Fresh Off The Boat ends at Season 6
Fresh Off The Boat is set in 1995 and based loosely on the life of celebrity chef, Eddie Huang. In the show, Eddie’s fictional family moves from Chinatown in Washington DC to a mostly white neighbourhood in Florida so that his father can pursue his dream of opening a steakhouse. Eddie’s family looks like mine and talks like mine, which makes it so sentimental for me! Yesterday marks the end of the show and I didn’t even feel this sad after watching To All The Boys: P.S I Still Love You.
“Fresh Off The Boat” Huangs
Louis Huang (played by Randall Park) is a loving husband and father who works hard to run his steak restaurant. Louis’ character is silly and emotionally-sensitive. Throughout the series, you can see that his ideas are often quite creative especially when it comes to convincing the lady boss of Huang family.
Jessica Huang (as played by Constance Wu) is the perfect stereotype of the Asian mother, conveying the Tiger Mom personality and Chinese superstitions. Jessica bosses around her loved ones from Louis to the kids, her best friend Honey, and even the school employees!
Eddie Huang (as played by Hudson Yang) is an adorable 12-year-old who really knows how to deliver his lines. Fresh Off the Boat originally started with Eddie Huang as the main character until his siblings and relatives gradually start taking over more screen time. He begins his new life in Orlando and attempts to embrace his passion for hip hop. Watch him face his bullies and juggle friendships while keeping up with his crazy mother.
Emery Huang’s character (as played by Forest Wheeler) was solid for a few seasons, but his role on the show saw him fall behind of his brothers. There is nothing overly exciting or interesting about Emery because of his ‘good luck’. Things naturally work out for him like fitting in with friends, acing his studies, and gaining love interests. It’s okay, Emery! I love the contrast between you and your brothers.
Evan Huang (as played by Ian Chen) is the cutest character in the entire series. Every sitcom needs at least one sibling in the family to provide a wackier side of the comedy. Evan’s character shines the most when put into uncomfortable yet hilarious situations.
Jenny Huang (as played by Lucille Soong) is Louis’s mother. She clearly understands English but only speaks in Mandarin. So stubborn just like every Asian grandparent! However, unlike most Asian grandparents, she rarely interferes with family affairs. She just sits back and occassionally makes sarcastic comments while secretly indulging a box of popcorn.
3 reasons you should watch Fresh Off The Boat!
1. Whoever did the casting for the kids should get an award
Usually when it comes to shows that feature kids, I will doubt their acting skills. However, all the kids in Fresh Off The Boat did a great job!
The show doesn’t only revolve around Eddie, Emery, and Evan, but also Eddie’s friends at school. The development of the show’s humour is based on the kids being, well, kids. While they may say some very adult-level-insightful things at times, they never come off as kids acting like adults. Because if they did, I would have stopped watching at episode 1 of Season 1.
2. Constance Wu, who plays their mother, is perhaps the breakout star of the show
I love Jessica Huang the most! In the first season, much like Eddie, Jessica does not want to move to Orlando because she fears that moving to an all-white neighbourhood will cause her to lose her Chinese roots and fail to provide her kids with the upbringing she thinks they need.
When she is finally settled in Orlando, she can’t help but feel an urge to excel at whatever the other mothers in the neighbourhood are doing. I always find myself cheering for Jessica because she fights for things that she believes in. Watching her take a break from handling the steak restaurant’s finances or hanging out with her only friend feels rewarding even for myself.
3. Jessica Huang’s parenting techniques
If there is anything that describes Jessica Huang’s parenting style, it’s called tough love. Everyone in the family has some level of fear towards Jessica due to her Tiger Mother parenting style. She believes her kids should not be “soft and sensitive” like the father. This means she practices brutal honesty that only Evan can swallow, enforces strict house rules like never using the dishwasher even if you have one, and not letting mistakes go unpunished (something Eddie can testify to).
While it can seem harsh at times, there is no doubt that all of this comes from a place of love for her children and wanting them to become the best version of themselves.
Jessica is the definition of a Tiger Mother but she knows when it’s important to have her kids’ backs. There are moments where we get to see her turn into a mama bear; protecting her kids from bullies, helping them through heartbreaks, and cheering them on whenever they need support.
She makes sure that her children never forget where they come from and what their culture is while growing up in a community of completely different cultures.
Jessica is proud of her ability to speak Mandarin, cooking Chinese food, and making sure that her own family never forgets who they are by celebrating Christmas with lao ban Santa. In one episode, she says “Success is important, but it is meaningless if we lose ourselves”, which is something I always remember until today.
Chasing the American dream
Fresh Off The Boat is easily one of my favourite because the show is simple and light-hearted. Above all, each episode is teaches you a beautiful lesson.
The show is able to break down complex issues into simpler themes. Stereotypes and culture-clashes are played for laughs, but the humour in Fresh Off The Boat is something that teases and doesn’t needle; I can watch it while thinking ‘wow, that’s so true’ over and over again without feeling offended for the people in the white neighborhood.
Having been children ourselves, we feel fresh when we grow up and realize that our parents don’t always know what’s best. Watching my life through a different lens is what makes me laugh. But then I cry because Jessica Huang makes me realise why my parents behave unreasonably at times. Perhaps Fresh Off The Boat’s greatest success is showing that as much as these characters are out of place with their stinky tofu and chicken feet, they are not any quirkier than their non-Asian neighbours who are also chasing the American dream.