Miguel: Welcome back to They Reminisce Over You. I'm Miguel.
Christina: And I'm Christina. And today we're going to talk about Jade Li, Eve Polastri, Dr. Christina Yang, and more. If you haven't figured it out, who are we talking about?
Miguel: Uh...Sandra Oh.
Christina: Yes. Fellow Canadian. Ms. Sandra Oh.
Miguel: She is a Canadian, even though sometimes she claims American apparently.
Christina: Well, she's a Canadian who became an American because of work.
Miguel: Kind of like me, but the opposite way.
Christina: Alright, shall we get into it?
Miguel: I think we should.
Christina: All right.
Miguel: So just thinking about her career and all of that good stuff, when did you first become aware of Sandra Oh?
Christina: Well I...became aware of her way back when, in 1994, in the movie Double Happiness, which was her second movie ever. And, so this was filmed in Vancouver, I believe. And the reason why I remember this so much, because it was a story about a woman growing up with traditional Chinese parents and the strife that comes with that.
Christina: And as an Asian woman with immigrant parents, I could relate to it.
Christina: And it wasn't a story that I had really ever seen on TV and things that I thought were just like, oh my family's just weird, I guess. And then I realized it was like—
Miguel: This is everybody's family.
Christina: Yeah. It was like, okay, there are certain common experiences when you are a child of immigrants and you're growing in a Western society and your family's from an Eastern society.
Christina: So I was like, wow, I really like this movie because I can relate to it.
Christina: And, I got my mom to watch it. Cause I was trying to be like, hint, hint.
Miguel: And she wasn't catching it?
Christina: But she completely missed the point. She was just like, ugh. So it didn't work out. But it definitely left an impression on me.
Christina: I was actually thinking about it as we were doing research for this, that I was like, wow, I can't believe that movie actually got made. But then, this was that time, you know how I always say, we were so optimistic in the '90s?
Christina: In the '90s! Blah-blah-blah. And this was that run where people of color were just given a chance to do stuff.
Christina: Because this came out in 1994. Joy Luck Club came out in '93, All American Girl came out in '94. And then we had all of those Black TV shows around this time too. And like I said, the music itself during sort of the early to mid '90s, we were so…we're here. They're giving us a chance. We made it.
Miguel: And then they took it all away again.
Christina: In then by the end of the '90s...well, there was still the bling-bling era in music, but things kinda… the optimism kind of switched again.
Miguel: Well, like I said, in one of our episodes, I don't remember which, but people just got comfortable. There was a little bit of success and there was that yay, we finally made it moment.
Miguel: And people just got comfortable and stagnant.
Christina: Yes and no. I mean, we talk about that a lot as well, that, you know, when you get comfortable, you feel like you don't need to fight anymore. But then also certain folks think that other folks are getting too big for their britches and the pendulum swings back. So like for example, All American Girl didn't do very well. So there was like no more Asian shows for like, what? 20 years when Eddie Huang's Fresh Off The Boat is probably…I think…the latest? Yeah, that's the first all–
Miguel: In terms of TV shows?
Miguel: I'm not sure if that was first or Kim's Convenience, but...
Christina: I think Fresh Off The Boat was first.
Christina: Yeah, I'm pretty sure because, sidebar, the kid that plays Eddie Huang, his father was the one who wrote the negative review of All American Girl.
Christina: And he felt kind of a ways, but like, he's like, I don't want to write something bad about the first Asian American TV show, but I also want to be truthful of my critique.
Miguel: He ruined it for everybody.
Christina: Yeah. So I saw an interview with him where he was talking about how he's kind of felt guilty about that, especially now that his son is in Fresh Off The Boat, which is the first Asian American TV show since then. But back to Sandra. So yeah, she left a big impression on me because of that movie just kind of spoke directly to my experience.
Miguel: Okay. For me, the first thing I saw her in was Arli$$, which was around the same time. I think it came out like in '95 or '96.
Christina: Uh...'96 to 2002.
Miguel: Oh, I didn't realize it stayed on that long. I watched a couple of episodes earlier today and I remember liking it then, but it's so 1996, that it was a struggle to watch it today.
Christina: And what is the show about?
Miguel: Well, he's a sports agent.
Miguel: And in this show, she plays his assistant Rita. And basically every episode is something standalone. They get into some bullshit with some athletes.
