That night, Puka is ready to go to sleep, and Cao Boi is still chattering, specifically about how someone or other can "change your accent and start speaking Hindu." There is some muttering among the others. One of the women, I can't tell which, tells him that he really should stop all the Asian jokes and comments and so forth. Cao Boi tells her that he does this all the time, and that it's important to be able to "laugh at yourself." It appears to be Jenny having this conversation with him, and she tells him that she just doesn't think he's being very sensitive to the situation they're in. He tells her that he, unlike the rest of them, has "no hangups." And then he says, "Like, what do you call a Vietnamese with three dogs?" And then you just hear, "Oh, God." Ha! That was pretty funny. (We also received a tip on the forums that the punch line is "A vegetarian." My name is Miss Alli, and I do not approve this message. I am just the messenger, and I want you to know as much as you can as you go out into the world. The season is supposed to be educational. This week's lesson: potentially offensive jokes that could get you beaten up in a bar.)
Anyway, Brad tells Cao Boi that "the bigger picture" is that while the five of them in the group may understand the spirit in which a joke like that is meant, to other people -- those watching the show, he clearly means -- it's just more mockery of Asian people, which Brad doesn't think Asian people really need. Cao Boi says that he doesn't care what other people think, which I think is missing the point a little. I think Brad is saying you don't want to feed the stupid ideas of stupid people any more than their stupidity already does, which seems like a fair point. Cao Boi opines in an interview that they need to understand that representing your race doesn't mean "avoiding the jokes." Well, of course, they may have a different idea about what representing your race means than he has, and I find it a bit off-putting that he's clearly appointed himself the person in charge of teaching them how to be Asian-American, or how to not be Asian-American but Asian, or whatever this is supposed to be. I don't think any of them asked for pride lessons.
Back in the shelter, Yul tells Cao Boi that if you build your own jokes on stereotypes, you're just going to feed idiots who don't know any better. He really says it very well, although it doesn't impress Cao Boi. "Well, a joke is a joke, right?" Cao Boi says. "No, it's not," Brad says unhappily, and everyone else seems to agree. Cao Boi wants to tell one more joke, but they all tell him to please, please go to sleep. If nothing else, Cao Boi needs to learn to figure out when people want to go to bed. I don't think he went to enough slumber parties. In an interview, Yul says that he's all for a sense of humor, but not so much if it's at the expense of some particular ethnic group. What amuses me is that Yul seems to think this should be sort of obvious, that maybe he shouldn't have to sit on network television and be like, "I don't really like jokes about dog-eating, even when Asian people tell them." It's like he expected this to be a little more challenging.