‘Fresh off the Boat’ Episode Review: “Big Baby”

Fresh Off the Boat, Season 4, Episode  11: “Big Baby”
Original airdate January 2, 2018.

Synopsis:  Honey’s mom (Cheryl Hines!) comes to visit, just in time to cause the newly expectant mother all kinds of stress about their differing approaches to motherhood.  Jessica agrees to support Honey, but finds herself more often in agreement with Honey’s mom.  Since Jessica and Honey can’t use the free cruise they won on Wheel of Fortune before it expires, Marvin and Louis go instead, Louis determined not to spend any money on what’s supposed to be a free trip.  Eddie forms a quick friendship (and maybe more) with Karen (Jane Widdop), a new girl in school, but suspects he’s being yellow fevered, as his new friend’s past boyfriends were Asian and her favorite guitarist is James Iha.

Ooh:  It’s not the issues episode I now must admit I prefer, but it does bring up yellow fever with the interesting way this program usually treats the good stuff.  When Eddie accuses Karen of only liking him because he’s Asian, she asks, “Do you think it’s weird that all the girls you’ve liked have been white?”  Eddie responds that it’s not a preference, but it’s what’s available, which I kind of wish the high-schoolers had taken a moment to work out, but this is the B plot so it’s okay as is.  I really like that Eddie actually seems to have blown a chance to form a good friendship when he’s so quick to call yellow fever, treating himself as an object rather than the interesting guy Karen says she was drawn to.  But not anymore.

Other lines I liked:

“I’m not ready to be a dad.”  (Barefoot Dave when he thinks a dragonfly has laid eggs in his arm)

“My mom likes to tear into a bird when she wakes up.” (Honey)

“I’m just drawn to strong, critical energy.”  (Jessica)

“Everybody else’s melon looks happy!” (Honey)

“Bring me back a giant seashell I can blow to summon the kids.” (Jessica)

“That’s a lot of bivalves for one man.” (Marvin)

Ugh:  Seriously, is every phase of Honey’s pregnancy going to be a plot element?  Because I don’t know if I can take this.

FOB moment:  Jessica says, “When I first got pregnant, not only was my mom not here, but I was new to this country.  I didn’t know how anything worked.  I didn’t have any friends who were moms.  I had to figure it out on my own.”  I got a bit misty, as Jessica’s story reminds me of my mom, who came to a country where she barely spoke the language, to deal with pregnancy while my father was on a ship in the Pacific.  When she fell down some stairs at home, she had to ask a neighbor to get her to a hospital, where the doctors induced labor and gave her a baby six weeks ahead of schedule and five months before that ship returned.  I’m grateful Jessica had Louis, who was probably clueless but was undoubtedly doting.

Soundtrack flashback:  “Pony” by Ginuwine (1996).

Final grade, this episode: It’s 2018 in our time, which means now it’s 1998 in FoTB time.  With this episode, FoTB has given us three full seasons’ worth of episodes (it was a midseason replacement when it debuted), a pretty nice accomplishment.  I can barely take all the pregnancy talk in this episode (I know every child is unique and I know every pregnancy is each expectant mother’s own story, but to a middle-aged bachelor, these stories all sound the same!) and the Marvin-Louis story isn’t even worth remembering, but that yellow fever plot makes it all better than tolerable.  B.



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About Mitchell K. Dwyer

@scrivener likes movies.
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