Saturday, April 28, 2007

"House" in Japan

Note that the only screenshot (as opposed to a promotional photo) on the Fox Japan site for House is one with an Asian patient.

House has been airing in Fox Japan for awhile now and season two is about to start. I've been seeing brief ads for the next season and they have left me wondering if someone has intentionally or unintentionally designed an ad which may be considered racist.

These ads show a sequence of photos which move to the left across the screen and stop on a large photo of a cast member with a smaller picture of that cast member next to and slightly behind it. The entire strip is a bit like a montage but with white space separating each "slide". It's a little hard to explain and, unfortunately, I couldn't find a visual representation of it on Fox Japan's web site.

In this ad, a slide of Jesse Spencer (blond-haired doctor Chase) with a large and small image of him freezes then slides into a large and small picture of Jennifer Morrison (Cameron) where it again hesitates. Between them, there is a small image of Omar Epps (Foreman) which the screen does not pause on. The final large and small images are of Hugh Laurie and the screen stops on his picture and details of the show appear next to his large image.

The question I can't help but ask is why there is no large image of Foreman and why the screen doesn't pause on his image as it does for the other two members of House's medical team. Omar Epps is actually the top of the three cast members in this group as he had more name recognition than the other two prior to being cast in House (likely due to his recurring role on "ER"and some movie roles). This fact is not lost on the Fox Japan people if you look at their site for House. In the "Cast" section of their site, the actors listed in order from left to right are: Hugh Laurie, Lisa Edelstein, Robert Shawn Leornard, Omar Epps. The other two actors aren't even listed in the "Cast" section.

The only conclusion I can reach is that it's because he's not "pretty" enough or because he's black. Personally, I think he's no less attractive than the other two but I realize beauty is highly subjective. One thing I can assert for certain is that this promotional spot would never be aired in America in this fashion as someone would quite rightfully cry "foul".


tornados28 said...

Regarding whether it is racist, anything is possible. However, there really is no way to ever prove the ad is racist.

Shari said...

No, there isn't but it is one of those things that looks like a duck and walks like a duck and it's hard to conclude isn't a duck.