Don’t blink. You might miss that one Asian American on TV.
IT SEEMS LIKE the only Asian Americans on mainstream TV these days are in reality shows, from Survivor to The Apprentice. Some have made us laugh. Others have made us cringe uncontrollably. A few have made lasting impressions on pop culture—and not always in a good way. Here’s how five of the most memorable 15-minutes-of-famers stacked up. —Kuong Ly
America’s Next Top Model, Season 2
Host Tyra Banks lifts April’s hopes, telling her there is a demand for women of color in modeling. She’s eliminated before the final round.
Lucy Liu on defrost
Asexual Math Geek
Lack of personality.
Pursuing a modeling and acting career.
The Apprentice, Season 2
Dropping her skirt for $20.
Lisa Ling with spreadsheets
Good with numbers, not with ideas.
Pursuing start-up business opportunities.
Real World San Diego
Having a heart-to-heart talk with her Korean mother, whom she can barely communicate with.
Ming-Na gone Hooters
Uptalking? Like, all the time?
American Idol, Season 3
“She Bangs! She Bangs!”
Long Duk Dong
Turned down free body overhaul on Extreme Makeover.
Performing in Asia to raise money for tsunami victims.
Last Comic Standing, Season 1
First Asian American to win a competition in a reality television show.
Margaret Cho minus the colonic
Three years later, still telling the same jokes.
Performing stand-up through-out the U.S.