For too long, Harry Shum Jr. has jokingly been known as the “Other Asian” on “Glee”: the one who doesn’t sing. All that is about to change this week as Mike Chang gets a huge storyline all to himself.
Mike Chang has been part of the hit show since the first season. He was the football player who joined the glee club, even though he can’t sing. He sure can dance, though.
In that first season of Glee, Mike Chang was relegated to group numbers with no lines but a lot of dancing. Season 2 saw him get to date Tina (played by Jenna Ushkowitz), who was the main Asian character in the show. He got to speak, then! Oh and a duet.
But in Glee 3, Harry Shum Jr. has been promoted to series regular and so it is Mike Chang’s turn to take to the spotlight. So what is in store for Mike in Glee 3?
The show is well known for playing up to stereotypes and blowing them apart. So it seems that is what is immediately in store for him. The running joke is Mike gets an A minus, and in Asian American culture that’s bad: an Asian F. But there us a serious message below the joke. Mike has always got good grades and that A minus is unacceptable to his parents.
“It bring up issues of, ‘Why are you getting this A minus, are you doing all these other things that distract you.’ It puts Mike in a place between the things he loves and his parents’ expectations,” the actor said.
As to his own background, he revealed that he was somewhere in between. Raised in Costa Rica and then moving to America, his parents wanted him to have the American culture and retain his old culture too.
“I wasn’t the guy who got straight A. I got As and Bs and a couple Cs. They wouldn’t scold me though. I was working in a restaurant when I was 14, so they were realistic. They’d love for me to get all straight As, but they knew I had a lot going on and was trying my best.”
Talking of trying one’s best, we know in previous Glee seasons that Mike is not meant to be the best singer, but that changes in tonight’s episode. We get to hear him sing properly!