FRESH OFF THE BOAT Review: “The Gloves Are Off”

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Oh wow! They got Heather Locklear to guest star on FRESH OFF THE BOAT! This continues the show’s streak of getting actresses from Melrose Place, as Jessica’s (Constance Wu) love for that show knows no bounds. Miss Locklear, however, is playing Marvin’s (Ray Wise) ex-wife Sarah which spells trouble for Honey (Chelsey Crisp). Meanwhile, while watching a shark show marathon, Louis (Randall Park) and the boys notice Grandma Jenny Huang’s (Lucille Soong) interest in a motorize wheelchair and devise a way to get it for her.

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As Jessica is heading out to a local yard sale, Honey stops by to vent about Sarah, Marvin’s ex-wife, who not only barges into their home to insult Honey, but when she asks for Marvin’s help, it’s clear he’s scared of her as well. Jessica runs into Sarah at a yard sale and is surprised on how she uses her haggling skills to manipulate the price with the seller. The two women immediately connect and Jessica invites her and Honey to cider night at the local lesbian bar (which Jessica is still oblivious to) which makes for a very uncomfortable situation for everyone except Jessica who unsuccessfully tries to ease the tension. The next day, Jessica returns Honey’s Tupperware to smooth things over. Honey tries to help Nicole (Luna Blaise) on her homework, but as her mother is Sarah, she has an influence over her and Nicole doesn’t like Honey either. Honey vents again to Jessica, who didn’t know what vent meant or what venting was, and got Sarah fired from her department store selling gloves. Honey has to explain what venting is to Jessica to which Jessica promises to fix the problem that she caused. Jessica and Honey explain to Sarah what had transpired and Honey sincerely apologizes to Sarah leading Sarah to confess she’s only mean to Honey as she wants to keep her relationship with her daughter intact. Honey tells Sarah she doesn’t want to get in the way of their relationship. This in turns makes Nicole nicer to Honey and she even wants to hang out with Honey.

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After seeing Grandma perk up to the Jazzy motorized wheelchair, the kids and Louis try to figure out her age as Emery (Forrest Wheeler) called the one eight hundred number and found out that if she is sixty-five or older, they can get her a free Jazzy. Louis doesn’t know how old she is and since they kept bad records in Taiwan in her birth year, she doesn’t know either. Louis calls his second cousin Susan who hangs up on him. Twice. And calls him back to tell him to stop calling in the middle of the night. Emery, however, finds some old photographs and figures out that she was born in 1927 from an old tractor in the photo that he looked up in the library. Grandma Jenny is sixty-nine, is greatly surprised to hear that she’s not as old as she thought she was. When they go to get her Jazzy, the salesman ignorantly says he can tell she’s older than sixty-five which angers her. Later, she waits in her new Jazzy as the man parks her car and she keys it as revenge.

While not the strongest episode, this still had some gems such as Eddie (Hudson Yang) grabbing a walker cane and telling the salesman that they’ll take the pimp cane. As well as Grandma Jenny asking for Jersey Girl shirt. But, most importantly this episode showed that besides Jessica, the family really does care about Grandma as they all went the extra mile to get her that wheelchair. And Jessica proves she’s a great friend for being there for Honey as she took her side immediately. Jessica may not show it, but she always has the best intentions at heart. Plus, it was good seeing Nicole again as this season has been light on having her and Allison (Isabella Alexander) on the show.

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They all can’t be homeruns, but this was a highly enjoyable episode with a big guest star. Plus, they managed to make a storyline around Jessica that doesn’t involve her be shrewd. The lesson of venting came from a genuine place of misunderstanding. This was a sweet episode without it being too saccharine.

Needle drops for this episode:

“Possession” by Sarah McLachlan on Fumbling Towards Ecstasy.


TB-TV-Grade-B+Season 3, Episode 14 (S03E14)
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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