Fresh Off the Boat: The Best of Orlando – Loving Constance Wu (Review)

CONSTANCE WU

Season three of Fresh Off the Boat has made it easier than ever to fall in love with Constance Wu and her brilliant comic nuances. In “The Best of Orlando” Wu, as Jessica Huang is the clear winner in the story of Louis forgetting to thank her after winning Orlando Small Businessman of the Year.

Her displeasure at being forgotten, along with Evan’s expert advice to his father, make her journey, and Louis’, the funniest bit of the show. Not to denigrate the Eddie/Emery/Grandma Huang trouser business tale. It too was amusing and it shows once again just how different Eddie is from his brothers.

This episode did feel very familiar, there was one where Louis did something that either displeased Jessica, or along those lines; gave an incorrect account of something, and had to ring all the neighbors and admit he was at fault.

This time around, he has to go around the neighborhood and read his “acceptance” speech to each house. So despite Constance Wu killing it in “The Best of Orlando” this episode did have a deja vu quality.

Constance Wu has had more than her fair share of comic moments in season three.  The previous episode, “How to be an American” also allowed Wu to shine. The actress is at her best when she gets all shiny eyed at the thought of being an American citizen or when she is making money.

As Jessica, Constance is able to express volumes without saying a word. While she is able to knock it out of the park with minimal effort via her dialogue, usually a sound or her endearing, and oh so funny, “Oh Louis,” in other episodes, it is Wu’s visage and her expressions that drive the comedy home.

The double act that is Ian Chen and Constance Wu also plays extremely well. Although this ensemble cast all bring something to the comic table. This week Eddie and Emery do knock off “G” (for Gangsta, or as Eddie whispers, Grandma) trousers that they sell at school.

The principle steals their thunder by buying the newest “real deal” and they find that between keeping Grandma Huang in Green Blow pops and her share of the cut, they have not earned a thing.

Evan helps Louis make things up to Jessica after the Orlando GMA cuts into his televised thank you to her with news of a Fez of armadillo’s that block traffic on the main road.

The instant devotion of the youngest Huang is brilliantly funny, as is Jessica’s belief that Evan is the smartest of their three sons. Clearly, the youngest Huang is a cut above his brothers, but Emery is just as studios as his little brother.

This Fresh Off the Boat episode is not the best of the season, except for Constance Wu’s performance, but the show is double dipping this week with a special show tonight for Chinese New Year,

Tune in and catch the show tonight on ABC.

Cast:

Fresh Off the Boat: How to Be an American – Jessica & Ferris Bueller Times 3 (Review)

 RANDALL PARK, CONSTANCE WU, ZACHARY KNIGHTON

In Fresh Off the Boat “How to be an American” Jessica finally gets naturalized, the three boys plan a Ferris Bueller day off and Louis learns a lot about Jessica he never knew.  Most importantly he learns why she made him ask for her hand in marriage five times.

At the start of the episode Louis has to take Jessica down to the office of immigration for an interview in order to get her papers in order. Once there, the two take a trip down memory lane. Which includes the way they first met after getting food poisoning from the octopus they both ate at the same restaurant.

Doug, the interviewer, reveals that, among other things, Jessica’s first job was as a teacher and that she has a criminal record.  She reveals that her student visa was about to expire so she applied to be a teacher. Louis is shocked to learn his wife worked in a profession she hates.

After a long process of revelations from Jessica, she finally gets the approval she needs to become a citizen.  Along the way, Louis learns that his wife did indeed fall in love with him “at first sight.”

Meanwhile, Eddie has talked Evan and Emery into taking the mini-van out for a spin. Evan tells his brothers that AAA gives its members 5 percent off entry fees and the boys run in the house to get their suits. When they return the empty van has rolled into the street and they are locked out.

AAA comes to open the van for them and the technician tells the three to set the van back the way is was before. Grandma Huang has caught the boys trying to take the van without permission and blackmailed them into helping her organize her perfumes.

Fresh Off the Boat continues to showcase its performers and allows them to make the most of the comedy on offer. Constance Wu is still the obvious hero of this show, her “audition” to Doug’s “brother” for a special ability visa was hysterically funny.

Randall Park’s reactions to the secrets revealed by Doug (played perfectly by Zachary Knighton) were spot on and once more we can see just why Park and Wu are one of the best double acts on television.

The three Huang children were all brilliant in this episode. Hudson Yang continues to make Eddie a rap-star wannabe who wants the world to belief his first words were “thug’s life.” Lee Chen and his high pitched screams were laugh out loud funny and Forrest Wheeler plays his middle child with effortless aplomb.  These three are beyond perfect together.

Lucille Soong is still making Grandma Huang a comedic force to be reckoned with and the writers continue to make her a fascinating character who is slowly becoming one of the best things about the show.

Park and Wu have the perfect chemistry to make them a match made in heaven. Jessica with her determination to appear unromantic and Louis who is romantic enough for the both of them are just brilliant in this episode.

