season 1 was set in 2006 and season 2 will take place in 1979, and there’s some sort of Ronald Reagan plotline. Season 2 will feature Kirsten Dunst, Ted Danson, Nick Offerman and Lance Landry Jesse Plemons.

For CW types who enjoy fanciful plotlines, telenovelas, and sitcoms that aren’t too sitcom-y or dramas that aren’t too dramatic: Jane The Virgin

Seasons to catch up on: 1

Next season begins:

Why you should be watching: More like, why WE should be watching. I had to include Jane the Virgin because it’s at the top of both of our personal Last-Minute Binge Watch lists. Both of us caught onto how great the show (/Gina Rodriguez) were sometime in the middle of last season, but didn’t want to jump in halfway through season one, so we have been patiently waiting for Netflix to do something. But everyone says that it’s amazing, and we believe them.

 

Fantasy Network TV Exec

A few years ago, I went insane with my Fall TV scheduling because there were too many shows I loved that were coming back, and the premiere dates were staggered, and I was getting old so I had to write them all down and not just rely on the old noggin. I’ve stopped doing that over the past year or so, since I found an app (FREE app) called Episoder, which is something I swear by and could not recommend more to fellow TV enthusiasts. Anyways, the point is that when it comes time to plan out the Fall TV schedule, whether it be as a viewer or as an important executive of a big network, you have to plan strategically. The shows in primetime have to be equally engaging, GOOD, and bring in non-sucky numbers from whoever the Nielsen people are.

Some of you are in the beginnings of your Fantasy Football Leagues, and because we’re not much of the Fantasy Football type, we decided to play our own version with Fantasy TV Network Exec. We broke down which shows we would bank on if we ran an imaginary network, and hand-picked the series we think will boost our C+S Network’s ratings and help it become a reputable channel with quality programming (this is clearly the humble beginnings of our plan to start our own corporation and take over the world). Plus this is just a general guide of what you should probably watch in a couple weeks. We obviously took this very seriously.

fne_monday

8:00 Supergirl (CBS)

As a whole, we as a society are still not over superhero shows/movies, so naturally this freshman series is gaining a lot of buzz. Melissa Benoist (the new girl from Glee) plays the titular Supergirl, aka Superman’s cousin. That’s pretty much all we know plot wise, but what’s more important is the list of series regulars & guest stars, which includes but is not limited to: Calista Flockhart, Jeremy Jordan, Laura Benanti, Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh), Jenna Dewan Tatum, and former Superman Dean Cain.!

9:00 Jane The Virgin (CW)

Neither of us watch Jane the Virgin, but it’s not from lack of wanting to. We both love love LOVE Gina Rodriguez as a human, so let’s support her show, shall we?

10:00 Blindspot (NBC)

If you’ve seen ads of a naked woman with words all over her body, that is this show. And TBH, some of these choices were based on, “the shows on the other networks suck, so this is the least offensive”. This is the least offensive.

fne_tuesday

8:00 The Muppets (ABC)

Following the success of mockumentaries like The Office and Parks and Rec, the genre has since become a little too overused, therefore losing its magic. However, when it’s used for a beloved franchise that needs an extremely creative twist to keep dedicated fans and viewers happy and tuned in, the mockumentary style makes perfect sense. This is probably the show I’m most looking forward to this fall, and judging by its trailers, I don’t think we’ll be disappointed. Also, Kermit is Jim Halpert. Count me in.

8:30 Fresh Off The Boat (ABC)

I was so relieved when Fresh Off The Boat got picked up, and unfortunately somewhat surprised when it did, because I was expecting ABC execs to dismiss yet another primetime show that doesn’t feature all white people *gets off soapbox*. Besides the whole #RepresentationIsImportant aspect of the show, it’s actually a really good program. The writing is fantastic and the acting is A+ (Constance Wu, y’all). Despite the fact it’s about an immigrant family and the first generation of kids in America, it’s a comedy about family at its core, and that’s why it should be appealing for everyone.

9:00 Scream Queens (FOX)

This was a process of elimination pick, with a healthy pinch of “it’s Ryan Murphy, it can’t be all bad.” Think the camp of Glee meeting the horror aspects of American Horror Story. It’s not necessarily our “thing” but we will always be here for Lea Michele in headgear. Plus Emma Roberts, Abigail Breslin, and Keke Palmer rounding out the “When Did They Grow Up?” contingent, and Nasim Pedrad bringing the comedy.

Plus it’s also up against yet another superhero show (Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.), a third-generation NCIS (New Orleans), and a doctor show (Heartbreaker).

10:00 Wicked City (ABC)

We’ll have to wait a minute for this one – October 27 – because shows are airing willy-nilly this year. You can start off watching Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris on NBC, but don’t get too attached because in November Chicago Fire will take over the slot. Most of the shows this year are so genre – it’s all procedurals, zombies, and superhero reboots – that it’s nice to see something a bit different. Wicked City is a crime show set in 1982 on the Sunset Strip. Erika Christiansen as a 1980s Los Angeles mother who falls into cahoots with a serial killer? We’ll try it.

