Monday Musings – Fresh off the Boat
I know I’m a little late jumping on the bandwagon, but for today’s Monday Musings, I will be talking about the new comedy series on ABC called “Fresh off the Boat,” which premiered on Wednesday, February 4.
I heard about the existence of an Asian-American sitcom possibly happening in September of 2014. And usually what follows after one talks about “Fresh off the Boat” is the fact that it is the first network sitcom about an Asian American family since Margaret Cho’s short lived “All-American Girl” premiered two decades ago. And I get it, this was HUGE and I mean HUGE (Although the Margaret Cho comment did get kind of repetitive after a while)! Asian Americans rarely get screen time when it comes to TV shows (or movies for that matter). Recently, the only actors/actresses that play significant roles on TV are Lucy Liu in “Elementary” and John Cho in “Selfie” (which was a great show and didn’t deserve to be cancelled before they at least finished airing season 1). So when I heard about this show, I almost died. I mean, there was a show about families out there for everyone else (The Hecks, the Dunpheys, the Johnsons, etc.); it was time they made one about an Asian American family. Coupled with the fact that I am pretty much the same age as Eddie Huang, I knew that I would be able to relate to at least 99% of the things he went through growing up in Florida. I was totally stoked to watch the show. In fact I mentioned the show to everyone, and I mean EVERYONE!!! I couldn’t wait until February to see what the show had in store.
Trailers, billboards and commercials starting airing for the show in early January. Watching the trailers just made the show that much more of a reality to me. I loved everything they mentioned in the trailers.
Moving from somewhere you are familiar with to somewhere you know nothing about – Check (I moved from Taiwan to America. That’s an even bigger change than from D.C. to Florida.)
Asian friends of mine acting and dressing “white” just to fit in – Check
Teachers not being able to pronounce your name correctly – CHECK
Classmates making fun of my delicious lunches and snacks – MAJORLY CHECK (Hey, roasted seaweed is delicious!)
This made me want to watch the series even more. Finally a show I could relate to!
So of course on Wednesday, February 4, I made sure I tuned in for the first two episodes of “Fresh off the Boat,” and honestly, I was a little disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, the show was still good, but maybe it’s because I had such high expectations and I felt the show let me down a little.
I think one of the biggest reasons I was left slightly disappointed after watching the first two episodes is because I honestly felt like I had watched both episodes before they aired. Many of the funniest jokes had already aired during the trailers, so watching the show just felt like watching an extended version of the trailers.
I am also slightly worried at how the younger generation is going to relate to the show. Due to the fact that I grew up in the same generation as Eddie Huang and his memoirs, I relate to the show just fine. However, my students told me in class the next day that they watched the show, and when I asked them how they felt about it, they seemed ambivalent about it. Hopefully, the ratings of the show will still be high enough.
The last reason I didn’t really the show was because of Randall Park, or rather the character he plays. Now, I never actually read Eddie’s memoirs “Fresh off the Boat,” so I don’t know how close the show actually mimics his childhood. However, I did feel like Louis Huang (played by Randall Park) was the weaker character in the show and at times overshadowed by Hudson Yang (who plays the young Eddie Huang) and Constance Wu (who plays Jessica Huang). His role on the show doesn’t really have the same impact as his son or his wife. I also find it hard to relate to an Asian father figure that I feel is such a pushover.
I am seriously hoping and rooting for this show though. Being an Asian American, I completely understand the importance of this show doing well and finally breaking down some barriers. However, I am also looking forward to some improvement to make the series even better.