FRESH OFF THE BOAT Review: “This Isn’t Us”

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For the first time, ever we get a previously on FRESH OFF THE BOAT recap from the previous episode. The season finale finds the Huangs at a crossroads. While they’ve finally been rewarded for their hard work, they are all asking themselves was it worth it? The American Dream has always been at the forefront of this show. With the American Dream almost unattainable today as the middle class keeps shrinking, it’s nice that a show on a major network gets to explore this with a minority family. So, let’s fire up the Danny Brown theme song one last time this season and get to the hijinks.

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Anyone thinking the new house would last hasn’t watched much television or film. It was just a matter of how long and just exactly when they The Huangs would move back to the old house. Everyone had their own reasons for leaving and we’ll start Eddie (Hudson Yang), as last week’s episode ended with his shock of moving. The distance is taking a strain on his relationship with his crew. The problem is since it takes two different bus rides for the boys to visit Eddie, it was only a matter of time before it affected his relationship with Alison (Isabella Alexander). At first, Eddie misses out on neighborhood happenings, but then it starts affecting crucial decisions made in the group. The crew decided to get matching pizza tattoos, so they’ll always be bonded together. However, the crew, later on, decides that they don’t wanna do it. A decision made without Eddie. Eddie is hurt and this leads to a falling out between the friends.

Eddie has always had his friends to lean on. And now that Eddie is without his crew this sets up a new dynamic going into the fourth season as now Eddie will have to maneuver through life with just Alison, who has her own set of friends. It was a smart play on the writer Matt Kuhn’s part to have Eddie alone for the time being, as this season has primarily seen Eddie either with his family or friends. I look forward to Eddie being on his own for storytelling purposes.

Emery (Forrest Wheeler) blew it for Evan (Ian Chen). Emery has tended to get in other people’s way and here, boy did he ever. After reading up on the sweatshop practices going on in China, Emery talks to Evan about his Saint Orlando’s blazer after Evan shows him the made in China tag. To ease his mind, Evan takes Emery to the school’s headmaster who says he’ll investigate it (all the while dissing Eddie by telling the headmaster he only has one brother). Emery being persistent takes Evan back to the school to talk to the headmaster. The headmaster tells the boys he’ll look into it once the semester starts. However, once the headmaster insults Emery, Evan launches on a tirade sticking up for his brother. The headmaster thusly rescinds his admission. When Emery says they’ll make their fight public, he pulls out the tag to find that the blazer was made in Chinahook, Wisconsin (made up place bee tee dubs).

FRESH OFF THE BOAT - "This Isn't Us" - Louis and Jessica make big changes to provide a better life for their family. Yet these changes come with their own set of challenges and possibly a few regrets, on the season finale of ABC's "Fresh Off the Boat," airing on TUESDAY, MAY 16 (9:00-9:30 p.m. EDT). (ABC/Nicole Wilder) CONSTANCE WU, RANDALL PARK

Louis (Randall Park) wants to enjoy the new house, but Jessica (Constance Wu) has their finances as an excuse for them to not use anything in the house. Well, Louis is none too pleased with his partnership with Micheal Bolton until Mister Bolton hands him a check. With Louis riding a brand-new lawn mower, he gets scolded by Jessica about the spending until he turns the tables demanding to see Jessica’s accountant books. Jessica admits she lied as they’ll never struggle to strive for more. Louis asks Jessica why they have to keep on struggling if the hard work doesn’t pay off? They should continue to work hard but enjoy the fruits of their labor as they’ve worked hard to make it that far. If they don’t enjoy what they achieved, what was all the hard work for? If they can’t enjoy the new house, then they don’t have anything. However, both Jessica and Louis miss the old house and want to move back, Jessica flips the house back to the original owner without losing their deposit on a “haunted house” clause.

There were some funny gags this episode such as Grandma Jenny Huang (Lucille Soong) thinking the house was haunted due to the intercom, the Michael Bolton ad for Cattleman’s just after Eddie got into his blow out his friends, Marvin (Ray Wise) had me dying every single time he was onscreen, and the Saint Orlando’s creed. This was an excellent season of Fresh Off the Boat, that did very brave things on tackling immigration, a drive-by shooting of a famed rap artist, underage drinking, racial profiling on shoplifting, relationship woes and the American election process as a whole.

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This episode was a good one, but with so many stronger episodes this season, I think this show could’ve gone out stronger than it did. With that said, this did successfully create new conflicts heading into the new season proper. The Huangs are homeless (to Chris Elliot no less!), Evan is gonna force Emery to help him get back into Saint Orlando’s, Louis must decide if he wants to continue his now one-sided partnership of (Michael Bolton’s) Cattleman’s Ranch and Eddie must rebuild his relationship with his friends.

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I do wish they didn’t resolve the new house so quickly and saved that for the fourth season premiere, but now with the problems established, hopefully, the writers let the changes in the Huangs’ new situation breathe and not resolve them until maybe the third or fourth episode. It’s been a privilege to cover such a progressive show like this. Being a minority and covering a show about a minority family brings me joy as I don’t know if a show like this could’ve existed ten years ago. So, until next time, enjoy the summer and see you (hopefully) next season!

Needle drops for this episode:

“How Am I Supposed to Live Without You” by Michael Bolton off his album Soul Provider

TB-TV-Grade-B+

Season 3, Episode 23 (S03E23)
Fresh Off the Boat airs Tuesdays at 9PM on ABC

Read all of our reviews of Fresh Off the Boat here. 
Read our reviews of more of your favorite shows here.


A lifelong film enthusiast since he can remember, Brandon is an indie filmmaker/screenwriter and freelance critic who resides in Trenton, NJ. Feel free to hit him up on Twitter to talk movies, shows, and music (especially hip-hop).
Follow Brandon on Twitter: @bwood0824
Keep up with all of Brandon’s reviews here.

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Still quiet here.sas

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