The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Jimmy O. Yang

I’m a big fan of Stephen Colbert and saw that Jimmy O. Yang, of HBO Silicon Valley fame, was going to be on the show, I was curious as to learn more about him. As I’ve blogged before, I am not a big fan of his character on Silicon Valley, but I was open to learning more about him and was pleasantly surprised that he came to the U.S. at age 13 from Hong Kong, was not a model minority student, and had no idea what to do with his economics degree from UCSD, which took him five years (and he didn’t get into UCLA or USC where he wanted to go, and certainly not Yale, where the previous guest had gone). He was pretty personable and funny during the interview – his first ever on a late night talk show (though he did a stand-up act once on Arsenio Hall).

He talked to Colbert about how he got into the industry and that by coincidence, Mike Judge, one of the creators of Silicon Valley was his commencement speaker and he eventually got his break because of Judge.

Yang was on the show to promote his new book:

Here’s the promotional video he put together for the book:

Best of luck to Yang and I hope to meet him one day! You can learn more about him by checking out his website: http://www.jimmycomedy.com/

‘Fresh off the Boat’ Episode Review: “King in the North”

Fresh Off the Boat, Season 4, Episode 19: “King in the North”
Original airdate March 20, 2018.

Synopsis:  Honey needs time away from home to relax and get ready for the baby, so Jessica tricks her into going north to Maine (instead of south to the Keys) in pursuit of a book jacket blurb from Stephen King for A Case of a Knife to the Brain.  Louis orders a new sign for Louis Huang’s Cattleman’s Ranch (disappointing me and surely countless others by not naming it Louis Huang’s Kenny Rogers’s Michael Bolton’s Cattleman’s Ranch).  Grandma plans to move out, so Emery wants her room, leaving Evan alone in the room they once shared.  Eddie and Nicole rebel against the school dance’s policy requiring boys to wear pants and girls to wear skirts.

I’m ready and hyped plus I’m amped:  The several silly Stephen King references are cute, but I have a feeling I missed a whole bunch.  I’m waiving my usual distaste for cameos this week because the rule doesn’t apply when it’s a Kristi Yamaguchi cameo.  I enjoy this show when it’s subversive on multiple levels.  In this case, I think it’s just the one obvious level, and that’s okay too.  Can’t put my finger on it, but Randall Park’s acting is especially good in this.  And the “Somewhere Out There” gag is cute and funny!

Most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps:  The Jessica-Honey story is too long and only interesting because you spend the whole time looking for Misery references.  I Googled the name of the diner (Downy’s Diner) and hospital (Penobscot Memorial Hospital) thinking they might be King references, but alas.  I think some kind of spoof on King horror stories might have been more interesting.  Unless this story is a spoof and it just flew over my head, in which case I apologize.

FOB moment:  “I know what it’s like to be treated differently because you’re not the same as everyone else. It sucks! But if we don’t take a stand, then we are the same as everyone else.”

Soundtrack flashback:  “Every Heartbeat” by Amy Grant (1991, a song I love).  “Somewhere Out There” from An American Tail (1987, sung by Evan, Emery, and Louis).  “ATLiens” by Outkast (1996).

Final grade, this episode: This feels good for a season finale (what? with the nineteenth episode?) and it works for a series finale if FOtB isn’t renewed for next season.  Here’s hoping we get at least one more season out of Eddie and the Huangs. B.

 

 

 

‘Fresh off the Boat’ Episode Review: “Measure Twice, Cut Once”

Fresh Off the Boat, Season 4, Episode 18: “Measure Twice, Cut Once”
Original airdate March 13, 2018.

Synopsis: Louis has second thoughts about buying Kenny Rogers’s half of Kenny Rogers’s Michael Bolton’s Cattleman’s Ranch.  This frustrates Jessica, who’s sure it’s a good deal.  Jessica accuses Louis of always overthinking decisions in his life, and she flies her psychic to Orlando from D.C. to spur Louis into action.

Evan gives up Live with Regis and Kathie Lee for Lent.  His behavior annoys his brothers, so Eddie and Emery try to trick him into breaking his Lent commitment.

