Is That Racist? – Son of Zorn: Two Girls, One Nancy
Son of Zorn uses two Asian Actresses to play the same bit character, Is That Racist?
Son of Zorn is an animation and live-action crossover comedy about a cartoon Barbarian who leaves his action-packed barbarian life and land to live in the Orange County to get closer to his son. It’s pretty much He-Man living in the OC, trying to adjust to life in the real world. The show has an interesting and hilarious concept, that is still finding it’s stride. Personally, I like the show. I really like the cast, and the concept feels very original. I also Think He-Man is one of the dumbest characters ever created, and this is as close as I’ll ever get to liking him. However, there is one thing that almost makes me want to stop watching the show entirely, and that is the fact that they use Ellen Wong and Alice Lee to play Nancy. Nancy is a girl who goes to the same school as Zorn’s son Alan (Johnny Pemberton).
Nancy is a girl who goes to the same school as Zorn’s son Alan (Johnny Pemberton). She’s a waitress and shows some romantic interest in Alan. In the first episode, Nancy is introduced as a waitress who takes Zorn and Alan’s order, and also drives by Alan’s home as Zorn slays a giant bird he got for Alan that his mother won’t let him keep. In this episode, Nancy is played by Ellen Wong. The second episode has Nancy walking a dog and casually running into and conversing with Alan about “shared interests.” In this episode, she is played by Alice Lee.
Nancy plays a much bigger role in the second episode, but other than mentioning the bird-slaying in the previous episode, and briefly shown as a waitress, has no connection to it. So why is it necessary for Alice Lee to also play Nancy? Was there something pivotal in the pilot that requires the same character to appear in the second episode? Why are there no other Asians in this fictional Orange County?
Is having two Asian actresses play the same minor part racist? YES, it is racist.
Nancy’s role has no significant purpose to the story in the pilot episode. So keeping the Nancy character for the second episode is absolutely unnecessary. The callbacks Nancy makes to the pilot, only serve to promote that she is indeed the same character. However, both situations could have easily been experienced by an entirely different character. Is it really so hard to believe that there are two young Asian teenagers who go to Alan’s school? That there are two Asian teenagers who work as waitresses? That there is another person who witnessed a giant 10-feet tall bird get slaughtered in an open driveway? No, to all those questions.
The only logical explanation is that Alan is a such a freak that this Nancy is the only one he can ever have a chance with. But, Alan isn’t a freak and does not seem like some outcast who no one talks to. He’s an awkward teenage boy who likes a girl. NOTHING NEW THERE. So even this explanation is completely pointless, meaning there was absolutely no reason to carry the character over and replace the casting.
Pilot episodes are often shot before the show is picked up to shoot more episodes, so not being able to get Ellen Wong for the rest of the series is understandable. However, her part as Nancy is completely negligible. New Girl had to replace a main character when they faced a similar situation with Damon Wayans Jr. They could have had Lamorne Morris replace Wayans as Coach, but no, the writers at New Girl aren’t that ignorant and degrading. They created an entirely new character for him, and also left it open for Coach to return.
There is no good reason for Alice Lee taking over the role of Nancy instead of simply just having her play another character. The writers could have let Alice Lee play Nina; it would not have taken anything away, or changed anything, from the story. Doing so would have, left the door open for Ellen Wong to come back and reprise her role, essentially double the Asian population of this fictional Orange County, and not insult a whole group of people who already struggle for representation in entertainment. However, I guess it is too much for the creatives of the show to fathom more than one Asian in their show’s world at a time; even if they only feature one minority on screen at a time. Son of Zorn is only two episodes in, and they already display a huge lack of competence in continuity, creativity, and respect for its audience.
So again, Son of Zorn having two girls, one Nancy, IS RACIST.