Fresh Off the Boat, Season 2, Episode 13: “Phil’s Phaves”
Original airdate February 16, 2016.
Microsynopsis: Louis brings home his family’s first “Internet computer,” and thanks to Evan’s proficiency, the family immediately discovers a website that’s given Cattleman’s Ranch a B-minus grade. Horrified, Louis and Jessica invite the critic to give them another try. When he shows up for his reservation, the Huangs discover that the Phil of “Phil’s Phaves” is Philip Goldstein (Albert Tsai), the other Asian kid in school, who once ditched Eddie at a Beastie Boys concert. Phil refuses to raise his grade, so Jessica enlists Evan’s help in creating a revenge website.
Eddie makes a mixtape for Alison because he’s uncomfortable with the idea of chatting with her on the phone, but the mixtape falls into the hands of Reba, who has an unabashed crush on Eddie and thinks the mixtape is meant for her.
Good: I usually roll my eyes at stories that make fun of the early days of the Web (it’s just too easy), but some of the jokes are pretty funny. Louis and Jessica are in their us-against-the-enemy mode, which is always entertaining. Eddie and Alison are turning into a fun part of the show, but the real treats for me are Eddie’s scenes with Emery and one scene with Nicole, who’s been absent for several episodes. I’ve been very critical of the way teachers and administrators at Eddie’s school have been portrayed, so it was nice to see a fairly-close-to-realistic biology teacher. And props to the writers for not letting Eddie be mean to Reba.
Bad: Philip Goldstein is one of the worst characters from the early episodes, and while Albert Tsai has won me over as Dave Park on Dr. Ken, I still can’t stand him as this character. And although the Phil’s Phaves story is a good idea, the way it plays out, after the initial website discovery scenes, is kind of a yawn.
“Uh oh. They give out letter grades to all the restaurants.”
“Dad’s got a — ”
“That’s a Chinese F!”
Soundtrack flashback: “Summertime in the LBC” by the Dove Shack (1995). “Weak” by SWV (1992, sung by Reba). “Moody Girl” by Frank Stallone (1983, and I kid you not). “I Ain’t Mad at Cha” by Tupac (1996). “Sadeness, Part 1” by Enigma (1990).
Final grade, this episode: There’s very little to be annoyed about, but the main storyline just doesn’t pay off well, except that for once Jessica doesn’t get away with being mean. The Eddie-Alison story is sweet, and it’s fun to watch them get to be friends as well as their version of boyfriend-girlfriend. B.