I been in the game for ten years making rap tunes:  This episode is a good example of how well Constance Wu and Randall Park work together.  They make little moments super believable even in the middle of a plot where Louis is literally a turtle and Jessica is literally a white infant.

I also like that Evan’s faith isn’t just something used once for the sake of an interesting plot a year ago.  I often hear people claim that boys his age are incapable of having a serious faith, especially in non-religious families, but this just isn’t true, and the writers respect Evan’s adherence even while Emery and Eddie make fun of it.  Yes, Evan is being silly in his earnestness, and older brothers will tease mercilessly about such things, but there’s a way to tell this story while respecting all parties, which this episode does.

That turtle sequence is absurd but pretty dang funny.

Lines I liked:

Jessica: You have to act first and apologize later, like I learned to do.
Louis: You never apologize.

Eddie: I can’t wait to be reincarnated.  I know who I’m coming back as.  The RZA.

Jessica:  Pee or get off the toilet.

Ever since honeys was wearing SassoonWhat was up with the lobster subplot?  It feels like something thrown in just to give Matthew Chestnut something to do.

FOB moment:  This is a bit of a reach, but Grandma’s explanation of yin and yang is interesting.  It seems unlikely that both Louis and Jessica would have come this far in their lives without already knowing this stuff, so that’s kind of unbelievable, but Grandma’s explanation is one of the best I’ve seen in pop culture.

Soundtrack flashback:  I watched this three times and didn’t pick up anything, which is a disappointment in an episode where the RZA does a cameo.  Geez.

Final grade, this episode: It feels like kind of a throwaway episode, but I laughed aloud at least five times on my first viewing (zero laugh-alouds on the next two), so it certainly doesn’t stink. C+.

 

 

 

‘Fresh off the Boat’ Episode Review: “Let Me Go, Bro”

Fresh Off the Boat, Season 4, Episode 17: “Let Me Go, Bro”
Original airdate February 27, 2018.

Synopsis:  Eddie stuns his family when he announces he’s to be inducted into the National Honor Society.  Evan isn’t surprised, but he’s furious with Eddie for not thanking him.  Evan has secretly been supporting his brother’s good efforts because he’d like to visit him “at Stanford, not prison.”  When Eddie says he doesn’t need Evan’s help, Evan schemes to set Eddie up for failure.  Jessica, still getting notes from her editor for A Case of a Knife to the Brain, goes on a ride-along with police officer Bryson, in order to make her police language more realistic.  She’s disappointed when Bryson’s work seems mostly to involve getting coffee and helping citizens bag their dog poop.  Kenny Rogers tells Louis he’s going to sell back his half of Kenny Rogers’s Michael Bolton’s Cattleman’s Ranch, now dubbed Kenny O’Rogers’s Michael O’Bolton’s Cattleman’s O’Ranch in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.  Louis is overjoyed, but Kenny Rogers tells him he has to fire Matthew Chestnut, with whom Louis has developed a close friendship.

Know When To Hold ‘Em:  Awww.  We get a major, massive dose of Nice Guy Eddie, plus Evan in kind of a cute not-so-psycho-but-still-intense mode.  Emery gets to play the amused observer, a role that suits him.  I really like the way Emery’s character is growing.  You’d like it if your daughter wanted to date him.  Jessica gets to do some physical comedy that works well for her (including a textbook faint).  And as I’ve said recently, Louis directing his energies for someone else’s benefit is one of the better Louises.

Good lines:

“Hey.  I still need you.  Do you want to make me pancakes or something?” (Emery to Evan)

“The Saturn is where we talk when things get real, and he said he wanted to make sure our safe space stayed safe.”  (Nicole to Evan, about Eddie)

Know When To Fold ‘Em:  This is just far too big a role for Bryson, who’s okay as a very minor character but annoying in anything larger.  I’ve been glad to be rid of Mitch at Kenny Rogers’s Michael Bolton’s Cattleman’s Ranch, but Matthew Chestnut has been an equally irritating replacement.  I would have welcomed his firing, but Louis keeps him aboard, which likely means we’re not through with him yet.  Bleah.

