Fresh Off the Boat, Season 3, Episode 10: “The Best of Orlando”
Original airdate January 17, 2017.
Microsynopsis: Louis wins a Best-of-Orlando Small Businessman of the Year award. Jessica is so proud, she invites nearly everybody she knows to the awards banquet (including her sister in D.C., who listens in via telephone), but Louis thanks everyone except Jessica when he gives his acceptance speech. Eddie and Emery join forces with Grandma to launch their own line of super-baggy clothing, “G-Pants.”
Good: I love these Eddie-Emery stories. It makes a lot of sense, now that they attend the same school, for them to spend more time together, and their interactions have always been super-interesting anyway. I also like the way Deidre, while still a neighborhood rival, is no longer the two-dimensional snobby villain. In the same way that Honey, once allowed to be a real person and not a stereotype, became Jessica’s friend, Deidre is slowly turning also into a real person. The dynamic works really well. I laughed aloud at the way the camera (and Louis’s gaze?) lingers on her when she turns around and Rollerblades away. I would never have guessed it possible to sashay on Rollerblades.
Bad: The writers set up a great premise that they couldn’t resolve in a satisfying, interesting way. Louis’s acceptance speech in the kitchen feels like pandering to the parents-watching-with-their-kids crowd, and while I wholeheartedly support real, guided family viewing for shows like this, the “I stand here not only as a result of that love, but in awe of it” is exactly the opposite of any kind of edginess, a disturbing trend this season. It’s so non-edgy it’s concave.
FOB moment: Grandma is a one-woman sweat-shop, keeping her hands on the sewing machine while Emery shoves candy into her mouth.
Soundtrack flashback: There’s an impossible-to-hear song in the segue from Eddie’s locker to the awards banquet. Other than that, I couldn’t find anything. Disappointing! EDIT: Thanks to Joz’s watching the episode with the captions, we now know that the song is “Award Tour” by A Tribe Called Quest (1994).
Final grade, this episode: This is a good day to praise the art direction of this show, which makes even mediocre episodes interesting to look at. The costumers must clap their hands with gleeful anticipation when they learn that Deirdre is going to be in multiple scenes — it looks like they have a field day with her whenever she’s on screen, and bizarre little touches like the palm tree made of pineapples or the bowl of wooden fruit make nearly every episode of Fresh Off the Boat impossible to confuse with other shows. Hard pass on the arc of the Jessica-Louis story, but I’m here for the silly Eddie-Emery story. C+.