Wednesday, May 21, 2008

This Had Better Be A Really Subtle, Subtle Homage to Jhumpa Lahiri

"Did you ever wonder how an Indian guy ended up with the name Kutner?"

Nope. I guess I just assumed that in twenty-first-century America, a television character like Lawrence Kutner might have, say, biracial ancestry.

Oh, but the writers on staff at House had to give us something much, much more tragic and... well, just plain odd:

Indian Baby X lived with his happy parents who both worked at -- you guessed it -- a convenience store. One day, when Baby X was six years old, the store got robbed and both parents were shot.

Then Baby X gets adopted by a new family who change his name to Lawrence Kutner. (The episode didn't give away what Baby X's birth name was.)

That's the weird part. Who adopts a six-year-old and changes his name? Especially the first name? Don't adoption agencies screen for that kind of thing?

I know that the reason they had to create a backstory was because they were doing "openrace casting" and decided that Kal Penn would be the best actor for a character without a distinctively desi name. But seriously, people. How hard would it have been to make Kutner's backstory more like, say, Obama's? In that case, they could have played it as follows:

"What do you mean you wanna know how an Indian guy ended up with the name Kutner? It's 'cause my dad's name is Steve Kutner. Now lay the f*@k off!"


maya said...

I'm no authority on this, but i'm willing to sportily bet that "Kutner" could very well be an Indian name. Especially, if you tweak it to "kutnAr." :)

Blue said...

Someone had better fanfic "Foreman and Kutnar Go To White Castle," then. ^__^

I'd read it.

neha vish said...

Possible his first name was already Lawrence... he could have been an Indian Christian...

Blue said...

Did consider that, which would make sense but also seems... well, in that case he could have said "My name's what it is because many Indians are Christian and I have a Christian name, etc. etc. etc."

It would have been a simpler response than the whole c-store murder story.

I suppose someone should write a fan letter to Kal Penn and ask if he'll tell us. ^__^