The show is based off Eddie Huang’s memoir: Fresh off the Boat, and focuses around Eddie’s family life in Orlando. Most of the characters in the family are male, along with Jessica, grandma, and Connie; nonetheless, Jessica plays one of the biggest roles in the show and is one of the main female focuses. This blog post will focus on how Jessica is represented on the show and how she is compared to the other female characters.
Gender roles were relatively static and there wasn’t too much gender spread across the show, Jessica was first portrayed as a housewife who depended on Louis to earn money and support the family. However, she soon because a realtor and began her own career. Jessica was able to utilize her negotiation skills to become a successful realtor and broke away from the housewife role she was originally put in.
Throughout the show, we saw that Jessica was at the center of the family and sets the rules of the house. Yet at times we saw that even Jessica needed a vacation and support from the other family members. Many of the episodes were focused on Jessica’s struggles, fears, and conflicts and how the family was always by her side to help her through tough times. Fresh Off the Boat portrayed Jessica as a powerful woman, challenging the stereotype of a stay-home housewife.
Compared to Jessica, the other moms in the neighborhood seem to be underrepresented. The roller-skating moms were mostly shown in gossip scenes and Honey is portrayed as a trophy wife, with their husbands being country club members. The difference in female representation is mostly due to the focus of the show; as it is based on Eddie’s memoir, the main focus is on the Huang family, rather than the neighbors.
Jessica is very well respected by everyone in the show as well as the audience, her strong and independent personality allows her to be the center of the family while she also shows her weaknesses. This particular representation drastically changed the show dynamic and made each episode much more interesting to watch.