Just a Toy?

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Nikki Shallwani is still hanging in there on 50 Cent: The Money and the Dear God Why Must I Watch This Show, though I’m not convinced that is a good thing. This week, the teams had to develop a street marketing campaign to raise AIDS awareness in the Bronx. A worthy cause to be sure, but the show all but made a mockery of the efforts.

Team Money decided to take advantage of Nikki’s seven years of dance experience and Cornbreadd’s spoken-word skills — by having the latter hit a garbage can while the former danced in front of him. O…kay.
Not the greatest execution, though the teams were given little more than markers and AIDS fact sheets to work with. This makes me wonder at 50’s assessment of Nikki later: “You were dancin’ when you shudda been kickin’ facts.”

As another member of her team was indeed sharing AIDS facts on a microphone, I’m not sure what exactly Mr. Cent was looking for. I will agree about his description of the “drunk monkey” dancing. This is what a self-described marketing whiz comes up with?

Later 50 surprised the contestants with a confrontation about their business plans for the investment that they’re playing for. Nikki stammered her idea for a t-shirt line where people would choose their own styles, designs and colors on her Web site.

It’s true that she didn’t have time to prepare a pitch, but this idea is weak even with a slick presentation. Again, I’m with 50 (I’ve never said that phrase before) when he said, “I’m not sure why [people] would buy shirts from you.” I’m not terribly impressed, but I gotta hand it to Nikki for remaining on a show where there is no rhyme or reason to how contestants’ skills, or lack thereof, are measured.

Someone else who can navigate the lawless land of reality television is Christine “Cali” Zamora on Real Chance of Love. Having made it to the final three, Cali had to convince Chance’s parents that she’s the one for their son.

Cringingly, Cali spends most of the episode insisting that her connection with Chance is more than just physical. Again, this is in front of his parents. Of course, they may have been distracted, as I was, by the nipples ahoy while she was speaking.

In one of her final statements, Cali said to Chance, “I think I could treat you real good and we could have a good time.” Horrifyingly, Chance’s mother mistook this as a sexual promise. Later, when debating between the three women, Chance said about Cali, “I need a good wife, not just a good toy.”

And here is where I draw the line and question whether it really is a good thing to have Asian Americans on these types of shows. We’re certainly seeing women who don’t fall into the usual submissive, brainy stereotypes; on the other hand, Cali’s on-screen silence and emphasis on the physical brings to mind those hyper-sexualized geisha and Dragon Lady images we know all too well. Then again, is a character like Cali better than no Asians at all? We’ll have to keep watching.

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