Miguel: Hilarity ensues, and then they do it again in the next episode. But it was so bad, like all the bad things about the '90s is in this show in terms of stereotypes and just horrible jokes and whatnot. And yeah, it just didn't really hold up well. Even though that was the intent of the show, to show how ridiculous that these big time agents and people who take themselves too seriously are. I didn't know this until a couple of days ago, but apparently the show was based off of Donald Trump's book where the guy who plays Arliss, Robert Wuhl, he read the book, and was like, this is bullshit. He's not doing any of this stuff he's saying in the book.
Miguel: And that's when he was like, you know what? This would make a great TV show. So the Arliss character is—he's basically full of shit, just like Donald Trump. And that's why the show opens and closes with a book. That's basically Arliss telling his story.
Miguel: But yeah, she was his assistant and always getting into some shit with him.
Miguel: She was just one of the guys and it's not like she was a background character. She actually participated.
Christina: I tried watching the first episode just to see, cause I had never even heard of the show.
Christina: But like you were saying, watching this show now was, I was like, this is too dated. I can't really get into this.
Miguel: Yeah, I watched the first episode and that's not really representative of her role, really. Like she's in it a lot more than that episode showed.
Miguel: Like she became part of the crew, like I said.
Christina: I watched a, I saw a little small clip of another episode of Arli$$ and she was all dressed up sexy and I'm saying that in air quotes. And, I think somebody must have called her old or something. She was trying to be young. So she just comes prancing in with this little outfit and everyone's just staring at her. And she's like, "I'm too young to be old!"
Miguel: Well, the second episode I watched was when she was having an affair with, well, not necessarily an affair, but she slept with Kristoff St. John. Because he was playing a chef and he was married. He had a kid and she knew it. And it was like, "I'm not that person," but she did it anyway.
Christina: So how's that not an affair?
Miguel: Because it was only the one time. And he broke her heart and went back to his wife.
Miguel: But yeah, that was the first thing I saw her in. And I don't think I saw her in anything else until Sideways.
Christina: Yeah. I looked at her IMDb and it's quite extensive. But there is so much that I have not seen.
Christina: It kind of reminds me of like, when we were researching for Angela Bassett.
Christina: Where after looking at her IMDb, I'm like, I have not seen so much of her work but I—
Miguel: Yeah, there's 20 years of stuff that I haven't seen.
Christina: Yeah but I feel like, same with Sandra, I don't know if maybe it's cause she just left such an impression on me, but I was like, I haven't seen so much of this but I feel like I have.
Christina: Like I feel—it's not just like, oh, there's the girl in the thing.
Christina: It's like there's Sandra Oh.
Miguel: Yeah, I'm pretty sure Sideways was the next thing that I saw her in. And even in that movie, she's not in it a lot but she has some of my favorite scenes in the movie.
Miguel: Spoiler alert. It's what, 20 years old now? Almost 20 years old? But one of the characters in the movie is getting married the following weekend and he's hitting on her and he picks her up and then she finds out that he's getting married the following weekend and she started beating the shit out of him with a motorcycle helmet. And I just thought that was funny.
Miguel: It's a very White movie.
Christina: Well, that is something about, I will say her acting career is, she, she does end up playing, you know, into some of the tropes. Like she had mentioned in one of her interviews, she ends up being some White woman's best friend a couple of times.
Christina: But she hasn't really had to do… I guess sort of like embarrassing, stereotypical roles.
Christina: Like the roles that she plays, where it does require her to be Asian, it's not like—what is it? The one where they played the gong every time?
Miguel: Yeah, The Breakfast Club. No, no, not The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles.
Christina: No no no. It was Sixteen Candles where they play a gong every time the Asian character shows up.
Christina: Yeah. So she hasn't had to play any of those.
Christina: And so that's kind of refreshing to see that she can get roles that don't require her to be Asian.
Miguel: Yeah. Cause like in, I'm not going to say which movie it is because it's a spoiler, but they asked her to do an accent. And instead of doing a traditional Asian accent, she pretends to be French. And I thought that was funny
Christina: "Would you like a Parisian accent?" They're looking at her like, no.
Miguel: You know what we want.
