2.10.2015

Fresh Off The Boat Series Premiere Review (Ep.1 & 2)

I'm assuming if you are a reader of a blog like this, then you have probably heard of this show called Fresh Off The Boat. I won't divulge to deeply in regards to all the controversy surrounding the show (that may be a future post) but try to stay on topic of reviewing both episodes in the premiere.

Pilot (Episode 1):

"Eddie Huang's family moves from D.C. to Orlando when his father assumes control of a failing steakhouse, certain that he can turn around its fortunes. Jessica is confused by the rituals and habits of her new neighbors. Eddie finds it difficult to fit in at school, while Emery seems to be doing just fine."
So, this is what you would expect as far as the first episode should be. Setting up the story, characters, location, scenarios, etc. Its done in a manner that's not overwhelming which is good for the audience. Definitely appreciate the approach to showcasing a fish out of water-esque set up (ex: moving from D.C. to Orlando, being the minority at school, being the black sheep at home). The main character Eddie, played by Hudson Yang, is a very easy character to follow and root for. The writing definitely makes you want to cheer for him as he uses Hip-Hop (specifically the late B.I.G.) to not only bridge the gap between him and the white kids but to also be confident in expressing who he is. Randall Park, who plays Louis Huang, is the foundation that holds the family together alongside Jessica Huang, played by Constance Wu. Both were great choices who also bring life together. Jessica surprisingly has great chemistry with everyone from Eddie to the lady giving free samples at the grocery store.
My only complaints are Eddie's siblings Emery and Evan. They have their moments but I couldn't really see much distinction between them. I hope their characters are given a chance to develop. It also introduced the neighborhood group of rollerblading women (which I spent 15 mins trying to find a picture) which was a bit disappointing. This episode also tackles the racial slur, "chink" with the reaction that is justified through, a kick to the groin, pudding shoved in the face, and a list of obscenities that cannot be repeated because God is listening to quote Eddie's principal.

Overall rough but definitely enjoyable with enough potential to be given a fair chance. I give it, 4 out of 5 stars.

Home Sweet Home-School (Episode 2):

"When the boys all get high marks in school, Jessica tries to get them moved into gifted programs but the school doesn't have them. She then considers enrolling them in a Chinese Learning Center (CLC), but there are none in the area. Wanting to get Jessica and her incessant micromanaging away from the restaurant, Louis convinces her to home-school the kids."
This tackled differences in priorities between asian parents and white parents are distinguished from the beginning in this episode. It starts with the principal leading what I assume to be a PTA meeting of sorts explaining that there is a shady character giving drugs to children. At that point Jessica (Eddie's Mom) asks when report cards are due. The stark contrast is highlighted when Eddie's younger siblings are giving stickers instead of letter grades. What's also shown is a difference in mindset between Jessica and Louis (Eddie's Dad) in regards to their restaurant.
Long story short, the restaurant struggles and Louis treats people with kindness while Jessica is much more critical of patrons, expenses, etc. It brings in a homeschool CLC that emphasizes education where public school does not. Its an interesting dynamic that adds depth to the household and the overall show. This episode was nice in exploring a typical stereotype of asian culture while adding a humanizing value and reasoning to pushing book smarts on the kids. This episode also brings in a neighbor who is the same age as Eddie but who's father is not in the picture. It shows a family structure that is missing in american homes more and more. Not to go off into a tangent, this episode was good but I'm still waiting for Eddie's siblings to have some depth.

Overall, I give it 3 and a half out of 5 stars.

So this is my first review. Had some trouble with the wi-fi earlier so I didn't get to post this as early as I wanted but I hope this was informative. I am looking forward to seeing where this series goes but I also hope this series is around for a good while. Definitely worth a look, with two new episodes tonight on ABC.


Chrispy AKA Kon
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2 comments:

  1. How are you feeling about the show overall thus far? Like what kind of vibe do you get from it?

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  2. I feel like FOB is subversive when it needs to be and is less stereotypical than it is just funny and honest and showing something really missing from television. I've been following Randall Park for years (back when he was just a feature on Youtube) so I am happy to see him finally a regular on TV. He is breaking into the industry in ways Asians have often failed to do with the exception maybe of John Cho (he's still struggling though, imo). Park's not running away from roles that focus on his Asian-ness or tip-toeing around it, yet he isn't totally typecasting himself with shallow stereotypes. What's this? An Asian couple actually in love with each other, exchanging kisses/hugs? What? An Asian boy who gets all the girls? That's why I like this show honestly. It also doesn't make black people look horrible, which I feared would happen.

    This show to me has a feel like Everybody Hates Chris and I loved that show too.

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