Fresh off the Boat, Season 2, Episode 7: “The Big 1-2”
Original airdate November 10, 2015.
Microsynopsis: Eddie is about to turn twelve, but this year he informs his parents that he doesn’t want a party or any gifts except cash. He asks if he can have a “chill, regular day” hanging with his friends at the mall. Jessica and Louis agree, but they later discover that Eddie is throwing his own party without his family’s involvement. They confront him, and he confesses that he feels his parents are “too strict” and that he “can’t be himself” when he’s at home. Emery and Evan decide that they’ve had enough of being the invisible sons at home, and set out to be bad boys in order to get some attention.
Good: There’s some good stuff here about being raised in an Asian American family: Eddie pushes back against his parents’ strictness, while from the opposite end, Emery and Evan take a few comedic, satrical shots at parental expectations, demonstrating what they think being bad sons means to Louis and Jessica (in a hilarious montage of rebellion). My parents were strict in a lot of ways, and my experiences sleeping over at friends’ houses was a lot like Eddie’s. It’s kind of a nice tribute to the tension between resenting our strict parents while also appreciating how their strictness is good for us in some ways.
Bad: I’m not sure how bad it is, but I was more than a little uncomfortable with the portrayal of Dave’s family. I know it’s an exaggeration of sorts, and I’ve known families that weren’t too far off, but it felt just a little mean-spirited, and I can’t say why. It’s the only downer on what’s a pretty upbeat episode.
FOB moment: “Where are all the streamers, and scallion pancakes…?”
Soundtrack flashback: “Slam” by Onyx (1993)
Final grade, this episode: Another pretty good episode. If FotB can settle into this groove, it’s going to be one of the best family shows on television. B.