there is nothing wrong with your television set

What in the world... can this really be? Lucy Liu's character on Cashmere Mafia, Mia, romantically involved with an Asian man? A real, flesh-and-blood Asian American man? That's Lucy Liu and Jack Yang as Jason Chun, who appeared on Wednesday night's episode.

Before you get all excited, here's a little story background. Their parents on the show apparently set them up on a blind date. Jason says he's not really into Chinese girls, and Mia admits she's only dated two Chinese guys before—back in junior high. But Mia decides to use him to make her ex (white guy) jealous. Somehow, the two end up actually digging each other. And kiss.

Kiss! Can this be television history before our eyes? Several people have written in claiming that is the first time two Asian American characters have been shown kissing on prime time network television. Can this be right?

I've been wracking my brain for the last half hour and haven't been able to come up with anything. If anyone can think of a reasonable example that proves otherwise, let me know. I'm curious. Anyway, Jack Yang is slated to appear for another two episodes... which probably means the relationship won't last very long. (Thanks, James.)

UPDATE: A bunch of people have written in to point out Sun and Jin from Lost, who have done their fair amount of kissing during their three seasons on the island. In this context, they don't quite count, as both characters are actually from Korea, and are not technically Asian American. The same goes for Hiro and Yaeko on Heroes. Still haven't thought of anyone else....

UPDATE: I checked with my resident Gilmore Girls expert, and Lane Kim (Keiko Agena) and Henry Cho's (Eddie Shin) second season relationship doesn't count. It was sort of a secret relationship, and they apparently never actually kissed! How ridiculous is that?

However, a resourceful reader named Max has uncovered an episode of the now-defunct WB sitcom Off Centre, in which John Cho's character Chau kissed a girl named Allison. It's a flashback scene where Chau recounts his first sexual encounter. You can actually watch it here (it happens at around 18 minutes in). It's a really dumb episode, but it's there. A kiss.

I was pretty sure the Cashmere Mafia kiss wasn't the first Asian American kiss in the history of television. The Off Centre kiss probably isn't the first either. But the fact that we have to wrack our brains so hard, and reach into the obscure depths of our collective memory to think one... that says a lot. And it's pretty pathetic.

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