Awkwafina Takes the Asian-American Leisure Renaissance to New Heights in Nora From Queens


Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens isn’t simply the identify of a brand new Comedy Central present–it’s a press release of truth. The 31-year-old, who just lately gained a Golden Globe for her lead position in final yr’s indie hit The Farewell–and who rose to fame within the early 2010s spitting jokey feminist raps like “My Vag”–is thought to her household as Nora Lum of Forest Hills. So, what distinguishes the girl from her alter ego? “Awkwafina is big and brash. She’s the person who says whatever’s on her mind,” Lum has stated. “Nora is the person who is neurotic and overthinks.”

These neuroses are on full show in Nora From Queens. Within the custom of comedies from Seinfeld to Higher Issues, the present casts its creator and star as a much less profitable model of herself. Like a barely youthful Lum, Nora Lin has a Chinese language-American dad (BD Wong) and an adoring spark plug of a grandmother (the hilarious Lori Tan Chinn of Orange Is the New Black); her Korean mother died when she was a child. Not like Lum, Nora Lin is unemployed and nonetheless lives at dwelling in a largely ungentrified nook of Queens. And although it superficially resembles Comedy Central predecessor Broad Metropolis, with its bawdy humor and New York setting, Nora From Queens is simply as a lot a household sitcom as a broke-millennial-female-stoner comedy. Saturday Evening Stay‘s Bowen Yang makes an ideal addition to the clan as Nora’s haughty tech-phenom cousin.

Grandmother is aware of greatest: Chinn guides Nora (Awkwafina) by means of her quarter­life disaster
Comedy Central

The bits could be hit-or-miss, however the present improves because the season progresses. A pilot the place Nora discovers {that a} well-off buddy who claims to be a lawyer is mostly a camgirl solely made me chuckle when our hero unintentionally lights herself on hearth. Episodes that discover her scamming focus teams and popping Adderall to remain up late gaming with kids in different time zones play extra to Lum-as-Awkwafina’s slacker charms.

However the actual pleasure of Nora From Queens is in how elegantly it avoids the traps so many different TV exhibits about immigrant households fall into, both dwelling on the methods through which the characters diverge from some imagined American norm or erasing all cultural specificity. There are not any so-called tiger dad and mom among the many Lins. As an alternative, Lum provides us a narrative line through which a gang of Chinese language grannies spend a full day in Atlantic Metropolis so as to money within the free on line casino chips that include their bus tickets. It appears solely becoming {that a} performer who has performed such a particular position in Hollywood’s latest Asian-American renaissance would use her personal auteur challenge to push the motion additional.

This seems within the January 27, 2020 difficulty of TIME.

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