Sitcoms are some of the safest mediums in television, they have had a long history and have been almost perfected to a science. Shot by shot, Fresh off the Boat is your average sitcom fare. There is basically no risks taken, and it shows.

In most visual mediums (specifically television and movies) there are three types of shot: Long, Medium, and Close

An example of a medium shot in a movie.


And this might look closer than the medium shot, but compared to a classic close shot, it it too far away.

The show plays it safe, generally sticking to this medium, individual character-based shot composition. Compared to other episodes of the show, nothing much changes. This staple visual design is helped along by using another staple sitcom design technique, the shot reverse shot.

Characters, such as Jessica shown above, are often individually shot, with the camera making quick cuts to the other character she is talking to, such as Sunny or Louis.

Besides the normal sitcom shots and filming techniques (shot reverse shot and the medium shot) we do have some slight variations in Blind Spot episode 10 of season 1, such as the chicken pox animation that plays when a character contracts the virus and the strange horror-themed narrative they add in as a gag.

Ah, the classic ‘suddenly-appears-in-the-mirror’ horror technique.

I am surprised that they did anything different, but this difference was used a purely a gag.

To accentuate the character-based medium shots, there is one form of lighting in the show, bright and focused on the character’s face.

This lighting makes sense for a sitcom, we are expected to focus on character faces and reactions to the situations they are in thus delivering the comedy, but this is once again a classic sitcom decision. This lighting is consistent among most episodes in “Fresh off the Boat” and isn’t even changed in the gag-horror shots.

All of these shot and lightening choices are, once again, classic sitcom choices, which is perfectly fine. The shot quality, choice, and direction is fine because it does what it needs to, helps to frame the gags and dialogue, but it doesn’t do anything more.