Fresh Off the Boat is the first Asian American sit-com, to air on American prime-time television, in 20 years; it is based off of Eddie Huang’s memoir “Fresh Off the Boat.” Despite this Eddie Huang is quite the critic of the show saying, “I’m happy people of color are able to see a reflection of themselves through #FreshOffTheBoat on @ABCNetwork but I don’t recognize it.” and “I had to say something because I stood by the pilot. After that it got so far from the truth that I don’t recognize my own life.” Eddie has criticized the show for taking the easy route and twisting his story into something unrecognizable. “This show isn’t about me, nor is it about Asian America. The network won’t take that gamble right now.” Fresh Off the Boat was meant to be a truly Asian-American story based on Eddie’s story; instead the route the producers decided to take completely diverge from that of Eddie’s story. Many Asian-American are still able to connect to the sit-com, but not in the way that Eddie had hope they would.
Over time Eddie has come to accept the sit-com as a gateway to more shows starring Asian-Americans. “”I don’t watch it, but I’m proud of what it does.” While Fresh Off the Boat diverge from his memoir, Eddie still understands the importance of having a TV show with Asian-Americans as its main cast. He has many acknowledgements to the fact that now with Fresh Off the Boat success that it has proven that diverse stories about Asian-Americans can be successful which could lead to better shows for the Asian minority in the future. “But for all the bullshit I heard at studios about universal stories and the cultural pus it perpetuates, I felt some truth in it.… It takes a lot of chutzpah to launch a network comedy with a pilot addressing the word “chink”, yet it works because it’s the safest bet the studio could have made.”
While over time Eddie Huang has seen the benefit of having an Asian-American show on prime-time, it is still hard to see something he’s written turned into something that he is unable to recognize.
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