Sunday, April 27, 2008

Terminal USA & JJ Chinois

As everyone else has said, Terminal USA and JJ Chinois's music video were some of the strangest videos I've ever seen. I'm not quite sure what to make of JJ Chinois portrayal of Asian transgender sexuality so I'll talk a little about Terminal USA.

I have to admit that Terminal USA was so bizarre and out there that I couldn't help but laugh at everything. It made it very hard for me to take seriously, which I think was the point. One thing I was curious about was whether we were supposed to assume that these extreme characters are only inherent in Asian American families or if this could be applied to any average American family. I don't watch a whole lot of TV sitcoms, but as far as I can tell there has yet to be a child with an alien for a girlfriend/boyfriend. Reflecting on the movie, I am actually a little offended that these crazy portrayals were projected onto an Asian American family. In some ways, if this movie were to become more popular and viewed, it may work to further alienate Asian Americans from the rest of society. These characters are not ones that the typical viewer can identify with at all. The family is seen as one in its own world and does not help others to understand some of the common struggles Asian Americans face.

One interesting thing I noticed was how Kazumi, the only family member with a Japanese name, was portrayed as the outcast of the family from the beginning. Holly and Marvin, perhaps because of their American names and more conventional lifestyles, are the golden children of the family. Throughout the film though, the viewers realize that the rest of the family has their own set of issues as well and that maybe Kazumi is not that different afterall.

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