Promotional Nightmares: ‘Jersey Belle’ And ‘Off the Boat’ (Video)

Randall Park in Off the Boat. (ABC)

Randall Park in Off the Boat. (ABC)

There are two ways to promote a show, as far as I can tell. One way, you spend your money on creating a sizzle reel for the press, bring it to the up fronts, spend MORE money on marketing it to the unwashed masses, hire an intern to create the social media account, fire said intern when he writes something flagrantly offensive about a minority group, buy ads in lucrative time slots, etc., etc. Wash, rinse repeat until your soul is a beautiful, shiny husk of pre-packaged demo groups (males 18-34, preferably.)

Or! Option two! Just burn everything to the ground, right away.

Not that I think that’s what Off the Boat‘s creators had in mind when Randall Park (Danny Chung from Veep) gave this quote to the press about playing chef’s Eddie Huang’s father in a new ABS sitcom:

“In an ideal world, I would never have to play a character with an accent. But this is a character based on a real person. So it’s something that I have to honor and try to perfect as the series moves forward.”

Yikes. The show hasn’t even aired yet, and it’s already offensive to…the main actor? Not great. Especially since this will be the first show about an Asian-American family since Margaret Cho’s ill-fated sitcom, All American Girl.

How long do you give the show? It looks fantastic, but Huang’s not the most P.C. guy in the world, and ABC has its bland reputation to protect. This isn’t Vice, Huang!

With Bravo though, the offensiveness is so ingrained into their programming that it basically IS the marketing materials. Case in point, Jersey Belle, which premieres in August but just released its first ad. In this docuseries (blerf), publicist Jaime Primak Sullivan moves from New Jersey to Alabama and then tries to purchase the unborn child of a woman about to have an abortion.

I guess my biggest question is: can you still be Wayne Brady‘s publicist if you live in Alabama?

Also, which one of these programs makes you feel more *AMBIVALENT FACE EMOTICON*? For me, it’s Off the Boat, because it looks actually funny but I don’t like the idea of Randall Park kind of resignedly portraying a stereotype he finds offensive. (Also, does he have an accent in the show? I couldn’t even hear it.)