FOB moment:  Didn’t spot one this time.  Did you?

Soundtrack flashback:  “Insane in the Membrane” by Cypress Hill (1993), the second time this song has been used on FOtB.  “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers (1978).

Final grade, this episode: Did anyone else think this had the feel of a series (not season) finale?  If they cancel FOtB tomorrow, and this is the last we see of the Huangs, it would be a good note on which to part.  I love Eddie in this, and I like the overall vibe of the whole episode.  There’s a lot of vulnerability going on, and the actors are there for it.  I’m pleased to see a strong episode that’s not one of my issues episodes!  A-minus.

 

 

 

The Jim Jefferies Show: Congressman Ted Lieu – Trolling the President

I’ve blogged about my favorite Taiwanese American Congressman, Ted Lieu. I’ve never watched The Jim Jefferies Show on Comedy Show, but I saw this interview with Congressman Lieu I think on Facebook. The last time I saw Congressman Lieu on TV I think was on 60 Minutes.

This time around, Lieu is interviewed by comedian Jim Jefferies about Lieu’s infamous trolling of President Donald Trump on Twitter, as reported in this Washington Post article this past Spring:

“Since the beginning of the year, followers of his personal @tedlieu account have exploded, going from fewer than 10,000 to more than 122,000. (The official @reptedlieu account, managed by his staff, is generally more cautious, like Lieu’s former public profile.)

His frequent barbs have gotten the far right’s attention. Breitbart News has wondered whether, as a colonel in the Air Force Reserve, he could be court-martialed for persistent criticism of the commander in chief. (He can’t be, and he doesn’t tweet on duty.)

In conversation, Lieu is far more cautious and earnest than he is in his Twitter ripostes, and polite to a fault. Born in Taiwan, he projects a conservatism in manner and dress that seems at odds with many of his constituents.

After a dozen years serving in local and state politics, he succeeded Democrat Henry Waxman, who retired in 2014 after representing California’s 33rd District for four decades, more than three-quarters of Lieu’s life. The district is among the nation’s wealthiest and includes Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Malibu and Lieu’s more middle-class home of Torrance.

Lieu was elected president of his Democratic freshman class, but his first two years in Congress were comparatively quiet on social media. “We had a Democratic president who could stop stupid ideas and unconstitutional ideas,” he says. Now, Democratic members of Congress “are basically the last line of defense.”

Trump and his administration unleashed Lieu’s mojo. “Was charged $2.99 for coffee listed at $2.59,” ran one tweet. “That’s why I have trust issues. Oh, and the fact that @seanspicer at #WhiteHouse makes s— up.”

I love following Congressman Lieu and do wonder if his tweets are to give himself a higher profile. This past July, I did see Lieu speak at Politicon 2017 in Pasadena, and was able to ask him if he was going to run for Senate if California Senator Dianne Feinstein was going to retire (she’s 84 and her current term expires in 2018) – he stated he was focused on getting re-elected and helping elect a Democratic House for 2018 (note: Feinstein has since stated she’s going to run for re-election).

You can follow Congressman Lieu’s latest tweets here:

 

 

 

 

‘Fresh off the Boat’ Episode Review: “Ride the Tiger”

Fresh Off the Boat, Season 4, Episode 16: “Ride the Tiger”
Original airdate February 6, 2018.

Synopsis:  In celebration of Chinese New Year, the Huangs have a contest to see who can go the longest speaking only in Mandarin.  Grandma is apparently exempt, and the game comes down to Evan and Jessica.  Their dialogue through nearly the whole episode is in Mandarin.  Emery is pleased that his year of bad luck is over, and he’s eager to ask his crush Celeste to the Spring Fling.  His confidence is down, so Louis tries to help, much to Emery’s displeasure.  Eddie doesn’t understand why he didn’t get a red envelope from Big Auntie, with whom he’s been in a fight he wasn’t aware of.

