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: 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

Fresh Off the Boat: No Thanks-giving – Jessica vs Eddie (Review)

 HUDSON YANG, CONSTANCE WU

Fresh Off the Boat sees Jessica go ff the idea of celebrating Thanksgiving. Right after her announcement that they would open Cattleman’s Ranch on Thanksgiving, Eddie decides there is nothing to be gained from working hard in the eighth grade.

He refuses to do his family tree homework. This decision leads to Principal Hunter delivering Eddie to his parents front door. The eldest Huang child tells his Louis and Jessica that middle school accomplishes nothing and does not count towards college.

The principal agrees but asks the Huang’s to sort Eddie out.

Meanwhile the plans are made to serve Thanksgiving Day dinner at the restaurant. Jessica and Louis set out what will happen on the day and the two engage in a winking fest. Each wink has an underlying meaning.

Grandma Huang is excited to see the parade on the bar’s TV and Eddie loses his bed. Jessica has taken it to prove a point. Eddie, however, is not going to give in.

At one point Jessica tells her oldest that Evan and Emery might inherit Cattleman’s Ranch and the two boys begin planning for their future in earnest.  Evan reveals that he does not realize the difference between a cow and a bull. Emery explains is and Evan is not impressed.

“You’re a cow!”

Nancy and Mitch start sucking up to the new “owners” and Eddie asks Honey and Marvin to explain how useless the eighth grade really is. Jessica refuses to budge.

Later, during the fresh turkey raffle, Eddie falls asleep and does not hear Jessica call the winning number. (She fixed the raffle.) They end up giving the turkey to another customer who is shocked to find that her prize is alive.

Jessica has one last talk with Eddie and she convinces him that she is “crazy.” He gets his bed back and actually does the family tree homework assignment. Instead of tracing his family, he uses the tree to map out the rap hierarchy.

LUCILLE SOONG

This episode of Fresh Off the Boat was equally divided between the Huang couple and the kids. Although Grandma Huang does get some brilliant moments. Her nut throwing at the Cattleman’s Ranch TV screen, and the reaction of the guy next to her,  was priceless.

 

“No Thanks-giving” also shows just how business minded Jessica is.  Louis may own and run the restaurant but Jessica could run circles around him in terms of management. Although her scruples are a little close to the bone and her people skills could use a little work.

Season three of Fresh Off the Boat is maintaining its high level of comedy. All of the Huang “kids” have chemistry that  cannot be beaten and Lucille Soong is the hidden gem in this ensemble piece. Check out that expression on her character’s face when throwing those nuts.

Once again, Constance Wu was the “most valuable player” (MVP) with Soong coming a close second.  Louis and Jessica’s wink “thing” was one of the funniest things in the season so far. (But not funnier than Wu’s “Louis” in a previous episode.

By the end of the episode the Huang’s have taken their Simpsons position on the sofa and are watching Eddie’s in-depth family tree of all the “relevant” rappers.

Fresh Off the Boat airs Tuesdays on ABC. Tune in and let the comedy wash over you.

Cast:

Fresh Off the Boat: Louisween – Invoking the Name of Stephen King (Review)

 FORREST WHEELER, RANDALL PARK, HUDSON YANG, LUNA BLAISE, IAN CHEN

It is Louis’ favorite time of the year, Halloween, aka Louisween and he celebrates by trying to scare the family first thing in the morning. Fresh Off the Boat follows Louis’ frustrating attempt to scare Jessica.

Anyone watching the series knows that Louise adores Halloween  Everyone in the family share his love for this holiday except Jessica. She loves Stephen King and emulates the horror master by writing her own scary book.

Meanwhile Evan and Emery have problems with their themed costumes as Evan wants to stop being the sidekick. Louis tries everything to scare Jessica who hates the holiday.

Eddie  and the gang are invited to Nicole’s teenage party for Halloween and the eldest Huang opts to go to the party, with disastrous results. Nicole’s party is a flop as everyone leaves to go to another party being hosted by a 10th grader.

Nicole gets help from Eddie to turn the party around. Moments into the new revved up party, there is a knock a door.  Nicole is excited as she believes there are more guests. Sadly it turns out to be a cop. The two kids are taken down to the police station for disturbing the peace.

Eddie calls home and his mother and the rest of the family rush down to got him out of jail.  Luckily he is not in any serious trouble and they bring him home.

Because of the arrest no one gets any trick or treating done. The boys are crushed but Jessica saves the day by heading out to neighbors the day after Halloween.

There were some funny bits in this episode. The scares done by Louis at the start and his continuous attempts to  scare jessica were funny. Her reactions to the “scares” frustrates Louis.

Jessica’s un-wavering  support of Stephen King and her decision to write her own scary novel along with Eddie’s plan to liven up Nicole’s part make the episode completely different from last year’s Halloween theme.

These characters are adorable. Emery and Evan’s going out for trick or treat in paired and themed costumes is cute.  Last year it was Hannibal Lector and a lamb. This year was meant to be, initially, a Jurassic Park theme with Emery as Hammond and Evan as Barney the Dinosaur.

Later it was going to be Indiana Jones and Short Round but Evan decides he is through being a sidekick so there are two Indiana Jones characters.

The argument over costumes was cute and funny. Finally  Evan is allowed to pick the theme and he chooses be Judge Ito from the OJ Simpson murder trial.  He asks Emery to dress as the live-in house guest Kato Kaelin but he refuses.

Jessica finishes her 60 page book and reads it to the family as the three boys eat late Halloween candy.

The young actor’s costumes were funny.  Brian’s costume was the Martian from Looney Tunes and it is perfect. Early on in the episode Brian and Trent have a brief but comic interchange.

Brian quotes part of the plot from the 1981 comedy Porky’s.   He explains he saw a good portion of the movie when Cinemax inadvertently unscrambled its signal. Trent replies in a tone full of disappointment and annoyance, “Thanks for the call.”

While Constance Wu is a personal favorite as Jessica, the kids are coming into their own. Wheeler, Yang and Chen have always rocked their roles but in earlier seasons the “non-Huang” kids left a bit to be desired.

This year every actor is firing on all cylinders and giving it their all.  Kudos to the whole cast for making this a fun Halloween special.  Mad props to Constance Wu for killing it as the unflappable Jessica Huang.

Fresh Off the Boat airs Tuesdays on ABC.

Cast: