8 Asians

Fresh Off the Boat, Season 3, Episode 16: “Gabby Goose”
Original airdate March 7, 2017.

Microsynopsis:  Jessica and Louis have Honey and Marvin over for game night, but the games end abruptly when Jessica can’t handle being Louis’s partner for Charades.  With advice from Honey, Louis confronts Jessica about her being such a terrible loser.  Jessica is upset, not because of the criticism, but because Louis spoke of personal family issues with the neighbors.  This leads to bizarre attempts by Jessica to do reputation damage control with the other familes on the street, and by Louis to prevent gossip from spreading.

When Eddie is disconsolate over the death of the Notorious B. I. G., his friends and brothers launch separate initiatives to cheer him up.

Good:  When Eddie explains why he’s so depressed about the death of one of his favorite rappers, his feelings go beyond the loss of an admired musician.  Like many thoughtful teens, Eddie is connected to his favorite music because it helped him through a difficult time — in this case, the move from D. C. to Orlando.  The interaction in this scene with Eddie and his brothers is the best writing in the episode.

I can’t explain it, but I laughed when the second game night scene turns into the other couples bickering.  I guess I’ve seen the same thing a few times in my day.  Also, I may be developing a little crush on Deidre.

Bad:  The entire A story is well conceived but horribly executed.  I just didn’t care about most of it, and I should have.  The show’s characters have almost always done a good job of walking the line between quirky and cartoonish, but most of the episode has them all uncomfortably in cartoonland.

This also goes for the well-intentioned but unbelievable friends who try to have a grief session with Eddie.  It’s sweet that they care about him, but it’s nearly impossible to imagine middle-school boys behaving this way, and it plays out like TV in some alternate universe.  Ugh.

FOB moment:    “O.  N.  Y.  X marks the winner.”  “Ho ho ho!  Triple word score; forty-two points!  Looks like Jessica wins!”  “And it’s not even my first language!”

Soundtrack flashback:  “Hypnotize” by The Notorious B.I.G. (1997).

Final grade, this episode: The Biggie tribute paid by Emery and Evan at the very end is almost too good a note for an episode that doesn’t deserve it, but it’s earned by the very good scene where the younger brothers confront Eddie about his grief.  It’s almost enough to rescue the episode from mediocrity. C.

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