It’s Eddie Huang’s birthday! On this episode, Eddie turns 12 and boy is he excited to celebrate the big day… with his friends. This last minor detail isn’t so minor when both his parents are shocked to hear Eddie wants to celebrate the day by simply hanging out with his friends at the mall. Louis and Jessica were expecting to throw a house party and to investigate this odd change of heart, the two go to investigate.
What they find is Eddie throwing his own discreet birthday party without Louis and Jessica’s help. After confronting Eddie about this, Eddie explains he feels uncomfortable in his own house due to the many rules and expectations placed on him. Hearing that, Louis and Jessica decide to loosen up and meanwhile, Eddie comes to appreciate the strict but loving care of his parents by seeing the disrespectful way one of his friends treats his own mother.
I thought this episode was an interesting mix of stereotypical jokes based upon what it is like to live in an ethnically Asian household and what it is like to live in an ethnically Caucasian household. I am going to give you a few examples and tell you exactly how this episode helped me realize how ridiculous stereotypes can be.
“Look at the piñata! It’s in great shape. No one can tell we’ve used it since Eddie was 2. This year, I filled it with cereal!” This line was said by Jessica at the beginning of the show when it depicted Eddie’s 11th birthday party. Shortly after she says this, the camera swings to the dilapidated piñata that suddenly breaks without anyone having touched it and spills cereal all over the floor.
Evan desperately wants to gain the disapproval of his parents so on an assignment graded A, he writes a dash beside the grade with the same colour ink. He nodes enthusiastically, as if to say, “Oh yeah. A minus. That will get my parent’s riled up.”
Dave, who is Eddie’s friend, hands Eddie an entire 2L bottle of pop the moment Eddie walks though the front door. Dave’s mom does not care. The two play extremely violent and graphic video games, eat sugary cereal for dinner, and run around the house with plastic light sabers. Dave’s mom does not care. The only time she does seem to care is when Dave refuses to go to bed. Dave and his mom hashes things out by screaming hateful words at each other at the top of their lungs.
The above are the manifestations of typical stereotypes about living in an Asian and Caucasian household. Asian parents will do anything to save a couple bucks, even if it is on their own kid’s birthday party. Asian parents care intensely about grades and will run their children’s lives like an army commander. Caucasian parents are exceedingly nonchalant; to the point where even if their kid’s health is at risk, they will not care. Caucasian parents do not demand any sort of respect from their children and when they do, they fail miserably.
Both depictions are quite negative and both, from my experience, are untrue. The ridiculousness of each stereotype magnified by the blunt jokes drawn from them in this episode made me think about how crazy some generalizations can be. In fact, I am not the only one. The following is Dave and Eddie’s conversation at the end of their sleepover.
Dave: Well, it is pretty weird in your house.
Eddie: What do you mean?
Dave: Well, there so many rules over there. *Proceeds to tell examples*
Eddie: That’s not weird. You’re house is weird.
Dave: What’s weird about my house?
Eddie: Dude, you fart on your mom!
Each house seems so incredibly weird! Stereotypes manifested on face value are perplexing and hilariously absurd. As shown by this episode of Fresh of the Boat, stereotypes are not just simply wrong. They do not make any practical sense.