Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Riches, Gypsies, and Half-Breeds

Ana Aguila Reyes, international correspondent for the Obscene Machine, is on board with a timely posting:

From: Ana Aguila Reyes
Subject: For the Blog: The Riches
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2007 15:39:19 -0700

Hello professor, I’ve watching this new show called The Riches on FX and the main story is interesting: a family of gypsies decide to change their lives by embracing the American Dream. They go from “let’s see what life brings us today” to credit cards and mansions in a day. The characters are very complex and the cast itself is ironic. The cast features the father as a “half-breed,”who was not born into the gypsy life but later “converted.” It’s interesting to see the term half-breed used again after watching Touch of Evil. Here it is use in the same offensive way to distinguish people. For this family anyone who is not a like them is a buffer, that is, anyone who goes to school and buys stuff. Here’s some of the dialogue from the show:

Father: We’re going to enroll you kids in school.
Mother: Would you stop scaring them.
Father: I’m serious.
Daughter: Dad, come on. School? Who wants to learn a bunch of buffer bullshit?
Father: School is the cornerstone of buffer society where you learn important buffer things.
Mother: It’s going to kill their tiny minds.
Father: No. I when to school till seventh grade. Didn’t kill my mind.
Mother: Oh, you’re a half-breed.

The family gets more complex with their youngest boy who likes to dress-up as a girl. And here’s one of the two ironies in the show, the father played by Eddie Izzard is in real life a cross-dresser. He is the executive producer as well, so I’m guessing he has a bit of influence on the show. The other Irony of the show is that they’ve got British nationals (Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver) in the lead roles going for the American dream. Not that couldn’t happen, but it just adds another layer to this already complex and weird drama of representing something you're not.

Ana Aguila

1 comment:

  1. I'm confused, is Ms. Aguila angry about "The Riches," or simply pointing out a fantastic new show for those unlucky few who haven't experienced it yet? In either case, I think an important fact needs to be pointed out.
    In America and in Ms. Aquila's original posting, the term "gypsy" is used to imply that the Malloy family and clan are nomadic thieves. Especially in a class so focused on the significance of race, I'm surprised how easily Gypsy was thrown around here.
    Technically, the Malloy (now posing as the Riches) family are not gypsies--they are not "members of a traditionally itinerant people who originated in northern India" (Merriam-Webster Online). The Malloys are simply travelers, a subset of a clan of Irish travelers from the South.
    The intricacies of gypsies and their culture, and even the word "gypped," are lengthy and convoluted. I find it sad that with so many postings here focused on the contrasts between blacks, hispanics, latinos and whites, we have lost a little bit of focus on "smaller" races.
    Next time you complain to friends that were gypped, realize that you are stereotyping an entire nomad race. That simple term so heard today was coined to cut down the race that is oft forgotten. Even searching the Internet yields little information on this race.
    Anyway, I suppose I just wanted to point out how easy it is to not realize what we are saying sometimes.