We're commemorating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month by honoring the many AAPI leaders and creators who have made major contributions to television!
Mythic Quest star Charlotte Nicdao highlights eight TV programs that celebrate the history and impact of AAPI culture, and also inspired her successful career.
The Mindy Project
A sitcom created by and starring an Indian-American woman in 2012! This felt like the beginning of seeing Asian characters as important and funny in their own right, not as an accessory to a white lead.
So cool to see what felt at first like a "color blind casting" of romantic lead Josh, then lean into the specificity of his Filipino heritage.
The Night Of
While in many ways surprising and somewhat frustrating that he was the first Asian male to win a lead acting Emmy (in 2017), Riz Ahmed's performance could not have been more deserving of the recognition.
I was inspired by how outspoken Sandra Oh was about holding out for a role that was worthy of her, after her departure from Grey's Anatomy.
I wish this show existed when I was in middle school, but especially the "Posh" episode which breaks down all the complexity and nuance of what it feels like to be 13 and different.
Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi
Padma Lakshmi's meditation on how America's food shapes its identity is a beautiful tribute to a nation of immigrants.
Okay, hear me out! I think it's really important that in the fight for representation we don't get caught up in only wanting "relatable" depictions of the AAPI community, and I'm ready to embrace reality TV about extremely rich Asians as part of the diverse and entertaining ecosystem of representation.
Danny Pudi's "Abed Nadir" was truly the heart of this show, and maybe the first time I'd seen an Asian character in a comedy whose Asian-ness wasn't constantly the butt of the joke. When I found out I'd be working with Danny on Mythic Quest I didn't know how to tell him how much he'd inspired me. Hopefully he'll read this and understand.
More articles celebrating Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month.