In the second season of Kung Fu, Ryan (Jon Prasida) goes through a lot. The fresh-out-of-med-school youngest Shen sibling was healing from the break-up with Joe (Bradley Gibson) from the end of season 1, but finds love with Sebastian (JB Tadena), the new head chef of Harmony Dumplings.
Their relationship doesn’t start off great, with secrets being kept between the two, but it eventually works out — after Ryan gets shot by Russell Tan (Kee Chan), of course. Priorities changed between Ryan and Sebastian and they realized their love for each other.
“Anyone sort of going through such a traumatic and life-changing experience is going to rethink their situation,” said Prasida to The Nerds of Color. “But, definitely with Ryan, it just comes down to a sense of gratitude. For Ryan, it was just being, ‘I need to cherish what is here and what I have.’ One of the first things that he wakes up to is his family and Sebastian — those are the most important things to him, as well as his community.”
Love isn’t the only thing Ryan goes through this season, he’s an active part of the “Shooby” gang and goes on missions with his superhero sister Nicky (Olivia Liang). Although Ryan doesn’t get to fight at all this season, he does utilize his skills as a doctor and protector. Still, Prasida says to not count Ryan out in the fight, “We’re not ruling out the possibility that he could be a part of the whole ‘golden child’ realm sort of deal.”
Prasida, who is in Vancouver preparing for season 3, does have a lot to say about the season finale and what he hopes to see for Ryan’s future with Sebastian and his place in the Shooby gang. He also gives some juicy input on Nicky’s relationships next season.
Check out our conversation below:
Honestly, being shot in that type of situation will cause some type of PTSD for a person. They nearly died and also its gun violence. It’s traumatizing. Will we see the effects of that for Ryan? Or do you plan on approaching that coming forward with future stories in mind?
That’s a really good question. He went from having a gunshot [wound] to going through an earthquake. I would say that Ryan is quite a strong individual. So he deals with that quite well because he bounces back in the next episode [after being shot]. In episode 11, he’s already like, “hey, what’s next? Like, how do we find Mia?” That was immediately on his mind. It wasn’t necessarily about himself. I’m not sure if that might be explored, [but] it would make sense because there’s a whole time where Ryan is not thinking about himself and, maybe when he has some time to himself, he will realize “whoa, that was a huge thing to go through.” Yeah, we’ll see what the writers come up with. They’re geniuses. I don’t know how I wouldn’t be able to think of anything that would satisfy that situation. I’m sure we’ll see something.
Ryan’s relationship with Sebastian is great. We get to see two Asian men fall in love. Do you feel though it may be too soon and they really don’t know each other? Do you personally feel like they’re moving too fast?
It depends. It really depends because every relationship is different. With Ryan and Sebastian, it may feel soon to the viewers, but the connection that they have is so real. Why wouldn’t you jump into that relationship? You know, heart out and hearts on the sleeve and being vulnerable. They’ve done that throughout season two. They’re immediately into each other. Personally, I don’t think it is too soon for them. They just have a connection with each other. Whilst it might have been not very smooth in the beginning, by the end of it, there’s just a deep love and we get to see that love happen.
Ryan was keeping Sebastian and his relationship a secret from everyone because Seb worked for Harmony Dumplings — we also see Seb not tell Ryan everything about his past until he was confronted with it in the alley. What makes Ryan so sure Sebastian is the one? Or someone he does want to commit to? Are they going to be okay when things get boring?
I can tell you the initial reason why Ryan is so into Sebastian. [Sebastian] is a man of the world. This guy has traveled everywhere — cooking in all sorts of scenarios. Ryan has been in the same spot for a while, so there’s this unknownness and this adventure and excitement about Sebastian. With that said, love prevails all and they just have a deep love for each other [that] we see towards the end. And, the question of what happens when it gets boring, that is something that we’ve yet to see, but I’m sure Nicky and her adventures will make things quite exciting. I’m very excited to see where Ryan and Sebastian’s relationship ends up.
Everyone knows I love SHIPS on this show. Everyone has begun this weird shipping obsession over Sebastian and Ryan’s mother Mei-Li. How do you feel about everyone talking about this?
First of all, I don’t use the word everyone. It’s Olivia! Olivia is pushing this campaign for Sebastian and Mei-Li. Whilst I do see that they do have a great connection with each other, it’s weird. It’s weird to talk about in that manner. It’s a very wholesome relationship they have for each other. Don’t get me wrong, I love to see the way they connected through the Melody Dumplings scenario and, in the final episode, they had each other’s back. That is so beautiful and lovely to see. But, no, I’m not a part of the “shipping” business — that’s Olivia’s department. That’s a bit strange for my liking. I’m biased because I love Ryan [and Sebastian].
I feel like Ryan and Althea may feel like they’re missing out on the whole “Warrior” thing. Being a Warrior and Guardian is passed down to many families, but seemed to have skipped Althea and Ryan, and just made Nicky the “it” child. Many families tend to wonder, “what about me? Where is my place in all of this?” It’s hard when you have a sibling who is “the chosen one” and being the hero all the time. Is there ever a moment for Ryan that you feel that he wants in on this “chosen” power?
No, not at all. Ryan is on his own journey. They’re doing their own thing. I don’t think they’ve ever — okay, well, at the start of season one, there is this sense that Ryan had a few snarky remarks when Nicky comes back. She comes back and [is immediately] embraced. That was his own [feeling] of wanting acceptance [and] validation from his parents [about] who he is and then to see Nicky come and just swoop in and everyone’s okay with it. I use the word jealousy loosely, but that is as far as it goes in that realm. But now, they’re on their own journeys and they’re happy with who they are and as a team. The whole ‘golden child’ thing is celebrated. Yeah, Nicky, let’s go! We’re here to help. They also know that Nicky would have their back whenever something would go down as well.
