After gaining access to 12 pilots from ABC (I’m not really the first-to-know-type… it makes me a little obsessive) I’m feeling pretty fancy. I’m trying not to binge watch all of them, but as I write this I’m also trying to determine which show I’ll watch next. As well as how I can get the pilots from the other networks. (See what I mean about becoming obsessed?)
So if you’re here for one thing only – to know whether or not you should watch this show – here’s my opinion on Fresh Off the Boat: watch it. It’s funny, self confident, and surprisingly wholesome.
Hearing some of my Facebook friends get excited about it, and seeing the trailer, the first pilot I watched was the one I recognized: Fresh Off the Boat. Honestly, after the trailer I felt a bit like… can I laugh at this?? I mean, I’m a quarter Filipino… but, really I’m just some white girl! Is it only OK for Asian people to laugh at this? (Like how it’s only OK for Janis to call Damian too gay to function?) And then, is it racist to think that?
Look past the stereotypes
With a title like Fresh Off the Boat, (which they aren’t, BTW) we know this show isn’t trying to be culturally sensitive (because nothing else gave that away). While bordering on self deprecating, Fresh Off the Boat comes off more as a story than a set of stereotypes (or maybe both).
Of course, the best parts aren’t the crude humor, but the overarching themes of ’90s throwback (though this show clearly doesn’t know that Lunchables are sold in the refrigerated section), the struggles of grade school (bullying is real), and good, old fashioned, family jabs (because half the fun of having siblings is giving them a hard time). This show may use racial stereotypes as a form of humor, but it’s done so in a way that embraces them rather than ignores them. It’s as if saying “you may see me in this light, but I see myself in another.”
Enjoy the humor
This show is funny. From our main character slowly pulling off his headphones during the family road trip and discovering his family listening to lame music to his mother contemplating how a packed market is calming compared to an empty grocery store, there’s something for everyone. The family optimist, the realist, the outcast, the naive, and the enviable one who is immediately comfortable in their new life… this large family will surely provide a great new show – if we can keep the drama to a minimum.
Watch the show
In the end, I expect Fresh Off the Boat will be an uplifting story of a family learning how to start over in a new place, and becoming closer as a result. If they break a few taboos in the process, more power to them.