Is Julie Chen using Asian stereotypes to boost her popularity and her CBS talk show?

Is Julie Chen using Asian stereotypes to boost her popularity and her CBS talk show?

Chen is more fun this season, but is she also more offensive?

I ditched "The View" this year and became an ardent daily viewer of "The Talk."  I had a sinister reason: I wanted to watch it implode. I thought kicking off Holly Robinson Peete and Leah Remini was a bad decision and I wanted to watch the show fall apart. To my surprise, the show has been really fun this season. Aisha Tyler was a phenomenal replacement for Holly, and while Sheryl Underwood is annoying to watch and somewhat cartoonish, occasionally she has great moments of humor.

Furthermore, Julie Chen, formerly known as the Chenbot due to her very  formal and monotone TV presence, has come out of her shell!

She is much more likable and personable, even weaving tales from her family into the dialogue. She laughs and smiles more and is not above participating in skits and pranks on the show.

There's just one thing: she is using stereotypical Asian voices and broken dialect for humor, like when she says things like "ancient Chinese secret!" or mimics her mom talking at the dinner table. Once she referred to white men dating Asian women, remarking "Once you go Yellow, you never go back!." Cute ...but do we really want to refer to Asian people as "yellow."

I have mixed feelings about this.

On one hand, I love hearing about Julie's culture and I think it broadens what people experience on TV.  Her brand of self-referential humor is really unprecedented in daytime. On the other hand, I think she is fueling the ranks of people who make fun of Asian clichés.

I have no trouble with her comment today when she responded to the quip "Black don't crack" by saying "Chinese stays fine-ese" to explain that women of her ethnicity don't show age when they grow older. She didn't use a mock accent, so it was humorous instead of borderline offensive.

Julie is forging new ground here. There is no other Asian talk show host who has had this high of a profile to regale people with tales from their culture.

Given that, I'll give her a break as she figures how to walk a sociopolitical tightrope with her brand of fun. Heck, I'm even following the woman now on Twitter.