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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Paging Dr. McGupta

E.R. The show that catapulted George Clooney's career in a way that "Facts of Life" never could.

Well, Hello, George!

What's wrong with this picture?

Grey's Anatomy. We forgot about Patrick Dempsey after "Can't Buy Me Love" but it made us look again.
Nice. You're Definitely McSomething.

Some things just get better with age.

But I digress. Because that's not my point today.

Now, I don't know if you have noticed, but these medical shows all present a really, really inaccurate depiction of hospitals, at least as far as I know them.

In fact, I have been to many a hospital in my day so I consider myself to be a "connoiseur" of sorts.

Here's the thing. ER went about 7 seasons in before they introduced an Indian Doctor. And it was probably because one of the Casting Directors saw "Bend it Like Beckham" and realized the error of his or her ways.

Now, House, ehhh. Maybe 5 seasons before Kal Penn came on board? (Don't even get me started on the choice of Kal Penn. You'd think he was the only Indian male actor in the United States.)

I can just imagine it now. The casting director talking to his assistant:

"Hey, it looks like they need to cast some Indian or Arab looking guy on 24 as a terrorist. Call Kal and see if he's available."

And so it goes. Kal is now working at the White House (I mean it. Really. Really.) so now there won't be any Indian males on television for a long time.

The problem I have with these shows, is while I think it's all great to see "McDreamy" and "McSteamy" and McRedhead Guy whose McDoing Sandra Oh on the show (I don't think they gave him a name yet), where the heck is McPatel and McShah?

(For the rest of this post, I will speak as if I am one of the characters on Grey's Anatomy. This means, I will repeat everything at least twice. Two times. Everyone else has noticed that annoying habit of those writers, right? right?)

So, going back to the lack of Indian doctors on any of these shows.

Seriously? Seriously?

Have you been to a hospital in the United States in the past ten years? I don't care if you are in freaking Iowa, much less a metropolitan area - but half of the freaking staff is Indian. Indian!

So don't go telling me that the only Indian on staff is a freaking Psych resident. If an Indian was going to be a Doctor, his parents would kill him if he did not go into neurology or cardiology.

Bullshit. Bullshit.

In other words, that bull has shit.

You know - I know that TV is a fantasy world. I have never had a doctor who looks like Patrick Dempsey, and don't think I haven't tried. I've tried. I've tried.

To the writers of these shows, I really, really question what the hell hospital you think you are running there. Maybe its because you figured if all the Doctors were Indian you couldn't weave all your "sexy-time" stories into the mix, and maybe you're right given the Puritanical nature of most Indians, but seriously? seriously?

I hope that it becomes more commonplace to see minorities represented on television in realistic depictions of what they do. That means for every time you freaking present me with a show with an Indian 7-11 owner, do me one better and show me Dr. Singh in Cardiology.

Because otherwise, I wonder what crock of shit you're really trying to sell me here.

So yeah - I'm an angry Indian American. I get that I am a little "angsty" about these things. But what do you expect from me? Seriously - the only Indian I ever saw on television growing up to represent my "peeps" was Apu on the Simpsons.

Apu - my one and only role model on television

What the f%^$^ is up with that? What's up with that?

Now all of a sudden you might be hip with us Indians. Ooohh, Slumdog. That was a great movie. I loved Slumdog, you might say. I love, lurve Indians. Padma Lakshmi is sooo great on Top Chef. That Sanjay Gupta is so great at giving medical advice!

I guess I should be grateful that I can finally find a face that resembles mine represented on the big and small screen. I am grateful actually. Incredibly grateful. Because I feel like my existence is starting to be validated in some way by mainstream culture.

I used to say that if aliens invaded our planet and tried to learn about us by watching our television shows, they would have no idea that someone like me even existed in the United States.

Think back on the television shows of the past two decades. Do you remember seeing anyone who looked like me?
That's me. The one on the right.

So to the casting directors who are trying to make television resemble some semblance of reality (not like reality TV as in "The Jersey Shore" but I mean REAL reality), I have one thing to say.

Pick me. Choose me. Love me. (I hated when she said that to him. I seriously wanted to smack her and tell her to stop grovelling and to go have Dr. Jindal from Radiology paged. He would have treated her right). But seriously. I know there are some cute Indians out there you can tap for your roles. And just because Kal is busy being all governmental and all that - it doesn't mean I want to wait another twenty years before I see another Indian Doctor on House.

Seriously. Seriously.


Monique-aka-Surferwife23 said...

You are so freakin' hot!

And uhh, what about Sanjaya? He is a great representation. *snicker*

Though his sister was certainly a hottie like you.

