Fresh Off the Boat, Season 2, Episode 20: “Hi, My Name Is…”
Original airdate April 26, 2016.
Microsynopsis: The Huang family goes to the bank together so Evan can open his first bank account, but the process is slowed when Evan can’t decide whether to use his American or Chinese name. In an effort to convince Evan that names don’t really matter, Jessica and Louis share stories of how they chose their American names and how they chose each of the boys’ names.
Good: Here’s an episode that deals with an aspect of everyday Asian American life seldom explored on television, and it’s about time. Most of my friends from Hong Kong were named by their English-school teachers in what seems to have been a random selection from a names list. One of my best friends was named Grace (no, she’s not Korean) because it was the only feminine American name her mother knew. In the math league my high school competes in, a competitor will occasionally be stripped of his or her points because the name he or she writes on the test papers doesn’t match the name the teacher submitted on the roster, a penalty suffered more by Chinese students than others. There is so much unmined material just in this one concept that it’s a wonder it hasn’t been explored in mainstream television.
I know this is stupid, but my favorite thing in this show is how Eddie suggests that when he launches his empire, he’s going to pick a “dope-ass name,” and the name is almost a homophone for “dope-ass.” Such a stupid, clever bit of wordplay. Other highlights: another subtitled conversation between Jessica and her sister Connie, and a sweet pep talk from Grandma to Evan.
Bad: I think it’s about time we put a moratorium on projectile vomiting for comedic effect.
FOB moment: This is another episode whose whole premise is an FOB moment.
Soundtrack flashback: “Ramblin’ Man” by The Allman Brothers Band (1973). “You Gots to Chill” by EPMD (1988).
Final grade, this episode: Ah, what a fun, silly, entertaining episode shining a light on an interesting part of Asian American life. B+.