There’s a new sitcom on network TV now called Fresh off the Boat which is about a Taiwanese American family. It’s only the second show on TV in American history with an Asian American family and the first one was 20 years ago!!
Before I saw the first episode or read anything about the show my instant reaction was one of profound skepticism and worry because American movies and TV have done almost nothing to instill any confidence in me that it would be any good at all. The days of Long Duk Dong might be over thirty years ago, but there’s still a long way to go.
Fresh off the Boat has gotten great reviews and I’ve genuinely enjoyed parts of the show. But my expectations were so low that I basically said I’d watch it if I didn’t find it offensive. My worry was that it would be a “Big Bang Theory” but for Asian people. In other words, a show that purports to be about a minority group when in fact the “subject” of the show is the punchline you’re supposed to laugh at.
So far though they’ve gotten in some good references that will hit particularly close to home for Asian Americans. So I hooked up my antenna and watched it live because it would be great if the show managed to keep going. It’s RIDICULOUS how often I find myself saying “Wow, this has probably never been seen before on TV.” And not even for anything crazy, stuff like an Asian American couple in bed talking. Or two Asian grandmothers talking to each other in Mandarin.
Also, if the show keeps going then maybe they’ll finally put a darn wok on the family’s stove along with some aluminum foil caked with grease. Also, I’m pretty sure no one is taking their shoes off in the house, wtf?