Fresh Off the Boat, Season 4, Episode 4: “It’s a Plastic Pumpkin, Louis Huang”
Original airdate October 24, 2017.
Synopsis: (deep breath) Louis, as always, is stoked about Halloween and he’s got Seinfeld-themed costumes planned for his whole family but the rest of the Huangs have other plans. He still has hope for Evan, who agrees to hang out with his dad and pass out candy, but then sneaks off to Deidre’s grown-ups party. Eddie and his fellow frosh friends have a plan to get invited to an older student’s party. Jessica and Emery hear a strange male voice coming from Grandma’s room and are determined to find out what’s going on.
Woooo: All the women are gorgeous in this episode. I’m sorry but it’s just true. Emery has a few excellent moments while dressed as Cosmo Kramer, demonstrating some physical comedy I didn’t see coming. Jessica’s dreamy little gesture on Stephen King’s book jacket is hilarious. I also really enjoyed the near-barrage of late-90s cultural references in the Halloween costumes, including references to Pokemon, The Craft, Pinky and the Brain, Netflix (established late August 1997!), and Daria.
Pttttth: I don’t have much to complain about. It’s not a great episode but it doesn’t have anything egregious.
FOB moment: Grandma calls her family out for speaking rapidly in English when they don’t want her to know what they’re talking about, and now she’s secretly taking ESL classes. From George Takei.
Soundtrack flashback: M.C. Hammer’s “Addams Groove” (1991) and a snippet of the Seinfeld theme music, hummed by Louis. There also might be something near the end, when Trent gets invited to the party but I can’t tell what it is. Can you?
Final grade, this episode: If Dr. Ken consistenly did one thing better than Fresh Off the Boat, it was repeatedly driving home the importance of letting kids be who they are, but in this episode, Louis and Evan have a confrontation about it that really works well, and the little twist where Louis is allowed also to be who he is is sweet. A nice episode for family viewing. B.