This blog entry discusses the cinematography and direction in the TV show “Fresh off the Boat”. I find episode 13 in season 1 particularly appropriate to discuss this topic as that episode reveals Jessica’s anxiety for their family losing their Chinese identity. Therefore, this episode utilises many cinematic effects to symbolise the respective cultural identities.

However, not all of the effects used in show is designated to symbolise a particular culture, in fact, the cinematic effects contribute significantly to the overall atmosphere of the show. For example, in every episode’s introduction scene, the vibrant, crayon styled layout comes across to the audience as an “easy-watching” show with cheerful connotations. Further elements such as having a bunch of quick cuts instead of lots of long takes mimic a real-life dialogue with lots of back-and-forth comments to help ground the audience with this show’s realistic appearance. However, in occasions, we do see the directors to break the “quick cuts rule” when they are trying to highlight an important point. Particularly, the directors used slow-motion technique to dramatise the motion of Jessica dropping her pot of Macaroni and Cheese onto the floor. Thereby, this helps show Jessica’s trauma of finding out how “Americanised” their family have become.

In hope to remind the children of their Chinese heritage, Jessica decides to refurbish the house with more Chinese elements. It is clear that that the house’s colour tone shifted dramatically towards predominantly red and yellow. Purposefully, these two colours represent the three most important symbols in Chinese culture: wealth, luck and happiness. Therefore, it is interesting how the show utilises different colours to represent various cultures. In contrast, Brock’s presentation on Russian culture often used colours red and black to symbolise communism and conservatism attitude in Russia.

Snapshot of Jessica’s Predominantly Red and Yellow Traditional Chinese Dress, with hints of Chinese Culture in the Background