Fresh Off the Boat: Doing it Right features the North Orlando Chili Cook Off (NO-CO), Eddie’s natural talent for cooking and Evan turns out to be a “mini-me” version of Jessica. To paraphrase an old saying, “like mother, like son,” the youngest Huang family member is almost a carbon copy of his mom. Both of them are “bossy.”
The story this week features a bonding moment between Louis and Eddie, but only briefly as the two work together cooking chili. Initially the oldest Huang sibling is overjoyed to be helping his father. However, Eddie does not understand why Louis throws out each batch only to start over and why he will not take any suggestions on ingredients.
Louis angrily explains that Eddie is like his mother, always futzing and wanting to add things, “This is chili,” he says, “not jazz.” His oldest son breaks off the apprenticeship and enters his own creation in the NO-CO. Marvin (Ray Wise) is also in the contest and he brags about winning five “golden stockpots” for his wild boar chili.
At the start of the episode, Honey (Chelsey Crisp) is visiting with Jessica and she points out that her friend is very good at pointing out other peoples flaws. “Thank you,” says Jessica. Later she will learn that Evan shares her trait but only exhibits it away from home.
Jessica is impressed with the traffic “zippering” approach in front of the school and loses her cool when another parent ignores the natural order and pushes in front of her car. Angry, she goes up to the pushy parent and tells her off. She learns that the driver is Evan’s best friend J J.
Later the woman tells Jessica that Evan is not invited to J J’s birthday party. Jessica is distraught believing that she is responsible for him being uninvited. She apologizes but even though J J’s mother accepts, she tells Jessica that Evan is still not invited.
At school, Trent (Trevor Larcom) learns that Eddie is helping his father for the chili cook off and is amazed to learn that Eddie has decided to quit as Louis’ apprentice. Jessica cannot bring herself to tell Evan that he is not invited so she lies.
Crashing the birthday party she learns that Evan is a real “Bossy Boots” and despite her denial, it is clear that Evan is very bossy toward his best friend. Later when she complains about the woman’s assertions, Honey explains that he gets it from her.
The day of the chili cook off arrives and Marvin has his stall set up with all his prior awards standing on the top of the table. Louis learns that Eddie has entered his own creation under the name of Big Daddy Wong.
Louis, Eddie and another contestant; Gloria, make the top three, Marvin is removed from the competition for putting a Whopper in his chili. On the day Jessica tells Evan that she saw his behavior at the party and asks him why he is so bossy. Evan says probably because no one listens to him at home.
Neither Louis nor Eddie win but get the Golden Stockpot since Gloria does not believe in celebrating winning. At dinner that night, Evan is allowed to chose what they drink with their meal and none of the things he picks are in the house.
At school the next day, he is much nicer to J.J. and he has gotten the briefcase he asked for earlier in the episode.
Standout Moments in Fresh Off the Boat Episode 17:
Jessica’s glove suggestion and the dead mime punchline.
Marvin’s Razorback hat (Whoo Pigs Sooie).
Eddie’s Arizona T-shirt.
Louis’ clandestine appointment to buy the ghost chilies.
Jessica, again, with her talk to Evan about idolizing her, “No I don’t,” argues Evan. “Yes you do,” replies Jessica firmly.
The local female news reporter/judge screaming for another towel.
Trent passed out by Marvin’s tent surrounded by free sample cups of chili.
Jessica’s reaction to Emery popping over the top of the bunk bed and her “cat bell” line.
Great episode that once again was less about fitting into 1990s suburbia and more about the family dynamic. Emery (Forrest Wheeler) is only seen fleetingly though. (Although his upside down moment and Jessica’s reaction to it came close to being a “standout moment.”)
Fresh Off the Boat, after a somewhat shaky start with this reviewer, has now become a firm favorite. Once the show’s character became more real the humor leapt off the screen and the series truly amuses. Honey and Marvin, Chelsey Crisp and the iconic Ray Wise as the May/December couple next door, continue to amuse when they are on the show.
This series is developing into a brilliant ensemble piece and while it is about the Huang family, it is the character of Jessica who is starting to become a personal favorite. Fresh Off the Boat airs Tuesdays on ABC.