"Three actresses walk into a casting call..." Sounds like the set up for a bad joke whose punchline is going to land nowhere good? Well, up to a very sharp point.
You can never take too much piss out of racial (and racist) typecasting - and good old fashioned casting couch misogyny and 'Typecast,' a rather nifty Royals parody that's been getting a lot of play recently is bitter-sweetly awesome.
Tess Paras (who created and co-starred in the video) nails far too many awful ethnic tropes for comfort. But before we all get too smugly Kiwi about it, here's Roseanne (Banana In A Nutshell, My Wedding and Other Secrets) Liang's equally pointed 2007 short Take 3:
(Thanks NZ On Screen, you tasty cornucopia of delicious local goodness! Unfortunately, due to the terms of the license Take 3 is geoblocked outside New Zealand.)
Is it awesome to see Liang and Paras wittily slapping around racist bullshit? Definitely. But it would be even better if they didn't have to in the first place, and snarky short films (no matter how brilliant) don't get the job done.
Elizabeth Plank makes a relevant to New Zealand point here:
Discrimination in the industry doesn't just happen during the casting process, of course. It happens every step of the way. Female directors and producers know that getting funding for female-centric narratives is an uphill battle, since those stories are still perceived as "niche." Add race and ethnicity to the mix and you've got yourself an even steeper financial mountain to climb.
Ultimately, one of the best ways to support the women making a difference is to vote with our remotes. By consuming media that focuses and represents the lives of women of color, we'll be sending a powerful message to the elite in Hollwood and they won't have a choice but to listen and follow the money trail.
Muses know I'm a broken record on the subject, but the best way to ensure diverse and lively local television and film drama is to support the damn things and let the powers that be know it. That includes shows that aren't straight white dick-fests with bits of condescending "ethnic" colour.