Yo! Microphone check one-two what is this?:  What a cool idea.  FOtB writer Jeff Chiang in the Hollywood Reporter explains that he wrote half the dialogue in Mandarin “because he could,” which by itself sums up the importance of this sitcom’s existence.  I think it’s funny, predictable, and wholly realistic for Eddie only to be able to utter the same phrase in Mandarin repeatedly, conceding early because he doesn’t know how to ask for the dumplings, while Emery and Evan seem pretty adept with their parents’ language.  I can’t speak to how authentic the dialogue is, but it sounds pretty good to me.

This is how I like Overly Enthusiastic Louis: overly enthusiastic on behalf of someone else, in this case Emery.  The guy is so eager to be helpful you kind of forgive the thousands of other stupid things he’s done this season.

The Jessica-Evan interactions are just great, and not merely because they’re in Mandarin.  They play well off each other when Evan isn’t going psycho.

Some lines I enjoyed:

“Connie Chung called and she was pissed!” (May May)

“Diversity: check!” (Gus)

“You tried to use Hanson against me?  They’re just boys!” (Evan)
“Boys?” (Jessica)

“Congratulations, everyone, especially our African American friends.”  (Deidre)

“Nobody questions my integrity.”  (Grandma)

“We need to have a serious talk, which is impossible while you’re wearing a mesh tank top.”  (Louis)

“Ride the tiger low, and with measured enthusiasm.”  (Louis)

“You know who the winner is here?  A child’s love for his mother.” (Evan)
“And the loser is you.”  (Jessica)

The five-foot assassin with the roughneck business:  I can’t even really complain about Marvin this time.  He lameness actually plays a nice part in the conflict between Jessica and Evan.  I’m okay not having any minuses this week.

FOB moment:  Duh.

Soundtrack flashback:  “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang (1979).  “MMMBop” by Hanson (1997), a song I totally love.

Final grade, this episode: I hate that giving this episode a grade of anything better than B+ is predictable of me, since I’ve historically favored shows (kind of to my surprise) highlighting Asian American issues.  This one isn’t quite an issue episode, but it’s something of a statement, as the other Chinese New Year episodes in this series have been.  Can’t help it: I really like it.  A-minus.

 

 

Asian American Commercial Watch: NBC’s Winter Olympics Best of U.S. – Chloe Kim & Nathan Chen Super Bowl Ads

https://youtu.be/aI6xTbFkZ2o

Oftentimes, many Super Bowl advertisers will “leak” their TV commercials on the Internet prior to the Super Bowl to generate some buzz. NBC is no different. Well, NBC posted recently a TV ad for the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics, which they will be airing as well as the Super Bowl, so it makes sense for them to inform the U.S. public that during the Super Bowl. And one ad that caught my eye is with Korean American Olympian Chloe Kim and her dad:

“Chloe Kim and her dad are on the journey for Gold together. See this #SuperBowl Ad this Sunday on NBC #BestOfUS #WinterOlympics

No doubt, this commercial will annoy some white supremacists and alt-right supporters, but I have to agree that U.S. Olympians of all races and ethnicities represent the best of the U.S. and “US.”

The commercial shows the ups & downs of practice and the commitment that Chloe and her dad have to each other. It’s a wonderful heartwarming commercial.

I don’t know much about Chloe, but from what I’ve read, she’s amazing:

She is already being called the Shaun White of women’s snowboarding.

“Like the fabled Flying Tomato, the 5’2″, 115-pound Kim is redefining what is considered possible in the halfpipe, having become the only woman to land back-to-back 1080s. (She did it for the first time at the 2016 U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix, joining White as the only riders to score a perfect 100 on a run at that event.) At the 2016 X Games, Kim won two gold medals at the tender age of 15 and ever since has been the presumptive golden girl in PyeongChang. In fact, Kim would have qualified for the U.S. Olympic team in 2014, but was too young.”

