Fresh Off the Boat: Yay or Nay?

February 19, 2015 

Happy Chinese New Year! In honor of the New Year, I thought it’d be fitting to do a review on Fresh Off the Boat, the first American sitcom to revolve around an Asian-American family.

So, confession—I’ve only seen the pilot episode, but I also haven’t read much about it in terms of critics or reviews. As an Asian-American myself, I was super psyched to learn that ABC was going to be putting a new kind of sitcom in their line-up—and one that I can really relate to. I mean, can we just mention for a sec how much television has progressed lately? Like how John Cho, a Korean-American, was cast in a lead protagonist role in the short-lived Selfie series? This may not be a big deal to some, but it’s a big deal to me. We’re starting to see more Asian-Americans in mainstream media and it’s… exciting. In a way, I start seeing myself in them and I find myself thinking “Well, if they can do it, then that means I have I chance too!” Not that I’m going to be starring in a television series or anything, but I can start to worry less about being a minority or what some people might call “exotic.”

Anyway, what did I think about the pilot?

I actually really liked it! To be honest, I did not know who the heck Eddie Huang was, let alone what his book was about. All I knew was that the show would be based on his book and real life experiences of growing up in Orlando during the 1990s. I found the episode to be charming and crazily accurate to parts of my own childhood. The mom who says everything is too expensive? Accurate. The grandma that can’t speak English? Accurate. The belief that a Caucasian host would bring in more customers to their restaurant? SO ACCURATE. Even down to the Asian-looking dinnerware and utensils!

"Chinese Bowls" Via DreamsTime
Good Lord, am I watching my life right now?! I was, however, lucky enough to be raised in Los Angeles, where I feel like there was a larger Asian population and I did not experience many racial jokes from children at school. Overall, this series gets a thumbs-up. The actors playing the kids are fantastic and I think it’s got a little something for everyone. I definitely had doubts going into this show, mostly because a lot of shows I’ve been watching have been cancelled recently (i.e. Selfie) and I wasn’t sure how an Asian-American family would translate across a wider audience. However, this is a big step and I can’t wait to watch more!



Hilda Tam

Chixelate author.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this review! I finally got a chance to watch a couple episodes, and I think the pilot was good, but not great. I wasn't laughing out loud and I think it's hard to write jokes outside of stereotypes. I definitely agree with you that growing up in Los Angeles (or Southern California for that matter) is definitely different from growing up in Orlando. So the show is relatable to me, but some of it is still pretty foreign. I'm willing to give it a chance this season and I'm hoping for great things!