Members of the Huang family in “Fresh Off the Boat” weren’t the first Asian-American characters to appear on network comedies. But watching predecessors didn’t always make a positive impression. Here are five that stood out — for better or worse.
Kealani Kellye (Kellye Nakahara)
The show: “M*A*S*H,” 1973-83
Although she appeared in more episodes than Trapper John, the nurse never got much screen time. The episode in which she demands respect from Hawkeye was a rare exception. Nakahara died Sunday at 72.
Wince factor (scale of 1 to 10): 1
“Arnold” Takahashi (Pat Morita)
The show: “Happy Days,” 1974-77; 82-84
The drive-in owner’s accent was overcooked, but his quick wit and business savvy made him cool-a-mundo.
Wince factor: 3
Ling Woo (Lucy Liu)
The show: “Ally McBeal” (1998-2002)
Smart as a whip, but her wicked-witch, sexually manipulative lawyer played into the stereotype of the Asian woman as dragon lady.
Wince factor: 7
Raj Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar)
The show: “The Big Bang Theory” (2007-19)
Among all the regulars, his astrophysicist was the unluckiest in love. It didn’t help that he spent the early seasons unable to talk to women.
Wince factor: 6
Han Lee (Matthew Moy)
The show: “2 Broke Girls,” 2011-17
The waitresses spent more time ridiculing the diner boss’ short stature, lack of sex appeal and broken English than they did waiting tables.
Wince factor: 10