Fresh Off the Boat is the first Asian-American comedy since All-American Girl in the 90’s. I admit I didn’t know what made this era the right time for a show like this to be embraced by a major network and a mainstream audience, but Fresh Off the Boat has helped usher diversity from the Asian-American and the general immigrant population. It’s highly reviewed as a sitcom, but…
It’s delightfully misguiding! At first, I tuned in expecting to see the typical Asian-American family that is made to appeal to Caucasian-American audiences, but I became a fan of the show because the humor has come from a place of authenticity. The more I learn about the show’s back story, the deeper I’ll delve into my own experiences raising children. I can see myself relate to the mother of the younger version of Eddie as some of her situations are similar to mine.
Fresh Off the Boat is an ABC’s family sitcom based on Eddie Huang’s memoir. It’s not only delivering the first and only Asian-American series on network television in two decades, but the series is also resonating with audiences of many ethnicities thanks to their individual characters who deliver humor with layer and depth. In every episode, I find myself laughing while thinking critically about the characters.
The comedic choice of the show resonates with the struggles of fitting into an American society. Instead of just being quick one-liners that are just like a bunch of people trying to be clever, the characters actually talk about themselves and elaborate on each other in their past, but don’t have flashback scenes. It adds layers and depth to characters, which is very important. When you’re running the risk of trying to be funny in a new comedy series, authenticity and character arcs are important.
The main television networks are now starting to see that people want to see the real world reflected in their shows so that they can have a real world experience with their stories. A sense of community networks people because they can now see that when things reflect real life, other people want to relate and tune in to people who responded to their situations. People’s need for authenticity is stronger than being politically correct, but I think at this point the fans’ responses show that authentic programming garners authentic interest.
Some people may think that the audience want the same things as in the past, but audiences are much smarter nowadays. The nature of television is changing within our digital era. There is so much content out there that when you use the same one-size-fits-all model from great sitcoms it gets stale and old. Because producers and writers are recycling the same content, they forget the things that made those classic shows so great in the first place. It wasn’t the model that it had, but it was the spirit that created that show. I’m not relying on standard comedic turnarounds and shtick humor to make this show funny. It’s comes from a place of truth, and the rest of the general audience seem to think that this is why the show is well-received. Instead of having to look in on an Asian perspective, it’s an Asian perspective looking out into the rest of the world.
I think it’s important to start a conversation about the fact that it took twenty years for such a sitcom to become accepted in the mainstream. For instance, there is a scene in which the whole family is actually watching All-American Girl, and I almost felt ashamed that I didn’t know such a show existed. I had to Google it and watch a couple of episodes to realize that Asians were misrepresented this entire time. I’m not mad about it, but to start a conversation about why it took up to the year 2015 for Asians to have a sitcom that is widely popular would encourage people to express their voice about wanting to see the real world on their TV screen.
I also think a lot of people don’t like Eddie Huang because he is outspoken, but if he didn’t speak out, then who will? We’ve gotten pretty far in terms of socioeconomic status, but not necessarily in mainstream media. At some point, we need to be outspoken to start a dialogue that’s new because it’s born from the same truth that existed in those great sitcoms from the past. I would highly recommend for you to watch the show for yourself!Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in