The Big Bang Theory: South Asian Men in Hollywood

Kunal Nayyar

Written by Saran Lawson

This is an interracial media site. So, I feel like this is the perfect place to share this thought amongst friends. Let’s talk about Asian men in media. What brought about this thought you ask? The Big Bang Theory, which is one of my most favorite shows on the planet, brought it about. I watch this show religiously because it is hilarious. It follows a bunch of scientists who happen to be friends, along with their now wives. It is basically nerd culture and humor in one genius show. Some of you know this and don’t need me to explain. If you haven’t seen it, you need to. It isn’t like any show on tv. So, this thought I have had has been in the back on my mind for a while. It was definitely confirmed when one of the stars guest starred on an episode of, How I Met Your Mother. Kunal Nayyar, the actor who plays Rajesh Koothrappali is easy on the eye. Not up for debate, ladies…and gentleman.

I decided to bring this to your attention because the show works overtime to downplay it. Everything about the character from his shy and sensitive personality, his interest in things that are traditionally reserved for women and his clothes are meant to be a complete turn-off. He is interested in a relationship, and the character is absolutely desperate. All of the main white characters on the show have somehow landed wives. Even the socially awkward, and honestly my favorite, character Sheldon Cooper. However, the one brown character is constantly searching for love. He is also constantly being rejected.

Kunal Nayyar

This isn’t a new idea. Asian characters, especially men, are always being downplayed in the media. The Big Bang Theory is one of the more progressive shows (with their decision to give the actresses on the show equal pay). One female character is her husbands professional equal (although the male character’s ego would never let him admit anyone is as intelligent as he is). The other is her husband’s professional better (she is a hotshot doctor at a pharmaceutical company). So, why isn’t the only person of color on the show not reflective of this progression? It’s no doubt in my mind that there are people who want to see the old ways of Hollywood turned on its head. How long will it be before this old trope of the undesirable south Asian male is done away with? The entertainment industry has long searched overseas for fresh inspirations. There are shows that they have taken from other countries (Ugly Betty and The Good Doctor) that they fit for American consumption. The one idea they can’t seem to take from overseas is that beauty comes in more than one pre-packaged form. It’s ok to cast a male lead heartthrob in a major film or television series that doesn’t fit the standard. Most of Hollywood doesn’t reflect American reality and it shows. I’m not trying to be a hero by writing this article. I just want to point out the obvious. Sound off in the comment section of hott actors that are downplayed by Hollywood.

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