#97 - Asian America and the Chinese Dollar Store

Posted January 26, 2016

The cold open to Saturday Night Live’s January 23 episode focused mainly on the absurdity of Sarah Palin’s recent Donald Trump endorsement. This is a target that makes sense, given Tina Fey’s celebrated rendition of the former Governor of Alaska.

As Vox.com‘s Culture Editor Todd VanDerWerff pointed out in a piece the next morning, the sketch was a weak one in the contexts of both SNL’s history of political commentary and the more narrow niche of “Fey as Palin” bits. In his review, however, VanDerWerff praised two lines from the sketch, and one of them seems only to be funny if seen as a reference to the inherent absurdity of the Chinese.

Friend of the show Andrew joined Shaun this episode to talk broadly about what the “Asian as absurd” trope means when you’re an Asian American lover of pop culture, using the VanDerWerff piece as a launching point and as a singular point of focus to think about which marginalized groups are worth listening to.