By Anubhuti Kumar
Never overripe and always entertaining in its earnest onscreen representation of the realities of familial interactions, “Fresh off the Boat” does not disappoint in its latest and sixth installment. Entitled “Fajita Man,” this episode sees main character Eddie in a situation much too familiar for anyone who remembers their childhood well: the day parents decide to teach their entitled children the lesson that money does not grow on trees and that what is wanted must be earned. This lesson is taught without too much sentimentality; however, it is learned with love and understanding as father and son meet in the middle.
This is what stands out most about “Fresh off the Boat”: it does not go overboard with unending sentimentality and it doesn’t perpetuate the Asian stereotype of a harsh, tough love style of parenting. Instead, it has a balance that feels realistic and shows that real familial interactions are hilarious enough to entertain millions.
Randall Park’s kind and patient character is evenly matched with Constance Wu’s more competitive and caring but practical character, ringing true the saying that opposites attract. Wu’s Jessica spends the episode looking for a job in their new town. She also explores ways to cut costs at home, including finding air-conditioned places to hang out with her children in order to avoid turning on the air conditioning at home. From bargaining at the grocery store to placating her children all while looking for a job, Wu stole the show with Jessica’s cleverness, hilariously blunt honesty, and determination.
This show is based off of Eddie Huang’s memoir of the same name. He is represented as the main character during his childhood — the nineties, and every episode makes that abundantly clear in at least one way. In past episodes, it was the presence of a white box so far from what we would call a computer today that it still needed a phone line to connect to the Internet, Lunchables, and Eddie’s pervasive obsession with hip hop culture. In this episode, Eddie and his friends are all vying for a martial arts video game by Shaq. The catch? It costs $50, much more than these middle schoolers can afford.
This insightful yet light new comedy on ABC takes the cake so far in this season’s lineups, a much needed refresher from the floundering and failed sitcoms from earlier in the season. By exploring previous untouched territory in relating the immigrant experience without reverting to stereotypes, “Fresh Off the Boat” makes its own niche, constant in its deliverance of laughs, in the ever varied world of television sitcoms. It is a must watch on Tuesday nights at 8:30.
Anubhuti Kumar is a contributing writer. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.