Fresh Off the Boat

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Fresh Off the Boat
Fresh Off the Boat intertitle.png
Genre Sitcom
Created by Nahnatchka Khan
Based on Fresh Off the Boat
by Eddie Huang
Starring
Narrated by Eddie Huang (season 1)
Opening theme "Fresh off the Boat", performed by Danny Brown[1]
Composer(s) Bo Boddie
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Mandarin
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 70 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)
Location(s) Orlando, Florida (Series is taped in Los Angeles, California)
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor 20th Television
Release
Original network ABC
Original release February 4, 2015 (2015-02-04) – Present
External links
abc.go.com/shows/fresh-off-the-boat
Production
website
www.disneyabcpress.com/abc/shows/fresh-off-the-boat/

Fresh Off the Boat is an American sitcom series, starring Hudson Yang, Randall Park, and Constance Wu.[3][4][5] Created by Nahnatchka Khan, it is loosely inspired by the life of chef and food personality Eddie Huang and his book Fresh Off the Boat. It is the first American television sitcom starring an Asian-American family to air on American network primetime since Margaret Cho's All American Girl, which aired for one season in 1994.[6] Its style has been compared to the comedy series Everybody Hates Chris.[7] The flashback technique with voice-over narration from the present day (first season only) is similar to The Wonder Years.

The show debuted on ABC with two preview episodes on February 4, 2015. The second episode, which aired after Modern Family, was promoted as a bonus episode, and formally premiered in its primetime slot on February 10, 2015.[8] The first of the two preview episodes garnered 7.94 million viewers, becoming the second-highest rated comedy premiere that season.

On May 7, 2015, ABC renewed Fresh off the Boat for a second season of 13 episodes.[9] ABC ordered 9 additional episodes on October 13 and two more on November 17, leading to a total of 24 episodes for the second season.[10][11] On March 3, 2016, ABC announced that the series has been renewed for a third season, which premiered on October 11, 2016.[12] On May 12, 2017, ABC renewed the series for a fourth season, which premiered on October 3, 2017.[13]

Premise[edit]

The story follows the course of Eddie Huang's Chinese family as they make their way from Chinatown of Washington, DC to Orlando, Florida, to open a cowboy-themed steak restaurant in 1995[14] (with the first season being set between 1995 and 1997).[15][16] His mother struggles with the culture clash between her upbringing and a Florida community that does not have a large Asian population,[17] his father embraces the "American Dream", and Eddie struggles with assimilating into school.

Cast and characters[edit]

Main cast[edit]

  • Hudson Yang is Edwyn "Eddie" Huang,[18] the show's protagonist and a die-hard hip-hop and rap fan, as well as a great fan of basketball. The oldest of three brothers, he eschews Taiwanese culture and is more rebellious than his younger siblings, which makes him a frequent target of Jessica's complaints. Because Eddie represents the writer of the book on which the show is based, all of the season-one episodes were told from his perspective, and the real-life Eddie Huang voices the narrator. A creative change for season two expands the focus to the entire Huang family.
  • Randall Park as Louis Huang,[4][5] is the father of Eddie, Emery, and Evan, and husband of Jessica. He is nice and naive, and embraces all things American. He owns a Western steakhouse restaurant in Orlando named Cattleman's Ranch.
  • Constance Wu as Jessica (née Chu) Huang,[19] is the wife of Louis and mother[20] of Eddie, Emery, and Evan. She is a no-nonsense, pragmatic woman who believes in tough love. She wants her children to be successful and also keep in touch with their Taiwanese heritage.
  • Forrest Wheeler as Emery Huang,[21] is the middle child of the Huang family. He is a romantic and lovable kid who is fairly intelligent. He is also depicted as charismatic and mature for his age. He graduated elementary school at the end of the second season.
  • Ian Chen as Evan Huang,[21] is the youngest child, who is a star student and obeys the rules. He is Jessica's favorite child. He was allowed to skip fifth grade between seasons 3 and 4, and is starting middle school in the fourth season.
  • Lucille Soong as Grandma Jenny Huang (regular season 2–present, recurring season 1), is Louis' mother and grandmother of Eddie, Evan, and Emery. Although she clearly understands English, she speaks only in Mandarin (subtitled in English). However, she spoke English in Marvin's dream in the season-three episode "Where Are the Giggles?". In the season-four episode, "It's a Plastic Pumpkin, Louis Huang", the family discovers she has secretly been taking ESL lessons, and she speaks English for the first time (excluding that dream sequence). In the season-four episode, "The Day After Thanksgiving", Jenny finishes her ESL class and speaks English around her ESL professor. She recites lines from the 1989 Tim Burton movie, Batman for her class.
  • Chelsey Crisp as Honey Ellis (regular season 2–present, recurring season 1),[22] is the Huangs' next door neighbor, Marvin's third wife, and Jessica's new best friend.
  • Ray Wise as Marvin Ellis (regular season 3–present, recurring seasons 1–2) is Honey's much-older husband and Nicole's father. He is a successful dentist who married Honey after his previous wife caught him cheating with Honey on the kitchen floor.

