“Radical Cram School,” featuring Wong, Asian American children and plenty of puppets, dropped six new episodes on Jan. 16, covering topics from gun control to undocumented immigration to gender identity.
Created by Wong, director Jenessa Joffe, and producers Anna Michelle Wang and Theodore Chao, “Radical Cram School” is a series “geared towards kids of color, fans of comedy, activist communities, and parents and educators who strive to engage kids in conversations about identity and social justice.”
Its first season, released in August 2018, has earned over half a million views across digital platforms and was selected for distribution by Elizabeth Banks’s online comedy platform WhoHaHa.
Also featuring six episodes, the first season won praise especially in the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) community and received the Audience Award at the Austin Asian American International Film Festival, as well as a nomination for Best Digital Series from the New York City Asian American International Film Festival.
However, the series was also slammed in multiple response videos, such as one from Alex Jones of the now YouTube-, Facebook-, Twitter- and Instagram-banned Infowars.
The second season features six scripted and unscripted episodes, which run from four to six minutes each. In one episode, Wong — who currently serves as a representative of Los Angeles’s Koreatown — and the children tackle the topics of women’s suffrage and election to public office, with each child coming up with their own campaign platform speech.
“Asian American girls rarely see themselves in popular culture, let alone larger social justice movements and when girls can’t see themselves in the movement or as allies to other social movements, they may opt out altogether,” Wong said.
“Without further marginalizing those most affected by oppression, Radical Cram School gives young Asian American girls a space to process their experiences and learn how to be allies to other social movements.”
Another episode is a music video on feminist boys.
“Watch me be an Asian man who plays leading roles,” a line in the lyrics says, “cuz it’s not just White dudes who can be heroes.”
“We co-produced this series not just for people like our daughter, but for everyone,” said Theodore Chao, a Harvard-trained professor who realized that his 6-year-old daughter and her friends had been internalizing “the racist and misogynistic rhetoric” surrounding the 2016 presidential election.
“The videos are great ways to engage in difficult conversations about racism, misogyny, intersectionality, and resistance for young people.”
Aside from working on “Radical Cram School,” Wong recently created a pilot with Lionsgate for TruTv and appeared on late-night shows on FX and Comedy Central.