When Jessica takes her oath, all shining eyes and huge smile, the Huang family watch from the back of the room, it is a real tearful moment.

Fresh Off the Boat is in its third season and shows no sign of losing its comic touch. The series airs Tuesdays on ABC.  Do not miss this one as comedy shows just don’t get much better than this.

Cast:

Guest starring Zachary Knighton as Doug

Fresh Off the Boat: Where Are the Giggles? (Review)

IAN CHEN, RAY WISE

Fresh Off the Boat “Where Are the Giggles?” manages to pay homage to three different Christmas themed stories in one episode. The holiday based segment takes a loving look at Home Alone, Jingle All the Way and A Christmas Carol. The Parks’ take on Christmas is a winner and the only real loser is their neighbor Deirdre.

The Park family are eagerly getting ready for Christmas. Jessica gets six movie tickets from a satisfied customer to see “Jingle All the Way.” They get ready to leave and get good seats.  Not everyone makes it to the cinema, Evan is left at home, alone.

Louis calls Marv who tells his friend to stay at the theatre and watch the film, it is, says Marv, worth it.  Jessica asks him to go over and look in on Evan. He agrees and ends up getting hurt by a boobytrap  set by the youngest Huang.

The Parks return home and find Marv on the floor with a back injury. Evan is wildly disappointed in his mother and she offers to get him any new toy he wants. Evan asks for a “Tickle Me Elmo.”

Just like the plot line of “Jingle All the Way,” Evan has asked for a toy that is nearly impossible to find anywhere.  Jessica hunts down the Elmo while Louis learns that Marv has sued them for his back injury.

Honey gives her husband muscle relaxants that he takes with beer. Louis has already told his friend how he feels about being sued. Marv’s guilt and his mixing of the tablets and alcohol cause him to have “A Christmas Carol” type dreams.

Emery, Grandma Huang and Eddie all show up as Christmas ghosts and they convince him to drop the  lawsuit. On top of these themed storylines, Eddie tells Emery that he is celebrating a  little known African alternative to Christmas; Kwanzaa.

Amusingly, in Marv’s “dream” Eddie turns up as a ghost of Christmas Present dressed in African ethnic clothing. He tells Marv that he is not the ghost of Christmas but of “Kwanzaa” present.

As Marv has his Scrooge-like visions, Jessica works to get her favorite son his Tickle Me Elmo. She dresses up as the Chinese Santa, a female in charge of all the Santas, to deliver the Tickle Me Elmo to Deirdre’s daughter. Her outfit terrifies the children at the girl’s party and Deirdre refuses to part with the other one.

Deirdre’s husband offers up the other toy and Jessica gives it to Evan. He reveals, on the day, that he does not really like new toys but he feigns excitement to please his mother.

Ray Wise knocked it out of the park on the festive themed episode. Constance Wu was hysterical as the Chinese Santa “Lao Ban Santa” the “boss of all the Santa’s.”

This was a fun episode on so many levels. Lucille Soong managed to come awfully close to stealing the show with her Christmas future and the kids on the show, Hudson Yang, Forrest Wheeler and Ian Chen all managed to hold their own against the adult actors.

(The interaction between Wheeler and Yang regarding the Kwanzaa holiday was very funny.)

Fresh Off the Boat airs Tuesdays on ABC. If you missed this brilliant episode, it can be watched either on demand or via Hulu.

Cast:

Guest starring Rachel Cannon Deirdre and Robert Paul Taylor as Ronaldo.

Fresh Off the Boat: The Taming of the Dads – Tamagotchi (Review)

HUDSON YANG, ISABELLA ALEXANDER

There cannot be many who do not remember the Tamagotchi craze of the 1990’s. Fresh Off the Boat “The Taming of Two Dads” may have focused upon Jessica’s jury duty and Louis’ Shakespearean Bromance, but the “Tale of Two Brothers” and their electronic pet was the funniest section of the show.

It was a close call this week. Louis’ bonding with Alison’s dad over a mutual love of all things Shakespeare was amusing. All the more so because of Eddie’s clear discomfort at his father crashing his and Alison’s anniversary date.

The eldest Huang son was uncomfortable sitting through “Romeo and Juliet” anyway, and to have Gary and Louis eating the young couple’s Goobers and talking loudly about the film pretty much ruined the date.

Jessica is mistakenly tapped for jury duty and loses out being the jury foreman; something that annoys her no end. Instead of concentrating on the trial she is part of, Jessica works to become the foreman.  (At one point she gives her fellow jurors notes and an orange as a bribe to allow her to be in charge.)

When Jessica finally becomes the foreman she causes a mistrial by announcing she thought the alleged arsonist was guilty from day one. As she talks about his dodgy haircut, the judge declares a mistrial.

Later Honey reveals that as Jessica is not a citizen she could not legally serve on the jury.