Recurring cast[edit]

  • Eddie's school friends:
    • Luna Blaise as Nicole Ellis, Eddie's first crush, who is Marvin's daughter and Honey's stepdaughter; in season four, she reveals to Eddie that she is a lesbian.
    • Isabella Alexander as Alison, also Eddie's girlfriend. They break up in episode 2 of season 4.
    • Prophet Bolden as Walter, one of Eddie's friends
    • Trevor Larcom as Trent Masterson, one of Eddie's friends
    • Evan Hannemann as Dave Selby, one of Eddie's friends
    • Dash Williams as Brian Stone, one of Eddie's friends
    • Connor Rosen as Doug Pew, one of Eddie's friends
    • Brady Tutton as Brock Blanca
    • Albert Tsai as Phillip Goldstein[23][24]
    • Arden Belle as Shelly, one of Nicole's friends
    • Liliana Mumy as Layla, one of Nicole's friends
    • Monique Green as Sandy, one of Nicole's friends
    • Marlowe Peyton as Reba, Eddie's classmate, who has an unrequited crush on him
  • Others:
    • Rachel Cannon as Deidre Sanderson
    • Stacey Scowley as Carol-Joan
    • Colleen Ryan as Amanda
    • Kimberly Crandall as Lisa
    • Arden Myrin as Ashley Alexander
    • David Goldman as Principal Charlie Hunter
    • Maria Bamford as Principal Thomas
    • Susan Park as Connie Chen, Jessica's sister
    • C.S. Lee as Steve Chen, Jessica's brother-in-law
    • Ken Jeong as Gene Huang, Louis' twin brother
    • Eddie Huang as adult Eddie Huang (voice only) is the narrator of the show for season one only.

Development and production[edit]

Eddie Huang's 2013 Fresh Off the Boat caught the attention of TV networks upon release, with ABC and 20th Century Fox Television signing in late that year. Huang, the show's creator and one of the producers of the series,[5] led a Twitter campaign[25][26] to change the original show name, Far East Orlando, when it was in development.[6]

On May 13, 2014, ABC ordered the first season of the show during the May 2014 upfront[7][27] to air in 2015 as a mid-season replacement.[7][28]

The Fresh Off the Boat cast at a panel discussion for the show.

The real-life Eddie Huang narrates the first season only. Eleven episodes into the first season, Huang expressed frustration over ABC's approach, saying it presents an "ambiguous, cornstarch story about Asian-Americans" that perpetuates "an artificial representation of Asian American lives". The sitcom was adapted to suit a broader American audience.[29] He also Tweeted in April 2015, "I understand this is a comedy but the great comics speak from pain: Pryor, Rock, Louis...This show had that opportunity but it fails."[30] Despite his concern for authenticity, he finds the show a "milestone" for Asian-Americans as they are at the forefront of this television series.[31] Huang further explained in an interview on National Public Radio, "The studio and network are not on a mission to not represent us. They just don't know how to."[32]