And her dad literally came up from nothing in the U.S.:

“Jong Jin immigrated to Southern California from South Korea as a young man, arriving with $800 in cash. He bought a used car and found work at a gas station. On one of his first days, a coworker asked for a ride home and promptly stole the car and all of Jong Jin’s remaining cash. He found another minimum-wage job and eventually matriculated at Long Beach State. Jong Jin earned his real estate license and saved enough money to buy a duplex, where the family lived while renting out the other floor. He would go on to amass substantial real estate holdings, including a condo in Mammoth Lakes.”

Best of luck to Chloe at the Winter Olympics!

After I finished writing the above, I discovered that there was another NBC Winter Olympics Super Bowl ad with an Asian American – Nathan Chen:

https://youtu.be/eh_iUGk2Yi4

After seeing Nathan Chen compete in the 2018 U.S. Championships (“Nationals”) and making the U.S. Olympic team, and seeing his confidence, I wouldn’t be surprised if he won the Gold for Men’s Figure Skating, and that there is also a Super Bowl ad highlighting him as “Best of the U.S.”:

“With five quadruple jumps in his long program, figure skater Nathan Chen deserves to arrive in Pyeongchang, South Korea, for the 2018 Winter Olympics with a little James Brown-like swagger. And, yeah, he deserves his own Super Bowl commercial about it, too.

So NBC delivered. In the spot above — the second of five 60-second “Best of U.S.” athlete films, featuring five American athletes, which will all air on Super Bowl Sunday — Chen pays “the cost to be the boss,” working hard, falling and getting back up, and eventually earning the spotlight and the respect of a bunch of hockey players, all set to James Brown’s “The Boss.” “You see a bad mutha” ready to tell the rest of the world “told you so!” with every single one of those jaw-dropping four-revolution jumps (shown in slow-motion here for maximum impact).”

So how cool is that? This is the beginning of CHENSANITY!

Best of luck to both Chloe Kim and Nathan Chan, and all Olympians!

 

 

‘Fresh off the Boat’ Episode Review: “We Need to Talk About Evan”

Fresh Off the Boat, Season 4, Episode 15: “We Need to Talk About Evan”
Original airdate January 30, 2018.

Synopsis:  Evan and Jessica notice a Student of the Week at Abraham Lincoln Elementary bumpersticker on someone else’s minivan.  Shocked that such a thing would exist and not go to Evan, they are determined to ramp up their Good Student game.  Evan joins the School Dance committee and the French club.  He organizes a school garden.  And in a moment of breaking under pressure, he throws glitter in a girl’s face.  He is referred to Mr. Tim, the school counselor, which Jessica does not take well, since “counselor is school language for therapist.”

Louis is tired of so many things on the menu at Kenny Rogers’s Michael Bolton’s Cattleman’s Ranch being named for Kenny Rogers, so he names the chili Louis Huang’s Five-Alarm Chili, but nobody wants to order it.

Eddie and Emery decide it’s time they learned to unhook a bra.  Grandma’s bra.  On a pillow.’

Some good lines:

Older kid: You guys know how to take off a bra?
Evan: Goodbye.

Eddie: I’ve got mad bra game.
Emery: Yes.  I, too, have bra experience.

Evan: Real corn is not nibblets in a can!  Sorry to blow your mind!

Jessica: My axe is love.

Grandma: Evan!  Breathe into your mother’s knock-off purse!

Chuck D:  Okay, although it’s kind of ridiculous, there’s something pretty dang funny and cutting edge about teenaged brothers puzzling together over unhooking a bra.  I was disappointed that ABC didn’t provide a promo photo of the boys and their pillow, because it’s a hilarious image.  And what they do with it at the very end of the episode, when Evan oberves them with a Mrs. Claus lawn figure, has to be a first in broadcast TV.

Although the rest of the episode is nothing to get excited about, it’s nice to see the return of Port in a Storm Louis.  His talk with Jessica about helping Evan is nice to hear.  I had flashbacks to Richie and Howard Cunningham, and that’s seldom a bad thing.

Vanilla Ice:  The other two (or three, depending on if you count the framework of the rival moms) stories are just kind of terrible.  As soon as Louis says, “Shall we take a joint family road trip to the Grand Canyon?” I knew his part of the episode was going to be terrible.

