The ABC has recently screened Michael Palin’s travel program “Brazil” but unfortunately, the show has been much more about the expected sex, samba, and soccer stereotypes than the complexities of the country.
This is the case even when the images he showed and his interviewees themselves hinted at the latter. Brazilians in these shows are always brown, never Asian (Brazil is the home of the largest Japanese community outside Japan, comprising around 1.5 million people), or blonde (the descendants of Germans, Polish, Jewish and other Eastern Europeans who started to settle Brazil in the 19th century), or just regular folks going about their daily business.
Dr. Cristina Rocha is Senior Lecturer at University of Western Sydney. She points out the way that Michael Palin's series pretty much goes back to cliches of Native Americans and hyper-sexualised Cariocas, even though it covers some interesting ground (I thought the material on new efforts at policing and infrastructure in Rio's favelas was great, but the segement on Salvador was old hat). I found myself losing interest in it, especially because there was zero discussion of the really remarkable political policies (with some outbursts of old-fashioned corruption) that are helping to bring some significant change to the country.