Waymond Wang: A Necessity for Everyone, Everywhere

This article is a summary of the YouTube video ‘Everyone Everywhere Needs Waymond Wang (and Ke Huy Quan)’ by Pop Culture Detective

Written by: Recapz Bot

Written by: Recapz Bot

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“The video explores masculinity in ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once,’ challenging stereotypes and promoting actionable empathy.”

Key Insights

  • The video discusses the movie "Everything Everywhere All at Once" and its representation of masculinity.
  • The character of Wayman Wong is portrayed as an empathetic and kind beta male.
  • The filmmakers subvert the idea of alpha and beta males and challenge the stereotypes associated with them.
  • Wayman's character remains consistent throughout the film and does not go through a typical character arc.
  • Kindness is highlighted as a key characteristic of Wayman's masculinity, along with patience, communication, and empathy.
  • The movie juxtaposes Wayman with an aggressive and dominant version of himself, called Alpha Wayman.
  • Alpha Wayman is shown to be manipulative, violent, and controlling, while Original Wayman exhibits genuine empathy and kindness.
  • The film rejects the notion that violence can solve conflicts, promoting empathy as a means of resolution.
  • Wayman's Asian representation breaks stereotypes and offers a positive evolution for Asian lead characters in Hollywood.
  • The video concludes by emphasizing the importance of actionable empathy and how it can positively impact society.

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Transcript

Transcript format:

I walked into a movie theater to see everything everywhere all at once, expecting to see a genre-bending multiverse movie infused with interlocking layers of philosophical and cultural meaning. And I was not disappointed.

What I was not expecting, however, was to witness one of the most challenging and subversive representations of masculinity that I have ever seen in any genre. In order to explain what I mean, we’ll need to shift the focus away from the film’s protagonist, played by the incredible Michelle Yeoh, and over to the character of her husband, played by actor Kee Hui Kwan.

Kee became famous as a child actor in the 1980s for his roles as Short Round in The Temple of Doom and Data in The Goonies. Despite that early success, he couldn’t find many opportunities for a young Asian-American actor in Hollywood, so he eventually quit acting altogether. In his triumphant return to the big screen after nearly two decades, he has brought to life a truly extraordinary example of empathetic manhood.

If you were to only watch the first half of Everything Everywhere All at Once, the idea that Wayman Wong could be an avatar for positive masculinity would seem a little strange. When we first meet Wayman in his original incarnation, he appears to be sweet, almost childlike, but ultimately naive. A goofy, silly, bumbling father whose marriage is in the process of failing. He’s timid, conflict-averse, and perfectly content to let his wife run their business. These traits are often associated with a range of familiar, subordinate male archetypes in Hollywood media.

In interviews, directing duo Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, referred to collectively as Daniels, have said they wanted to turn a beta male character into a hero. We needed someone who was a convincingly sweet kind of beta male who you’d, you know, almost laugh at and dismiss.

That, in and of itself, isn’t unusual. Most movie heroes begin their journey as someone decidedly unsuper, who then grows in power over time. Wayman is different. What’s remarkable here is that the filmmakers managed to turn him into a hero without giving him his own character arc. He doesn’t gain any new powers, or skills, or learn to fight. All of the other characters evolve in transformative ways over the course of the film, as you’d expect, but Wayman doesn’t change. He is essentially the same character at the end of the movie that he was at the very beginning.

On a fundamental storytelling level, that shouldn’t work. Incredibly, the Daniels managed to make Wayman and his empathetic worldview the anchor point around which everything else in the movie ultimately bends. Before we explore how they pulled off that impressive narrative trick, it’s important to note that the entire concept of alpha and beta males, as it relates to human men, is pure pseudoscience nonsense. The very idea that animal behavior can be neatly mapped onto the complexities of human society is absurd. Still, the erroneous myth of alpha and beta men persists and is perpetuated in popular culture.

Who’s the alpha? You look at him, kid.

That’s not surprising. This is something I long ago came to peace with in my role as the beta male. So let’s talk very briefly about how terms like beta male are typically used, because I think that’s what the Daniels are attempting to subvert in the character of Wayman.

That’s him. In fiction, we expect this kind of character to be a pushover, a doormat, a man who lets other more dominant men walk all over him.

Which way are you going, long bottom? I have a question. My wife says I’m a pushover, but what if deep down inside I’m really just a nice guy? Hey, honey.

If there’s a wife involved, the guy usually falls into the old henpecked husband trope. Now hold your anchor loose of that chair and get back with the household chores. Wherein a long-suffering man submits to the demands of a controlling, overbearing wife.

Could you just not breathe?

This subordinate put-upon man is often a comedic figure, and he’s been around for as long as Hollywood itself. When men, like Wayman, are presented as too nice, too vulnerable, don’t even think about it or too accommodating, it’s framed as a significant obstacle to him being taken seriously as a real man. This media pattern has been especially common in stereotypical depictions of meek, often desexualized Asian men.

You know karate? No. Good.

Male characters who refuse to fight, or refuse to fight back, are nearly always mocked as weak, effeminate, or cowardly.

Do something, stand up for yourself. Hit him back. Link, hit him back. Where are you going? I’m going to assert my dominance face-to-face.

Of course, subordinate male characters only exist in relation to the equally fictional myth of the Alpha Man. In Everything, Everywhere, All at Once, our original Wayman is juxtaposed with another version of himself from another universe.

I told you to stay low and out of sight. I’m not your husband, and he’s not the one you know. I’m another version of him from another life path, another universe. This is where I am from.

I’m not your husband. I

This article is a summary of the YouTube video ‘Everyone Everywhere Needs Waymond Wang (and Ke Huy Quan)’ by Pop Culture Detective