Fresh Off the Boat, Episode 3

So Tuesday’s episodes are a good sign that the show is starting to find its stride. I only have time to write a quick blog post on Episode 3. I’ll get to Ep: 4 later this week.

Episode 3 placed the Huang’s in the middle of white Nascar culture and did a good job of emphasizing the quirkiness of the FOtB experience. It was a decent episode to hopefully hook non-Asian viewers to the show. Caucasian’s could get a laugh at the white middle america stereotype, complete with gossip, backstabbing, and Stephen King. And the writers used the old “daydream interrupted by parents” device to increase universal comedic value. So, this episode helped alleviate my previous concerns about the series leaning too heavily on Asian American culture jokes.

What FOtB got right in Ep:3
1. Capri-Sun Waster
Jessica yells at Eddie to stop wasting Capri-sun because it’s expensive. Oh how I loved Capri-sun growing up, but because it was so expensive I’d also make sure to suck the thing until the bag was flat as a pancake. Mom and Dad hated us leaving half-full juice boxes around, to do so was criminal.

2. Honey wins Jessica’s heart by eating her food.
The best way to win over a Chinese person is to enjoy their food and try and speak their language. That’s if you are any non-Asian ethnicity. If you’re Asian, to be legit you have to cook food better than the best Chinese restaurant in town, using ingredients bought from Ralph’s.

3. Jessica cuts equally sized cake pieces for communism
I have no idea why we cut food into equally sized pieces, but we do. The communism joke by the neighborhood ladies takes the cake though (yuk yuk), because it’s an in joke for Chinese viewers. See, the Huang’s are Taiwanese, and with the history between Taiwan and mainland China, Jessica certainly is not a communism supporter. That’s why she gives a death stare, and then covers it up by saying “I’m just cutting cake”. And every non-Chinese viewer would totally miss it. I never ever thought I’d watch a network television show that had an inside joke for Chinese viewers. This is landmark folks.

4. Visors
Notice how Jessica is the only person wearing a visor?  Neither did I, until just now.  And then I was like “Holy Crap all my aunts wore visors growing up! Uh, I wore visors growing up. Wait, no one else non-Asian did!”

5. Karaoke
Yes, Asians love karaoke and it’s serious business, although I don’t know if most of them sing as well as Jessica does in the show. I Will Always Love You is like the perfect song for Chinese singers, because it has lots of long drawn out “oohs”. The longer the vowel, the more powerful the karaoke rush.

What FOtB got wrong in Ep:3
1. Jessica’s misses her friends in DC (cut to scene of them playing cards).
My guess is that this originally was supposed to be a bunch of Chinese women yelling over a mahjohng table, but that Network Execs were like “American’s don’t know what Mahjohng is. Make it poker!”

2. Honey likes Tofu.
And not only that, she likes Stinky Tofu. That requires suspensions of disbelief on the level of a Michael Bay Transformer’s movie. Well, I guess it’s possible that Jessica made a different type of tofu for Honey to eat at their Stephen King movie watching party. Nah, I’m just rationalizing because the show is growing on me.

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