Season 2 Episode 4

The Wish Child

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Oct 20, 1986 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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out of 10
69 votes
  • Offensive Stereotyping

    While the storyline is generally solid, and there's a good variety of MacGyverisms, the presentation of the Chinese characters here is horribly stereotypical. I'm not one to talk about political correctness, but every character here is either presented as superstitious (Dr. Wei, Lee, pointless banker character who accompanies Wei to the initial test), a crook (Ston, Ston's gang, Lee, Lee's thugs), semi-crooked but likeable (Paul, Sam), or oblivious (Lisa, who lets her 14-year-old brother roam the streets).

    Could anyone imagine, say, the producers doing an episode where a community of white people all embraced the superstition of a "Wish Child"? Pete Thornton becoming obsessed with the ancient anti-glucoma Boar Statue of Northern Ireland? Or any of the show's inevitable rich white dudes trying to find immortality through the supernatural? But here it's stated that practically everyone in Chinatown believes the superstition.

    And the show presents Japanese actor George Takei as a Chinese researcher. Guess they'd figure no one would know the difference: "they" all look the same, right? :( Yes, Hollywood often did the same thing, but the much-vaunted social consciousness of the series even in its second season leads one to expect more from them. Maybe they were just happy to get a Star Trek actor on the show?

    The story also sets off a payoff that Paul really is the Wish Child (the handprint, the bust), but never finishes it. And even if the question is left unanswered, so what? It's not like Paul's really a better person or anything.

    Also as noted, there's a whole lot of corridor-walking going on. Lee discusses the Wish Child myth with Wei, Sam tells MacGyver, Wei tells MacGyver: we get the same info spoon-fed us three times, for Pete's sake.

    So generally I've got to rate this one pretty low. Later episodes dealing with the Chinese underground revolution would portray at least some of that nation's members in a more positive light. You don't have to be "politically correct" to realize this episode isn't the one to look for positive portrayals of the Asian community.
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