‘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.




Karen Chen takes Third in US Figure Skating Nationals but Can’t Represent US Internationally

FIGURE SKATER KAREN CHEN15 year old Karen Chen of Fremont, California took third in the US Figure Skating Nationals held last month in North Carolina.  In instance that reminds me of what happened last year with Mirai Nagasu, she cannot compete internationally at the Senior World Championships in Shanghai because of how the sport’s rules are applied.  The San Jose Mercury News recently published a profile on Chen that revealed her inspirations and the sacrifices that she and her parents make to enable her to compete at that level.

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Mirai Nagasu Joins the U.S. 2010 Olympic Women Figure Skating Team

Over the weekend, Arcadia, California native and sixteen year old Mirai Nagasu came in second place in the 2010 US Figure Skating Championship to secure a spot on the U.S. women’s figure skating team for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Earlier in the week, Nagasu came in first during the short-program competition (see video). Ever since I was a kid and watched Dorothy Hamill skate, I’ve always enjoyed watching the sport. I’ll never forget when I got to see Michelle Kwan skate live in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics short program. She came in first at this event, later capturing the bronze overall.

Also over the weekend, The New York Times did an interesting story on the propensity of Asian American and Asian women to dominate the sport of figure skating:

“Eight of the 23 women scheduled to compete Saturday in the long program at the United States championships were Asian-Americans, who also excelled here among younger skaters… Without compulsory figures, skating became more like gymnastics. Jumping assumed a new urgency. Younger skaters could excel. The key to jumping is to leap high and spin quickly and tightly through two, three or four revolutions before returning to the ice. Asian skaters are often small and willowy, which can be an asset when jumping… Other cultural factors are also at play, coaches said. Discipline at home often transfers to discipline at the rink, Carroll said. Audrey Weisiger, a prominent Chinese-American coach, said: “A lot of Asian families really drive their kids, and I don’t mean in the car. They’re not allowed to be marginal.””

The article also mentions that former Olympians such as Kristi Yamaguchi and Michelle Kwan have a lot to do with inspiring, especially Asian American women, to take up the sport. I’m sure that is the case and why I believe that Asian American role models outside of traditionally accepted passions, careers and vocations are important. Of course, the drive and expectations can have a negative effect as well – where Asian Americans (especially women), might feel put an inordinate amount of pressure on themselves.