Fresh Off the Boat, Season 1 Episode 1 Review: “Pilot”

(Beware, spoilers below!)

Fresh off the boat focuses on The Huangs, who are moving to Orlando in 1995 so his father can open a Steakhouse called Cattleman’s Ranch. The show follows two main threads: his parents assimilating in and sorting out work whilst Eddie tries to fit into school.

Louis, the dad, is pursuing his dream of working for himself, but his wife is struggling with the assimilation and gets even more angry when she realises the restaurant is not doing as well as her husband made out before he uprooted the whole family. Meanwhile, Eddie is having trouble fitting in school because his Chinese food turns off the kids. He makes is mum buy Lunchables and when a kid in the cafeteria calls him a Chink he unleashes expletives that get him in trouble. However, his parents stand up for him in the principal’s office and all ends well.

I can understand why the Pilot episode of Fresh Off the Boat would draw in viewers. Whilst Eddie’s plot draws in real world situations and problems that Asian-American kids are facing, even today, the casting and dynamics of the parents bring the show up a notch into a new realm of funny. There are subtle references that any Asian kid brought up in the West will definitely be able to identify with, but even for those not off that stock there are enough quips and jokes to make it relatable. Haven’t we all tried to shoot for some dreams?

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