no love for the winner

The new Fox sitcom The Winner premieres tonight. It's about a 32-year-old loser dude still living with his parents who finally steps out into the world to experience life. In the first episode, one of these life experiences involves going to a place called "Enchanted Gardens Massage" ... to lose his virginity. (Uh oh.) Surprise, surprise, it's a good ol' fashioned Asian massage parlor with a side order of prostitution. And it's pretty much as bad as it sounds—gaudy Oriental furnishings, an obnoxious madame, and a small parade of Asian ladies. The entire pilot episode can actually be seen online here. The scene in question starts at about 10:58. And it's painful. I will not be watching this show. Oh, that's Susan Chuang as the hooker with a heart of gold. (Thanks, GB)

UPDATE: The episode in question is apparently no longer up on the site. By the way, here's an email from Susan Chuang, who plays the massage parlor worker:
In the original audition material, this "hooker with a heart of gold" was described as a sweet Asian woman who didn't have an accent. "You wouldn’t even know she was a hooker if you saw her at the DMV." I went to the audition and was told later that day to return for a callback in the afternoon. I get to the callback, and I'm told that there's new material. OK. That's not uncommon. But my jaw dropped when I saw the changes they had made. They now had her putting on a fake ching-chong accent that she would later drop, revealing that she spoke perfect English. I believe that gag has been done 80 kabillion times. Do people still find it funny??? Even worse, the material had been rewritten with lines like, "Oh, baby, oh baby, you're so hot, you make me horny... Oh, G.I. Joe, I'm on fire. Take off your pants and love me long time."

I called my agent and told him that I really didn't feel comfortable doing this material and wanted to leave before they started calling people in. We talked to the casting director about it -- she was very understanding and went over to speak to the producer. She came back and said that I could talk it over with the producer in the audition. So he’s open to discussing it. Get over to the stage where the auditions will take place, and they're pre-shooting stuff. Waiting, waiting, waiting. The casting director eventually comes over to me and says, "He doesn't want to keep you waiting any longer. He likes your work and will bring you in for something else that isn't a stereotype."

So I start walking to my car when the casting director runs out and says, "Come back. He's OK with you not doing the accent. Don't leave. It's the network pressuring him to do this, blah, blah, blah." When I go into the audition room, the producer isn't apologetic or anything, but he says, "I haven't got the final tone yet, and I'm feeling like the accent isn't the way to go." THANK F-ING GOD. I still had to work with the "me so horny... love me long time" lines, so I played it as though this hooker was completely over the fantasy role playing and couldn't fake it anymore.

Ended up getting the job. They rewrote the scene three more times before shooting. I can appreciate that you find the scene painful. But trust me -- it started out even more painful.
This is probably typical of what a lot of Asian American actors go through. It sounds like she did everything she could with a crappy situation. Thanks, Susan, for the behind-the-scenes info.

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