Huang described the exchange between his team and ABC as brief. In an article in Vulture Huang expressed concern over the studio's decision that Nahnatchka Khan, an Iranian-American writer, would represent his memoir for the TV scripts, believing that she would present the story as less than realistic and authentic. "I would be excited, but you attached a Persian writer, and I'm kinda worried it's going to be The Shahs of Cul-de-Sac Holando."[33]

In 2015, Constance Wu was interviewed by Jenny Zhang for The Lenny Interview. In this interview, she spoke about her initial fear of criticizing some of the shows details. Now in its second season, Wu speaks openly about her request for the staff to make the show more specific, stating, "If you change the food to a 1,000-year-old black egg with tofu and scallions, it will be a little more specific, and specificity is just better for character, and it's more interesting than, say, tofu and rice."[34]

Season two changes[edit]

Fresh Off the Boat made many changes for the second season, including:

  • Eddie Huang reduced his involvement with the series, including no longer being the narrator, due to creative differences with ABC, as well as time constraints with other projects. He is still credited as a producer, and the show's credits continue to note that the series is based on his memoir.
  • With Huang's departure, ABC decided not to recast the narrator role, dropping it from the series altogether.
  • The writing from season two onward is focused on the entire Huang family instead of centering on Eddie. In particular, more Louis- and Jessica-centered episodes were shot.
  • Lucille Soong and Chelsey Crisp were both promoted from recurring cast to main cast.

Episodes[edit]

Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 13 February 4, 2015 (2015-02-04) April 21, 2015 (2015-04-21)
2 24 September 22, 2015 (2015-09-22) May 24, 2016 (2016-05-24)
3 23 October 11, 2016 (2016-10-11) May 16, 2017 (2017-05-16)
4 TBA October 3, 2017 (2017-10-03) TBA

Home media[edit]

On September 29, 2015, the first season of Fresh Off the Boat was released on DVD. The DVD had two discs with all 13 season-one episodes and special features such as a gag reel, as well a "Fresh Facts Trivia Track".

Broadcast[edit]

Fresh Off the Boat premiered on FOX8 in Australia starting May 10, 2015;[35] It was also picked up by Network Ten, and started airing on 7 March 2016 on its sister channel, Eleven.

In the UK, the first season originally premiered on Amazon Video on February 4, 2015. The second season premiered on September 22, 2015. On November 1, 2017 Fresh Off the Boat will receive its television premiere on Channel 5's sister channel 5Star starting with the pilot episode.

It debuted on March 12, 2015 in South Africa on Fox Crime.[36]

In South Asia, Fresh Off The Boat, airs 12 hours after the U.S. broadcast on Star World Premiere HD.[37]

Reception[edit]

Seasonal ratings[edit]

Season Timeslot (ET) No. of
episodes
Premiered Ended TV season Rank Viewers
(in millions)
Date Premiere viewers
(in millions)
Date Finale viewers
(in millions)
1 Wednesday 8:30 pm
(Episode 1)
Wednesday 9:30 pm
(Episode 2)
Tuesday 8:00 pm
(Episodes 3-13)
13 February 4, 2015 7.94[38] April 21, 2015 5.08[39] 2014–15 78 6.99[40]
2 Tuesday 8:30 pm
(2015)
Tuesday 8:00 pm
(2016)
24 September 22, 2015 6.05[41] May 24, 2016 4.88[42] 2015–16 86 5.48[43]
3 Tuesday 9:00 pm 23 October 11, 2016 5.03[44] May 16, 2017 3.55[45] 2016–17 95 4.66[46]
4 Tuesday 8:30 pm October 3, 2017 4.51[47] 2017–18

Critical reception[edit]

Fresh Off the Boat has received critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the show has a 91% certified fresh approval rating, with the critical consensus "Once the cliched gags of Fresh off the Boat are superseded by a grounded truthfulness, the series evolves into a humorously charming family sitcom."[48] It also has earned a 75 out of 100 score on Metacritic, indicating 'generally favorable reviews'.[49] Particularly, Constance Wu's performance has been acclaimed, earning nominations for both the TCA Awards and the EWwy Award for Best Supporting Actress in Comedy, as well as an "Individual Achievement in Comedy" nomination at the Critics' Choice Television Awards.

