FRESH OFF THE BOAT REVIEW: “PHIL’S PHAVES”

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Airtime: Tuesdays at 8PM on ABC

Tweetable Takeaway: The wrong girl hijacks Eddie’s love themed mixed tape and an online review threatens The Cattleman’s.


explores the first case of cyber bullying in Orlando when “Phil’s Phaves” gives the Cattleman’s a terrible review.

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Allison and Eddie love to talk, but phone conversation isn’t his thing.

There’s never enough time at school, for Eddie and Allison to share their love of music. She suggests he call her at night but phone conversations make him nervous, he’s “80% body language.”

It might seem silly, but calling girls used to be quite the ordeal for young boys. He rehearses what to say and makes the call. Her dad gets on the line, his brother gets on the line, and he gets flustered and hangs up. Eddie goes to plan B, he makes a mixed tape he knows Allison will appreciate. He DJ’s the tape with love talk and song commentary, he pours good energy into it.

Then, there’s that other girl.

Reba, another girl in Eddie’s class, can’t wait for Eddie to break up with Allison. She wants to talk to him on the phone too and probably has some other sinister young girl desire. Eddie gets paired with Reba when the biology teacher pairs up the class to dissect oysters. It’s a bummer for Eddie and Allison. What he doesn’t know is that Reba jacked the tape meant for Allison. Reba loves the tape; she assumes all the love talk is meant for her. By modern standards, this would by like sexting to the wrong number. It’s a crushing interception.

Eddie figures if a tape can make her fall for him, a “nix tape,” full of terrible music could send her running. He loads a tape with crap music and embarrassing commentary, pours all his terrible cold-war level energy into it. The biology teacher intercepts the Nix Tape and Ned plays it for the class. The explosive content has hits both Allison and Reba. That sounds like high school, a series of terrible mistakes resulting in maximum social destruction.

Evan suggests Eddie pick up the phone and explain himself. He calls Reba first, be she doesn’t want anything to do with him. Next, Eddie calls Allison and apologizes. He explains his insecurities and asks for forgiveness. At first she isn’t ready but he plays a special live mix for her and she loves it. His music-fu is strong.

Louis gives the Huang family their first computer.

Louis buys a Gateway 2000 but isn’t quite sure how to make it useful. The boys have many things they want to research. Evan does a quick search of the Cattleman’s and finds Phil’s Phaves. The online review site said the Cattleman’s food was okay but the ambience was dull. Overall he gave it a “B-,” which is considered a Chinese “F.”

Louis and Jessica take the news hard. They send an email to Phil and ask him to reconsider. He agrees to return in a few days and give the Cattleman’s a fresh chance. Louis goes all out to make the restaurant more fun, he changes the employee uniforms and renames the menu options.

Phil turns out to be little Philip Goldstein (they assumed the critic was an adult), the boy that abandoned Eddie at The Beastie Boys concert. The nervous staff doesn’t give him space to enjoy his meal. Phil doesn’t appreciate the effort made by Louis downgrades them to a “C+.” Louis and Jessica appeal to Phil’s mom but she doesn’t want to coerce Phil or challenge his integrity. Louis steals their mouse, thinking they won’t be able to write another review, but that doesn’t stop them either.

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The Internet loses its innocence.

Louis and Jessica take it to the next, dirty, hurtful level. They ask Evan to build a new website to attack Phil’s Phaves on the Internet. It feels wrong to Evan, but Louis and Jessica are desperate to keep up the Cattleman’s reputation for family fun dining. Their website is a hive of insults against Phil. You can almost see Kubrick’s femur soaring through the air.

Philip plays up the drama of being teased online. He gets the school and police involved. The principal calls a meeting with the parents, the other adults. Everyone in the room thinks the behavior is disgusting and wants the computer bullies apprehended. The police start a cyber crimes unit. Jessica gets spooked and outs Louis as the computer bully. Louis packs up the computer and they end up adding a 100 hours of community service to their busy .

The Huang’s learned their lesson. Unfortunately many people who take stands against violence, guns, injustice, and other hurtful acts in public have no problem firing vicious cruelty from the quiet comfort of their keyboards.

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Eric lives in a world where the television is great, the smiles are warm, the pizza is hot, the puppies are playful, and the zombies are slow and meander while he reloads.

Twitter: @etom2012

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