In the Disney Plus show “American Born Chinese,” which premiered on May 24, Jin is an insecure Chinese-American kid trying to get through high school when he becomes friends with the new kid in town, Wei-Chen. Wei-Chen did not grow up in America like Jin. And the two come to realize they are more alike than they thought.
With Jin’s self-doubt and Wei-Chen’s self-confidence, the contrast between them arises from the dislocation of one growing up in a culture that does not necessarily feel like his own, and the latter of the other being a kid raised in a world that was HIS own.
Jin is drawn to Wei-Chen’s attitude and nature, but also feels ashamed at times to be with Wei-Chen otherness.
As it turns out, Wei-Chen’s otherness is being the son of Sun Wukong, also known as the Monkey king, a key figure in “Journey of the West.” Wei-Chen is entangled with dealing with a huge celestial conflict involving a plot to overthrow Heaven, and he came to California to look for something called the Fourth Scroll against his father’s wishes.
Created by writer Kelvin Yu with a team including his brother Charles Yu, who wrote the novel “Interior Chinatown,” and Destin Daniel Cretton, who directed Marvel’s “Shang-Chi” and 2012 indie “Short Term 12,” which was based on Gene Luen Yang’s 2006 graphic novel.
Part of what made Yang’s graphic novel so compelling was how it focuses on spiritual violence towards Jin’s struggle to accept his ethnic identity.
The show has too much talent involved for it not to be watched. Oscar winner Ke Huy Quan also appears for a fairly minor role in the Disney Plus series.
Watch the trailer of the Disney Plus series below.
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