Fresh Off the Boat, Season 2, Episode 23: “The Manchurian Dinner Date”
Original airdate May 17, 2016.
Microsynopsis: Alison finally gets to meet Jessica, but she panics when she learns that Jessica has always wanted Eddie to date a Chinese girl, so she sends Audrey, a piccolo player in her youth orchestra, to pretend she’s Alison. Emery prepares the valedictory address for his graduation from elementary school. Grandma volunteers to sew Evan a new suit so he can look good for Jessica at the family graduation celebration.
Good: The dialogue is excellent in this episode: quick, sharp, clever, and mostly quite funny. I love when, as Eddie stresses out during his phone call with Alison, Audrey and Emery seem to find something in common. Audrey asks Emery, “Do you use the eyes-mouth method or the most prominent feature?” Eddie, annoyed, says, “Both of you: shut your eyes-mouth. No one cares!” I also really like the sweetness of Emery and Audrey getting along as Jessica realizes that while Audrey is perfect, she’s not perfect for Eddie.
I’ve missed some of the visual creativity of earlier episodes, but there are a couple of cute visual effects where Eddie’s parents speak to him while he’s still in the womb.
Bad: The Grandma-Evan story is lame and uninteresting, although Evan gets a couple of nice lines (“That’s not even a real ruler; that’s Bubble Tape!” and “I have two blazers, three khakis, and six shirts that I mix and match to create thirty-six different looks!”). And geez, that stupid bit where the boy is forced to leave the graduation ceremony as his principal mocks him isn’t funny.
FOB moment: Audrey brings a huge box of oranges for Jessica, and she takes her shoes off before entering, something nobody in Dr. Ken ever does. I was beginning to think Asian Americans on the continent had completely abandoned this practice. Or maybe it got lost sometime between the mid-90s and the mid-2010s.
Soundtrack flashback: “Poison” by Bel Biv DeVoe (1990, sung by Reba). “California Love” by 2Pac (1995). “Come Fly with Me” by Frank Sinatra (1958).
Final grade, this episode: Funny episode. B+.