Christina: And the funny thing is—so well, is that a spoiler? That's also a—
Miguel: It is. Tt's an old movie too, but—
Christina: It's Double Happiness, which I had already mentioned.
Christina: There was a big gap between me first seeing her and seeing her again as well. So I'd never heard of Arli$$, but that was your first introduction.
Christina: So when do you remember sort of seeing her again?
Miguel: It was probably in things like Sideways or Under the Tuscan Sun, which I haven't seen, but I knew she was in it just because she was in the commercials and the trailers and whatnot. So there's a lot of stuff on her IMDb that I was aware of, but I haven't seen it.
Miguel: So I knew who she was. I just wasn't watching her stuff if that makes sense.
Christina: Yeah. No, that makes sense. Cause I think the next thing that I remember her being in was Grey's Anatomy. Cause she had a big role in that, but I have never watched Grey's Anatomy and I cannot bring myself to watch it because of this roommate that I had.
Christina: So this was back—either I was finishing university or had just finished. So I had two roommates. One roommate, I was cool with the other one, we both just found her so annoying, like just loud and annoying, whatever. She had a friend that would come over every, whatever night the show was on to watch Grey's Anatomy. And they would literally scream at the top of their lungs and just—
Christina: Whatever drama was ensuing in the episodes, they just be screaming, like—
Miguel: That's not weird at all.
Christina: Literally screaming just, "Aaaaahh!" Just reactions and whatnot. And I hated it so much that I just can't watch the show.
Christina: I know it does not make sense, but I have zero desire to watch this damn show because of roommate screaming.
Miguel: Because of a former roommate.
Christina: At the top of her lungs. And her and her friend, just making all sorts of noise for an hour or however long the show is. I'm assuming it's an hour long show.
Miguel: It is.
Christina: So, just couldn't do it.
Miguel: So since we've mentioned Grey's Anatomy and you haven't seen that.
Miguel: Of her filmography, what is your favorite performance and why?
Christina: I'm going to pick Killing Eve.
Christina: Because I've seen her, as you were saying, just sort of in things here and there that I've kind of forgot about, but just because looking through her IMDb I was like, oh yeah. I watched Hard Candy. I watched Six Feet Under. We watched Blindness together. So there's a bunch of stuff, but I'm going to pick—oh, she was in American Crime, but that was the season three that we didn't finish. So anyways, back to Killing Eve. For me, that's when she kinda like came back into my radar and not just like, oh, I saw her in this thing here and there. And I can't remember why, I think I just started watching it on a whim. Cause I'd seen commercials of it and stuff.
Miguel: Of course.
Christina: And then I was like, you know what, let me just sit down and watch this. And it hooked me from the beginning. And I had wanted—
Miguel: I can see why.
Christina: I wanted to wait for you so we could watch it together, but I couldn't stop watching it. Because I would watch it when I was like folding laundry and stuff.
Christina: And then I was like, I'm gonna watch one more episode.
Miguel: And that led to three seasons.
Christina: I'm going to watch another episode. And then I was like, you need to just catch up on your own.
Miguel: Which I did.
Christina: I think maybe because even though I had seen her in various things in between, it was like the last thing that I really remembered her in was Double Happiness back in 1994. Playing like, a young 20 something. To being this like, Eve Polastri. This is like secret agent, you know, out in Europe, doing all this crazy stuff.
Christina: And then the storyline and all that, I was just sort of hooked. So I would say that's my favorite performance, but I also really liked her in The Chair. The Chair was funny and it was interesting. She's like head of the English department. It's all about academia and I totally believe academia is like that.
Miguel: Yeah, because it's all about tenure and paying your dues and whatnot. And does this person deserve this job? And
Christina: Yes. And then of course—
Miguel: Are you just taking it because you're, or you're being offered it because you're a token and...
Christina: Because she was the first Asian woman to ever hold this position.
Miguel: So there's a lot going on with that show.
Christina: And it was done really well. I think I still prefer Killing Eve just cause there's a lot more drama to get into and it asks a lot more of her as an actress.
Christina: To play the role of Eve. And plus it's just a really major lead role for her.
Miguel: Yeah. I saw in that interview that you sent me that the reason that she's doing things like this now is because she has said that she's only auditioning for roles that are essential to the plot. So she's not going to be playing the best friend anymore. So if it doesn't move the story forward and it's not a lead role, she's not even going to audition for it. I appreciate that.
