October 30, 2010

Halloween comedy on NBC

On the Halloween episode of Community (airdate: 10/28/10), everyone at the community college dresses up for a Halloween party. For a split second we see someone who looks like an Indian maiden: dark hair, buckskin outfit, and headband.

Later we see someone who seems to be dressed as a Hawaiian: muumuu-style dress, lei around the neck, crown of flowers on the head. I don't think this has come up before, but it's as wrong to play a Native Hawaiian as it is to play a Native American. It's an ethnic group, not an occupation.


I watched the first episode of this comedy set in India and didn't continue. I thought it might be a big moment for diversity on TV, but it wasn't. The Indian characters were caricatures, and three of the first five billed characters were white. It was significantly worse than Outsourced, the 2006 Bollywood movie on which it was based.

I didn't see the Halloween episode (airdate: 10/28/10), but I did see a commercial for it. Again, the characters were dressed up for a Halloween party. In this case, a standard Plains chief and sexy Indian maiden were clearly visible. Unless Outsourced said something clever about Indians playing Indians--which I consider unlikely--it was pure stereotyping.

For more on the 2010 TV seasons's failure to portray Indians realistically, see:

"Pocahontas" in Parenthood
1/16 Cherokee on Modern Family
Nanookwaffe in Family Guy
Review of Running Wilde
Anthropology class in Community

Below:  The white guy is roughly equal to all the Indian characters combined in Outsourced.

1 comment:

dmarks said...

I remember Whoopie Goldberg's hotel-related sitcom. The one with the Iranian character. And he turned out to be the center of the show's humor, which quite often involved Arab stereotypes. I would have thought that Goldberg knew that only some Muslims are Arabs, and only 3% of Iranians are Arabs. This made her show a real loser along with the racist humor.