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All-American Girl

All-American Girl is an ABC Kids sitcom created by Gary Jacobs, starring comedian Margaret Cho in the lead role.

The show premiered on September 14, 1994 and was cancelled on March 15, 1995 after one season

Plot

The series centered on a Korean-American woman from a traditional family trying to move up in the world.

Cast

  • Margaret Cho plays Margaret Kim
  • Amy Hill plays Yung-hee Kim
  • Jodi Long plays Katherine Kim
  • Clyde Kusatsu plays Benny Kim
  • B.D. Wong plays Dr. Stuart Kim
  • J.B. Quon plays Eric Kim
  • Maddie Corman plays Ruthie Latham
  • Judy Gold plays Gloria Schechter
  • Ashley Johnson plays Casey Emerson

Production

Margaret Cho stated the idea for the show came about at the time because "TV networks were giving development deals to stand-up comedians."

Cho was among a trend of female comedians becoming network stars at the time (such as Brett Butler, Ellen DeGeneres, and Roseanne Barr); however, she was the only minority of this group and the only one who had no creative control over the process.

Cho also stated that during the development process of the show her weight was never mentioned as an issue, but when it was almost time to shoot, the criticisms about her weight started.

She believes the real reason she was criticized was not because of her weight, but because they "didn’t know how to photograph Asian faces" and "didn’t know what to do with people who were different." As a result, Cho lost 30 pounds in the span of two weeks, causing severe medical problems.

The show's creators suggested other titles for the series such as "East Meets West" & "Wok on the Wild Side" before deciding on "All-American Girl."

The show was marketed as being based on Cho's stand-up comedy routines, but according to her "that was mostly just a gloss."

Reception

"All-American Girl" was heavily criticized by for portraying Asian Americans extremely stereotypically (such as the "tiger mother," the obedient Asian child and the overachieving nerdy Asian).

While the show focused on a Korean American family, Cho was the only Korean American actor/actress cast (all other members being of Chinese or Japanese ancestry, in an example of non-traditional casting), which critics said perpetuated the idea that all Asians are the same. These critics did not appreciate the assumption that they should identify with the characters simply based on the fact that they were Asian.

Furthermore, critics lambasted the "butchered Korean language." With the majority of the cast not being Korean American, their ability to speak Korean was limited, and none of the show's directors, writers, or producers were Korean-American.

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