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Series / All-American Girl (1994)
aka: All American Girl

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All-American Girl was an ABC sitcom starring Margaret Cho that aired for only one season in 1994-95. It is notable for being the first American network sitcom to feature an Asian-American family. It featured Margaret Cho (playing Margaret Kim) as a young college student living at home with her Korean family: her father (Clyde Kusatsu), mother (Jodi Long), two brothers (B.D. Wong and JB Quon), and grandmother (Amy Hill).

The sitcom pretty much hit on every overused sitcom trope there was, with a dash of commonly known Asian stereotypes. The show was not well received throughout its run critically or ratings-wise; the only positive reviews were of Cho's acting and charisma and her relationship with her grandmother. Towards the end of the first season, the producers attempted a retool to turn the show into more of an ensemble show with Cho moving into an apartment with three male roommates (one of whom being played by Diedrich Bader) titled Young Americans, but ABC lost faith in the series and it was then canceled.

The show's promotion and production was not a great experience for Cho, as she had to radically tone down her edgy comedy act and open pansexuality as part of headlining a mainstream sitcom. She also had no creative control over the series, in stark contrast to other female comics to headline ABC shows like Brett Butler, Ellen DeGeneres, and Roseanne Barr. Lastly, she was "encouraged" to go on a crash diet, which caused her to lose 30 pounds in three weeks which led to kidney failure and years-long health issues. The cancellation of the show caused her to go into a depression, compounded by drugs and alcohol. Fortunately, she got sober and would eventually have a Career Resurrection.

Despite the initial reception of the show, the attempt to even have a show that primarily focused on an Asian-American family is still respected. And then after 20 years, ABC would try again with Fresh Off the Boat, to considerably more success. Cho acted as an informal consultant during the show's early development; the first season of the show, set in early 1995, pays homage in one episode when the characters are watching All-American Girl.

Also notable for having a ton of Retroactive Recognition: the show featured Ming-Na Wen, Daniel Dae Kim, Ashley Johnson, Jack Black, Mariska Hargitay, and Quentin' freaking Tarantino (whom she was dating at the time) in one-time bit part appearances, with Oprah Winfrey guest starring in one episode.

Not related to the Meg Cabot novel All-American Girl (Meg Cabot) or The CW series All American.

  • Adaptational Sexuality: Margaret in real life is openly pansexual, has been a Fag Hag since she was a teenager, and queer culture is a huge part of her standup. You wouldn't learn any of this from watching the show. Even though it's loosely based on Cho's actual life and is set in San Francisco of all places, TV!Margaret and her friends are all 100% straight and the show makes no references to the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Public Exposure: One episode involves a sculptor offering to create a nude statue of Margaret. Aware of her less-than-flattering figure, Margaret even tells him to "forget accurate make me hot!"
  • Spit Take: On an episode, Margaret hears a piece of shocking news, but, being sans anything to spit, calmly walks from the living room into the kitchen, fills a glass of water, walks back to the living room, takes a sip, and determinately spits it out again.
  • Talk Show Appearance: One episode has Margaret and her family being audience members of The Oprah Winfrey Show.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The parents owning a video store was based on Cho's parents owning a bookstore in real life, and one scene references one of Cho's most famous stand-up routines where her mom is uncomfortable with a new shipment of adult material, such as Free Your Willies.

Alternative Title(s): All American Girl