One of my favorite parts about Fresh off the Boat are the voice overs. Eddie Huang, a middle schooler, narrates the first and final scene of every episode, but as an older post-pubescent man. As the main character, he is telling the story from his perspective and how he views the plot. Therefore, this implies that this is how Eddie sees himself. This is just a hilarious ploy by the writers to me.
The voice of this character is unique to say the least. He reflects Eddie’s love of hip hop by using popular slang terms, because those terms are ~cool~. The speech used by this narrator is based off the speech of the popular hip hop artists who act as Eddie’s role models. The voice drastically contrasts with the voice of the real Eddie Huang which is high pitched, and the slang terms don’t sound quite as natural, because he’s a little kid. When Eddie uses the same slang it looks like a kid who is pretending to be cool when in reality he’s not, but the narration voice really is. Again, what this says about Eddie is that he genuinely believes he’s really cool.
This says a lot about Eddie’s character. Eddie’s character struggles to make friends. He is often rejected by the kids at school. In season 1 episode 5, the episode starts out by Eddie narrating how he doesn’t get invited to any sleepovers. This statement alone is a bit odd, considering the narrator is an adult and adults don’t exactly have sleepovers (in the traditional sense of the term…). The narrator continues by saying he was “mad siked” about getting invited to the sleepover which is something a ~cool~ person would say. And then the shot pans to Eddie, a small pudgy middle schooler who lacks in eyebrows (no offense Eddy, still love you). Despite this you might start thinking Eddie was actually a cool kid, because he finally got invited to a sleepover and was making friends. But again, the show reminds us that he is not. The next shot is of Eddie’s mom telling Eddie that there is “no way” he’s going to that sleepover. Again we’re reminded that he’s just a little awkward kid (again no offense).
This really just serves as a constant reminder that people view themselves as a little bit cooler than we actually are. Not just kids, adults too. If the joke didn’t apply to adults, it wouldn’t be funny. Obviously low self esteem is a real thing, but the way we view ourselves is never exactly how the outside world views us.