Tricia Takenawa

Asian Reporter

“I’m Tricia Takenawa..”( Family guy). Tricia embodied the stereotypical characteristics of what Americans think Asian Americans are. Today’s American television casts or creates characters that are somewhat borderline racist to create humor but these “humor” the writers/creators think that are funny are somewhat offensive. Are these characters just for humor or does these “Asian American” characters represent Asian Americans in reality?

Family Guy, an American animated show, is one of the most widely watched show in the United States. Thousands, or even millions, of people watch Family Guy and influences many of today’s youth. The influence that the show has can be interpreted in two ways. The audience can either incorporate the characteristics of the Asian stereotype of the character to the molding of their viewpoint or they can either accept it as just humor.

For decades Hollywood presented Asians as individuals who do not or can’t speak English properly and made fun of their appearance. It’s just humor right? The answer is no because these representations give others the idea to categorized all Asians in one folder. One character that is profoundly stereotyped in the show is Tricia Takenawa, a Japanese American news reporter working for the local news station in Quahog. In one of the episodes Tricia’s mother was introduced as an overbearing mother who is still disappointed by her daughter’s many accomplishments. Tricia, who worked very hard trying to please her mother, is shown as a woman who is someone who has disappointed her many times but the creators enhanced her situation by making it an Asian American culture’s problem. The writers made it seem as if all Asian family has this type of problem or gave audiences influence of how Asian American families are suppose to look.

Family Guy is not the only show that has featured an Asian American character in a stereotypical manner. Another show entitled American Dad has featured a Japanese family that epitomized the perfect stereotypical characteristic of what an Asian American family should be. One of the main characters in the show, Steve, is friends with a very intellectual Japanese boy who is a genius prodigy, Toshi. Toshi has a sister who is a piano prodigy and is also very intelligent in her own status. Both Toshi and his sister, Akiko, have a over bearing mother, Hiko, who is protective and driven to make sure her children become successful. Hiko embodied the characteristics that all Asian mother characters that were created in Hollywood, characteristics of being overprotective, educationally driven, and assertive Asian mother.

Do these animated Asian characters truly embody the typical Asian individual or is it just a made up stereotype? There is no definitely answer to this question do to the fact that these characteristics that is presented through this show relates not only to Asian culture but to all cultures. The problem with the show is that it doesn’t aim to educate the audience but to make humor by degrading a specific group of people and giving them a label. These labels are then engraved into the society and applied by giving a specific label.

These racial characteristics towards Asian Americans are not seen as being harmful but harmless humor. American society has accepted these stereotypes and has applied these characteristics in their reality. Shows such as Family Guy and American Dad are to blame to why Asian Americans are seen as these strange beings that are not normal. Due to these stereotypes Asians are still not accepted as part of the American society and is seen as a foreign culture. The real question is are we Americans or Asian Americans?

by
Ahriz Diaz

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2 thoughts on “Tricia Takenawa

  1. Awesome article Ahriz, unfortunately, I am guilty of saying that American Dad is one of my favorite shows on television. I think the reason why people are so drawn to these adult cartoons is that they resemble the minstrel shows back in the 1800s. They both are popular forms of low broad entertainment, they both depict white and non-white racialized caricatures members of American society, and they also reflect the mainstream ideas and attitudes of current event, as well as their resistance and discontent of hegemony. In the words of Robert G. Lee, author of Orientals, “minstrelsy attends to the class anxieties and animosities of this nascent and stratified working class, unsure of its position and prospect.”
    However, should we burn Seth Macfarlane at the stake for creating low broad comedy, which has been part of this country’s history and has no educational value to begin with? What make post-modern comedy entertaining is that it pokes fun at hegemonic norms like race and gender by referring to past events in pop culture that connects to the present, which creates a sense of social awareness. I am not going to deny that the representations of minorities is borderline racist, but, by the same token, Family Guy makes make of white supremacy, white conservatives, Christian fundamentalists, and Hitler on numerous occasions. Also, keep in mind that the process of encode-decode is a complex process cannot be generalized since everyone’s perception of what is funny and what is offensive is shaped by their upbringing, personal experiences, and individual tastes. Awesome post Ahriz, can’t wait for your final project 😉

  2. Deejay Tesoro: Is it bad to LOVE the character Tricia Takenawa? Is it also bad for me to LOVE Family Guy too? In all honesty I do love them. I think they are funny to watch and entertaining at the least. Which leads me to believe that I am part of the problem. In order for the American people to no longer believe in racial discrimination, television characters such as Tricia Takenawa should no longer exist. Why? Because America as a whole still takes our racial contraction from the media. It’s hard to say since I love the show so much, but unfortunately most people take comedic joking seriously and truly identify the asians they see in the media with the asian living next door to them.

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