Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dr. Chi Park

So House has been on it's seasonal holiday-time hiatus for over a month now, and it's been killing me on the inside. I just don't know what to do with myself anymore especially since the season of Dexter ended. Thankfully House will be returning with an all new episode next Monday, January 23rd.

At the beginning of the season I was somewhat intrigued and excited to see how Charlene Yi would do in portraying a character on House. I decided to hold off on writing about her because I watched the second episode of season 8 (the episode in which she premiered) and I wasn't really all that taken by her and her character. But I wanted to like her. So, I decided I wanted to at least watch episode 3 before proceeding. So far we're 8 episodes into the season, and I think at least for me the verdict is out. I like her.

I believe there are people out there who believe that Charlene Yi is a bad actress who is unable to act "naturally" in a manner that's not so awkward. I think I could agree with that, but then again I believe that the character of Dr. Park is one that is by nature an awkward person. I think it's believable.

I believe I have the credentials to say that I am well acquainted with real people that would fit into the category of "young, dorky Asian females." I am one myself after all. It bugs me that people would think of her character as "unrealistic." I see in her a lot of characteristics that I think many young, dorky Asian females could relate to.

As an aside though, in episode 2 where her dad shows up with gom gook (a Korean oxtail soup) and calls it her "mother's specialty"... I thought that was utterly unrealistic. Chi Park is supposedly a child of a Filipino mother and Korean father. I would think that any specialty of a Filipino mother would be a Filipino dish not some Korean one. Maybe it's a dish that her father believes is her mother's best Korean dish, but then again it's gom gook. Gom gook just does not work in that context. Maybe the writers were trying to bring in a food that has the same sort of connotation that chicken soup has for an American audience. Chicken soup is about comfort and care, and gom gook is just not that. Sure, it is a soup, but I think for Asians, the cultural equivalent of chicken soup would be a rice porridge. That would've worked. People bring each other juk all the time. It's normal. The giving of gom gook? That is just unrealistic.

Anyway, back to Dr. Park being believable and relatable.

I think her sense of self-reliance is spot-on, and I would like to add that from an Asian perspective there really isn't much of a notion of "self" so much as "family."  The only thing you can rely on is family. Strangers don't owe her anything. The state doesn't owe her anything. That's just how that is.

Her straightforwardness is a result of her belief that that's the shortest path to getting what she wants, what she needs, and what she believes is right. It's a rational approach without any of the frills.

This allows her to stick to her guns.

Because she interacts in a transparent manner without the proper buffers of social etiquette, it makes her seem awkward.

It gets her in trouble, and when she's in a mess, she doesn't really have a grasp of the right social tools to clean it up.

I find her believable. Maybe I'm just reading too much into her, and I think that is the definition of an engaging character.

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