Christina: Makes sense. I mean...
Miguel: Like, I've done enough.
Christina: She's been in the industry for a long time.
Christina: It's about time she becomes leading lady.
Miguel: And well, actually that was before she did a Grey's Anatomy. She said this was around the time she was doing the best friend stuff, like Under the Tuscan Sun and Cake and all that. And she moved on and was like, nope, I'm only doing real shit from now on. But for me, the answer should be Killing Eve. 'Cause the show is so ridiculous. And her character is such a basket case.
Christina: And you see the progression over the seasons too.
Miguel: Yeah. And that should be my favorite one, but it isn't.
Miguel: I'm going with Last Night.
Christina: Okay. Another Canadian film.
Miguel: Yeah, because it's one of her earlier films. That was like her first or second one, right?
Christina: Um 1998. I think it might be... she's done a lot in between them, but I think that might be, after Double Happiness, one of her like more leading roles cause she's—
Christina: Her and our new friend, Don McKellar are the lead roles. And I say new friend, here's another quick sidebar. So he's the director of one of my favorite shows, Sensitive Skin with Kim Cattrall. If you need a Sex and the City fix of Samantha, but like without all the bullshit.
Miguel: And the other three.
Christina: And the other three.
Miguel: Watch Sensitive Skin.
Christina: It's great. I mean, it has nothing to do with Sex and the City.
Miguel: It doesn't.
Christina: But if you need a Kim Cattrall fix, that's what I should say.
Miguel: Yeah, and you want to pretend what Samantha is doing away from those three, watch Sensitive Skin.
Christina: It is so hilarious. And I will say, I love Don McKellar's role in it.
Christina: He is very...eccentric.
Miguel: That's putting it mildly.
Christina: And Kim Cattrall, it's nice to see her doing something else instead of…okay, I'm getting too far away from the original topic. But anyways, when I was looking up Sandra's IMDb I was like, hey, there's the guy from Sensitive Skin. Let's watch it.
Christina: 'Cause he also directed this film as well.
Miguel: Yeah. That's my favorite one.
Miguel: Because one, she's a lead character in her early career. But at the same time, since it is like a low budget indie film, she's by far the best actress in it.
Miguel: And you can see that she's very talented, even though she was 22-24 or something like that.
Miguel: And it was a low budget film. Like she really stood out for a ridiculously filmed movie. The plot is ridiculous, but she stood out.
Christina: It's basically you find—Yep. Sorry, I'm gonna let you finish, but it's basically the plot is the end of the world. We don't know why. It just is and—
Miguel: The world is ending at midnight.
Christina: And we're just seeing what people are doing with their last few hours on earth. It's like dark humor, I guess. Cause it's silly—
Miguel: Because everybody is gonna die.
Christina: Yeah, it's silly, but it's dark humor because everybody's going to die.
Miguel: But I would suggest watching it because it's very entertaining.
Christina: The funny thing about it is it's also set in Toronto and I love looking out for Toronto landmarks because most of the time when things are set in Toronto, it's supposed to be New York or LA or something, right? But I guess Toronto has changed so much since 1998, that neither of us recognized anything.
Miguel: I recognized like one location and I've only been here since 2010. So it's changed a lot since then, so...
Christina: I've been here since, well I've been here since 2001, but I was on campus for four years and didn't really venture downtown a lot more than, you know, maybe clubbing or something, but not enough to really know the city, but...
Miguel: Yeah, I recognized one place. So yeah, that's my favorite performance is Last Night.
Christina: It's funny you say that because that's the exact same thing you said when we watched Double Happiness together. Where you were like, she's clearly the best actress.
Christina: She's been extremely consistent. Like when you watch her in Double Happiness with it being her second movie—so her first movie was also in 1994 and she was playing a real person, this writer, poet named Evelyn Lau. She had written a diary which became a book about her life. She ran away as a teenager from abusive parents, became addicted to drugs and became a prostitute. I remember reading the book. I might have watched the movie, but I'm not quite sure.
Christina: But anyways, that was her first movie, and then Double Happiness was her second. But when you watch her in Double Happiness, you see pretty much like, current day Sandra, except she looks a little bit younger.
