MTV waffles on Korean “Jersey Shore”

Why "K-Town" can't find a home in the world of racially profiled reality shows

Topics: Reality TV, Jersey Shore, MTV, Race, YouTube, Television,

MTV waffles on Korean "Jersey Shore"Peter the porn star: out to prove all those stereotypes about Asian-Americans wrong.

You know, we’re always talking about how lowbrow American culture has become, but once in awhile we get a glimpse of a parallel world that shakes us to our core and makes us appreciate the little bit of intellect our society still holds dear. See, this other world is very much like our own, but somehow slightly worse; a place that could have been, or one day will be if we don’t get our affairs in order like Scrooge did when he saw his headstone at the end of “A Christmas Carol.”

I’m talking, of course, about the nonexistence of a show called “K-Town.” K-town stands for Koreatown, a part of L.A. that has some producers trying to market it as the next “Jersey Shore.” Except with Asian people! Because, hey, why should faux-Italians get to make money off of horribly racist stereotypes when there are eager 20-somethings of all different races who can  prove to the world that no matter what your skin color, everybody in America has an equal right to be the worst.

I wish I was just making up those previous sentiments, but they’re pretty much mirrored exactly in the trailer for “K-Town” that hit the Web earlier this week:

So wait, you ask, why does “K-Town” make me glad for where we’re collectively at right now as a culture? Because “K-Town” shot its pilot last summer and has been promoting itself for almost a year now: It had everyone talking about it on the Internet, and even got a porn star named Peter Le (a guy!) as its version of “The Situation” from “Jersey Shore.” Yet somehow Viacom has yet to take the bait! “K-Town” is usually referred to in the press as an MTV show, but is always qualified by the phrase “which has yet to be picked up.” Good for MTV! Believe me, I don’t think it’s for lack of interest: After all, just look at these guys’ audition reel, which was conveniently “leaked” to TMZ last July:

So there’s obvious media interest in this; it’s not like we’re all suddenly “too tasteful” for another racist reality show. But maybe we’re just over it. Yes, maybe three seasons of watching Snooki drink herself stupid while Ronnie and Sammi have violent domestic disputes has audiences thinking that this game isn’t fun anymore. It’s not even interesting enough to warrant another scathing cultural critique, even though MTV is trying its damnedest to get us talking about the ethnic angle again by sending the Shore kids to Italy next season.

There’s literally nothing new to say about “Real World” scenarios involving an ethnic group, and even our outrage has turned to apathy. Which a lot of times is a bad sign: It means that we’ve become jaded and immune to the awfulness. But in this case, I would willingly sign a piece of paper saying “I won’t ever discuss racial profiling in the Asian community if it means I have to watch a porn star pour shots directly down some girl’s throat in a sleazy L.A. club in order to do so.” I’m done.

So, hey, NPR may stop getting its federal funding and “Celebrity Rehab” may be an unstoppable train, but at least we’re getting too tired of rubbernecking all the blatant racism on reality TV to make it worthwhile to the networks. That’s something positive, right?


Drew Grant is a staff writer for Salon. Follow her on Twitter at @videodrew.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 14
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Pilot"

    One of our first exposures to uncomfortable “Girls” sex comes early, in the pilot episode, when Hannah and Adam “get feisty” (a phrase Hannah hates) on the couch. The pair is about to go at it doggy-style when Adam nearly inserts his penis in “the wrong hole,” and after Hannah corrects him, she awkwardly explains her lack of desire to have anal sex in too many words. “Hey, let’s play the quiet game,” Adam says, thrusting. And so the romance begins.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Elijah, "It's About Time"

    In an act of “betrayal” that messes up each of their relationships with Hannah, Marnie and Elijah open Season 2 with some more couch sex, which is almost unbearable to watch. Elijah, who is trying to explore the “hetero side” of his bisexuality, can’t maintain his erection, and the entire affair ends in very uncomfortable silence.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Charlie, "Vagina Panic"

    Poor Charlie. While he and Marnie have their fair share of uncomfortable sex over the course of their relationship, one of the saddest moments (aside from Marnie breaking up with him during intercourse) is when Marnie encourages him to penetrate her from behind so she doesn’t have to look at him. “This feels so good,” Charlie says. “We have to go slow.” Poor sucker.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and camp friend Matt, "Hannah's Diary"

    We’d be remiss not to mention Shoshanna’s effort to lose her virginity to an old camp friend, who tells her how “weird” it is that he “loves to eat pussy” moments before she admits she’s never “done it” before. At least it paves the way for the uncomfortable sex we later get to watch her have with Ray?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Hard Being Easy"

    On the heels of trying (unsuccessfully) to determine the status of her early relationship with Adam, Hannah walks by her future boyfriend’s bedroom to find him masturbating alone, in one of the strangest scenes of the first season. As Adam jerks off and refuses to let Hannah participate beyond telling him how much she likes watching, we see some serious (and odd) character development ... which ends with Hannah taking a hundred-dollar bill from Adam’s wallet, for cab fare and pizza (as well as her services).

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Booth Jonathan, "Bad Friend"

    Oh, Booth Jonathan -- the little man who “knows how to do things.” After he turns Marnie on enough to make her masturbate in the bathroom at the gallery where she works, Booth finally seals the deal in a mortifying and nearly painful to watch sex scene that tells us pretty much everything we need to know about how much Marnie is willing to fake it.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Tad and Loreen, "The Return"

    The only sex scene in the series not to feature one of the main characters, Hannah’s parents’ showertime anniversary celebration is easily one of the most cringe-worthy moments of the show’s first season. Even Hannah’s mother, Loreen, observes how embarrassing the situation is, which ends with her husband, Tad, slipping out of the shower and falling naked and unconscious on the bathroom floor.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and the pharmacist, "The Return"

    Tad and Loreen aren’t the only ones to get some during Hannah’s first season trip home to Michigan. The show’s protagonist finds herself in bed with a former high school classmate, who doesn’t exactly enjoy it when Hannah puts one of her fingers near his anus. “I’m tight like a baby, right?” Hannah asks at one point. Time to press pause.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Role-Play"

    While it’s not quite a full-on, all-out sex scene, Hannah and Adam’s attempt at role play in Season 3 is certainly an intimate encounter to behold (or not). Hannah dons a blond wig and gets a little too into her role, giving a melodramatic performance that ends with a passerby punching Adam in the face. So there’s that.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and Ray, "Together"

    As Shoshanna and Ray near the end of their relationship, we can see their sexual chemistry getting worse and worse. It’s no more evident than when Ray is penetrating a clothed and visibly horrified Shoshanna from behind, who ends the encounter by asking if her partner will just “get out of me.”

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Frank, "Video Games"

    Hannah, Jessa’s 19-year-old stepbrother, a graveyard and too much chatting. Need we say more about how uncomfortable this sex is to watch?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Desi, "Iowa"

    Who gets her butt motorboated? Is this a real thing? Aside from the questionable logistics and reality of Marnie and Desi’s analingus scene, there’s also the awkward moment when Marnie confuses her partner’s declaration of love for licking her butthole with love for her. Oh, Marnie.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Vagina Panic"

    There is too much in this scene to dissect: fantasies of an 11-year-old girl with a Cabbage Patch lunchbox, excessive references to that little girl as a “slut” and Adam ripping off a condom to ejaculate on Hannah’s chest. No wonder it ends with Hannah saying she almost came.

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>