#2. The Hillbilly Renaissance
No, that's not an actual TV show you can watch, but only because it hasn't gone to film yet. Give it time. However, across numerous networks there's a bizarre fascination with the lives of rural Americans, which is to say backward folks. I went to Tennessee before, I ate breakfast at a Waffle House and I had a beer at a bar, and during the entire trip, not once did anyone wrestle a possum, a coon, a gator, a pig, a duck, a catfish, some shrimp or anything else you'll see on episodes of Hillbilly Handfishin', Swamp People, American Hoggers, Duck Dynasty, Big Shrimpin', Rocket City Rednecks and God knows what else.
Rednecks and hillbillies aren't a race, of course, and that's why they're perfect TV fodder. They're like you and me, only they dropped a chromosome in their other overalls so it's fun to watch them eschew grocery stores in favor of wrestling their dinner into submission and trying to think without pooping.
Is there a good reason for the influx of so many shows that focus on unusual people with unusual jobs out in the middle of Bumfuckleberry County? Well, someone's watching them, so that's all the reason the networks that air them need, and the people on the shows aren't nearly as dumb as they pretend to be -- one of the guys on Rocket City Rednecks used to work for NASA, for God's sake.
The only reason I lumped all the shows together is that they're all basically the same thing: Oh my God, look at that cousin fucker somehow walking upright and doin' stuff! You could call that cynical, but if there were a show about a family of East Coast accountants, no one would give a Kentucky fried possum's ass about it. Incidentally, if you're counting, that's two jokes about cousin love, and I stand by each one.
#1. 2 Broke Girls
I will preface this by stating that I will fight anyone who speaks ill of Kat Dennings, and then I will ransack your wallet to help pay for some sandwiches for her because I will take her out for sandwiches whilst stepping over your ungracious carcass any day of the week. That said, has anyone who is involved with this show, including the Asian actor, ever met an Asian person before? Look at this terrible shit:
Holy shit he's Asian! Someone call a zookeeper to get this goofy fuck off the streets! Har! No, really, what's going on there? The actor is from San Francisco and speaks perfectly clear English except on the show, where he's Asian reporter Tricia Takanawa. His character has been designed specifically as an Asian stereotype -- he's a workaholic nerdlinger with an iPad who speaks like he just rolled out of the fortune cookie factory and is surprised to find a lack of bamboo in our crazy, Western world. The fact that he's not wearing a funny hat, kung-fuing Kat Denning's breasts and quoting Confucius while throwing ninja stars at rice-encrusted pandas just means I probably stumbled on a plot twist for next season.
The blatant racism in the show wasn't lost on pretty much anyone on Earth who's actually seen it, and you can read articles about it in The New Yorker, on Jezebel and in this particularly enlightening summary of a press junket for the show in which the creator insists it's all OK because everyone gets made fun of and he himself is gay, so how could what he does be offensive? How could a gay man be racist? Go on, get your abacus, try to explain it. You can't.
Arguably, the show creator fighting to prove that his racist character isn't racist is slightly more offensive than this being a happy accident. Maybe if he'd been raised on Vietnam-era propaganda or some such he'd have a reasonable excuse for why this happened. But insisting that the character has dimension, and that this is part of his dimension (also known as the Ching Chong Charlie dimension), is on par with letting Rob Schneider have a show about life in a Hispanic family, which of course would never happen.
For more from Ian, check out 8 Romantic Songs You Didn't Know Were About Rape and 7 High Tech Products And Their Cheap Ass Ingredients.