In case you live in a box and haven’t noticed, something amazing is happening to prime time TV: Diversity.
Fresh Off The Boat, a sitcom based on the early life of Eddie Huang, is the first and ONLY show to feature and revolve around an Asian family, in roughly 20 years of network television. Now this is just a step, but a big step in the right direction none the less.
We’ve all rolled our eyes a few times as Hollywood’s pathetic attempts at “diversifying” it’s characters, which when written by a bunch of all-white old guys, who probably can’t locate Taiwan on a map, Fresh Off The Boat is more like a breath of Fresh air. Finally we get a genuine production created by someone who’s actually lived outside of Hollywood’s typical box.
The best news is, you don’t even have to be Asian to appreciate Fresh Off The Boat, though there are some people out there who might laugh a little harder at the reality of a “success perm,” (yes, they are very real and still a trend in many Asian communities) but with a humor and a style similar to The Fresh Prince or Everyone Hates Chris, FOTB is already a huge hit.
I’ll admit, I am a little confused what the target age demographic for FOTB is. With the main character being a middle-schooler, and it being set in the early 90’s (a time that current middle-schoolers know nothing about) the show seems to cater to Gen Y more than the youngsters of today, however can still be enjoyed by a variety of ages.
Still not sure what all the hype is about? Well, besides being fairly groundbreaking and pretty hilarious, FOTB is a comical look at very real situation that many people deal with on a regular basis: Adjusting to a new culture.
When young Eddie’s family decides to move to Orlando, Florida from Washington D.C. to open up a Western-Style Steak House, and accomplish the American dream, they find their new community less-than-welcoming. It doesn’t matter what your race or background is, moving to a new town can be tough no matter who you are or where you came from.
And let’s give it up for Jessica Huang, (Played by Constance Wu) who is probably one of my favorite female TV characters at the moment for being a blunt, cynical, bad-ass and a horror nerd – Girl after my own heart right there.
I’ll admit the beginning of the season started off a little slow, but mid season the show seemed to hit it’s stride, with continually well-rated episodes as far as Rotten Tomatoes is concerned. I’ll also admit I had no idea who Eddie Huang was before watching the show, but that also didn’t really matter, thanks Eddie for putting this together and helping get Hollywood’s head out of it’s own nether regions. Now my future half-fu kid can hopefully turn on the TV and see someone that looks like him or her and isn’t the butt of all the Asian jokes- oh wait… Maybe we should just watch the Walking Dead for that…
Anyway if you haven’t seen it, give it a try, and if you have, we can collectively celebrate its continuation into a second season, with hopefully many more to come!
This article was written by Alethea Cho, a writer for dusk magazine.