New show on ABC explores immigrant experiences
ABC’s new comedy series Fresh Off the Boat, an adaptation of the book that chef Eddie Huang wrote about his own experiences, premiered last Thursday. The star of the show is 11-year-old, rap-obsessed Eddie who faces difficulties assimilating into a predominantly Caucasian neighborhood after his family moves from Washington, D.C.’s Chinatown to Orlando, Florida. The show allows viewers to reminisce on their younger days (the show takes place in 1995 — that’s 20 years ago!) and highlights the struggles that many immigrants face when coming into American society. Every immigrant faces the dilemma of retaining one’s culture, yet assimilating with the people around them, and this show really accents that dilemma through the tween experiences of the main character, Eddie.
The parents in the show provide much of the comic relief, with the father portraying an extreme optimist in pursuit of the American dream and the mom’s caring yet assertive attitude that emulates the average overbearing Asian mother.
The show addresses Asian-American struggles in a lighthearted manner, to raise the awareness of the difficulties and perseverance with no intention to offend viewers. What impresses me the most is that this show manages to share these experiences with the general public and add some racial humor into the mix. One of the highlights of the pilot episode was when Eddie gets into a fight with an African-American boy who has a 40-year-old best friend. The boy calls Eddie a racial slur in the middle of the cafeteria and Eddie decides to start a fight. The next scene shows Eddie sitting outside of the principal’s office with both of his parents discussing the situation with his principal. Eddie braces himself to hear his parents agree with the administration’s decision on his behavior, but they surprise him by standing up for their son. Yes, Eddie started the fight but didn’t the African-American boy first call him a slur? Why was Eddie the only kid sitting outside the principal’s office and not the both of them? In this episode, we learned that family always has your back and that you should always stand up for yourself. Fresh Off the Boat will be on ABC every Tuesday night at 8 p.m.; tune in to witness the fun!