Fresh Off the Boat, Season 3, Episode 6: “WWJD: What Would Jessica Do?”
Original airdate November 29, 2016.
Microsynopsis: Jessica’s Sunday excursions to Costco with Evan are threatened by her son’s sudden interest in church. Louis accepts some free dental care from Marvin, who gives him extra-extra white teeth without asking first. Emery and Eddie struggle to consume all the bad cereal from the variety pack so Jessica will buy them some more Frosted Flakes.
Good: This is probably meant to be way, way down on the list of good things about the episode, but I’m used to seeing cynical or condescending portrayals of churchgoers in the mainstream media. It’s nice to see a funny but fair take on a topic Hollywood seldom treats with any sincerity. The Jessica-Evan story is really silly, but they make it work on the strength of their well-established relationship and Constance Wu’s great acting. The Eddie-Emery story is kind of a throwaway, but it has its moments too. I like it when the usual Evan-Emery dynamic is broken up so each character can spend time away from the other.
Bad: I’m going to admit that the bright teeth gag got a few laughs out of me, mostly courtesy of grandma, but this is a crazy plot idea. It feels like a three-joke gag that reaches for nine jokes.
FOB moment: Jessica is completely unfamiliar with the Noah’s Ark and Jonah stories.
Soundtrack flashback: “It’s Not Unusual” by Tom Jones (1965, sung by Evan). “Playaz Club” by Rappin’ 4-Tay (1994). “Missing You,” the Tina Tuner cover of the John Waite song (1996).
Final grade, this episode: I dislike the dumb story ideas, but I like the jokes and acting, plus the non-cynical portrayal of a young boy’s exploring spirituality. It’s also nice to see Yeardley Smith’s face instead of just hearing her voice. Give it a solid B.