8 Awful Pop Culture Offerings to Dread in the New Year
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Comedian and Saturday Night Live vet Rob Schneider stars in this new CBS comedy. In case you were wishful thinking that the Spanish punctuation was just a cheeky joke to emphasize the enthusiasm, sorry: it refers to the thin and racially stereotypical plotline, in which Rob marries a beautiful light-skinned woman and then goes loco when he discovers his in-laws are all... Mexican-American! Dios mio, ay chihuahua! In the trailer alone, Schneider asks incredulously, "They're all Mexican?," compares a family gathering to a Julio Iglesias concert, and tries to bring up the 1995 death of Tejano princess Selena as a topic of conversation. Beyond just perpetuating dumb racial stereotypes, the show hinges on the extremely dated concept that, hey, people of different ethnicities are different! It's not as blatantly offensive as some of the other TV shows on this list (see: "Angry Boys"), but it's condescending to both Mexicans and gringos, and depressing to see that some of America's best comedic actors—Cheech Marin, Lupe Ontiveros—are wasted on such a cheap show. Even more depressing: real-life Schneider is married to Mexican TV producer Patricia Azarcoya Arce. Wonder what her parents think?
5. “Angry Boys”
Adapted from Australian television for HBO, the Sacha Baron Cohen-style comedian Chris Lilley plays every “angry boy” of the title. An Ali G rip-off is annoying, but not offensive, right? Sure, except that Lilley—a white man—also plays the character of S.mouse, an American rapper, in blackface . If that weren’t racist enough (!), his portrayal of S.mouse is a completely offensive take on hip-hop, making misinformed and easy swipes at materialism and gangsterism that people outside the culture tend to focus primarily on. It’s completely revolting, and the fact that HBO would air a show WITH A WHITE MAN IN BLACKFACE IN 2012 is both infuriating and completely beyond us.
6. The Dictator
Speaking of Sacha Baron Cohen, he portrays the anti-democracy dictator of a fictional Middle Eastern country in his latest "spoof," supposedly basing his script and character on Hussein, Gadhafi, and Syria's Bashar Al Assad. Certainly Cohen has made his name and career off being "inappropriate," but his stupid movies aim for cheap laughs based on racial stereotypes, and The Dictator is no different: he dons a long, fake beard; sings offensive faux Arabic pop songs; and shoots his opponents in a track meet. It's never the time for one of this dude's idiotic movies, but right now, after so many people in the Middle East have died fighting for their freedom, it comes off as particularly hateful and racist. (Oh, and he casts Megan Fox, playing herself, as essentially a prostitute.) Meanwhile, the song in the trailer is by Jay-Z and British-Punjabi singer Panjabi MC, which leads us to believe Sacha Baron Cohen does not know the difference between Syrians, Egyptians, Libyans, and/or Indians. Which, given his body of work, would make total sense.
7. A Tim Tebow Superbowl?
It’s bad enough that anti-choice Christian quarterback Tim Tebow is constantly a trending topic, prays to God at every game and is viewed as some sort of True American Warrior (TM) for spreading the evangelical view to the country’s football diehards. (He even writes biblical verses on his eyeballs .) But it could get worse: at this very moment, the Denver Broncos are still in the playoffs. The odds are this is their last week in the biz, but they still have a chance: and if they make it there (and win!), we can look forward to another 12 months of Tebow deifying. And more Tebow-dedicated songs like this re-write of John Parr’s “St. Elmo’s Fire ” by... John Parr. Ugh.