8 Asians

Fresh Off the Boat, Season 4, Episode 3: “Kids”
Original airdate October 17, 2017.

Synopsis:  Jessica and Louis discover (to their amazement) that Eddie is responsible enough to be left alone in the house, and since he’s the last one to reach this level of maturity, they are now out of Kids Prison. They break out the nice furniture and make plans to go out for more than a hurried dinner. However, Honey and Marvin are part of their vision for a fun life, and Marvin is having his vasectomy reversed, which means they’ll be in Kids Prison for the long foreseeable future.  Jessica and Louis can’t have this, so they launch a passive-aggressive intervention.

Eddie learns that Alison and Evan have continued their friendship even now that he and Alison have broken up.  It’s awkward for Alison to be around, so the ex-sweethearts agree to tell Evan together that she won’t be hanging around anymore.

Emery is still having bad luck, but Grandma has a few ideas for making him feel better about it.

Rad:  There are some pretty cute themes here. I laughed (all three times I watched) when Jessica and Louis marveled that the last of their kids has grown up — and they mean Eddie.  Eddie and Alison’s who-gets-the-kid problem is also cute, and it brings out (for a while) Good Evan.  And Grandma’s half-evil, half-graceful plan to work with Emery is genuinely sweet.  The way Emery’s face lights up when he realizes his bad luck can be put to nefarious use for his grandmother’s benefit really works.

Bogus:  Acting by the young stars is pretty rough, especially in the Eddie-Alison scenes.  They’re learning, so of course I don’t offer this with any kind of malice or lack of understanding.  I think it’s fair to make note of, though, so I am.  Also we start off with Good Evan but we get Prick Evan by the end of the episode and it really doesn’t work.

The A plot is getting tiresome. Jessica has big ideas. Something threatens to foil them. Jessica does something uncool. Jessica feels bad and apologizes. Play the closing credits.  I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

I was going to say that it would have been nice for this Chinese couple to have made more of an effort to say “karaoke” the way my friends and I say it, but shoot. I don’t think I’ve ever said a Chinese word correctly in my life, so fair’s fair.

FOB moment:  The best I got is the continuation of Emery’s bad-luck-year.

Soundtrack flashback:  Karaoke snippets of Paula Abdul’s “Opposites Attract” (1989), Elton John and Kiki Dee’s “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” (1976), Ace of Base’s “All That She Wants” (1992), Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” (1967) and Lipps Inc.’s “Funkytown” (1980).  None of them is very good.

Final grade, this episode: It has its moments but it’s just not very engaging or interesting, although the resolution of the Eddie-Alison story is nicely done.  Eddie’s a good kid and you can see why he and Alison were a good match.   B-minus.

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