Fresh Off the Boat

Fresh Off the Boat

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I was fully prepared to like this show, as I like the idea of parlaying the embarrassment of childhood into entertainment, not to mention I too grew up in Orlando, Florida. I thought it would be nice to see a show that didn’t feel the need to be politically correct but rather use stereotypes and conventions to achieve a unique flavor of humor. Unfortunately, although this does feature the inevitable culture clash of a Taiwanese family ruthlessly pursuing their idea of the American Dream, it’s far more likely to cause merely a modest titter here and there rather than a genuine belly laugh. I think perhaps it’s trying too hard, with all the “humor” defined in terms of racial epithets and sweeping generalizations, with the result being relentlessly negative. The mother is a bit of a shrew and killjoy, proud when her son turns out to be lactose intolerant because as she says, it means his body is rejecting white culture. The oldest boy tells her, “All you care about is money.”

The browbeaten father fares no better. How sad when a dad tells his son he loves him and these are the kid’s thoughts on the event. “We loved each other. We just didn’t say it. We showed our love through criticism and micromanagement. So if you said “love you”, you were probably hiding something.” The entire effect of the show is very wearing, with monotonously overt racism evidently meant to be funny but failing miserably. Such a concept is possible, as evidenced by the show Sullivan & Son (which I have also reviewed on this site), but the difference is at Sullivan’s bar, absolutely everyone is skewered, which equalizes the issue and is, for lack of a better word, fair in dishing out stereotype-based humor. Instead of the irreverent comedy this show promised to be, it’s fatiguing to watch and life is too short to waste time with TV shows that feel more like a chore than entertainment. The world needs less of a focus on race, not more. – BETHANY

For more on this disappointing show, visit the Internet Movie Database

Constance Wu as mother Jessica Huang.

The décor in this restaurant is beyond atrocious!


Photos courtesy of Fierce Baby Productions, The Detective Agency, 20th Century Fox Television and ABC


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