ABC has recently announced that it has picked up the new comedy Fresh Off The Boat for its 2014/2015 lineup! It is a sitcom based on the memoir by chef and restaurateur Eddie Huang, and finally features the North American immigrant experience.
It’s set in 1990’s and follows Eddie, a hip-hop loving 12 year-old and his Taiwanese immigrant family as they move from DC’s China Town to suburban Orlando. It stars Randall Park, Constance Wu, Ian Chen, Forrest Wheeler and Hudson Yang. Executive produced and written by Nahnatchka Kahn, who is a first generation American himself, and also executive produced by Jake Kasdan for 20th Century Fox Television.
20th Century Fox TV leads next season in ethnic and racial diversity with Empire, which features a largely Black cast, and the new show Cristela. Cristela is a law student who is trying to reconcile her ambition with her Mexican American family’s expectations. Cristela is written by Cristela Alonzo and Kevin Hench, and Alonzo is also the main actress for the series as well. Both follow the American dream in what is expected to be an absolutely hilarious fashion.
The Wall Street Journal wrote about Fresh Off the Boat, saying that it seems to be an entirely different league from Margaret Cho’s All American Girl, which was the first and only Asian American family sitcom we’ve seen so far. The article quoted Dan Mayeda, co-chair of the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition, who had the opportunity to meet with producers and see an early version of the script, and calls the show “potentially groundbreaking.”
What’s special about this show is its uniquely Asian American sensibility,” he says. “These are characters that are fully American while still reflecting the particular quirks and experiences of Americans of Asian descent. Finally, we get the chance to laugh with the characters, not at them. And I think this show is hip enough that it will attract non-Asians.”
It’s encouraging to see greater diversity, perhaps even “progress” in the sitcom world, especially beyond the “best friend” role, which this parody video hilariously describes. Looking forward to the fall premiers of both shows! We’ll keep you updated on their progress, and their likely huge success.