‘Fresh off the Boat’ Episode Review: “Rent Day”

Fresh Off the Boat, Season 2, Episode 21: “Rent Day”
Original airdate May 3, 2016.

fotb_s02e21 (1)Microsynopsis: The spec house jointly owned by Jessica, Honey, and Grandma is finally ready for sale, but Jessica gets the idea that renting it will give them, over the long haul, a better return on their investment. When the tenants she carefully selects turn out to be deadbeats, she is forced to deal with them on her own, rather than admit to Grandma and Honey that she was wrong.

Eddie wants a new digital watch, but Louis doesn’t think he’s ready for it, so he entrusts his eldest son with his own Casio watch, which Eddie must take good care of for a week in order to prove he can handle the responsibility. When the watch goes missing, Eddie and Louis each secretly enlist the investigative services of Emery and Evan.

Good: This is another episode where Jessica’s values work against her, setting her up to solve her own problems and then to confess her vunlerability to someone, in this case Honey. There are a few good laugh-aloud lines, among them Evan’s “Possible irony,” mumbled to himself as he scribbles in his notepad (it’s not nearly as funny taken out of context and without the actor’s delivery), and Jessica’s “I don’t want your warm, home-made butt eggs!”

fotb_s02e21 (2)Bad: I know there’s a good reason for the ubiquity of the liar’s plot in sitcoms. Lying is a universal experience, it creates automatic tension, it sets up dramatic irony, and it establishes the protagonist as her own antagonist. I call that fair territory for any show, but perhaps the conceit should be limited to once per season.

Every bit of the subplot is predictable. The actors do a great job with it, so it’s not a total waste, but it’s a strangely uninteresting strand of events rescued only by very funny performances by Forrest Wheeler and Ian Chen.

FOB moment: I don’t have one for this episode. Anyone got one to share?

Soundtrack flashback: “Sound of da Police” by KRS-One (1993).

Final grade, this episode: Fresh off the Boat has found its groove so well that even in coasting mode, which this episode mostly is, it’s funny, interesting, and not your everynight fare. B.

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About Mitchell K. Dwyer

@scrivener likes movies.
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