FOB moment:  This is weak, but the best I can do is, “I would love to cook you a traditional Taiwanese meal.”

Soundtrack flashback:  Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy” (1991).

Final grade, this episode:  I’m beginning to feel bad, but I have to be honest.  The stories are beginning to feel like variations on established themes with no real character growth in the adults.  I can see now why the writers want Honey to have a baby.  It gets Honey more involved (always a good thing) and breathes some fresh life into the cast.  It’s not really working.  This season seemed promising with Eddie, Emery, and Nicole getting into some new stuff, and that’s consistently been interesting, and with Grandma’s taking English classes, but that arc seems to have ended.  Now I just feel like I’m riding out the season. C+.

 

 

 

‘Fresh off the Boat’ Episode Review: “A Man to Share the Night With”

Fresh Off the Boat, Season 4, Episode 14: “A Man to Share the Night With”
Original airdate January 30, 2018.

Synopsis:  Louis sees Eddie shaving for what he believes is the first time.  Overjoyed that his eldest son is now a man, he extends Eddie’s bedtime, long enough so he can watch the first part of The Late Show with David Letterman on school nights.  Eddie, puffed up by his new manhood, takes Louis’s declaration to mean he can decide for himself what he can do with that extra time, opting instead to spend it roaming around the neighborhood at night with his friend Barefoot Dave, who of course has no bedtime since his single-parent mom works graveyard shifts.  Jessica, heartbroken that Michelle Kwan has taken silver (and not gold) at the ’98 Winter Olympics, lies to Emery and Evan, telling them that Kwan has won.  The boys, upon learning the truth, develop a conspiracy theory involving a Kwan imposter, which Jessica tries to convince Nancy Kerrigan to confirm.

BDP:  Ooh, a reemergence of Bad Guy Eddie was overdue, and he brings it.  What I like about the resolution is that Nice Guy Eddie executes his own turnaround not through the intervention of his parents, but on his own, when confronted with a possible very bad choice.  He later credits his decision to his father.  There’s some good stuff here for families.

Eddie’s self-correction combines with Evan and Emery’s sneaky resilience, not revealed until the last scene, to give us a structure we haven’t seen in this series.  Jessica thinks she’s contructing a lie in order to protect her children, but we find that rather than be taken in by it, they use the lie to create their own lie so they may protect Jessica.  Sweet!  Did Richie and Joanie Cunningham ever turn the tables and dispense good parenting messages to Marion and Howard?  I don’t think so!

I really like angry dad Louis in this scene.  We don’t get enough of that in this show, and I understand because there needs to be room for Jessica, but like Eddie, I was happy he could be counted on when we needed him.

Some lines I liked:

“Take a lid.”  (Louis to Eddie)

“Can I have our razor back?”  (Grandma to Eddie)

“Told you.  You come for Lipinski, you best be ready.”  (Honey)

“Louis, you can stay up and watch that old man and his piano gremlin, but I’m going to bed.”  (Jessica, about David Letterman)

ICP:  Honey can do whatever she wants with her hair, but that Lipinski cut did not do it for me!  Also, Marvin continues to be too weird even for this show.  I was into the Olympics story, as nit-witty as it was, right up until the Nancy Kerrigan cameo, which just doesn’t work.  Or maybe, like the Huangs, I was rooting for Michelle.

FOB moment:  Like you, I was there in ’98.  I remember what it was like, that weird American pride combined with Asian American pride, and the amazing deflated feeling when Kwan lost, when we were all so sure she had it sewn up.  People where I worked put up signs in their workspaces, saying “We still love you Michelle!” as if she might somehow see or feel the sentiment halfway across the Pacific.

Soundtrack flashback:  I didn’t hear anything!  Did you?

Final grade, this episode: The Eddie story is pretty good, but the Jessica story, while expressing some feelings I think many of us had, felt out of place.  Even the weird hugging Emery and Evan do when they learn that Kwan has won gold seems like it belongs in another show. B-minus.

