It seems that TV series are on its peak with many brilliant shows dominating the small screen. Though highly Westernized, we can understand to some extent the content of TV shows like How I Met Your Mother, Jane the Virgin, Pretty Little Liars and the like, but there hadn’t been any shows that we, Asians, can really connect with—until the airing of ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat last year. Finally we saw hope that Asians can now be included in TV not as a side story, but as its focus.
The series is an adaptation from Eddie Huang’s book memoir with the same name. Set in the '90s, it documents the struggle of a Taiwanese immigrant family fitting in from Chinatown in Washington D.C. to suburban Orlando, Florida. Despite the backlash it has been receiving due to racist depictions, FOTB is a comedy show that rounds up how it really is being Asian—both as boon and bane.
1. Tiger Mom
Asian moms are known to be protective and strict, micromanaging every little thing. In the show, matriarch Jessica Huang becomes a caricature of Tiger moms who want only the best for her kids.
FOTB does an excellent sketch of just how ridiculous Asians can be when it comes to superstitions while reminding us that respect for one’s beliefs is essential.
3. Asian Stereotypes
FOTB does not just break typical Asian stereotypes but also embraces it. In the Huang family, Eddie is not smart like his brothers Evan and Emery, but Eddie here isn’t depicted as an exception when he is in school with his friends. He is just a normal kid. Meanwhile, his brothers are also sketched in that way. While they both are smart, they aren’t treated differently outside school. The comedy lies however where they are at home and their contrast is emphasized within their family.
The following are more examples of how FOTB is so spot on when it comes to portraying Asian culture:
Your lola is your first tailor.
Your mom could possibly be a #geek, too.
We have a natural inclination to haggle a good bargain.
5. Asians love their karaoke.
Bonus: The whole series is set in the '90s giving us major #TBT feels!
With Fresh Off the Boat pioneering TV content about Asians, it gives people a deeper understanding of our culture, and thus assuring us that this is just the beginning of seeing a more diversified content in the small screen.
Videos, photos and main image from Fresh Off the Boat on Facebook.