Everyone has something to say about ABC’s new comedy “Fresh Off The Boat.” It premiered with mixed reviews via social media. Those on Twitter and Tumblr had no issue offering up their opinion. From one side of the spectrum deeming the show “extremely offensive,” “the saddest piece of ‘white television,’ to those who have had similar experiences to Eddie Huang, the creator, the funniest thing they have ever seen. The show is being compared to that of recently debuted shows “Christela,” which follows a young woman and her Latin family, and “Black-ish,” which revolves around a ‘mixed’ family.
While “Fresh Off The Boat,” is similar to these shows about the struggles of integrating two cultures, the desire to hang onto traditional values in an area that doesn’t quite understand them. What sets “Fresh Off The Boat” apart, similar to “Everybody Hates Chris” and “The Goldbergs,” is the fact that the show is offers real-life experiences from the view of a coming-of-age boy; adding yet another layer to the show. Eddie Huang, chef and author, wrote a memoir of which the show is based on. Akin to that of Chris Rock, and Adam F. Goldberg.
“Fresh Off The Boat,” is a raw depiction of the struggles of not only growing up, but as a minority just trying to fit in compromising one’s culture. Anyone can relate to the fact that as a kid we all wanted to mold ourselves in some way to what the majority was doing. And the truth is the show is offensive, but that’s the point! It shoves race in your face, it exposes all of the stereotypes and stigma about Asian Immigrants, and Asian-American families in the U.S. Huang is sharing his memories, his experiences which also is empowering. To put the stigma out there is also in a way reclaiming. It’s educating, and real which is why from those who having lived in household similar to Huang’s are loving this show, finally there is representation.
It has been over 20 years since an Asian-American family was featured on primetime television. It seems un-fathoming so, but it’s true. Television has never been great at offering authentic depictions. As a woman do you think I like being grouped of thought of as like those on “The Real Housewives.” Yeah. No. However, voices are finally getting heard, and more shows offering diversity of race/gender/sexuality are being created. It’s been slow on the uptake, but I know “Fresh Off The Boat” will rise to the challenge.
Since everyone is a critic, I will say one thing. I applaud these shows for their voice on race, but what about the gender discrepancy? Shows like “Fresh Off the Boat,” “Everybody Hates Chris,” and “Goldbergs” are hilarious BUT they surround the experiences of a coming -of-age-boy, what about a comedy about a coming-of-age girl?
One step at a time…