So I tend to go back and forth about what I want to do for a living, but if there’s one constant it’s that a large part of me wants to be a power player in entertainment for one very specific reason: to make John Cho Hollywood’s biggest star. It may be running a studio and putting him in starring roles in the biggest movies or maybe being his agent and working my ass off for him, but I’m all about Mission Cho.
Here’s the thing…John Cho is one of the most important
actor people of our time. Skeptical? Well here’s an red-letter day in history: July 9, 1999. American Pie was released and the word MILF was introduced into the cultural lexicon. And don’t act like that’s not a big deal, between all of the spin-offs (DILF, GILF, etc), John basically started a cultural revolution.* With those few words, “Duuuuuude, that chicks a MILF,” John Cho took his place in pop-culture history. You’d think MILF! MILF! MILF! would have earned him a spot on the A-List. If not the chanting, at the very least the image of him drunkenly making out with a framed photo on the wall of Jennifer Coolidge.
Not to say he hasn’t done great things, he just deserves so much better. I mean, he was only credited as “MILF Guy #2” — seriously, not even main MILF Guy?!! All “MILF Guy #1 did was ask what the hell a MILF was and basically be John Cho’s sidekick! At least for American Pie 2 and American Wedding they named him “John” (very creative), but curiously went back to crediting him as MILF Guy #2 in American Reunion, according to imdb, despite having a much larger role (and facial hair) in this installment.
He really ought to be a leading man. Yes, he has had some starring roles, but in nothing big besides Harold and Kumar, and having a lead role doesn’t a leading man make. He’s funny and handsome and there’s no reason he shouldn’t be up there with the likes of Bradley Cooper, Channing Tatum, Joseph-Gordon Levitt, and Paul Rudd. Maybe there’s something to be said of the lack of asian movie stars, I don’t know. All I do know, is that I’d love to see him as the lead in a great Rom-Com (preferably opposite Malin Ackerman because I feel the same way about her), or in a dramatic role worthy of Best Lead Actor nominations, or as a superhero in a future Marvel or DC blockbuster. At the very least I want a great TV show for him, which leads me to his new show, Selfie.
Before I talk Selfie, I don’t think a John Cho post would be complete without a paragraph on Harold and Kumar. John Cho is great in what, despite the cultural impact of MILF Guy #2, is his defining/most well known role as Harold. He plays the straight-man to Kal Penn‘s Kumar and but still shows a zany side. And his romantic storyline in White Castle is evidence of how great he’d be headlining his own Rom-Com. And as funny as the trilogy is and as much as he gained a fan-base from it that even extends past the obvious stoners, this was not the star-maker that it should have been for either Kal or John. Really, it was only a career catalyst (in the way it should have been for John) for Neil Patrick Harris, although I will admit this is deservedly so.
While I’m not settling for anything less than Hollywood Royalty, I love John as the fencing helmsman of the USS Enterprise in the Star Trek reboot. It’s a great franchise and Sulu is an iconic role. And not that I’m a trekkie, but apparently in the original movies, Sulu eventually becomes captain of his own ship, so maybe we’ll see John starring in a Star Trek down the line?
He has of course had small parts in tons of movies over the years and found himself guesting on some of my favorite TV shows including seducing Marshall in How I Met Your Mother and cooking meth as a stereotypical Québécois (in that he’s good at karate) in 30 Rock. His most promising was his role on FlashForward, a show that got cancelled way too soon and unfairly.
Okay, let’s talk Selfie. It’s a modern telling of My Fair Lady, revolving around social media. As the Henry Higgins character, named Henry Higenbottam (possibly by the same person who came up with “John?”), he works to “rebrand” social media star Eliza Dooley’s image. When I first heard John Cho was starring in an ABC show, I was obviously very very excited. But as soon as I got more info, I had immediate reservations. I mean the name itself would prevent me from watching it if it weren’t for John. I think everyone rolled their eyes when they heard the title, so no explanation necessary here. But bad titles have riddled good TV shows before– Don’t Trust the B In Apartment 23, the ever-so wonderful Trophy Wife (Yay Malin!), and of course, Cougar Town. Of course things didn’t go so well for Apt 23 and Trophy Wife, and Cougar Town seems to live in limbo. The premise of Selfie doesn’t really seem sustainable, but that doesn’t mean it can’t evolve.
It premieres on ABC September 30, but I watched it early and have some thoughts (as can you via the link above). Understandably, the theme song seems to be #Selfie (at least thank god they didm’t but a hashtag in the title of the show!**) We get off to a good start, John…Henry…. comes straight out the gate saying what we’re all thinking #blessed. There’s some Austin Powers like wordplay but it kind of works. Without getting into too many details, I’d just like to point out they’re taking the jif pronunciation stance over gif. But ugh, are we really supposed to be taking this seriously? At least true to its name, the show stays pretty true to its social media references through graphics. Not that I like it. Like I get it, you can tag people on Instagram and you’re using Siri and iPhones make that little bloop when you send a text. But let’s get back to the man of the hour: John Cho is great as the behind-the-times grump…it’s very John Cho. Oof..warning…there’s a Let It Go reference. John Cho is great as the uptight, perpetually single, Henry. I certainly have issues with how heavily they rely on the “properness” or “englishness” of My Fair Lady, but for what he’s given John Cho is great in it. I don’t know how long this can last, but I can only hope it propels him into something worthy!
So here comes the letter part: John, if you’re out there reading this, I guess my question to you is, where can I send my resume? And I assume you’ll want my info to give your lawyers for the restraining order and all. Either way, you can reach me by email at email@example.com
* Okay, yes I know technically it was the writers, but you know….
Ed Note: Sorry was the title misleading? I am in no way breaking up with John Cho