Because the show is a musical, Josh also has different musical numbers that occur in Rebecca’s imagination. In season one, episode three, Rebecca hosts a party just for Josh to come. In his number (below), Josh is seen as four members of a boy band vying for Rebecca’s heart. All of the songs from the show parody song genres with this one being a play on the various boy bands of the 90s who were considered heartthrobs to be pined over. This is interesting because the most notable ones are Nsync and the Backstreet Boys who had all white members.
Though it isn’t outright stated that Josh is Filipino-American until the fifth episode, it is part of his identity and something he alludes back to throughout the season. Having this sort of Filipino representation in mainstream media is already an exciting feat for Asian America. Past onscreen stories of Asian America were told in the form of “yellowface” where white actors would portray Asian characters. In more modern media, this can be seen in another form called “whitewashing.” Roles for Asian Americans are just not easily available to Asian American actors, even if the role is made for them. The history of Filipino immigration to mainland America began after the US annexation of the Philippines in the 1920s, immigrating by the tens of thousands to satisfy the labor deficit as well as to fulfill their American dreams of riches and prosperity in America.
How Josh Chan relates to this history requires delving into the racial mistreatment of Filipino men who immigrated to America. Filipinos were seen as threats to white labor and to the American economy, but they were also seen as threats to “white racial purity”(Takaki 329), tainting the innocence of and taking advantage of white women. These two anti-Filipino sentiments led to hate and violence afflicted on immigrants. The idea of being sexual threats to white men stemmed from the success Filipino men found with white women, which was different from previous Asian immigrant relationships. The Watsonville Riots involved 400 white men attacking a Filipino dance hall after an interracial marriage between a Filipino man and a white woman was announced in the papers leaving Filipinos beaten and one shot dead (Takaki 328). Anti-miscegenation laws eventually outlawed interracial marriage, but Filipinos were also afraid of being in public with their white love interests. The white women involved would also fear discrimination as well as losing their US citizenship.