Netflix romantic comedy “Always Be My Maybe” is chock full of awesomeness thanks to the witty writing by the film’s co-stars/co-writers Ali Wong and Randall Park.
Among the movie’s memorable parts include the scenes with Park’s fictional band “Hello Peril,” which gifted viewers with unforgettable tracks such as “Hello,” “Tennis Ball” and the post-credit bonus “I Punched Keanu Reeves.”
The actors playing the band members come from different Asian backgrounds: Park is Korean, Karan Soni is Indian, Lyrics Born is Japanese and Charlyne Yi is of Filipino and Chinese descent.
Fans of the film point out that the band’s brilliance doesn’t lie only in the catchy songs and its multi-cultural band members, but also in its name which references a phrase that holds significance to many Asian Americans.
I WANT A HELLO PERIL SHIRTIT’S IN REFERENCE TO YELLOW PERIL WHICH WAS A TERM REFERENCING THE WIDESPREAD PROPAGANDA MAKING PEOPLE SCARED OF ASIAN PEOPLE/IMMIGRANTS INVADING WESTERN CULTURE AND SOCIETY — juliet shen (@Juliet_Shen) June 3, 2019
Netizens speculate that the band name “Hello Peril” might have been a play on “yellow peril,” the centuries-old phrase used by colonialists to denote that the peoples of East Asia pose an existential threat to the Western world.
Confession: I was way too many minutes into ALWAYS BE MY MAYBE before I made the “Hello Peril”/”Yellow Peril” connection.— Greg Pak (@gregpak) June 3, 2019
In 1880s Germany, the phrase became the justification of the European colonization of China.
Meanwhile, a similar fear of East Asians led to the condemnation of Chinese immigrants working in 1870s United States.
In Los Angeles, Yellow Peril racism provoked the lynching of 20 Chinese men by 500 White men in an incident that would be known as the Chinese Massacre of 1871.
Similar attacks to Chinese immigrants were also committed during the period in other states. Subsequent immigration exclusion laws against the Chinese would soon be passed.
The xenophobic and racist themes of this irrational fear of Asians would eventually pervade early-20th-century literature and various forms of media in the U.S. and other Western countries.
While the production team has yet to respond to the online discussions, netizens have praised Wong and Park for brilliantly sneaking in a subtle social commentary in plain sight.
Featured Image via YouTube / Netflix