Christina: So like, she's been this from the beginning, which is kind of crazy when you think about it. Like, a new actress, just kind of coming out and just knowing what to do. And like you were saying clearly better than everyone else.
Miguel: Yeah and the fact that she's able to not only make these Canadian movies, but to transition into American TV and movies as well.
Miguel: Coming from, where'd you say she was from? Outside of Ottawa?
Christina: Yeah, I don't know how to pronounce it. NEP-ean? Ne-PE-an? Yeah, it's spelled N-E-P-E-A-N. But it's a small town, like, outside of Ottawa.
Miguel: Yeah, so she's not even coming from Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver.
Miguel: A small town outside of Ottawa. And here she is like a huge star now.
Miguel: So you know she's gotta be talented to come out of a place, like whatever this is. NEP-ean? Ne-PE-an? I don't know how to say it.
Christina: I don't either.
Miguel: Some Canadians who listen to this show can hit us on social and let us know how it's pronounced.
Christina: Yeah, so she's made the transition of Canadian films to American films, which can be really hard. And then also, as I mentioned already, just sort of transcending certain stereotypes as well. So that's quite a feat, I think.
Miguel: All right. So since we've gone through the things that we've watched recently, the things that we watched in the past with her in it, what would you suggest for our listeners to watch? But, you know, without spoilers.
Christina: Oh, before I make a suggestion, can I make a suggestion for something to avoid?
Christina: That one that I made you watch, um...
Miguel: Oh, Catfight.
Christina: Catfight is terrible.
Miguel: Yeah, it's a bad movie. It's critically acclaimed.
Miguel: I see what they were trying to do with the satire, but it just wasn't done very well.
Christina: It wasn't.
Christina: I think she did the best...with what she could.
Miguel: But I'm going to tell you why I like it. Because I like when people of color are allowed to make bad movies.
Christina: That's true.
Christina: You can't be—
Miguel: White people get to make bad movies all the time.
Miguel: So I'm glad that she was able to make this movie. She's a lead in the movie. And like I said, it's very critically acclaimed. I didn't like it. It's not for me, but I'm glad she did it.
Christina: I see what you're saying since we're always expected to be exceptional every time.
Christina: Or else we'll never get a second chance.
Miguel: Yeah. Like, allow us to make shitty movies and still come back and do other stuff.
Christina: Yeah. I thought it was terrible.
Miguel: Like, that didn't butcher her career.
Christina: I thought it was terrible but I will never hate on someone I like getting a check.
Miguel: Exactly. So I'm okay with it.
Christina: All right. So I still recommend not to watch it when you can watch other things. So I have two recommendations based on what you might be interested in.
Christina: Oh "you" as in the listeners. So I would recommend Killing Eve even though apparently fans hated the finale. So by the time we post this episode, the finale would be like two, three weeks ago.
Christina: If you look on Twitter, the huge majority fans hated the finale. I didn't love it or hate it. I thought it was good enough. But I still recommend watching it. I do have some criticisms for the last season, but I still think overall it's worth watching. But it can be very...violent.
Miguel: Yes, it's very violent. So if you're not into gore and people getting killed, this is not the show for you.
Christina: No, not at all. Because she plays some kind of like operative, secret agent.
Miguel: Yeah she, she was in, basically she was a desk jockey there. She got fired. I don't remember why she got fired, but she did something to get fired.
Christina: She don't follow rules.
Miguel: Yeah. So she got fired from that, but because she had a, a little reckless streak to get fired, MI6 took notice and decided we're going to hire you to do to some off the books shit.
Christina: "Come to Death Row."
Miguel: Yeah, basically. So they brought her over to MI6 and that's when everything takes off from there.
Christina: Yeah, and the other lead character, Villanelle, is a hit woman. She is a trained assassin. And so there's a lot of violence. So if you're not into violence or any of that sort of psychological thriller stuff, I would recommend The Chair because it's more just drama and a little bit of comedy, but it's still a good watch.
Christina: Even though it's funny, it's not just silly. Like it's a good drama as well.
Miguel: For me. I'm going to go with two as well. The first one, we just watched a couple of weeks ago, it's animated. Turning Red. So I would suggest watching that one, she plays the mom in Turning Red, Ming. And she does a lot of voice acting as well. So there's a lot of animated things that she's in. So if you're into animation, you can check out a few of them, but I'm going to suggest Turning Red. And my second one will be Double Happiness. Because basically it could be her story. Like if this were a true story, it's about someone who is trying to become an actress, from Canada. I'm not sure what her upbringing was like, but—
Christina: Uh, I saw some interviews. Her parents weren't that strict.
