Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know and expect about
the most important election of our lifetime.

Asian-American Jersey Shore Finally Airs — But Not on TV

Remember K-Town, the reality show set in the club scene of Los Angeles' Koreatown? With a guy called the Situ-Asian? Back in 2010, TV execs were salivating over its sizzle reel, and the self-described "Jersey Shore-type show" was on the verge of unleashing yet-to-be-cast Korean Jersey Shore doppelgangers on the unsuspecting American public. K-Town received mentions in the New York Post and the New York Times, as well as some shout-outs from Chelsea Handler and SNL's Weekend Update. Then, all of a sudden, the network that K-Town's producers nested at underwent a regime change, and, before anyone had time to mourn its debut on the stage of American culture, the show was put on extended hiatus.

Advertisement

After two and a half years of hiatus, K-Town aired its first episode last Wednesday on LOUD, a new YouTube channel from a studio startup called Electus. Executive Producer Mike Le, who developed the concept for the show with producers Eddie Kim and Eugene Choi, says that producing the show online has given him more freedom to make the show that he first envisioned (a creative independence K-Town's previous network seemed eager to stymie). The Wall Street Journal's Tao Jones writes that Electus, founded in part by NBC's Ben Silverman, is looking to create just the right amalgamation of traditional TV and YouTube qualities, and, in the effort to produce "high-impact" and "buzz-worthy" content, it has made K-Town one of its tentpole productions.

Advertisement

Preening with the tagline "the reality show no TV network could show you," K-Town, according to Jones, offers all the sleaze and drama we've come to hope for from quality reality TV.

The show's teaser trailer features epileptic flashes of castmembers bootyshaking in their lingerie, licking liquor off one anothers' bodies, tongue-tangling and pelvis-grinding in various gender combinations and drunkenly punching each other senseless - in short, engaging in activities that are not commonly associated with Asian Americans in mainstream media.

For Mike Le, the show's stereotype-shattering quality is precisely what will make it so appealing to viewers who think that all Asians are just "ninjas or dragon ladies or asexual IT guys."

Yes, the interest in the show is Asians going wild - you better believe that when we took it around to the networks, the old white execs we showed it to were popping their eyes out. But in reality, K-Town's about the fact that all the stereotypes, good or bad, don't fit when you're talking about real people. Our cast doesn't represent all Asians. They simply represent themselves.

Advertisement

Or they represent the stereotypical reality show 20-something that incubated in Real World houses for years before it got an immigrant-group makeover when the Jersey Shore decided to exploit all the reigning stereotypes about Italian Americans. Whatever stereotype-busting the show's producers think it's capable of, the fact is that K-Town exists at least in part to shock and awe its audience. "You mean to say Asian-Americans drink, have sex, and punch each other in the face the same way all those shifty Italians do? Get outta here!" That initial bemusement is something that Le and the other producers are counting on — it will draw viewers in much the same way that Jersey Shore seemingly validates all our ickiest thoughts about New Jersey and the spray-tanned cretins that inhabit it.

By the time that initial fascination wears off (if it even takes hold), characters like Steve "Mohawk" Kim (Party Animal) and Violet Kim (Drama Queen) will have either endeared themselves to YouTubers or the show will fizzle. In the meantime, we all get to watch as a yet another ethnic group in America gets to exhibit its finest party-goers. What about if, instead of shows like K-Town, someone did a reality show about kids' birthday parties? Kids could snark on each other's venues and get all crazy sugar-drunk on orange soda. It'd be wild.

Advertisement

Tough Times for Tiger Moms as Asian-America Meets ‘Jersey Shore' [WSJ]

Earlier: A Conversation With The "Situ-Asian" From The Asian Jersey Shore
Meet The Well-Muscled Cast Of ‘The Asian Jersey Shore'

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

AnimeJetV2
AnimeJetV2

This show has elicited two types of responses from people i've talked to:

1. Yay, more representation for Asians! We aren't just submissive push over nerds, the media needs to show that!

2. Oh my god, this is so shameful to Asians, stop making us look bad, this is the LAST THING WE NEED.

I think I find myself in the first group even though I don't party and I am very much a nerd, but I've had many jersey shore esque friends. I also think saying this show is shameful to us is like saying it's okay to judge an entire group of people on one show, which is the line of thinking by racists, and why would we be kneeling to racists anyway ._.?? Anyway I'm probably not going to watch it because I don't watch these types of shows but it's existance is.. interesting... I don't know, maybe someone can convince me to hate it, haha.

Edit: Case in point, the comments on youtube about how they're "trying too hard to fit into society" (oh my god you mean we don't all speak with accents and are outcasts?) they're all scripted and asians are actually really timid so this is fake.. yea.