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Anime Culture Mentioned on 4 U.S. TV Shows This Week (Updated)

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
American Idol, 30 Rock, Archer, Scrubs name-checked aspects of otaku culture

Not-So-Daily Links of the Day: This past week, episodes of four different American television series — American Idol, 30 Rock, Archer, and Scrubs — each referenced anime culture.

Tuesday's episode of the Fox singing competition American Idol highlighted contestant Mere Doyle during the Boston auditions. Doyle called herself an "otaku, which is another word for anime freak." Doyle also said anime inspired her to design and make her own kimono. The segment highlighted Doyle wearing a kimono and also other cosplay items such as a jacket worn by the titular character in Masashi Kishimoto's Naruto manga and anime. Doyle said her aspirations are to "become a singer and be successful in Japan." Doyle sang Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart" for her audition.

Unfortunately, Doyle's American Idol aspirations did not pan out. Doyle did not pass the audition round. Even though Doyle protested and asked for the judges to give her a chance, she was told "This is not going to work out."

On Thursday's episode ("Klaus and Greta") of the NBC sitcom 30 Rock, guest star James Franco, playing himself, acted as though he were in love with a dakimakura (literally, a "hugging pillow"). In the episode, Franco starts a fake celebrity relationship with Jenna (Jane Krakowski) to dispel tabloid rumors that said he was in love with a hugging pillow. In the meeting to set up the fake relationship, Franco said, "Are you familiar with Japanese 'moe' relationships where socially dysfunctional men develop deep emotional attachments to body pillows with women painted on them?" Franco refers to the pillow as "Kimiko" and "Kimiko-tan" throughout the episode, and at the end of the episode announces that he is "in love with, and common-law married to, a Japanese body pillow!" The full episode can be watched on NBC's website.

Also on Thursday, the characters in the double-episode premiere of the new FX animated series Archer referenced cosplayers. The series is about Sterling Archer, a secret agent, and the agency for which he works. The agency operates just like any other office — with paperwork and a Human Resources department. When a person on fire appears in the episode, Archer asks fellow agent Lana Kane what kind of person would wear a flaming suit, and Lana replies, “Cosplay enthusiasts!” The episode, "Training Day," repeats on Sunday evening and Thursday evening.

On Tuesday's episode ("Our Stuff Gets Real") of ABC's medical sitcom Scrubs, Elliot (Sarah Chalke) explains to J.D. (Zach Braff) that she always freaks out right before life-changing events by saying, "Like three weeks before med school started, I got way into shoplifting and watching anime pornography — I mean, I'm talking some weird-ass cartoons, man." (The scene starts at 18:03 in the video below).

Thanks to Daniel Zelter for the news tip.

Update: Information from Scrubs added. Thanks, ninjapet.

Images © FOX/American Idol
© NBC Universal Inc./30 Rock
© FX Networks, LLC/Archer

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