Miguel: She wasn't as strict, or didn't have strict parents like that, but the rest of it could be hers.
Miguel: Dealing with, you know, being an Asian woman, trying to be independent and do this job that a lot of Asian parents would disapprove of.
Christina: Yeah. I'm pretty sure she did mention she's the only kid in their family that doesn't have like a Master's in something.
Miguel: So I would suggest that one. So Double Happiness and Turning Red. You can get both ends of her career. The first and the last.
Christina: The only reason why I didn't suggest Turning Red is because it's not obvious that it's her. I mean–
Miguel: That's true.
Christina: You can recognize her voice, but I didn't even realize it was her until you told me. And then I was like, oh yeah, because now I'm like, it kind of looks like her. But it's just a cute movie anyway, so. And the thing with trying to watch Double Happiness is I don't think it's available. Well, it's not available at least in Canada. And if it's not available in Canada in any streaming services, I'm sure it's not available in the US.
Christina: But somebody does have it on YouTube, for now.
Christina: So if you're hearing this, go look it up right now because it might get pulled down.
Christina: Yep. If the link still exists.
Miguel: Yes, if the link is still up.
Christina: We will link to it.
Miguel: We will link to it.
Christina: But I don't know if, what is it called? The Canadian national board of film, whatever. I don't know if they really comb YouTube for uploads like that. So hopefully it will still be up by the time this episode comes out.
Miguel: I don't know how long has it been up but it might survive.
Christina: Yeah. Also I do want to say that I really want to watch her new film, Umma, because she's never done a horror before. So I'm interested to see how this works.
Miguel: Yeah it's on our to-do list, but apparently it's only showing once per day here in Toronto at like, five theatres.
Miguel: Which doesn't make any sense.
Christina: Well when I looked today was only playing at two theaters.
Miguel: All right, so it's down to two theaters now and it just came out like two weeks ago. So...
Miguel: We're gonna have to either go and see it, or just wait for it to hit Netflix or HBO Max, or one of those things.
Miguel: Okay. So do you have anything else you would like to add?
Christina: The last thing I want to add is if you are a big Sandra Oh fan, and I've said this before about other people we've talked about, just go on YouTube and just watch a bunch of her interviews, because she seems like a delight.
Miguel: Yes, that's true.
Christina: And here's sort of like, a two for one, if you want. If you love Kerry Washington as well, there is a Variety interview called Actors on Actors, where her and Kerry Washington are basically interviewing each other and fan girling each other at the same time.
Miguel: Oh that's funny.
Christina: Talking about, "I love your stuff," "I love your stuff" basically. And they just—very excitedly interviewing each other. So if you want sort of a two for one special, and you're also a Kerry Washington fan, I would say, look up the Variety interview on YouTube.
Miguel: I'm going to do that because I didn't watch it.
Christina: I didn't finish it, but I watched most of it and it's very cute.
Miguel: All right, I will let the people know what my thoughts are next episode.
Christina: Okay. All right. Any last words for you?
Miguel: I don't have any last words other than watch Double Happiness. Double Happiness and Last Night.
Christina: All right.
Miguel: Watch them both. If you've been watching Sandra for the past few years with Grey's Anatomy and all that stuff, watch some of that old shit. See where she came from. That's all I got.
Christina: Okay. Well, on that note, thanks for coming back and listening to us again. Miguel usually does the closing stuff, so I don't really know what to say. So I'm going to hand it back to you.
Miguel: That's funny. Uh, like Christina said, thank you for coming back and listening to They Reminisce Over You. Make sure to follow us on social media so you get all our updates. @troypodcast on the bird and the 'gram. Check out troypodcast.com so you can see all of our notes and videos and links to things that we mentioned in these episodes. There's a lot of stuff that we might forget and think about afterwards, and then we'll add it. So go check that out as well. We don't have a playlist for this episode but we typically make playlists for our episodes. So you can check that out at the website as well. And that's pretty much all I have.
Christina: All right.
Miguel: We will talk to you guys again in two weeks. Bye.