BoJack Horseman creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg, in a recent thread of tweets, admitted to have made unforced 'racist' errors while writing the much-loved character of Diane Nguyen for the popular animated web series.
Amid renewed conversation around representation, the BoJack Horseman creator admitted to have made a mistake in portraying the Vietnamese-American character as 'fully American' with her race barely playing a factor in her personality. Bob-Waksberg, in a guilt-ridden tweet, said that it was "a very ignorant way to talk about a WOC [Woman of Colour], real or fictional".
In season 5 of the show, Diane takes a trip to Vietnam and the episode spurred more conversation around the casting, Raphael Bob-Waksberg confessed. The BoJack Horseman creator, in hindsight, said in a tweet that he should have roped in Vietnamese actor and writer for the show or changed the character to match with Alison Brie who voiced Diane Nguyen.
I also make some unforced errors there, like saying about the conception of Diane, "She’s going to be fully American, her race is barely going to play a factor and she’s just going to be a person," which is a very ignorant way to talk about a WOC, real or fictional!— Raphael Bob-Waksberg (@RaphaelBW) June 24, 2020
Even in the small ways we wrote to Diane's experience as a woman of color, or more specifically an Asian woman, we rarely got specific enough to think about what it meant to be SPECIFICALLY VIETNAMESE-AMERICAN and that was a huge (racist!) error on my part.— Raphael Bob-Waksberg (@RaphaelBW) June 24, 2020
Raphael Bob-Waksberg, while explaining his lapse in judgment, said that he wanted to move the character away from stereotypes such that Diane Nguyen wasn't solely defined by her Vietnamese-American heritage but admitted that he went too far away in the other direction, completely overlooking the race profile.
He added that for the episode in question, Vietnamese actor Vyvy Nguyen was hired in a consulting capacity but the BoJack Horseman creator emphasised that hiring is a consultant for one episode is not true representation.
The intention behind the character is I wanted to write AWAY from stereotypes and create an Asian American character who wasn't defined solely by her race. But I went too far in the other direction. We are all defined SOMEWHAT by our race! Of course we are! It is part of us!— Raphael Bob-Waksberg (@RaphaelBW) June 24, 2020
For the Vietnam episode, we brought in @cest_la_vyvy as a consultant and actress. Vyvy was ENORMOUSLY helpful and we couldn't have made the episode without her. But hiring a consultant for one episode is not real representation.— Raphael Bob-Waksberg (@RaphaelBW) June 24, 2020
We should have hired a Vietnamese writer, and a Vietnamese actress to play Diane - or if not that, changed the character to match who we did hire.— Raphael Bob-Waksberg (@RaphaelBW) June 24, 2020
Netflix original animated web series BoJack Horseman concluded it's last season in January 2020. The sixth and final season of the satirical comic show ended in an unexpected manner after Netflix decided to end it's run on the streaming platform.
Raphael Bon-Waksberg managed to create a unique storyline with memorable characters that grew to cult popularity over the course of the show. The show BoJack Horseman was first aired in 2014 and follows the existential struggles of a humanoid horse. With BoJack at the centre of pivotal action, other characters on the show appear as his friends and family; however, Raphael Bon-Waksberg gives each supporting character its own storyline, creating a range of relatable characters just as much popular as the eponymous horse.
(Image Credits: Instagram/@dianenguyennnn)
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