Evan and Emery get a tamagotchi (an electronic pet) from their cousin in Taiwan. He sends the pet with a note saying he hopes they have better luck with their tamagotchi than he had with his.

The two younger Huang boys work well together initially but as the pet becomes more demanding their teamwork becomes frayed at the edges.  Even with the increased workload they both take pride in their pet and beam like proud parents when the neighbor’s take notice of their tamagotchi.

Meanwhile, Eddie’s girlfriend Alison decides they need a break after seeing how well Louis and her father get along. She tells Eddie that they have become too complacent and Eddie panics.

He gets advice from his father who then tells Gary that they can no longer be friends. He explains that their happiness has placed Eddie and Alison’s relationship in a Montague and Capulet situation. Sadly Alison’s father agrees.

Eddie decides to become more spontaneous and he invites Alison to see the Leonardo DiCaprio version of “Romeo and Juliet” again, this time without the two dads.

Emery and Evan end up killing the tamagotchi.  At the funeral, they bury the electronic pet in the front garden as Honey explains to Jessica about the jury duty mistake. At the very end, the tamagotchi beeps from underneath the dirt and both lads decide that they did not hear anything.

While Jessica’s hubris almost steals the show, it really was Emery and Evan and their temperamental tamagotchi that provided the most amusing storyline of the three on offer this week.

Forrest Wheeler and Ian Chen were spot on as the excited “parents” who end up being ruled by their new pet. Constance Wu, as usual, continues to make Jessica Huang the center of the show.

Fresh Off the Boat airs Tuesdays on ABC.

Cast:

Guest starring Isabella Alexander as Alison and Cory Blevins as Gary Olsen (Alison’s dad.).

‘Fresh Off the Boat’ WWJD: What Would Jessica Do? (Review)

 CONSTANCE WU, IAN CHEN

This episode of Fresh Off the Boat is perhaps the cutest one yet. ” WWJD: What Would Jessica Do” focuses, for the most part on Jessica and Evan. The two are Costco buddies who shop every Sunday for all the bargains they can find. Suddenly, Evan is invited to church by his friend Zack and Jessica is lost.

Louis gives friend and neighbor Marvin a friend’s discount on their latest meal (aka, free) and the dentist returns the favor. He gives Louis neon white teeth during his cleaning appointment.

Both mother and father of the Huang clan have difficulties for very different reasons. Louis hates his “glow in the dark” teeth and Jessica misses her shopping buddy.

Meanwhile, Eddie and Emery make “Bad-A** Cereal Bars” out of all the left over cereal from the multi-packs that Jessica bought at Costco. Sadly, as the boys learn to their dismay, not all  cereal is created equal when it comes to making cereal treats.

The mixed up cereal gets harder and harder to chew. Emery breaks off small pill sized portions to wash down with water and Eddie breaks a tooth.  The eldest Huang child goes with Louis to Marvin’s office to get the thing sorted and he orders a crown like his rapper idol.

(On a sidenote: There was a brilliantly funny gag at Marvin’s dentist office. Five dentists, including Marvin are all standing  and looking a tube of toothpaste. It looks suspiciously like Colgate. Four of the group says yes and the fifth shakes his head and says he just cannot. The punch line is, of course, that “four out of five dentists” recommend Colgate.  This was the best comedic sequence of season three so far.)

Evan is quite taken with church and even though Jessica tries to dissuade her youngest from going, he continues to attend with his friend Zack on a regular basis.

(The second gag of the show had Jessica using the voice altering  megaphone to play “God.” She tries telling Evan to stop going to church. Louis overhears and he and Evan find Jessica hiding in the pantry. Very funny.)

Eventually Evan decides that he can do Costco and Church, alternating between the two. Jessica agrees to this solution.

Yeardley Smith has a cameo role as a sampler in the Costco who dispenses some advice to Jessica about how to handle Evan’s defection.  Smith proves once again that she does not need Lisa Simpson to be funny. Her Costco shelving “confessional” was brilliantly funny.

Marvin and Louis make up after the latter’s angry outburst over the whiter than white teeth his dental neighbor set him up with.  The only loser in the show is Grandma Huang.

Grandma makes fun of her own son mercilessly. Calling him a muppet and  using every opportunity to laugh at his shiny white teeth, his discomfort is her clear delight.

Fresh Off the Boat keeps pushing the comedy envelope.  Ian Chen and Constance Wu make the best comedy double act ever and Forrest Wheeler and Hudson Yang were spot on in this episode.

Ray Wise, as usual, makes the most of his time on the show.

The final punchline in the episode had Jessica making a “stock” out of the giant cereal bar, much to the chagrin of the two Huang boys.

Fresh Off the Boat airs Fridays on ABC. Stop by for some addictive fun and Stay for Constance Wu.

Cast:

Guest starring Luke Judy as Zack and Yeardley Smith