Fresh Off the Boat: Episode 3

The part where Jessica has trouble fitting in with other moms with stinky tofu made me think. Because I moved abroad from Korea when I was really young, I never really struggled that much to fit in. There was a major language barrier at first, but I easily overcame that; I somehow started fluently speaking English after a few months and conversed well with other kids from different countries. As it was easy for me to adjust, I thought it would be the same for my parents, but now I realize how completely wrong I had been. My dad and mom moved when they were in their 30’s; by then they had already established their beliefs and lifestyles. It must have felt so strange to leave behind what is so familiar to them to start somewhere new. Adults are much slower learners than children, so they also probably had a hard time learning the language. I wonder what kind of hardships they were going through, while they putting up a front for my brother and I, in order to make sure we think everything is alright. Though I always complained that my parents were stricter than most of my friends’ parents, I now understand that was them pushing their limits and allowing me to do things that they otherwise would not have. I want to talk to my parents about what they went through during our moving process next time I see them back home in Korea.

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Fresh Off the Boat: Episode 8

A new Chinese kid called Phillip comes to Eddie’s school; the teachers assign them together thinking the two would get along because of their ethnicity, but we see how different they are in the episode. Phillip grew up in Jerusalem and comes from a very Jewish background, whereas Eddie grew up with Chinese immigrant parents. Because they were raised in such different environments, they differ in their likes and dislikes, showing that race is not what defines a person.

When I moved to Indonesia when I was in kindergarten, I attended an International School in Jakarta, and I was one of the few Korean kids in my year. This was my first time living away from Korea, and I spoke very little English. My teacher would always put me together with this one Korean girl, thinking that we would benefit from each other and feel some sort of connection, but we didn’t get along. I don’t remember what we would argue about because it was so long ago, but neither of us liked each other. I would always go home and complain to my mom, who then encouraged me to actively make friends disregarding race. I followed her advice, and became friends with kids with similar personalities and interests.

I thought it was funny how the episode ended: Eddie goes to school rocking his Bestie Boys concert t-shirt, and the one black kid in school also went to the same concert and purchased the same shirt. Jessica was so happy that Eddie found a “nice Chinese boy” to befriend; however, it turns out that Eddie is more like the black kid in school than the Chinese kid. This goes to show that connection comes from similar tastes in various aspects of life, and not merely due to race.

Week 10 Blog Post

This week’s episode of Fresh Off the Boat shows Eddie attempting to convince his mother to allow him to attend a Beastie Boys concert. This reminds me of a previous episode in which Eddie tries to convince Jessica to buy “Shaq-Fu” for him. I also found the flashbacks amusing because each CD that Eddie shows Jessica has a reference to Asian culture and yet, none of the rappers have anything to do with Asians (Wu Tang Clan). This brings me back to the videos and images we viewed in class. The image of a white model on the raft with an Asian man rowing comes to mind. I was quite confused with the concept. The model was not Asian and neither was her outfit. I failed to understand the reasoning behind the usage of Asian scenery and an elderly Asian man. However, the most outrageous video was the music video by Day Above Ground called “Asian Girlz”. There are few words can describe the utter disbelief and disgust I have towards that song and music video.  I was dumbstruck by the outrageous and blatant racism that this band directed towards Asians. The lyrics are obscenely offensive, with lines like “superstitious feng shui shit”, “your mama’s so pretty, best nails in the city”. It’s no wonder this video was given scathing reviews along with widespread defamation towards the band.

Let’s get back to Fresh Off the Boat. Eddie is unable to convince his mother at this point and leaves empty-handed. However, he goes to school and discovers that there is a new Asian kid. He is eager to meet someone similar to him and finally have a friend to connect with. Much to his disappointment, Eddie finds that the kid, Philip, has entirely different interests and cultural background than himself. Despite not getting along with one another, Eddie’s teachers automatically pair the two together for various assignments and activities, believing that the two of them would get along just fine since they’re both Asian. After school, Jessica comes to pick Eddie up and notices Philip. She is immediately fascinated that there is another Chinese kid at school. Jessica is delighted to learn that Philip is extremely studious and musically talented. She only has words of praise for him. Meanwhile Eddie feels sidelined by his mother and her appreciation for Philips’s excellence.  I find this aspect to be particularly familiar. Many Chinese parents find the need to compare their own child to another Chinese kid that is particular “better”. I say “better” because these parents tend to praise the other child for their academic prowess yet, question their own child for their shortcomings. As for me, I have been on both sides of the equation and neither feels as gratifying as one would believe. I’ve grown to learn that there is always someone better, but that is irrelevant. The only goal one should have is self-improvement. Fresh Off the Boat truly hits home with this episode. Maybe a bit too close for comfort.

Week 10 – Fresh Off the Boat

“It’s called being a G.” … “Q is better.”

Eddie wants to be a G. A straight thug. Well, probably not a thug, cause Jessica would straight up kill his silly ass. But still, Eddie is a individualized character that goes against most typical Asian stereotypes… Especially when he’s juxtaposed next to Phillip Goldstein. Goldstein, although Asian, has no similarities with Philip. He actually seems more Asian typical than Eddie does when you see his “classy” aspirations and cello fingering skills. Yet he doesn’t get all that from being Asian because he’s raised by Jewish parents… and that somehow makes Phillip seem completely different from a typical Asian American. “Chinese boy with Jewish parents. The world is a beautiful place. What a great family.” But then the kid turns out to be kind of a dick… selfish as Jessica said.So when a unique but still full blown Chinese American boy such as Eddie is portrayed  next to the Philip character, it has to bring at least sub conscience thought of Asians being not all the same. If that is true, then it’s good that this show is bringing in as much unique Asian characters as possible. But not without its merits – “Chinese boy with Jewish parents. The world is a beautiful place. What a great family.” But then the kid turns out to be kind of a dick… selfish as Jessica said. Yet the show brings back the good lookout with “black kid and Asian kid bonding over Jewish rappers cause America’s crazy.” Really though, the beastie boyz are dope. They definitely did be bringing people together since day one. It’s nice that the show is paying homage to an entity earlier than themselves. Yes, the Beastie Boys are an entity… an enlightened entity that has been doing important work make dope tracks bringing peoples of all different backgrounds as the groove to their beat. Maybe Fresh will be able guide peoples together… as long as it rides that racial line smoothly.

