When I first heard about Fresh Off the Boat last summer, I was elated, for it was the first US TV show to feature an Asian American family since Margaret Cho’s short-lived All American Girl in 1994. I tuned in, popcorn in hand, ready to celebrate and support a slice of Asian American culture on primetime TV. I was not disappointed. My weekly faves are Black-ish, Queen Sugar, How To Get Away With Murder, and Fresh Off the Boat.
Here are 9 reasons why Black folk (in particular) need to watch this ground-breaking show:
- FOTB tells the story of a Chinese immigrant family’s pursuit of the American Dream in the 1990s, which includes hilarious story lines involving survival, assimilation, and belonging. Anyone who’s ever felt like an outsider will be able to not just relate—but laugh at themselves in the process.
- FOTB gives us another opportunity to explore race and culture, but outside of the prevalent black-white vantage point. This is so needed.
- It’s a lesson in Chinese culture, Chinese American culture, Taiwainese culture and immigrant culture. We all could learn from it.
- The show is funny. Laugh out loud funny.
- FOTB depicts Chinese American culture, how African American culture interacts with it, and how African American culture and Chinese American culture shape and are American culture. For example, the show centers around Eddie Huang, a kid who rocks t-shirts of The Notorious B.I.G. and other black rappers—only to get him scolded by his mom—revealing how parts of African American culture are both revered and disdained. Sound familiar?
- FOTB is written by writers of color. This is huge and very necessary on so many levels.
- Constance Wu. (If you’ve never seen her portrayal of Jessica Huang, you are missing out. Pure comedic gold. Dare I say she’s the best part of the show?)
- Asian People on TV. I’ll say that again: Asian people. On TV. Can you hear me now? This is a win for all of us.
- “Coming from America” was the title of the first episode of season 2. Did you catch that reference? Did you feel the love? I know I did.
Catch Constance and the crew on Fresh Off the Boat, Tuesday nights, ABC.