For those of you who haven’t seen Fresh Off the Boat yet, I really recommend watching it. When I saw the trailer for the series, I was pretty excited because when do ever see a TV show centered on an Asian American family nowadays? All-American Girl (starring Margaret Cho) was the first and last series, and that was 21 years ago!
Anyways, fast forward to when I actually started watching the show. To be honest, I thought it was really boring at first. It started out really slow and I couldn’t see the humor in it (or maybe it was just me). I felt like they were implicitly pointing out some Asian stereotypes in a mocking way, which was conflicting to see because this was supposed to be a TV show about an Asian American family. We don’t all act like that, do we? So when I read an article about Eddie Huang’s (the real one) memoir, I finally understood who the show’s target audience was: white families. [Click here to view article: http://www.vulture.com/2015/01/eddie-huang-fresh-off-the-boat-abc.html%5D. However, this was just the first two episodes, and I was probably too quick to judge.
As I continued watching, I began to realize that the show is actually fighting stereotypes rather than mocking it. There are some things that can’t be avoided: like having immigrant parents who speak with an accent or eating food that may look weird to others. Though, the show taught us that not all Asians have unusual names (the entire family has American names) and that we don’t all lack social skills (Evan gets along with everyone, even adults). Soon enough, I saw my childhood in this series. I related so well to Eddie and the whole idea of trying to find yourself in a place that you’re not used to. Like him, I felt like I had to assimilate in order to fit in. Above all, I saw the concept of an Asian family fighting for the “American dream,” which was the same thing my family had to endure. Finally, there’s something on TV that I can relate to now.
Fresh Off the Boat is something we, as Asian Americans, need. For the most part, there just aren’t enough Asian movies or shows on TV. Second, and most importantly, it’s about time that an accurate Asian representation is shown to everyone else (and not just Asians). This helps to decrease stereotypes and discriminatory actions. I’m not saying it’ll eliminate it completely but it can at least change the point of views that others have about Asian Americans. It’s a good thing that Fresh Off the Boat was able to continue after it’s first season, so I really hope it does succeed and go beyond our expectations. I’m really looking forward to what the producers have in stored for season two.