Fresh Off the Boat: Week in Review – Team Jessie-Lou (Review)

Fresh Off the Boat: Week in Review reveals that in Grandma Huang’s day, the men made the money and killed the spiders. That when the word lice is uttered, everyone takes one step back. Team Jessie-Lou fall apart but get back together and Eddie not only saves the day but learns that “being homeless” is no big deal. Two of the Huang children bring lice home.

RANDALL PARK, CONSTANCE WU

Fresh Off the Boat: Week in Review reveals that in Grandma Huang’s day, the men made the money and killed the spiders. That when the word lice is uttered, everyone takes one step back. Team Jessie-Lou falls apart but gets back together and Eddie not only saves the day but learns that “being homeless” is no big deal. Two of the Huang children bring lice home.

We also learn, according to Jessica, that lice are the “pedophiles of the insect world.”

Before the oldest Huang son is ejected out of the house for being lice infected,  Eddie and his friends discuss the upcoming  student faculty basketball game; the winning team gets pizza. In class later, Eddie talks smack with his teacher Mr G (Al Madrigal). The teacher tells Eddie if he gets a basket  against him, that Eddie will have no homework for the rest of the year. 

Eddie responds that if he does not score, the teacher can give him double homework. His schoolmates are horrified.  Jessie and Louis are shocked that  Eddie has lice (We didn’t come to this country so our son could get lice,  says an annoyed Louis). Later Evan comes home infected as well.  Both boys are evicted from the family home until the lice are gone.

Comic Moments:

Jessica yelling at Trent:

“Wait, no, Big Red, keep your distance! Eddie is DISEASED!”

 

Evan telling his parents that he has lice and stretching his arms out for a hug, “Bao bao.” The next shot has the littlest Huang outside with Eddie.  Jessica places her hand, which is made into Vulcan palms through the window.

Louis and Jessica covered from head to toe to treat Eddie and Evan.

Emery not getting lice and saying, “Wait. How come I don’t have lice? I mean, how do you not want to be up in this?” He follows this with a self-satisfied slow-motion hair flip.

Eddie flinging his towel into the  crowd at the gym and their horrified reaction to it.

Jessica’s  “Louis.”

Grandma Huang watching Jerry Springer and chanting “Jer-ry, Jer-ry.”

Jessica admiring the team name that Louis has made up for their team, Jessie-Lou.

Jessica: “Sounds like a country girl who’s has sex too early.”

Louis and Jessica hugging, even though she has gotten lice from Eddie. As the couple embrace she says:

Jessica: “Louis, I just want you to know that if you get lice, I’m putting you outside with Eddie.”

Louis (sighing): “I know. I’ve always known.”

Overall Thoughts:

Not having watched the first season, except via binging after the fact, it took some time to really get into Fresh Off the Boat and its “based on real people” characters and storylines. However…

The performances of the actors, the writing and the chemistry between the players makes this a brilliant,  funny and addictive show to watch.

Park and Wu are perfect together and how can one not adore Constance Wu’s Jessica? The scene where Louis has worked out four minutes of “alone time” is cute and funny.

Louis: “And, uh, ooh, here I made a note that Wednesday afternoon, you and I have the whole house to ourselves… for four minutes.”

Jessica: (Giggling) ” Louis.”

Louis: “And you know I only need two.”

Jessica: (Giggling)  “Louis.”

Louis: “Shall I pencil you in… twice?”

Jessica: “Oh, Louis.”

Later on the day of the “four minutes” there is more romance and Jessica “Oh Louis-ing” again until Eddie returns with the news he has lice.

Everyone clicked in this episode. Hudson Yang, Forrest Wheeler, Ian Chen as the Huang kids were spot on (Ian Chen’s little gasp/scream at the sight of his stuffed toys in the box was brilliant) and Hudson just rocked it in this episode.

HUDSON YANG, AL MADRIGAL
HUDSON YANG, AL MADRIGAL

Even the school friends of Eddie’s were a delight. The smack talking sequence with the teacher was hysterical as was Eddie’s saving the day and announcing he has superpowers while eating the victory pizza.

Fresh Off the Boat continues to deliver the laughs and is another addictive comedy. The show airs  Tuesdays on ABC.

Fresh Off the Boat: Michael Chang Fever – Checkmated at Tennis (Review)

Fresh Off the Boat: Michael Chang Fever proves that just when it seems that the Huang family comedy has peaked in terms of humor, this episode goes and knocks it out of the park. (Or more correctly, serves an ace with blazing comedic grace.)

