Hyphen TV: Great Ball of China

May 27, 2013

Judith doesn't need dramatic lighting to look great, but it helps


If Judith doesn't make it to the
finals of The Voice, something has gone seriously wrong, am I right? For
the top ten show, coach Adam chose Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make
Me Feel" for Judith to perform, which brought out mixed feelings in the
singer. About Michael, she said, "I'm forever grateful to him, and it
hurts when people think I'm taking advantage of him...I feel really torn
about singing this." But Adam encouraged her, of course, and she went
out and performed in her most geometric hair and snazziest jumpsuit yet.

For real, how does she still look great with exaggerated hips?

the end of the song, Judith was visibly upset and on the verge of
tears. Host Carson Daly actually put his two cents in before turning to
the judges, telling Judith, "That was equal parts you paying homage to
someone who was a big part of your life and you being you, incredibly."
Never thought I'd say this, but I completely agree with you, Carson.

had specific notes about the performance, saying, "There was a little
trickery there, the way it started with a completely different style and
groove," and just when he thought that she made the wrong move by not
making the song more uptempo, "And then you did it, dammit." Oh, Blake. Always believe in Judith.

blurted out a run-on sentence that was nonetheless sweet: "I told you
that if you did this, you would understand when people accepted it and
loved you, loved what you did, they weren't judging you, they weren't
thinking that you were exploiting anything, that you were celebrating
someone that meant a lot to you and if you couldn't feel that in the way
this audience was so receptive to what you did..." At this point the
crowd went wild, proving Adam's point. Aww. Judith was voted into
safety, as she should have been.

Becca returned on this
week's Awkward., calling in the favor with Ming for getting her the
sanctuary video last year. Becca dropped the info that Ming is on the
homecoming committee for the East Meets West Club, having replaced Fred
Wu, who "mysteriously disappeared." There's an upcoming vote on the
homecoming theme, and it's between "Great Ball of China" and "Tropic
Like It's Hot," and Becca wants Ming to make sure that Great Ball loses.
"Do I have a choice?" Ming asked helplessly. "Don't be silly. Of course
you do!" Becca responded while shaking her head no. Jessika Van is
great at playing a creep.

Surprised by the order and unsure
of what her next move should be, Ming looked for advice from Sadie, after describing her as a "manipulative bitch" who could give insight into
the inner workings of a fellow bitch. "As a manipulative bitch, if you
ask someone to do something, do you want them to do it? Or do you ask
them the opposite of what you want knowing they know you're a bitch and
might not do it?" Sadie responded that when she tells someone to do
something, she wants it done; so Ming decided to go against Becca's
directions and argue FOR the Great Ball theme.

Ming has too much hope in her eye for a consult with Sadie

Ming gave it
her best shot with drama and gestures to really give it feeling: "1930s
Shanghai. Opium smoke fills the air. Paper lanterns dance across a
harvest moon...and tiny triangles of foil-wrapped chicken." Her pitch
worked and "Great Ball of China" ended up being the winning theme. At
the Chinese character-festooned dance, Becca confronted Ming about the
latter's failure to follow instructions. "I talked about feet binding
and how hard it is to eat with chopsticks, and people still thought it
sounded like a party," Ming offered in explanation. As usual, Becca was
way ahead: "I know what you did at the meeting. But don't worry, I
wanted Great Ball to win. I got all this Asian crap for five cents on
the dollar; now we have the rest of the dance budget to pay for our
winter ski trip."

Ho ho, so Becca knew exactly how
everything would play out, as usual. But where did Ming go wrong? "I
asked a white bitch for Asian bitch advice." she realized, slapping her
head. When she made plans to seek justice, her friends tried to dissuade
her, knowing that Becca is too sly to let anything past her. "She
thinks I'm scared again; there's no way she knows I'm long-hauling my
revenge." Cut to a text to Ming suddenly from Becca, which is in huge font for
some reason: "I do." It almost -- almost -- seems pointless to fight
Becca, whose omnipotence knows no bounds. As for Asian American
portrayals, I like the way the show takes stereotypes (intelligence,
roboticness, being "inscrutable") and turns them up to such a
preposterously high level that Becca is nothing more than a cartoonish
villain. Ming, meanwhile, is the Americanized (though apparently the
superfast Mandarin-learner) flip side of the coin who flounders without
superpowers of her own. I'm curious to see where this plotline goes,
though it's a bummer that it's relegated to popping up every few
episodes as a C-plot.


Dianne Choie


Dianne Choie's TV is in Brooklyn, NY. She has a cat, several reusable shopping bags, and other mildly annoying stereotypes of youngish people who live in Brooklyn.