A Chinese-American family moving from Washington, D.C.’s Chinatown to the Orlando suburbs to maintain a cowboy restaurant in 1995 sounds like a lot — and it is. But for the Huang family in ABC’s new sitcom Fresh Off the Boat, they seem to be trying to manage it all. Based off the memoir of the same name by restauranteur and chef Eddie Huang, FOTB follows character, Eddie (played by Hudson Yang), an 11-year-old rap fiend who’s trying to adjust to his new school.
He’s the black sheep of the family – and it’s apparent – but that seems to come with the territory in a family full of colorful characters. First there’s his strict, penny-pinching mother, Jessica (played by Constance Wu), his super positive and pleasing father, Louis (played by Randall Park), and his two perfect younger brothers, Evan and Emery (played by Ian Chen and Forrest Wheeler). The mirrors Chris Rock’s Everybody Hates Chris a bit. It’s got the narration and Eddie is desperately trying to fit into his new school. The major difference is that Eddie has a bit more attitude than Chris and doesn’t take no for an answer.
But the show’s faceless character is hip-hop. Being that the show takes place in 1995, a golden year for the genre, songs like Notorious B.I.G.‘s “Big Poppa” and ODB‘s “Shimmy Simmy Ya” serve as Eddie’s big brother for him to look up to and emulate. The premiere episode starts with him decked out in chains and Shaq’s Orlando Magic garb to MC Breed and DF’s “No Future in Frontin” because he’s “fresh as hell” and wants to show he’s his own person.
Apart from Eddie, who uses his charm to get through things in his new neighborhood, is Jessica who really holds the family together. Jessica has to find the balance between being a mom new to the suburbs and still remaining true to her Chinese roots. In the second episodes, she thought school was too easy for her children because they got straight A’s on their report card, so she became their teacher for “Chinese Learning Center” after school to ensure her kids got real schoolwork.
FOTB is well done and worth watching. It gives another look at people of color on network television in a relatable way.
Fresh Off the Boat airs Tuesdays on ABC at 8 p.m.
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On ‘Fresh Off The Boat,’ ’90s Hip-Hop Is The Breakout Star was originally published on theurbandaily.com