Fresh Off the Boat anchors in a new audience

Mr. and Mrs. Huang pose in front of their new Orlando home, with Eddie Huang photobombing in the background. Photo from eventbright.com

Mr. and Mrs. Huang pose in front of their new Orlando home, with Eddie Huang photobombing in the background. Photo from eventbright.com

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ABC aired a fresh new show on February 4. While the show features no relation to Will Smith or Bel Air, it tells a tale with just as much attitude as The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

Fresh Off the Boat follows the life of middle schooler Eddie Huang, whose Taiwanese family moves from Washington D.C. to Orlando, Florida to open a steak restaurant. The story centers around how his family struggles to adapt to their new surroundings. The story is set in 1995, and is loosely based off of a memoir written by chef Eddie Huang.

The main character Eddie loves rap and hip hop, which contrasts with his family’s strict and demanding lifestyle. An older version of himself narrates each episode, similar to ABC’s The Goldbergs.

The show takes its time to tell its stories, and keeps its audience watching to the end. As a comedy, the show lives off its jokes, and Fresh Off the Boat definitely has its moments. Most of the humor comes from misinformation or misinterpretations from the cast. I personally found the one-liners from the supporting and minor characters to be the best, especially Eddie’s younger brothers Evan and Emery.

Notably, Fresh Off the Boat set itself apart from other sitcoms with its main cast. The show became the first Asian-American family sitcom since Margaret Cho’s All American Girl. As an Asian-American myself, it is reassured to see others like me represented at all. Asian-Americans rarely appear as three-dimensional characters in entertainment.

The theme prevalent in the show involves staying true to yourself, no matter what other people think. It alludes to how Eddie Huang lived his life as an outlier in an all-white world. The show was written by Huang’s real-life experiences, and he stays faithful to how he was perceived, even down to the racial slurs.

Fresh Off the Boat isn’t perfect. The hip-hop and rap elements felt a tad overdone. They are present in the opening and could be unappealing to some viewers. However, these features can be easily overlooked.

At the end of the day, Fresh Off the Boat deserves a watch. The sitcom adds a new blend of humor diversity to ABC’s lineup and needs more attention.

Watch Fresh Off the Boat on Tuesdays at 7|8 pm on ABC. Five episodes have aired as of this review. Fresh Off the Boat is available to watch on Hulu, and can be purchased through Amazon Instant Video.

Sources:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2015/02/10/watching_fresh_off_the_boat_with_999_asian_americans.html

 

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