Ali Wong Character

Ali Wong Character in Beef Was Initially a Caucasian Man of Middle Age

Our 2023 bingo card didn’t include Ali Wong Beat Out Stanley Tucci for the Chance to Nearly Hit Steven Yeun With Her Vehicle. The Netflix comedy/drama Beef was finally released to the public this past Thursday (6 April), and based on the response to the road-rage tale about two likable rivals who end up destroying their own lives due to an accdent in a parking lot.

Many critics and fans have already dubbed it the “best show on Netflix.” The Beef was written by its creator Lee Sung Jin as a semi-autobiographical expansion of a previous, unidentified enemy, in which he engaged in road rage. Nevertheless, a few compromises were committed to turning Lee’s story into an A24 television series.

The role currently portrayed by stand-up comedian Wong opposite Lee’s self-stand-in Yeun was originally envisioned as a “Stanley Tucci-type,” according to Lee’s comments to Variety. Lee’s real-life antagonist was a middle-aged white man. Tucci will now record a stand-up special while expecting a payback.

Ali Wong Character
Ali Wong Character

According to Variety, Lee, Yeun, and Wong had already grown close as collaborators during their work on the canceled animated series Tuca & Bertie. Hence, the switch to Wong as the sorta antagonist in Lee’s story was an easy one.

“If Ali were another race, I still would have wanted to work with her,” Lee clarified. “She really embodies so much about this character that is perfect, and she brings so many nuanced layers to the role.”

However, Lee did say that re-envisioning Wong’s eventual character as a person of color was a conscious choice, saying:

“The reason I abandoned Stanley Tucci-type very quickly was because — especially in the modern era — you have to talk about race, and there’s so many other shows that do that very well. I really didn’t have much interest, nor the capabilities to handle that, to write about that. So that was a factor.”

Beef definitely makes societal satire, Yeun is a poor contractor driving a filthy pickup truck, whereas Wong’s character drives a luxurious Mercedes Benz and owns her own business. The decision to represent these characters as Asian Americans were made to enhance both their parallels and differences without engaging in a tedious discussion about racial politics.

Read the following articles that we have prepared for you if you would want additional information about the shows’ characters:

Socioeconomic inequality is a recurrent undercurrent in Beef’s dramatic first season. Yet, a particular breed of internet troll will continue to take issue with Beef for failing to give a white Stanley Tucci-type his due. When Lee is forced to hide out in Italy, he will know who to call for restaurant recommendations.

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