Country Club Yelling – Week 9

“Why are you so excited about a country club?” – Louis Because of Caddyshack. “It’s my favorite movie, set in a country club. I’ve always wanted to go to one. ‘Get your foot off the boat!’ Oh ho, it’s so much yelling. It’s so good.” – Jessica

Yes, yes, yes. Enjoy the vibrant emotions of Jessica. Take all of her all at once. Jessica is just so stereotypical of Asian mothers it’s amazing. The representation is fresh and not stale like the overdone like the Dragon Lady or Lotus Blossom. Yet the fact that it’s actually accurate makes it superior to the way Asian women have been represented in the past two centuries… Jessica is so un sexualized that she kinda becomes sexy. So rare in today’s media. Her enthusiasm, whether it’s for her Louis’ accomplishments, or for her own progress in her career, or for her children’s education, allows her to be 100% in all that she does. Her hard work ethic and loud enthusiasm seems to remind me my mother and many of my friends’ mother. She thus becomes a good character model for mothers in general.  So even if the Loud but Hardworking Asian mother stereotype does become stale due to repeated abuse, it could never be as bad as the demeaning and oversexualized representations of Asian woman.

“Why does everyone hate this?” – Says the Mark, thecarpool kid.

This line seems to represent the viewers that watch Fresh Off the Boat, thinking, “I don’t get this. Not that funny. Not relateable.” Without trying to understand the situation that Eddie and his brothers are in, Mark only thinks about his own situation. He thinks that being in the carpool is so orderly and so much more relaxing than the pseudo-dangerous bus. But Eddie doesn’t get to be on the same bus with Nicole… And Evan is about to lose his PERFECT ATTENDANCE. That’s some serious shit, marky mark. So… iono, maybe the people that are watching this show thinking there is only one view point should try to look at this show from all angles.

The Golden Saddle owner says, “Look who has an Asian fetish too,” to Louis… who is Asian. This is an interesting line simply because I never thought that I had an Asian fetish. But dude… I guess I do. I guess I just had such strong identification with the Asian culture, that the idea of saying I had an Asian fetish would be redundant. Does a white man have a white fetish? In the frame of the show, it starts a witty dialogue. It reminds us that we are all humans foremost. That our desires are not set.

Week 9 Blog Post

Last night’s Fresh Off The Boat episode covered a few different topics.  Eddie comically faces the typical (first?) elementary school crush on the girl older than him who it also turns out to babysit his brothers and him later on in the episode.  What I have realized recently that captivates me about this show and keeps me watching is the topics the writers address in every episode.  At first, I did not know how much I would relate to the show because I do not have a family lineage linked to Asia.  However, in my opinion, the writers did a masterful job of focusing on the Asian American family, while weaving in universal events everyone tends to go experience.  Eddie having a crush on his babysitter/ older girl is something I think a lot of people can relate to.  The all too real elementary school crush is not specific to any ethnicity.

The weaving in of events that can be seen as universal with specific events Asian Americans relate to is something new and refreshing for me.  I enjoy listening to my peers discuss how they can relate to the Huang family and give anecdotal recaps of first hand events with their childhood.  In class, I get to listen to my classmates discuss the show’s relatability instead of reading reviews from internet users who have no physical presence.

On a side note, viewers learn of how Louis developed the idea for his restaurant which was revealed when he could no longer explain to Jessica why his billboard kept getting defaced.  As an economics and accounting major, I thought about the franchising industry and the possible litigation that results from stealing trade secrets.  However, the show did not dive too deep into the potential legal trouble Louis may face… economics and accounting mind at work here.

Week 9 Blog

In this week’s Fresh Off the Boat, Eddie combats the struggle with the morning bus ride. I, on the other hand, never rode the bus so I wouldn’t be able to emphasize with his pains. I wonder if people actually pretended to sleep on the bus. You would think that people would want to stay awake if they were afraid of being picked on. Eddie’s solution of carpooling seems like a reasonable alternative to bussing. I like Emery’s retort to Eddie’s “This seat is reserved” remark.

“Reserved for who? Your attitude?”

I don’t remember gradeschoolers ever being so quick-witted. Or maybe it was I who has always been the dim-witted one. On a different note, I found Louis to be quite ingenious with his choice of ad placement. The billboard location was carefully selected down the minutest detail of the homeless man with the dead bird in his pocket. When the billboard is defaced for a second time Louis gets nervous due to the word “THIEF” sprayed across the board. This is when we discover that Louis had stolen the idea for his restaurant from the Golden Saddle franchise. Louis then explains to Jessica that he was wrong in stealing the restaurant idea and that he had done it out of necessity for his family. If we look back to the beginning of the episode, we can see that we are given a very subtle hint of Louis’s familial dedication when he his introduced as a lover of gangster movies. These movies have a big emphasis on familial loyalty and security that Louis seemed to have taken on when we discover his restaurant secret. I feel that this episode’s theme is largely based on the idea of family and sacrifice