Fresh Off the Boat | Season 2 Episode 1 | “Family Business Trip”

Posted by Christine Kim & filed under Pop Culture, Television.

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Did you catch the season premier of FOTB this past Tuesday? If not, you should. It was hilarious. The success of this TV show has been followed avidly by Schema over the past months and with a fresh new season, we are more than ready to re-connect with the entire Huang family.

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

The episode starts off with a re-cap of the premise of the TV show. However, the premise of the TV show is narrated by the youngest member of the Huang family, Evan. Evan turns out to be writing down this entire narration in a fellow classmate’s yearbook before saying nonchalantly, “Have a good summer!”

That’s where the show starts: The beginning of summer break. Eddie wants a memorable summer so that he can have a cool summer story to tell when the school term resumes. It look like his desires might come true when Jessica announces an impromptu “family business trip” to GaterWorld, a hotel and resort Louis insists he needs to go to for work purposes.

Jessica is suspicious that Louis’ “work” trip isn’t a work trip at all but rather, an excuse to take a vacation. She eventually finds out that she is right but Louis insists that taking a vacation at times isn’t all that bad. Jessica comes to agree and learns how to just… relax.

Meanwhile, Eddie is too nervous to ride the roller coaster that will make his summer adventure story worth telling. But, this ends up not being a big deal at all when he gets back to school. After confessing that all he did the past summer was sit at home and play video games, his friends re-name him, “Chill Eddie”, which Eddie happily approves.

***SPOILERS END***

For me, this episode was like taking a look at a familiar painting or piece of decor and noticing an aspect it I never recognized before. Let me explain. As I mentioned briefly, in the beginning, this episode was hilarious. It was full of the kind of stereotypical Asian jokes we normally expect from FOTB.

For example, Evan’s tooth fairy note simply says, “Evan, clean your room”. After being asked what she does for joy, Jessica responds in complete seriousness, “I micro-manage my family.” When the receptionist at GaterWorld asks Jessica how many would be staying at the hotel, Jessica pertly responds with, “However many the maximum number of people can stay without be charged additional fees.”

These jokes were funny and familiar. What was fresh and new was the intense focus on Jessica’s wit and practicality. Sure, we always knew the mama bear of the Huang family was tough and strong-willed, but did we always know how much Louis depended on her?

He says to her, “I can be me because I have you.” By the end of the episode, this statement could not be more true. Jessica gets the entire family out of having to pay extremely high hidden hotel fees and she does so in “vacation” mode, as if her ability to curb the situation to her favor came totally naturally.

I love this depiction of Jessica. She knows how to get what she wants and is not afraid to do it. She’s strong-willed but stills allows those she cares for in her life to teach her new things, even if it may be difficult for her at times. It is women like Jessica that call for a fist pump to the air and statements like, “You go girl!”

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