CONSTANCE WU, RANDALL PARK

Fresh Off the Boat: Michael Chang Fever proves that just when it seems that the Huang family  comedy has peaked in terms of humor, this episode goes and  knocks it out of the park. (Or more correctly, serves an ace with blazing comedic grace.)  The episode opens with the Huang boys complaining about matching “Cool” backpacks and handing over the school’s career guidance letters.

Jessica (Constance Wu) informs her brood that it is her job to tell them what their jobs will be. In mid sentence she is amazed and excited to learn that Evan’s ideal job is surgeon general. Eddie reacts with derision.

Eddie: “Dang fool, even by Chinese standards you’re a nerd.”

Evan replies,”My backpack doesn’t agree with you.”

Mom is less thrilled at Emery’s ideal position; flight attendant. Jessica’s reaction is priceless:

“Flight attendants don’t even get a seat on the plane, they walk back and forth pushing a cart…They’re the homeless of the sky!”

Evan (Ian Chen) returns to the room back wearing a white coat and a toy stethoscope. He pokes Eddie and tells his big brother:

“Sir, your lab results are in. Your diagnosis–butt face.”

Eddie stares at the littlest Huang without expression.

This opening sets the comedic tone for the episode, where Lewis (Randall Park) rushes the family to the settee to watch Michael Chang play tennis in the Australian Open.  As he explains how luck the family are to have a proper Asian athlete to follow, Eddie and Evan manage to make good their escape. Only Emery stays to watch.

Later, after Lewis explains how much money can be made from being tennis professional, Jessica ordains that Emery will learn the game to keep him from becoming a flight attendant. At the local club, Emery (Forrest Wheeler) proves to be a natural, he is so adept at the sport that even tennis legend  Billie Jean King is impressed.

Emery is so good that Jessica puts him in Eddie’s room and forces the oldest Huang child to share with Evan. Eddie (Hudson Yang) learns that Evan is being bullied for Pogs and offers advice on how to “be a bear” and put the bully off.

As the middle son wins his way through the “Under 16” tennis tournament, Jessica and Lewis react with excitement until Emery fires them both and “hires” Ms. King to be his coach.  Eddie learns that the bear trick does not work and he steps in to help out Evan.

FORREST WHEELER, BILLIE JEAN KING
FORREST WHEELER, BILLIE JEAN KING

It is revealed that Evan is not being bullied, he owes the Pogs to a girl (a fifth grader) who keeps beating him at the game. Big brother actually helps Evan to win and it is revealed that the youngest sibling has a “gambling problem.”

Grandma (Lucille Soong) Huang is enlisted by Eddie to help him beat the fifth grader, Emery wins the “Under 16” tournament, and realizes that as much as he likes the winning, he really would rather be a flight attendant. 

Jessica plants a seed about becoming an astronaut instead. Evan and Eddie develop a great brotherly bond, although the eldest does rearrange the star stickers on the ceiling from Evan’s Equinox setting to spell out “Wu-Tang.”

Standout Moments:

Ian Chen, doing his Ken Jeong “Dr.  Ken” impression talking smack. Priceless.

Emery and Billie Jean King doing the “winner’s perm stroll.”

Lewis and Jessica’s reactions each time that Emery wins a match.

Billie Jean King’s temper tantrum.

Constance Wu’s line “checkmated at tennis…”

Constance Wu totally rocking it this week, easily becoming a firm favorite as more of her character is revealed. Wu is brilliant at understated comedy and this episode proves it.

Final Thoughts:

This was, perhaps, the best Fresh Off the Boat yet. The storyline, Billie Jean King (along with all those 90s tennis star references, Sampras, Becker, Agassi and of course Michael Chang) plus the pop culture reference to the 1998 video Wu-Tang; starring the band-members made this one especially brilliant.

Ian Chen just finished a “cross-over” role on Dr. Ken playing Dave Park’s decoy for the babysitter. Randall Park is due to play role on Jeong’s comedy series as well and “Dr. Ken” himself is also slated to appear on Fresh Off the Boat.  Both these Asian comedies, with very different approaches to the genre, are funny and addictive.

Fresh Off the Boat, with its basis in fact (a re-telling of the real Eddie Huang’s childhood) is not filmed in front of a studio audience and is more of a cultural comedy than Dr. Ken but both shows work very  well.  In each show, the family’s children; Molly and Dave Park and the three Huang boys, have young actors who kill it every week in terms of performance.

Fresh Off the Boat airs Tuesdays on ABC. Tune in and discover a great comedy that just keeps getting better and better.