Morgan Spurlock's "Failure Club" webseries

I’m a big fan of Morgan Spurlock.  I’ve eaten fast food only about three times since watching Super Size Me.  (Now, full disclaimer, I am gluten intolerant, so my choices are slim.  But the documentary did influence my eating habits, even in my pre-allergy days.)

Spurlock’s current project is Failure Club, an online documentary series [trailer here] about people trying pie-in-the-sky things, things that they’re likely to fail at but — the point is — learn from.  It just had its premiere on Yahoo Screen.

I noticed that one of this week’s profiles is of a woman named Elizabeth who aspires to write a world-famous Christmas song.  Elizabeth is concerned with leaving a legacy. The episode follows her as she begins to re-acclimate herself to being a musician.  Once a professional, she hasn’t played piano for six years.  It’s not clear what kind of professional musician she actually was, but her background definitely isn’t in songwriting.

In her travels to find a New York rehearsal room and guitar teacher, she talks about the “typical” Asian family.

A side note: People talking about the “typical Asian family” is as tiresome as people talking about “the gay lifestyle” is.  While there are things I can find fault with when it comes to the parenting skills of my father and mother, they certainly didn’t strap my hands to a piano table or crack plywood over my head to teach me self-defense.

The series will follow seven people embarking on new careers.  In so doing, they hope to overcome the fear of failure.  Out of the seven, only one is a person of color: Elizabeth.

In press about the series, Spurlock states that it took him seven years of pitching the project to studios and networks to no avail before Yahoo bought the concept.  With all that time to contemplate what the series would be, and with the show’s airing on Yahoo Screen, a Web-exclusive platform, Spurlock probably had a lot of latitude when it came to his casting choices.  The last time I was in New York, I saw a lot more ethnicity than is seen on the series.

This lack of diversity is somewhat disappointing given the filmmaker’s renegade reputation.

Of all the things for People of Color to be underrepresented in: failing!



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