“Schitt’s Creek” emerged from 2020 as one of many yr’s most beloved and critically acclaimed sitcoms. However one character, a South Asian man, gave viewers pause.
Followers of the present have taken subject with “Schitt’s Creek” resident Ray Butani, an eccentric businessman who runs an actual estate-travel-photography enterprise. Butani, one of many few non-White characters on the present, speaks with an accent and, in keeping with some viewers, performs into stereotypes of South Asian males.
However the Indian-Canadian actor who performs Ray, Rizwan Manji, stated in an interview with the Toronto Star that he got here up with the character’s accent on his personal, and he did not assume his characterization was offensive.
“It’s a very slight Indian accent — someone who was most likely raised in Canada, however most likely was born in India or Pakistan,” he informed the paper. “I do not remorse that as a result of I believe it truly works for Ray. He wasn’t like all people else in that city. He was from some other place.”
When he was solid in “Schitt’s Creek,” Manji stated, producers gave him free rein to develop Ray — there was no route on if he had an accent. At a desk learn, he tried out an accent much like one he’d carried out in a earlier position. Dan Levy, the present’s star and co-creator, authorised, Manji stated.
Manji stated he is prevented taking offensive elements, although to start with of his profession, these are practically all he was supplied. He’d solely get gives for characters like cab drivers or comfort retailer staff, and he was all the time requested to play them with a thick accent, he informed the Star.
“It was very strictly, like, the joke was on the accent,” Manji stated.
Manji stated that whereas round 60% of his roles have concerned utilizing accents, he solely employs them when he feels they’re essential to the character.
Some critics informed the Star that they felt that Manji’s characterization was nonetheless taking part in into the expectations of White audiences and showrunners. For a present that prides itself on inclusivity — Levy’s character is in a relationship with a person for a lot of the sequence and marries him within the finale — the position of Ray felt like a slight.
In a press release to the Star, Levy praised Manji’s portrayal of Ray and the alternatives Manji made, which Levy emphasised weren’t requested of him by producers.
“All characters on our present had been created with love, respect and humanity,” Levy stated. “It has been gratifying to have these intentions mirrored by means of the overwhelming viewers help for these characters. That stated, I welcome any views that encourage conversations about variety, particularly in leisure.”