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8:00 Rosewood (FOX)

Not actually sure if this show about a pathologist named Dr. Beaumont Rosewood, Jr. is actually going to be any good, especially since the tagline is, “Life. Death. Miami.” However, Morris Chestnut is in it (references here, here, and here), and I’d watch him do literally anything over the 102nd season of Survivor.

9:00 Empire (FOX)

If you think Drip Drop and Boo Boo Kitty are songs from the Wiggles or something, you are seriously missing out. We wrote a more in depth post about why you need to be watching Empire, but even if you aren’t totally sold, there are only 12 episodes. You can watch all of season one and be caught up in a few lazy weekends. Empire is one of those rare runaway success midseason replacements that became a cultural touchstone.

10:00 Nashville (ABC)

I started watching this show for Connie Britton and now it’s starting its fourth season and I’m still here. It’s like, it’s good, but could be better, but I’m too invested so I’m not going to give up now type of show. So here we are.

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8:00 Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)

How is this show in its 12th season what’s happening? I know the whole McDreamy storyline has been a point of contention with fans, and it’s understandable. However, as both a fan of the show and fan of the construct of TV as a whole, I’m interested in seeing where they’re going to take Meredith’s story after a devastating loss. It’s the first season we’ve seen her without Derek AND Cristina by her side, so how does that change her as a person? Or does it?

9:00 Scandal (ABC)

Scandal might be the best show on television right now. It is also one of the most popular, with an unusually engaged fan base.  It’s on season five, yet I still feel like I have no idea what will happen with Olivia and Fitz, who is truly trustworthy, and how Olivia has never spilled on one of those white coats. Scandal has found a way to bring TV to a must-watch-live EVENT and fans live tweet with the cast in an unprecedented way (props to our fav Kerry Washington for that one). Take that, Video On Demand!

10:00 How To Get Away With Murder (ABC)

If you were frustrated with the twists and turns and multiple murders on HTGAWM, believe me when I say this show is a breath of fresh air compared to Pretty Little Liars. Surprisingly (or maybe not so much so), the finale of season one solved the mystery we’ve been trying to figure out since the pilot, but then minutes later, we were hit in the face with another murder to leave us on a cliffhanger to go into season two. HTGAWM is also a super strong ending to a night in Shondaland, and you’d be crazy to pick any other lineup than this on a Thursday night.

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8:00 Masterchef Junior (FOX)

If you’re into any sort of cooking competition program, you need to watch Masterchef Junior. Especially if you’re not a fan of Gordon Ramsay. The tough, expletive-spouting Brit takes a cooler tone with these home chefs, who range in age from eight to 13. It’s nice to see a softer, more encouraging side to Gordon, who just wants to see these kids succeed. It’s also nice to see a reality show that doesn’t focus on the drama between the contestants – these kids are just there to have fun and cook amazing dishes with food I’ve never even heard of before.

9:00 Shark Tank (ABC)

Let’s call a spade a spade. Nothing good, or even “good,” is on TV at 9:00 on a Friday. We’ve fallen very far from the must-watch TGIF lineups of our youth. Shark Tank has a solid audience, big enough to warrant a spinoff this year, so I guess we pick that.

10:00 Blue Bloods (CBS)

It’s not so much that we are raging Tom Selleck fans – I mean the man can grow a good mustache, but let’s not go crazy. And Mark Wahlberg isn’t even my favorite Wahlberg. The Irish cop cliches will surely be super lame. However. We’re sure that Dateline and 20/20 will split the News Magazine contingent, so this seemed like the best choice. For the record, we’ve both always been 20/20 girls, and in third grade we were even traumatized by the same episode about kids getting sucked onto pool drains.

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Watch Netflix.

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8:00 The Simpsons (FOX)

The Simpsons is my first television memory, sneaking upstairs to watch it with my brothers. It was my first appointment with appointment television, and I didn’t miss an episode from the ages of three until about 18. That said, I’m not sure if I’ve seen a new episode for the past decade. But looking at the competition on Sunday nights, it’s not hard to see why the show continues to do well. A television institution, The Simpsons has been on the air since 1989 and it looks like it isn’t going anywhere.

[Psst – I’m actually into Once Upon a Time, but we wanted to include Brooklyn Nine-Nine at 8:30 so we really needed a half hour show here.]

8:30 Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX)

This show is good. When it won that Golden Globe a lot of people were shocked, but it combines the best elements of workplace comedy, police procedural, and buddy comedy. Plus, I hate that this is still a pleasant surprise in 2015, but it’s about a police precinct where two of the main characters are black men (and one is gay), two are Latinas, and most importantly, everyone is hilarious. Gina was one of the characters we needed back on our TVs after the 2014 hiatus, (and it’s true again), and Andy Samberg is that goofy coworker who is somehow actually amazing at his job. For some reason I feel like a lot of already-good shows really hit their strides in the third season, so I think this year is going to be great.

