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Fresh Off the Boat, Season 1, Episode 11: “Very Superstitious”
Original airdate April 7, 2015.

RANDALL PARK, CONSTANCE WUMicrosynopsis: Jessica gets her first commission, but her superstitions prevent her from cashing the check. Louis cashes it without her knowledge and convinces the boys that a little white lie is better for everyone involved. Eddie runs for sixth-grade president against classmates with better slogans and celebrity endorsements.

Good: In reviewing last week’s episode, I really had to reach to find the negatives. This week, it’s the opposite: the only easy positive is how especially pretty Jessica is, particularly in the scenes where she’s disagreeing with Louis. It was nice to have Grandma more involved in the story. For once, Mitch at the restaurant is reasonable instead of creepy. And even though I’m going to write about it two paragraphs down, I’ll mention that the soundtrack flashback is an excellent choice, because what else am I going to put in this section? Oh, I guess the return of Eddie’s pimp-walk is pretty cute, but it’s less cute without a later return of Jessica’s pimp-walk.

HUDSON YANGBad: No! Bad FotB writers! Bad! Do not combine the done-to-death little-white-lie-important-lesson theme with the overplayed super-sensitive-school-authority-who-calls-CPS plot and the running-for-school-office story! Do not bring celebrity guest stars playing themselves into the story at all, but really don’t do it in the show’s first season! Don’t you know that’s one of the classic shark jumps? Do not write a butthole joke! Do not show us Grandma on the toilet! Cultural remember-this gags are okay, but do not give us Scottie Pippen, Crystal Pepsi, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Street Fighter II in the same episode! Do not give us wisdom from the custodian! Don’t give us more Phillip Goldstein, one of the most irritating characters in a half-season full of irritating characters, at all! And for crying out loud, stop making Jessica say, “Aww hell no!” It didn’t work the first five times she said it, and it’s not working now!

FOB moment: Grandma burns incense while sitting on the toilet.

Soundtrack flashback:Me Myself and I” by De La Soul. It’s the second-best thing about this episode.

Final grade, this episode: Seriously, a show that works “chink” into the pilot, includes “Straight Outta Compton” in the soundtrack, and grabs ownership of “FOB” should know better than to include so many tired story elements unless it’s trying to make a point by tempting fate with multiple shark-jumps, in which case it might as well have introduced Ted McGinley (the patron saint of jumping the shark) as a new cast member too. The bad-luck-numbers story is actually kind of cute, as is Evan’s fear of missing something because he’s using the bathroom, but they are strangled by too much badness everywhere else (and uncharacteristic hamminess from Randall Park and Ian Chen). You can’t win ’em all, and even M*A*S*H had the Loudon Wainwright III episode. D.

FRESH OFF THE BOAT: SEASON 1

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