FRESH OFF THE BOAT Review: “Driving Miss Jenny”

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Grandma Jenny Huang (Lucille Soong) is using her new found freedom to the fullest thanks to the motorized wheelchair. That does not sit well with Louis (Randall Park) leading to some truly cringeworthy moments on this week’s FRESH OFF THE BOAT.  In a true role reversal, it’s the overbearing son who becomes too much to handle as Grandma Jenny just wants to live her life while the rest of the Huang family make valuable use of their spring break.

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I’ve got to applaud the writers for again starting the show with a strong teaser that sets up the episode and brings back Noel Gugliemi as Hector all in one fell swoop. With Louis driving Hector home with Hector making it awkward by referencing the events of “Citizen Jessica”, Louis is excited to spend time with Eddie (Hudson Yang), Emery (Forrest Wheeler) and Evan (Ian Chen) now that school is out for their spring break. The two spot Grandma Jenny using her wheelchair by being out and about. Louis arrives home to tell everyone and is surprised that everyone knew and voted with Louis. Jessica (Constance Wu) has to remind Louis that she’s a grown woman and goes out to the grocery store, the nail salon and other miscellaneous trips. Jessica is happy as she gets to clean the house and consolidate the junk and collect things for a yard sale.

Louis, being spiteful, fakes an insurance letter getting rid of Grandma Jenny’s motorized wheelchair. While at the grocery store picking up her items, Louis is surprised that Jenny not only checked with the insurance but qualified for an upgraded scooter that’s not only faster but can lift her up high as well. It gets so bad that Louis follows her to the senior recreation center where even the other seniors are put off. It gets so bad, that Jenny ditches Louis when she sends him to get some tea from the coffee table. With even the other seniors calling Louis a buzzkill, Louis waits at home for her where she tells him that he embarrasses her in front of her friends. When Louis forbids her to go out, Jenny has to remind Louis that she is his parent. At that moment, Warren (Harry S. Murphy), a fellow senior from the recreation center comes to pick her up for a date.

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Much, much later that night Warren shows up to tell Louis that he lost her. Turn out Jenny, pulled the tea trick on Warren as well. Louis immediately calls Corporal Bryson (Alex Quijano), but on the other line, Jenny calls saying she’s stuck at Greenie’s Coffee Shop as her wheelchair battery ran out. He hangs up, leaving Bryson hanging (he swears Louis won’t leave him hanging. Louis does once he remembers). Louis is furious once he arrives with the wheelchair charger. Jenny tells Louis that Warren is boring and ditched him. Jenny has to tell Louis that she hates being trapped at the house. Now the chair gives her a new freedom to make friends, go on dates, and take her Mexican cooking class. She has to reassure Louis that she will be okay. On the way home Louis and Jenny drive side by side home with Gloria Estefan playing on the radio.

Trying to borrow a shirt from Evan to make into a new durag as Jessica threw it out, Eddie discovers that Evan is now in a lucrative house sitting business. Wanting a piece of the pie, Eddie convinces Evan to cut him in on the business. Not expecting it to be as much work as it is Eddie loses patience and hires Dave (Evan Hannemann) to work for him giving him a small cut of his profits. Evan not happy with it, as Evan hired him to do the . Eddie points that Puff Daddy has Mase writes his rhymes for four hundred dollars and makes thirty million off the profits. Evan realizing Eddie is a good businessman, sighs in defeat. But in the show’s stinger he fires Eddie and hires Dave full-time for less than what he was paying Eddie by cutting out the middle man. Plus since Dave’s mom has a fax machine, Evan saves on Kinko’s fees.

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As Jessica cleans the house, Emery is upset to find some of his things for sale and his trash about to be thrown out. Jessica asking Emery why he wants it, Emery relates memories of all of his trash. Emery hopes to use the trash to tell his future grandkids stories about every piece of trash collected. Jessica hands Emery a box of stuff to keep, however, Jessica finds that Emery hid all of his trash. Disgusted Jessica finds a bag of hair to which Emery tells Jess that it’s Evan’s hair from his first haircut in Orlando as it’s the last of his Washington D.C. hair. Afraid he might become a hoarder, she asks why he’s like this as he didn’t do this in D.C., Emery tells Jessica he had a hard time adjusting and didn’t keep any memories from D.C., and he doesn’t want that to happen in Orlando as well. Jessica promises to come up with an idea for him to somehow hold onto his memories without the clutter as well as telling her when she’s having a hard time. Later, Jessica proposes taking photos and doing a photo album to which Emery agrees to.

I liked this episode a lot as we got an episode focused mostly on Jenny giving Lucille Soong the spotlight (and keeping her obsession with Garfield alive). Laura McCreary’s script is sharp and the pace was very fast as everyone was busy this week. Louis being surprised that Marvin can do shirtless push-ups is hilarious as was his moaning to Clippy the Microsoft Word paper clip assistant who got in my way as well all throughout my youth as I typed up papers. It was good to see Noel again as Hector even if it was brief and the episode ended on a great joke about Dave’s mom faxing David Letterman about Dave’s dad. Speaking of the jokes are getting funnier and sadder with Dave’s absentee father. I hope this is paid off next season as I doubt it’ll happen the next four episodes of this season. Wow, only four episodes left for the season. Crazy how this flew by.

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Needle drops for this episode:

“Rhythm is Gonna Get You” by Gloria Estefan off of the album Let It Loose

“Sittin’ On Chrome” by Masta Ace of the album of the same name

TB-TV-Grade-A-

Season 3, Episode 19 (S03E19)
Fresh Off the Boat airs Tuesdays at 9PM on ABC

Read all of our reviews of Fresh Off the Boat here. 
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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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