9:00 The Good Wife (CBS)

We don’t watch The Good Wife, which has apparently been on for five seasons (FIVE.). However, we know that a lot of people do. Besides, we’re not going to watch Oil and we are VERY not going to watch Sunday Night Football. There are some shows that we know will technically win the time slot, but we don’t like them so we aren’t choosing them. That’s what we’re doing with football.

10:00 CSI Cyber (CBS)

It’s this, football,  the local news on FOX, or an ABC series about the Bible. I understand that for a lot of people Sunday is the Lord’s day, and for a lot of other people it’s Football Night, but for us, every day is TV day and that programming just doesn’t cut it.

POV on FOB: Why We Need Fresh Off The Boat

If your life was made into a movie, who would play you?

I’ve been asked this a few times throughout the years, and I always end up resorting to the same two actresses: Margaret Cho and Lucy Liu. Chances are, if you’re not Asian, you don’t have this problem. You probably have never even thought about how that question would be a much deeper question than it is on the surface.

When it came down to it, I always picked Margaret Cho. I just looked more like her than the skinny, tall, perfectly straight, long-haired Lucy Liu. Part of this answer may also have to do with the fact that in 1994, I saw Margaret Cho and her Korean-American family on TV in a show called All-American Girl. I guess I didn’t realize it until then, but it’s the first time I saw anyone that remotely looked like me depicted on TV. I was a nine year old who already watched too much television (go figure), and so I was used to seeing families like the Tanners and the Winslows, but never anyone like the Kims on All-American Girl.

The show may have been groundbreaking, but it was also criticized for its blatant use of stereotypes and basically became a caricature of itself. It ended after just one season, and there hasn’t been a show featuring Asian-American families ever since. Until last night.

20 years later, a new sitcom called Fresh Off the Boat premiered. Twenty years. That’s two decades. That’s a college student that is months away from being able to legally drink. Even I was surprised when I read that fact. Has it really been that long? Have we really not progressed in the past 20 years that there hasn’t been a show about Asians on American TV? While I think we’ve definitely made steps towards diversity in the media in terms of African-Americans, Latinos, and LGBT characters, it’s a little weird we haven’t seen bigger strides for Asians in terms of leading their own film or TV vehicles.

But perhaps it’s just a situation of good timing.  Fresh Off the Boat is based off a memoir by Eddie Huang, in which he discusses his Taiwanese immigrant parents, their move from Washington, D.C. to Orlando, Florida, and his assimilation as an Asian kid who loved hip-hop. IRL Eddie is an outspoken guy who isn’t afraid to speak his mind or be politically incorrect. He wrote a piece for Vulture in which he talks about how ABC executives wanted to “turn his memoir into a cornstarch sitcom and me into a mascot for America”, to which he replied, “I hated that”.

With someone like Eddie at the helm, the problem ABC encountered 20 years ago with All-American Girl becoming too ‘white’ probably won’t happen. He’ll be there to make sure the show doesn’t cross the line into a parodic program. Moreover, lest we forget that racism is an even more prevalent topic in America today. I think part of the problem with racism in this country is that people are afraid to confront it. It’s such a taboo subject that people avoid it. They brush it under the rug pretending it doesn’t happen – but as last year’s events clearly show, it does. With a show like Fresh Off the Boat, it deals with the obvious cultural differences and racism head on. In the pilot, a kid calls TV Eddie a ‘Chink’ and they get into a fight over it. The show takes place in 1995, but I assure you it’s still happening 20 years later.

But this is what we need. Fresh Off the Boat is funny, well-written, smart, and deals with race issues in an accessible way that doesn’t sugar-coat it or blatantly insult Asians. Do you remember that episode of Full House when Stephanie gets glasses, and Joey advises her to make fun of herself with the new specs before her classmates can make fun of her? It’s kind of similar to that. Once we open the gateway of being able to talk about things like assimilating into American culture or what it’s like being the only Asian kid among a sea of white people, it’s easier to have that conversation about race without it being uncomfortable.

And as for the name, I have no problem with it. ABC execs briefly titled the show “Far East Orlando”, and for some reason, I find that more offensive that Fresh Off the Boat. IRL Eddie defended the title to Entertainment Tonight recently, comparing it to the N word – it’s a way to claim the term back to its people, and not have it used in a derogatory way.

And while I may strongly relate to this show because I, like Eddie (who I’ve deemed my spirit animal), am a first generation Asian-American, this show isn’t just about this group of an underrepresented culture (I know, I just wrote all those paragraphs about Asians), at its heart, it’s about exclusion. It’s about inclusion. It’s about family. It’s everyone’s story.  A story that has yet to be told from this specific view of a race that makes up nearly 11% of the American population. It’s a show that’s funny – like actually, laugh out loud funny. So funny that there are multiple GIF sets I will be reblogging on Tumblr later. It’s a show that deserves to be on the air because of all of these qualities. And who knows – maybe this will lead to even more Asian-centric shows in the future. And perhaps my possible future children won’t have a shortlist of just two Asian-American actresses to play out their life story.