Reviews cited the show's potential to increase the visibility and accuracy of Asian Americans in arts and entertainment.[7][50][51] For writer and poet Jenny Zhang (who interviewed Constance Wu for Lenny Letter), Fresh Off the Boat was a welcome change from the representation of Asian Americans on the TV series she had seen as a child at age 11, where the few people who looked like her were either the subjects of crude jokes or had only minor cameos.[34]

"It means that there are real conversations being had about Asian American identity in addition to acknowledging the lack of inclusivity Asian Americans have had in the nation's cultural and entertainment dialogue."[52] Ester Suh, writing for the Huffington Post, felt that many characterizations in the show misrepresented the Asian-American experience, but acknowledged that "our experience as Americans, like everyone else’s, is varied, and to say that a single show can exemplify all our experiences, would be a disfavor. I see Fresh as a sound board for future shows with Asian American casts, helping make television a more diverse and inclusive cultural platform."[52]

The Harvard Political Review additionally commented that "Fresh Off the Boat captures the essence of why diversity in media matters—we, like young Eddie, all want to see ourselves as worthy of being protagonists, whether in stories or in real life. However, lost in translation are the stories of parents and grandparents, who also have claim to labels like the Asian-American experience."[53]

Television critic Emily Nussbaum, in her review for The New Yorker, compares the memoir and television version of Huang's relationship with his father and with black culture, "Without a cruel bully for a father, Eddie's taste for hip-hop feels more superficial—in the book, it's an abused kid's catharsis and an identification with black history."[54] Additionally, Huang's identification with black history has led to controversial remarks.[55]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2015 Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Actress in a Comedy Series Constance Wu Nominated
TCA Awards Individual Achievement in Comedy Nominated
EWwy Awards Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
Gold Derby TV Awards Best Comedy Actress Nominated
Unforgettable Gala – Asian American Awards Actor of the Year Randall Park Won
Female Breakout Star of the Year Constance Wu Won
2016 Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Actor in a Comedy Series Randall Park Nominated
Best Actress in a Comedy Series Constance Wu Nominated
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Performance by a Youth (Series, Special, Television Movie or Mini-series) Hudson Yang Nominated
Women's Image Network Awards Best Comedy Series Fresh Off the Boat Nominated
Young Artist Awards Outstanding Young Ensemble Cast In A TV Series Hudson Yang, Forrest Wheeler, Ian Chen Won
Best Performance in a TV Series – Supporting Young Actor Ian Chen Nominated
Best Performance In A TV Series - Recurring Young Actress (14-21) Luna Blaise Won
Best Performance In A TV Series - Guest Starring Young Actress (11-13) Laura Krystine Nominated
Young Entertainer Awards Best Young Ensemble Cast - TV Series Hudson Yang, Forrest Wheeler, Ian Chen Won
Best Recurring Young Actor 13 and Under - Television Series Trevor Larcom Nominated
Best Recurring Young Actress 13 to 15 - Television Series Luna Blaise Nominated
Best Recurring Young Actress 12 and Under- Television Series Isabella Alexander Won
Best Guest Starring Young Actor 11 and Under - TV Series Cole Sand Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Scene Stealer Hudson Yang Nominated
TCA Awards Individual Achievement in Comedy Constance Wu Nominated
Gold Derby TV Awards Best Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
Poppy Awards Best Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
Best Actor in a Comedy Series Randall Park Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Actress in a Comedy Series Constance Wu Nominated
2017 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Performance by a Youth (Series, Special, Television Movie or Mini-series) Hudson Yang Nominated
Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a TV Series - Leading Young Actor Ian Chen Nominated
Forrest Wheeler Nominated
Best Performance in a TV Series - Leading Teen Actor Hudson Yang Won
Best Performance in a TV Series - Recurring Teen Actor Trevor Larcom Won
Young Entertainer Awards Best Leading Young Actor 14 and Under - Television Series Ian Chen Pending
MTV Movie & TV Awards Best American Story Fresh Off the Boat Nominated

See also[edit]

These are television shows with a similar premise.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]