Mike Chang, an Asian American actor who plays a supporting character on the hit sitcom Glee, is getting a set of parents on the show. Tamlyn Tomita (The Joy Luck Club) and Keong Sim (The Last Airbender) will play mom and dad to Mike, played by Harry Shum Jr.
The annual Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) diversity report, Where We Are on TV 2010-2011, found that for the past five television seasons, Asian and Pacific Islander (API) actors were only given about 4 percent of roles on TV.
So adding more Asian-American characters to primetime broadcast television is great news. Let’s just hope Glee’s writers don’t give the new parents a crazy Asian accent of sort.
Maybe we can get a Tiger Mom that appreciates Mike’s break dancing skills?
The parents will make their first appearance on the third episode of the season, which airs on October 4. It’s unclear whether Mike’s parents are here to stay or if it’s a one time appearance.
Glee returns September 20 on Fox.
Another interesting API TV stat: The Asian Pacific American Media Coalition Report Card in 2008 described a media environment where it’s uncommon for prime-time shows to feature more than one regular API character, if at all.
A graphic from Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) diversity report illustrating TV casting in the 2010-2011 season by race: