First generation Americans are finally getting the creative agency to write and direct big scale television shows, resulting in rich stories about immigrant identities with stereotypes being addressed rather than portrayed in endless boring ways (see: Han Lee in Two Broke Girls).
Below are some of the shows that are exploring immigrant identities.
Fresh off the Boat
Fresh off the Boat, anABC sitcom about Eddie Huang’s Taiwanese American family, living in Orlando, Florida in the 90s, exists as a sitcom and feels as if it’s directly speaking to first generation Americans, exploring feelings of not fully belonging to your country of origin or to the country you migrated to, as told through an oddly touching metaphor of the movie, Ghost.
Jane the Virgin
Jane the Virgin, The CW’s series about Jane Villanueva, a young Latinx woman who becomes pregnant after being artificially inseminated by mistake, explores family dynamics of three generations of Latinx women. The tongue and cheek telenovela style of the series finds interesting ways to explore Latinx identities. Based only on first appearances, Jane Villanueva follows the virginal Latinx woman trope, but this trope is almost instantly destroyed when Jane’s virginity is used to explore her sexuality and the series’ sex positive themes. This third season has already seen storylines about the decision to have an abortion and the different milestones in Jane’s sex life, besides her virginity.
Master of None
Master of None, a Netflixoriginal series about Dev Shah, a 30-year-old Indian American actor in New York having trouble making life-changing decisions, features a stand out episode called “Parents” with Ramesh and Nisha Shah, Dev Shah’s parents played by Shoukath and Fatima Ansari, the real parents of the show’s creator and star, Aziz Ansari. The episode is about the isolating experiences Dev’s parents went through when they first arrived to the States. Second generation immigrants often times grow up hearing stories of their parents’ experiences when they first arrived to the U.S. This episode values those experiences through unforgettable visceral storytelling.
The Mindy Project
The Hulu series,The Mindy Project, follows Mindy Lahiri, a second generation Indian American, through her personal and professional struggles. The series covers a specific point of view and identity that was missing in television, Mindy is a pro-gun republican, with the “entitlement of a white man.” The show has received many criticisms, but it is undoubtedly, a story worth telling.
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