ABC’s new family sitcom “Fresh Off the Boat,” based on a book written by chef and Food Star personality Eddie Huang, garnered over eight million viewers with its pilot episode on February 4. The show is centered on an Asian-American family, the first of its kind in a decade since Margaret Cho’s “All American Girl.”
The Huang family has just moved from Washington D.C. to Orlando. Being the only Asian family in the completely different neighborhood forces each member to try to adapt to life in Orlando.
While his brothers Emery and Evan seamlessly blend in at school, hip-hop obsessed Eddie struggles to fit in and find friends. While Eddie’s dad, Louis, pursues the “American Dream” by opening a restaurant (Cattleman’s Ranch Steakhouse), his stay-at-home mother tries to fit in with the other women in the neighborhood.
Told in a flashback style, similar to that of Chris Rock’s sitcom “Everybody Hates Chris,” the shows prevailing theme is ’90s culture. Although I am too young to fully understand all of these over-a-decade-old references, the show still manages to utilize a relatable sense of humor.
Overall the most engaging aspect of the show is the Huangs’ family dynamic. Because Eddie is the outcast, both at school and at home, anyone who has gone through a rebellious pre-teen stage will be able to identify with him. Louis Huang’s restaurant and its employees are always comically incorporated into the storyline of each episode.
The stand out character in this series is Jessica Huang, Eddie’s mother. With all the characteristics of a “tiger mother,” Jessica, played by Constance Wu, is both endearing and controlling.
Bored with suburban life, Jessica takes on a range of tasks, from running the family restaurant with her husband to homeschooling her children and finding a job. Her thrifty attitude serves as a backdrop for free-sample jokes and the like. Although my expectations for this show were initially low, it is actually very relatable and humorous.