Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Aliens in America

Last night I watched the Aliens in America episode "Help Wanted" as it aired on the CW.

Stop reading here if you don’t want spoilers!

Raja wants to help out the family monetarily so he gets a job at a local convenience store. The manager/owner of the store is of Indian descent (not Native American/First Nations) and the show kind of pokes fun at the Middle-Eastern-guy-running-a-corner-store stereotype.

Anyhow, he’s got this job. And now we’re shown Raja around another “other” character. But we soon find out not all ethnically diverse or “different” characters on this show are good people. Put in charge for a weekend night, Raja refuses to sell beer to his clearly underage classmates with fake IDs. His Indian manager is upset the next morning because the store made so little money with Raja behind the register.

The episode reminded me a lot of our discussion about Indiana Jones’ portrayal of Asian characters. The manager is portrayed as a “bad other” character because he runs his store in a corrupt manner (unless maybe you’re underage and want to buy beer, then you might like him). This makes Raja look like even more of a good guy, reinforcing his extremely positive role.

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