Ronny Chieng: International Student – Episode 6: Performance Enhancement
If you were hoping for a grand finale on Ronny Chieng: International Student, or a celebration of international students and multiculturalism in Australia, you might be disappointed.
The last episode of the show is about how Ronny and his friends cope with the final exams as “hypercompetitive stressed out” law students, while paying homage to the rest of show with flashbacks from each and every episode of International Student.
As Professor Dale threatens his law students that “even God would fail” the final open-book exam, Wei Jun agrees to lend Ronny her whole semester notes on the condition that he would not share them with anyone else.
At the coffee shop, Asher tries to convince Ronny to form a study group, while Craig suggests that using over-the-counter cold and flu tablets could temporarily boost his performance for the exam.
Craig gives Ronny the rest of his pills, then goes with Elvin to the pharmacy to get some more, only to find out that there is none left. Why? Other than its high demand among students during exam time, cold and flu tablets are also extremely popular among drug dealers because they can extract meth from the pills.
Meanwhile, under the effect of the drug, Ronny is too excited with his “secret weapons” that after printing out Wei Jun’s notes, he forgets to collect the flash drive from the library’s computer. Daniel conveniently fetches the drive, duplicates Wei Jun’s note and shares it to the whole law faculty.
The rest of the episode is about Ronny trying to “balance out the universe” by planting errors into the notes and re-distributing them as version 2.0, while Elvin and Craig buy some meth from the drug dealers in an attempt to revert them back into cold and flu tablets.
With a story about using meth in college, it appears the writers themselves may perhaps have been high themselves while writing the screenplay because it’s all messed up. This story attempts to show the ugly side of Australian college life, yet the execution is such a turn-off that I barely laughed throughout the whole episode.
In general, the team behind Ronny Chieng: International Student is clearly aware of cultural stereotypes in Australia and is not afraid of playing with those stereotypes. We as the audience know that not all Asian students are score-driven and that not not all American students are sex-driven (as portrayed in the show), yet we are curious to see how these stereotypes would play out when put together in the same environment (in this case, the fictional Law faculty of Melbourne University).
However, as a Vietnamese person, I cannot connect with the Vietnamese student character in International Student (what’s his name again?). All he does is “f— this, f— that” and lament about the so-called “American colonisation”.
But as Chieng once admitted in an interview, “Interesting stories are niche stories. I think the nicheness of the story and the characters only increases the interest. Like Breaking Bad — who can relate to being a chemistry teacher who makes meth? And, no, I’m not comparing International Student to Breaking Bad.”