Former 'Fresh Off the Boat' Writer Claps Back at 'Roseanne' Jab

There may not be an end to Roseanne's backlash for that joke about diverse ABC comedies any time soon.

After falling asleep in front of the TV during Tuesday's all-new episode, Roseanne is scared awake by one of Dan's loud snores as she realizes the two have overslept.

"Dan! You're snoring, wake up!" Roseanne says as she jolts her husband awake. Dan asks what time it is and if he missed dinner.

"It's 11 o'clock! We slept from Wheel to Kimmel," Roseanne says referencing Wheel of Fortune and ABC's Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel.

"We missed all the shows about black and Asian families," Dan says.

"Hmmm, they're just like us. There, you're all caught up," Roseanne responds, dismissing Dan's comment.

The joke, which viewers thought controversial during the airing of the episode, referred to ABC comedies Black-ish and Fresh Off The Boat, series that have been well-received by critics and viewers alike for representing minorities in primetime television.

Earlier this week Taiwanese-Actor Kelvin Yu took to Twitter to share his take on the ABC comedy's controversial diss, and now former Fresh Off The Boat writer Kourtney Kang is sharing her reaction to the episode.

"I was a writer and co-executive producer on Fresh Off the Boat for its first three seasons, and though I've moved on to write features, the show holds a special place in my heart. When I grew up there were no Asian families on TV. Then Margaret Cho got a show on the air and I was obsessed. It meant so much to me to see an Asian family on TV, and then it got canceled," Kang wrote in an op-ed for The Hollywood Reporter Friday. "Twenty-some years passed and finally another show about an Asian family came along, and it was good... really good. That same year Black-ish premiered, and that show was good too."

Kang writes she couldn't stop thinking about the joke after watching the episode, and couldn't figure out why it was bothering her so much.

She then revealed that when she was doing a play in fourth grade, a kid "slanted his eyes and sang, 'Ching-Chong-Chinese-People'" in her direction. She told him, "I'm not Chinese. My dad is Korean. And I was born in Hawaii."

According to Kang, he answered, "It's all the same."

"His message was clear. All that 'Asian-y' stuff is the same, but it's not the same as him," Kang wrote. "He was saying, 'You're different. You may be here doing Wizard of Oz with a bunch of suburban white kids, but you are not one of us.'"

Kang then wrote another instance in which she was with friends and one of her friends was bothered by two women speaking Chinese.

Her friend said, "Ugh, why don't they just go back to where they came from?" And after Kang gave her a look, she responded "I don't mean you. I mean them."

"In these jokes, and in the others like these, at the heart of them, whether the joke-teller means it or not, is a divisive spirit," Kang wrote. "'Us.' 'Them.' It's always drawing lines. Separating. Whenever these jokes have been said to me, the thing that is the most hurtful is not the insensitive dullard who said it. There's always going to be people like that. What hurts the most is when everyone else in the room laughs."


Roseanne showrunner Bruce Helford defended the joke to The Hollywood Reporter, saying it was "commenting on the fact that all sitcoms really want everybody to feel included of all diversities and it's kind of a funny thing."

Roseanne airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.