‘Fresh off the Boat’ Episode Review: “Shaquille O’Neal Motors”

Fresh Off the Boat, Season 2, Episode 3: “Shaquille O’Neal Motors”
Original airdate October 6, 2015.

CONSTANCE WU, RANDALL PARKMicrosynopsis: Louis thinks he has the perfect anniversary gift for Jessica: a visit to Shaquille O’Neal Motors for the negotiation of the purchase of a new car. Jessica gets upset and leaves Louis to buy the vehicle himself. Eddie so badly wants a new Hot Dogger waterslide that he hurts Evan in order to get the money for it.

Good: Flashbacks with Jessica and Louis are always kind of cute, and this one’s cute and bizarre at the same time. Eddie has some excellent interaction with his brothers, reminding me of the “Blind Spot” episode last April, when Eddie tries to catch chicken pox from Evan while Evan tries to pass them to Emery. I like the way this kind of character development helps to coalesce the boys as members of the same family. And this is some of Hudson Yang’s best acting so far.

SHAQUILLE O'NEALBad: I’ll admit that it wasn’t so bad this time, but I’m not a fan of the special guest star playing himself, although I will also admit that when I was a young viewer, I loved episodes like this. Joe Namath on The Brady Bunch? The Doobie Brothers on What’s Happening? Sure! Why not? Ugh.

FOB moment: Louis and Jessica fake-argue in Chinese at the auto dealer.

Soundtrack flashback: Someone correct me if I missed it, but I didn’t notice any music except that snippet in the Denim Turtle, which I can’t identify. I couldn’t identify the song they played in there the last time they were in the Denim Turtle, either (also in the “Blind Spot” episode).

Final grade, this episode: I can’t help it, even though I’m opposed to celebrity cameos on sitcoms. This episode is sweet in an interesting way, and in unexpected places. Jessica’s apology flowers are sweetly sincere, not to mention out of character. Emery knowing the appropriate theme for his parents’ twelfth anniversary is in character but still unexpected. Evan’s attachment to his Beanie Babies and Eddie’s delayed understanding are the sweetest of all. Good episode when I expected it to be terrible. B.

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About Mitchell K. Dwyer

@scrivener likes movies.
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