A major theme in the first two episodes of Fresh off the Boat is exclusion. It argues that exclusion comes in too many ways to count, especially non-traditional ways. For example, Eddie (11 year old main character) isn’t allowed to sit with some boys at lunch because his Chinese food smells bad to his classmates. While this isn’t “excluding him because of his race”, it actually is because the food is part of his culture, which is part of him and his family. Eddie just wants to belong and therefore is willing to conform to his classmates standards, just to make friends. The show focuses on the minor (and major)  ways that minorities are excluded and discriminated against. The Huang family is seemingly the only non-white family in the neighborhood, which makes them feel left out IN THEIR OWN HOME. Especially when the crazy white neighbor tells you “your English is so good” even though you were born in America…

I would eat these noodles over a Lunchable any      day

The show makes its argument not only by showing the exclusion that the Huang family faces, but also from the exclusion Eddie  faces within his own family. His two younger brothers get to go to the same school and sit on the same bus together, but he has to go alone. He LOVES rap music, but his family likes other music. His mom wants them to go to a CLC, Chinese Learning Center, to academically challenge them, while all the other boys his age get to play outside, make friends, and shoot hoops. Worst of all, his little brothers aren’t upset about doing CLC instead of being normal kids. Their relationships portray that even in a loving family, one can feel like an outsider. I think it’s unique because sometimes television families are just classified as “good” or “bad” and FOTB embraces the grey of family.


While this show is a sitcom that is supposed to be funny, it’s themes attack what is wrong with modern America. It can take a serious theme, like exclusion, and use humor to show how it affects people’s lives and I think that is so powerful. My favorite quote from these episodes comes from a conversation between Eddie and his mom. Eddie wants a Lunchable for his school lunch, instead of his mom’s Chinese food. She responds with “You want it to fit in a box? Why are you so American?”. Honestly this quote just stuck out to me and I felt the need to write it down because of how powerful it is. I love that comedy can become so political by using its following base to show what is wrong with our society. There is so much conformity & exclusion in America right now and it means we are missing out on a lot of unique people & ideas. Modern “entertainment” does wayyy more than entertain and I think Fresh off the Boat is the perfect example of media becoming political and thought provoking.