Shell said...

I think that any writer for a tv show who actually has experience with whatever they are writing about- is therefore not hired. Want something to resemble reality? Nope, they won't hire you on to write for a show.

My personal pet peeve(not the same thing as yours, but while we're talking about reality in tv shows...) is that any show I've ever seen where a teacher is involved, they always have some big sex scandal. I'm here to tell ya that I was a teacher and I never, ever, ever saw any of my students as anything more than little kids. Even at the beginning of my career when there was only 4 years between me and some of my students- it as still a big fat EW!!!

Shandal said...

I honestly have never watched any of those Dr shows. I hear what you're sayin though!

Couple more things: One- YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS! Two- I LOVE your new blog design!

Oh My Goddess said...

You are absolutely right! But remember, you are a stunning young mom and a great blogger.

BTW, I am half Armenian like those sleazy Kardashians. They bring down the curve to all new lows. Bitches.

Your new blog is lovely!

Anna See said...

First of all, your blog looks great.

Secondly, this was a hilarious post. Apu? Seriously? Seriously?

Loved it. You always make me laugh with your creativity and awesome writing.

Masala Chica said...

Hey Guys - Happy Sunday evening! This storm just dumped two feet of snow on us and it has been cuh - razy.

Monique - that's funny that you say that. I am going to have to follow up with a "not so hot" picture as I have plenty of those. Sanjaya reminds me of an Indian Michael Jackson.

Shell - I am so glad you tell me that. I was starting to worry about the teaching profession. Actually I have lots of friends who are teachers and yeah - that pisses me off too.

Shandal. Really? Really? you have never seen mcdreamy. I know i was complaining but you SHOULD rectify that.

Elise - those Kardashian girls are half non-armenian too so I don't think anyone is blaming armenia. I mean, I'm not. But those are some vacuous chickadees, huh? and I'm not that cute - I will let you guys in on the next post.

Anna - seriously. Thanks for always having such nice things to say. You rock.

Lisa said...

So I read this yesterday but didn't get a chance to comment, and was thinking about it last night. Yes, I agree with you that there should be more Indian doctors on shows, because really? Really?

BUT maybe here is the problem in terms of TV? - I learned this a couple years ago when my dad spent a good deal of time in the hospital and had his eye on a couple of his (cute Indian) doctors to set me up with...He was really working on one of them (who was either a cardiologist or a neurosurgeon - I kid you not) until he learned the guy was married. Happily married. As was the other guy.

So these Indian doctors, to generalize massively from my vicarious and limited Indian doctor stalking experience - they marry young! Their wives are really accomplished as well! They stay married! Angsty and single? Great TV. Happily married? Not going to have an affair? Oh, yawn.

Serenityville said...

Saw you following my peep in the trenches of mommyhood and thought I'd see who else loves her. You're great! I love this post - I am always envious of writers who can make an intelligent point and be enlightening without sounding whiny. (I still can't get past the whiny). P.S. McRedHead-shmedhed. Gimme McDreamy anyday!

Senita said...

MC- I absolutely LOVE this post!!! It's like fresh baked homemade cookies; I must share...

French Family said...

So here is my question. Full disclosure first, I am the least qualified person to comment on this topic, since I am literally a White Anglo Saxon Protestant (WASP) male. Long ago my forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in Western Europe, blinding me to the experience of discrimination.

With disclosure out of the way, is America the only Country where everyone claims to be from somewhere else? In most cases, your aren't Irish or Italian or Indian, you are an American of X decent. My dentist, for example, is Dr. Naik. I don't consider my dentist Indian but instead of Indian decent. Now if you ask me Dr. Naik is role model, I would say yes, I was happy for my daughter to see female dentist.

I hope I don't offend anybody in my ignorance - especially you Kiran. TV does portray unrealistic image - white, happily married, hetrosexual, successful, fit, beautiful people. I don't recal seeing any one like that during my last midnight diaper run to Walmart .

Masala Chica said...

Dave, no offense taken at all. I think, especially with first and second generation immigrants, that we still strongly identify ourselves with our backgrounds, especially those of us who still maintain ties to where our family is from.

Now I may say something that offends you, so bear with me too. I think that when you are white, and even with very different backgrounds, after a certain point, you tend to "blend" a little easier than me. While you say what you see with Dr. Naik is that she is an American, I can tell you with assurance, that is not what a lot of people see first.

And that's not a bad thing, necessarily. But because how we look identifies what is not so obvious when someone sees you, it becomes a very different way of identifying who you are, and how others view you too.

Does that make sense?

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