Well, in the beginning of the second season, he’s learning to fight. He’s trying to fight and joins in on their escapades. Does Ryan want to fight? Does he want to be part of that? Would you like him to be part of that?
I’m hearing you want to see Ryan fight someone. [laughs] I’m personally down for that. As far as what his journey is and what it needs, I’m not quite sure. We do work quite closely with the stunt team and they’re really cool with strange requests like “yo, can you teach me how to kick?” Even though that’s not in Ryan’s realm at all, we did see him train with Nicky. Let me pick up some of the skills! He has this affinity for comics and heroes, so why wouldn’t you want to train with a hero? I’m not sure what Ryan’s journey looks like. I’ve been given no information on season three. I’d love to divulge some stuff and give you the goods, but I am excited just to see where his journey goes. We’re not ruling out the possibility that he could be a part of the whole ‘golden child’ realm sort of deal. But, for the time being, as far as I know, that is not the case.
I’m going to get to Ryan and his parents’ situation. I know last season, we saw his parents embrace him and his sexuality. But, if we think about reality and having first-generation Asian parents, it’s hard for them to fully accept their child’s lifestyle. They may be accepting, but there is always going to be that internal bias. Do you feel like there is that internal conflict brewing in Ryan’s parents — even though they are accepting, it’s still so difficult in reality?
There will always be elements of Asian parents. In regards to Ryan and the acceptance from his parents, they’ve embraced him fully ever since season 1, episode 8, where Jin and Ryan have that conversation. Then, afterwards, when Joe (Bradley Gibson) is introduced to Mei-Li, she comments ‘why don’t you wear a blazer.’ From that moment on, I believe they’ve accepted him for who he is in terms of his sexuality. To see more of the challenges of that would be kind of cool. But, as far as the Shen family goes, the parents are very nice. Jin is the nicest father ever. Mei-Li is headstrong, but as far as the love for their children and the acceptance of that. they’re good. They’re role models for other parents out there who are like ‘what’s my child like?’ That’s my hope when people watch the show. ‘Is that what my child is going through?’ Okay, this is how the parents deal with it. They should be role models and lighthouses, if you will, for other parents to see and to emulate from.
The Shooby gang goes through so many undercover ops. Is there any undercover situation that you’d like Ryan to be in? Maybe go as an Aussie so you could use your natural accent? I’ve asked Gavin Stenhouse this as well since he is British.
That would be cool if it served the story and made sense — for sure! Absolutely. Sign me up. Let’s do it. I don’t know. Maybe there could be a situation where that would occur where Evan and Ryan could go as British/Australian people in that scenario. I’m not really sure but that would be a lot of fun to do. Olivia loves doing accents. She loves trying to do an Australian one — not very well. I pat her on the back each time. Shannon [Dang] also loves doing the British accent. She whips up her best Hermione impression every second. So yeah, if there’s a situation or scenario where we just all adopt different accents all of a sudden, that’d be a lot of fun to film. I’d love to see it for sure.
Obviously, you don’t know much about next season, but is there something you’d like the series to touch on for Ryan? It doesn’t have to be a Sebastian thing either.
I love everything [the writers] do. As I’ve said before, what they come up with is way better than anything that I [would be] able to come up with. So I’m in it for the ride to see where Ryan’s journey is. As far as anything that I would like to see personally, I could say the fighting aspect but, at the same time, I’m very happy with Ryan not having that as a crutch. Maybe more action [and adventure] scenarios. We saw that in season 2 and have to have a bit more than the season 3 would make me very happy.
I know last time I spoke to you, you said he’s maybe a sneakerhead. Would you like to see that for him still?
I can’t believe I forgot [that]. Yeah! So, all of [Ryan’s] sneakers were picked out by me. It’d be nice to touch on that as well. That’s a great point. Thank you for thinking of that. That’d be amazing. We saw a little bit of that in the King Kwong episode when Nicky and Althea went to the King Kwong headquarters. I would personally love that.
Since it is Pride Month, Ryan and Sebastian are a celebrated gay Asian couple. San Francisco is known, not only for Chinatown, but for the LGBTQ+ scene in the Castro. Is there any part that you’d like Ryan to be part of and really embrace his LGBTQ+ community next season?
I’d love to see how he would fare in that scenario. San Fran is known for its great LGBTQ+ community and it’d be nice to see some of that or at least a reference of that in the show. Because they live in San Fran, I would love to touch on that topic and to play that out and see how that goes.
Lastly, since the season finale aired and we see your character’s sister Nicky and Henry break up. Are you rooting for them to get back together? Are you waiting for Nicky to have a “ho” stage? I mean, Ryan had TWO “ho” stages. What are you hoping for your sister?
[laughs] “Ho” stage! Because you said that, [I want] that! But, really, I’d love to see a love triangle. If Henry goes off on his adventures and some other person comes along and piques her interest – and then Henry comes back — I don’t know. I’m not sure. But, I’d love a triangle — a challenge for her to deal with. I think we did see a bit of that in season 1 with Evan and Henry, but I’d love a third — if not a fourth — character to appear.
I mean, Ryan got two “ho” stages. It’s not fair that Nicky does have one.
Yeah! Let’s have a “ho” stage! “Ho” stages for everyone!