"The Asian-American experience can’t be represented in just one show"
Randall Park has described the lack of Asian American representation on TV as “unfortunate”.
Prior to landing his role as Louis Huang on Fresh Off The Boat, Park went on numerous pilots that failed to be picked up.
“I had done a ton of pilots before this pilot and none of them got picked up, so I kind of assumed that shows just didn’t get picked up,” the Korean American actor said. “It was like winning the lottery if your show got picked up.”
Park added that Fresh Off The Boat, which returns for its fifth season next month, is particularly special
“Because of the nature of our show, because we’re this family you rarely see the likes of on TV, it makes it even more special,” he said.
Although Park recognises an increase in TV family comedies, he is unsure about whether the industry is really making strides for diversity.
“There are also a lot more TV shows,” he said. “So I think in the grand scheme of things, it’s great, but I don’t know how much of it really points to a sea change, you know?”
Nonetheless, Park is confident that the demands of the US will push the industry to change.
“I do think though that the general consciousness of the country and the world is opening up, and I think that the shows are starting to reflect that a little bit,” said the 44-year-old. “Hopefully there will be more shows like ours and like [black-ish, Speechless, and One Day at a Time] because the Asian-American experience can’t be represented in just one show.”
Park also acknowledged that there were other TV shows featuring Asian families. However, Fresh Off The Boat may be the last one standing. Ken Jeong‘s TV series Dr Kim was cancelled last year.
“For the past five seasons there have been other Asian families on TV, but right now we might be the only one, at least on network TV, which is unfortunate,” Park said. “But hopefully things will change.”
Fresh Off the Boat will premiere its fifth season on 5 October at 8 p.m. on ABC.