 

 

 

Shark Tank: “Gold digger” Yunha Kim & Simple Habit

I think the last time I wrote about Shark Tank was when 3 Korean American women were trying to raise money for their dating app, Coffee Meets Bagel, where one sister (I think the one that went to Stanford for her MBA?) turned down a theoretical offer of $30 million from Mark Cuban.

Well, I was watching the premier episode of Season 9 of Shark Tank (originally airing on Sunday, October 1st, 2017), and saw Korean American and fellow Duke alum Yunha Kim (not to be confused with *the* Yuna Kim) – who I actually met briefly a year or two ago at a Duke alumni event in San Francisco – trying to raise money for her company and namesake meditation app, Simple Habit.

The reason why this particular pitch became somewhat controversial was that Mark Cuban had called Yunha a “gold digger”:

“The $12 million valuation she was putting on Simple Habit was, for Shark Tank, probably one of the highest ever. She felt it was worth it, though, because she already had a built-in user base and other investors. Kim knows she has a hit on her hand, especially given the popularity of apps like Calm and Headspace.
For Mark Cuban, that’s where it all fell apart. Kim was having trouble explaining why she needed to get a shark involved with her business when she already had plans to get other celebrities and influencers involved. There’s also the matter of her prior rounds of investments and the fact that she’s coming from Silicon Valley, a place the investors on Shark Tank are notoriously wary of. (“The Valley takes over,” Cuban groaned when Kim started her pitch.) They usually feel like the entrepreneurs are pitching into the publicity void, since they’re already set for money.
Cuban felt that Kim had the cash, and she was working on securing the celebrity endorsements, so why was she taking up the time of hungrier entrepreneurs who didn’t have a proven track record of turning products and ideas into proven businesses? “You’re a gold digger,” he told Kim. She looked absolutely shocked.”

Personally, I was a bit disappointed in Mark Cuban using that term. I understand Cuban’s concern about other entrepreneurs using Shark Tank as he termed it, a “growth hack” to get the publicity and growth resulting for appearing on Shark Tank without really needing to attract investment capital. Cuban could have more artfully said that Kim was using Shark Tank as a publicity vehicle or was seeking the limelight.

In her defense, guest “shark” Richard Branson called out Cuban on his remark, and Cuban later was backpedaling to explain himself. But it was a bit too late for Branson as he threw a cup of water on Cuban (and vice versa).

As I had commented on one of Yunha’s posts on Facebook (we’re “friends”):

“I just watched the episode tonight on my DVR. You did a great job. Cuban’s remark was sexist and inappropriate. Even if your goal was for publicity, gold digger would be the wrong term to use professionally, especially to a woman. I’m a fan of Cuban on Shark Tank as well as his strong endorsement of Hillary Clinton last year, but his comment disappointed me.”

Personally, given the years I’ve watched Shark Tank, I don’t think Cuban is sexist, but I do think calling Yunha a gold digger was definitely not appropriate.

‘Fresh off the Boat’ Episode Review: “The Car Wash”

Fresh Off the Boat, Season 4, Episode 13 : “The Car Wash”
Original airdate January 16, 2018.

Synopsis:  Jessica’s deeply involved with edits on her novel, A Case of a Knife to the Brain, and Louis worries that he and his wife are growing apart because of it.  Taking Marvin’s advice, Louis plans several surprises in order to keep the spark alive, but Jessica is not very receptive.  Evan gets bumped up to seventh-grade English, where he and his classmate Emery compete to be their teacher’s favorite (it’s Tig Notaro!).  It’s clear that the teacher doesn’t favor either of them, so they raise their teacher’s-pet game, asking Eddie for advice, since he seems to have had a great relationship with her.

Dope:  Eddie and Jessica are each really good in this, as our Nice-Guy Eddie streak continues, and Jessica’s slow, simmering irritation by Louis is fun to read on her face.  I usually like Emery and Evan better when they’re working together, but this is a cute story, playing really well into their characters, and the Eddie twist is funny.  The sprinkler gag at the end of the teaser is stupid but I laughed out loud, and the disapproving looks by the Poe, Dickinson, and Shakespeare posters are kind of hilarious.

