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  • Writer's pictureLoren Javier

WHY IT'S AWESOME: Fresh Off The Boat

Photo: Walt Disney Television

With the completion of Disney's acquisition of 21st Century Fox, I was looking up some of the television programs that would now be owned by Disney. While Fresh Off The Boat ran on ABC, which is owned by Disney, it was produced by 20th Century Fox Television. But, now, Disney owns the program outright. And, so, I thought I'd share WHY IT'S AWESOME!

First of all, Fresh Off The Boat was the first network television show to be centered around an Asian American family in 20 years before it started airing on ABC in 2015. Prior to that, it was Margaret Cho's All-American Girl that ran from 1994-1995. It astounds me that it took that long, but, then again, we just recently saw the first Hollywood motion picture studio release the first primarily Asian cast in 25 years. So, as sad as it is, I guess I shouldn't be so surprised. The fact that it's in its 5th season is a testament to how shows about Asian Americans can cross over to a mainstream audience.

Photo: Walt Disney Television

Taking place in the 1990s, Fresh Off The Boat revolves around a Taiwanese-American family who move from Chinatown in Washington, DC to a mostly Caucasian neighborhood in Orlando, Florida. It was, at first, loosely based on food personality Eddie Huang's biography Fresh Off The Boat: A Memoir. But, as subsequent seasons passed, the show diverged from having any resemblance to Huang's life and even dropped Huang as the narrator.

Fresh Off The Boat has an amazing cast, headlined by the wonderful Randall Park and Constance Wu as parents Louis and Jessica. The three boys are wonderful and have three distinct personalities. Eddie (Hudson Yang) is the slacker, Emery (Forrest Wheeler) is the lover and Evan (Ian Chen) is the super genius. I love them all, but I have to admit that Evan is my favorite. I could watch a whole show about him. Add to the mix the legendary Lucille Soong as Grandma Jenny.

Photo: Walt Disney Television

What was great about the show was that it was not just a "drop Asian into white situation comedy" type show. The show celebrates cultural values. For example, where most shows have that special Halloween episode, each year, the Huangs celebrate the Chinese New Year. One of the things I relate to the most is the culture clash. Having grown up in a family with strong cultural ties and values (albeit Filipino American for me), having been born in the United States amd growing up in a primarily white neighborhood, I was always looking to seek new identity just like Eddie (although less hip hop and rap for me).

Photo: Boom! Studios, ABC, 20th Century Fox Television

Fresh Off The Boat even had its own comic book in 2017, adding to its awesomeness. Offered by Boom! Studios during Free Comic Book Day, Fresh Off The Boat Presents: Legion of Dope-itude, Featuring Lazy Boy was written by award-winning Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese) with art by Jorge Corona (Teen Titans Go!). The book went hand-in-hand with an episode in which Eddie and Emery adapted their family for a comic book contest. And guess who had a cameo in that episode but the legendary Stan Lee!

Photo: Walt Disney Television

The show still awaits hearing if it will be renewed for a sixth season. I really hope it does as it really still is the only show revolving around an Asian American family and the caliber of performances is still bar none.

How do you feel about Fresh Off The Boat? Do you want to see it renewed?

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