Fresh Off the Boat, Season 1 Episode 13 Review: “So Chineez”

(Beware, spoilers below!)

In the season finale of Fresh Off the Boat we start off seeing how the family are fitting in since those early days. At school the kids have been given countries to represent and Eddie manages to pull a prank to get given a Caribbean country. Jessica is trying to convince Louis to let them join the Country Club and Marvin makes a comment about how he forgets that they’re Chinese.

This leads her think about how they are not Chinese enough and starts instituting some changes, like enrolling the boys in Chinese school and making the school give Eddie China as his country instead of Jamaica. Louis joins the Country Club which he uses to make more deals. He returns back home and figures out that Jessica has been enjoying American things like Melrose Place and Mac and Cheese.

They decide that there’s nothing wrong with liking the American things, and it also doesn’t necessarily mean the boys will end up losing a sense of where they came from. At the cultures fair in school Eddie is enjoying being Jamaica until Trent makes a joke about China – and Eddie gives out to him. He ends up getting an F but his mum is proud of him anyway, and sticks it up on the fridge, much to the chagrin of his brothers who have been competing all this time to be the first to get their work up on the fridge.

This episode touches on one of the the most important aspects of Fresh Off the Boat – the idea of cultural assimilation and the notion of what it means to have a separate cultural identity. There were some funny moments surrounding this – Jessica overcompensating via her dress code or Louis making jabs about hanging a Buddha picture. All of these underline the point that there is no definitive answer or formula for cultural identity and who we choose to be – we just need to figure out what makes us happy. Though the first season of Fresh Off the Boat has had both its good and bad points, episodes like this help remind us why it is so enjoyable to watch.

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