Lines I liked:

“Taking on classic literature, family style.”  (Evan)

“I don’t care enough about this to watch it conclude.  I’m gonna see Spice World again.” (Eddie)

“You got flowers on my keyboard!” (Jessica)

“If you’d seen Spice World, you’d realize that life is about trying to find a way to make genuine connections with people.”  (Eddie)

“Aah!  My Keroppi!” (Evan)

“We all heard what Jessica said.  That voice carries!”  (Corporal Bryson)

“Goodbye Yale.  Hello Georgia Tech.”  (Evan)

Wack:  Marvin’s getting to be a pain, and Louis’s over-the-top behavior is wearing thin.  I can’t stand the way the principal and the detention teacher treat “Stripes,” the student they pretty much bully.

FOB moment:
“It’s hard to believe that the Michelin Man is made up of a bunch of these.”

“I never really thought about that, but yeah.  Why is he white, though?  Shouldn’t he be black?”

“Let’s not get into that whole thing.  We’re having a nice time.”

Soundtrack flashback:  “The Lady in Red” by Chris de Burgh (1986).  This was sort of the musician’s introduction to the mainstream, but if you listened to FM rock radio in the early Eighties, you might have heard his “Don’t Pay the Ferryman,” which is a real rocker and sounds like a completely different artist.

Final grade, this episode: Despite Louis’s lunacy, this is an enjoyable episode, the rare pretty-good episode with no Eddie story.  Eddie makes the most of his appearances, though! B.

 

 

 

‘Fresh off the Boat’ Episode Review: “Liar Liar”

Fresh Off the Boat, Season 4, Episode 12: “Liar Liar”
Original airdate January 9, 2018.

Synopsis:  Louis finds a new group of friends through his Kenny Rogers rep, but as always, he goes overboard in making himself likable.  Honey’s getting-ready habits take their toll on Emery and Evan’s planned activities with her, so they help her find a new look, beginning with the maternity wear store.  Nicole has difficulty asking her crush for a date.  Eddie tries to help out as wingman but he’s dismayed by Nicole’s willingness to lie about her tastes in music and movies so she can seem more compatible.

Snaps up:  Nicole and Eddie have been the strengths this season.  If an episode has a story for them, it’s not all bad.  I’m impressed with how resilient they’ve both been in handling rejection.  It’s cute to see Evan and Emery play with Honey as if she’s their Barbie.  And probably the best laugh comes right in the teaser, when Louis says he has to consult “the old ball and chain” and in jump cut, he’s asking Marvin if it’s okay for him to go bowling with his new friends.  Funny!  Jessica is unusually and pleasantly nice this week.

When Louis brings his buddies home after bowling, one of them reaches into the freezer.  I found myself saying, “Bagel Bites!  Make it Bagel Bites!”  It was pizza rolls.  Which are fine, but I have a weakness for Bagel Bites.

Some lines I liked:

“I don’t know.  These outfits are a littleooh!  You can wear that one in the shower!”  (Honey)

“You can’t handle having friends!”  (Jessica)

“It always starts with pizza rolls.”  (Jessica)

Snaps down:  Except for the Nicole-Eddie story, it’s too easy to let this whole episode kind of slide right by without soaking anything in.

FOB moment:
“Hello Hooter.  I’m looking for my husband.”
“Oh.  What’s he look like?”
“I’m sure to you he looks like me in a boy wig, but if you could take off your Anglo glasses for just one minute, he’s about five-nine.  Hairless but still manly.”

Soundtrack flashback:  Coolio’s “Rollin’ with My Homies” (1995) from the Clueless soundtrack.  I never thought enough about Brittany Murphy to think I might miss her, but this song made me remember her wistfully.

Final grade, this episode: Almost a completely forgettable episode, but rescued by Eddie’s wingman identity, Nicole’s awkwardness, and both teens’ niceness and resilience.  B-minus.