The strongest aspect of this week’s FRESH OFF THE BOAT is the pairing of Jessica (Constance Wu) and Eddie (Hudson Yang). One we rarely get on this show. “Living While Eddie” had a strong metaphor of the so-called troublemaker always being the first one to take the blame. And on the flip side of that, we get to see just how deceitful Emery (Forrest Wheeler) can be when there are fifteen minutes of fame involved. As we learn this week the baby Huangs are not as innocent as their parents look at them as.
As Louis (Randall Park) announces he has booked an infomercial to be shot at Cattleman’s Ranch (for which they will be getting paid for), Jessica discovers that her papaya was eaten and immediately blames Eddie for it who confesses to eating it. Later, Evan (Ian Chen) busts into Eddie’s room telling Eddie about a dishwasher he saw at his friend’s house. The two boys go out into the kitchen and see that they have had a dishwasher all along. It’s just too bad Jessica catches them admiring their newly discovered appliance. Jessica tells the boys that they will still have to wash their dishes by hand as that’s how China stays pristine. And with that, she throws a rag at Eddie. When the house is quiet, Jessica hears a peculiar noise and discover the dishwasher has been used. Jessica bursts into Eddie’s room furious that he disobeyed her. Eddie retorts why is he the first to be blamed for everything and that he’s being profiled as he’s the victim of institutional bias (he’s not wrong). Jessica asks him how does he know all of these words to which Eddie replies “Oh I can’t know things? Another assumption”. And with that Jessica takes away Eddie’s allowance for three weeks. Eddie is pissed as he was saving up for Nintendo 64 to play on GoldenEye (classic game. Classic) to which Jessica retorts that she is glad she took away his allowance now that she learned he is spending it on “garbage”.
The next day as Jessica has the dishwasher removed, she gets a call that Eddie was shoplifting at a record store and immediately assumes he’s guilty. Eddie tries to tell the store manager and his mother that he had it tucked into his waistband while entering the store to trade it in as his mother took away his allowance. Jessica and the store manager ask why he had it tucked into his waistband to which Eddie says he had Runts candy and bananas in his pockets. Jessica doesn’t believe him as he constantly lies. The store manager says that he’ll be arrested. He ten tells the store manager if he was stealing why would he steal the two-year-old Street Fighter soundtrack when Tupac’s Makaveli (aka The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory) and The Notorious B.I.G.’s Life After Death (Classic. Please listen) just came out. The store manager says you’d be surprised at what people steal and gets called away as the line for the new Spice Girls album is ridiculous. Jessica then confronts Eddie about his lying to which Eddie confesses about using the dishwasher but tells her he did not get her papaya as they are gross with the slimy black seeds. Jessica makes Eddie confess on who ate her papaya (Eddie is hesitant as he’s not a snitch), to which he said he covered for Evan as he has a weakness for tropical fruit and he has a clean record. Jessica moved by Eddie covering for Evan, sticks up for him. The store manager says that there’s no way to prove whether the CD is his or not to which Eddie says sixteen seconds in the CD skips on track eight. Jessica sees a boombox on his desk then demands tells him to play it. He does and the CD skips to which Eddie tells him “If the CD skips, you must acquit”. Jessica is furious that the manager accused her son of being a thief on top of almost having him arrested as he’s taking it lightly now. She tells him he will make it right by refunding him in full or else she’ll tell everyone that he profiles Asians. He pays out of pocket to which Jessica and Eddie leave.
Louis takes Emery to Cattleman’s to watch the filming of the infomercial. Emery is immediately mesmerized with the studio light that is set up. Needing an actor the director casts Louis in the infomercial with Tony Wonder (Rhys Darby!!). As Louis gets ready for the role, Emery sikes Louis out by telling him he would be so nervous if he was in his shoes as hundreds of people will be dissecting his performance. This gets to Louis as he messes up take after take making the crew take all day to film. The next day Louis finds out he’s been recast through Emery who rubs it in his face. Once Louis figures out he was sabotaged by Emery he tells him he’s not sorry for doing it and then walks off. However, once they start rolling Emery cannot stop blinking and tightening his face. Louis tries to encourage his son, but Emery thinks he’s trying to throw him off and doesn’t believe Louis and wants to continue the shoot. Later, the Huang family stays up late to watch the infomercial to which Jessica still chides Evan over eating his papaya, while Eddie congratulates Emery on being in a TV commercial to which Emery says at least someone appreciates his lucky break. Louis has to tell Emery he is genuinely happy for him to which Emery still doesn’t believe him. Once they watch the commercial, it’s comprised of both Emery and Louis’ bad performances. And to boot, the name for the product Louis suggested was used.
It was great seeing Jessica finally see that Eddie doesn’t lie all the time and is a good kid at heart. Jessica is always quick to point out the worst in people, never seeing their good side. I gotta give the showrunners props for getting every detail down to the T. The Street Fighter soundtrack cover was accurate as was the track played and it’s placed on the soundtrack as was the release dates of the soundtrack and albums mentioned. Same with the GoldenEye release and it’s one of the most popular games ever released until this day. Also, I have to give props for having the very funny Rhys Darby on the show with him signing his own bobblehead figure at any given moment. This was one of the better episodes of Fresh. While still not as strong as some of the season’s best, this is still solid.
Needle drops for this episode are:
“Life as…” by LL Cool J (classic track) track eight off the 1994 soundtrack to the awful motion picture Street Fighter as well as LL’s solid album Mr. Smith released a year later in 1995.
Season 3, Episode 15 (S03E15)
Fresh Off the Boat airs Tuesdays at 9PM on ABC
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).
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Brandon Norwood | Contributor