A Stereotypical Boston Bro Takes On Shanghai

Donnie the Townie, a web series, shows what happens when a townie heads to Shanghai.


With China now sending record numbers of visitors to the Boston area, most of us have at least some experience observing their large tour groups navigate our often confusing culture. As I wrote in this month’s magazine, city businesses are looking at how best to cater to a community that offers a lot of opportunity for money making.

But how does this work in reverse? For a send-up of what it might be like to see a stereotypical Boston bro take on Shanghai, there’s “Donnie the Townie,” who has been doing a weekly series on his hijinks in China since December. In each episode, Donnie tries out a new occupation, which he usually performs while wearing some sort of local sports jersey and drinking heavily.

He is at least mildly funny, and he’s received some half-amused, half-confused coverage on blogs like Shanghaiist (the Gothamist outlet over there.)

But take it from another local who’s spent some time over there: this is not how the expats are typically conducting themselves nor would it be all that well received. On roads less traveled, a westerner might attract more than a few curious stares, but in an internationally trafficked city like Shanghai, you probably won’t receive much notice at all (provided you aren’t riding a motorcycle in a Donald Duck suit. But then, where wouldn’t you turn heads for doing that?) At least, we hope, for dignity’s sake, Boston tourists don’t attract this much notice, or at least, not because they’ve poured beer into everyone’s kung pao chicken. [Via Boston Reddit]