‘Fresh Off the Boat’ starts off with the comedy firing on all cylinders and in ‘The Manchurian Dinner Date’ it is all about Eddie’s first girlfriend and Jessica’s reaction to the fact. Alison panics after learning that his mother wants him to date a Chinese girl and she sends in a ringer. Emery finds a soul-mate and Evan gets a makeover.
At the start of the episode Louis realizes that it is graduation time and he tells his three boys that they are to get a free “rib-eye on the future all you can eat chicken.” The lads are less than impressed when Louis explains that chicken is the rib-eye is steak of the future. The meal will be at his restaurant.
All the boys are allowed to bring a friend to the meal and Evan asks if he can bring J.J. Louis says no as the boy is too “chicken crazy” and he goes through napkins like wildfire. Not overly bothered, Evan then asks his mother to come as his friend. Jessica is overjoyed to be with her favorite and, as she whispers to Louis, it is one less mouth to feed.
Eddie spoils the mood by saying he will bring Alison (Isabella Alexander) to the meal and everything is fine until Louis mentions that she is Eddie’s girlfriend. Jessica’s happy mood vanishes and she begins to query her oldest. Eddie answers in “rap” lingo, calling Alison his “boo” and Jessica admits that she can rarely understand what he says.
Eddie: “Sho’ Nuff”
Jessica has no idea what he has just said, but Louis steps in on Eddie’s behalf and says that she will love Alison. Eddie agrees and repeats that Jessica will love his bae. She does not agree:
“Really? Think about how many people I love. Do the math. [After Eddie’s blank look.]Have your brothers help you do the math.”
At school he asks Alison to the meal and his “boo” says yes. Only his girlfriend panics when he reveals that Jessica has always wanted him to date a Chinese girl. She then refuses to meet “the mother” on the night of the meal. They agree to have Alison meet Jessica before the event.
The night of the date arrives and a Chinese girl shows up at the Huang door holding a flat of oranges. Eddie is dumbfounded when the girl introduces herself as Alison. It turns out that his boo panicked and asked her fellow band member and second chair piccolo player Audrey (‘Fuller House’ actress Ashley Liao) to step in for her as a sort of visual Cyrano de Bergerac.
Audrey/Alison is a raging success with Jessica, although Emery and Louis both know she is not the real Alison. The silver lining to this potential cloud has Audrey clicking with Emery who has a lot in common with this intelligent and clever youngster.
While Eddie panics about the Alison situation Emery must write a valedictorian speech for his fifth grade graduation ceremony. Louis offers to help and he provides all kinds of tips, including ripping up the written pages of the speech and reading the thing off of his hand.
Evan and Grandma Huang are having issues with his free suit. Grandma makes the offer after watching Evan trying to decide what he wants to wear while eating with his best friend. (Mom)
Eddie and the real Alison try to come clean and find Audrey/Alison at the house playing Ma-Jong. Jessica insisted she come over. Alison starts to explain and Eddie cuts her off. He claims she is selling cookies. Jessica stops the girl before she can leave and asks Audrey if she wants anything. Audrey asks Alison if she has anything lemon. “Oh yes, I love lemon,” exclaims Jessica.
Earlier Alison was going to bring Eddie’s mother a lemon cake and he stated emphatically that Jessica did not like lemon. This new information results in Alison shooting her boyfriend a nasty/frustrated look.
Later Eddie goes to apologize, he escaped from the bathroom by leaving the water running and climbing out the window.
The Huang family attend Emery’s graduation ceremony. Emery gives his speech brilliantly a’la Louis and his father is overjoyed until he realizes that every student is a valedictorian. Jessica admits that the faux Alison is too boring and Eddie reveals that Audrey is not his girlfriend.
He shows his mother the real Alison “the one playing Tupac on the piccolo” and Jessica is overjoyed to see the girl is “first-chair.” Evan is not pleased with Grandma’s lack of progress on the suit.
The kids and Lucille Soong rocked this episode. Forrest Wheeler, Ian Chen and Hudson Yang were on top form and the entire thing was almost stolen by guest star Ashley Liao (keep an eye on that one). Although this ensemble cast had no slackers in the episode. Constance Wu and Randall Park were excellent. The show’s theme was all about the children and the very end where all the Huang boys scarper off in a panic when Jessica brings out the water bill was delightful.
‘Fresh Off the Boat’ has its season two finale next week and Dr. Ken star Ken Jeong will be making a guest appearance as a relative. Do not miss what should be a hilarious end to the second season and hopefully a springboard into season three (which ABC have already given the go-ahead, along with ‘Dr. Ken’ having a second season. Quality comedy that delights and makes you laugh. Simply great telly.