English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Category: Review Topic 4 (Page 2 of 5)

Social Commentary in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

In episode four of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, “Kimmy Goes to the Doctor,” Kimmy is recommended plastic surgery by Jacqueline to practice a new “outside-in” theory of self care. Before she undergoes botox, Kimmy realizes that she and everyone else is trying to “Buh-breeze” (a play on words from Febreeze and the commerical that puts people in an empty room drowned in Febreeze) her problems away by masking them. As soon as she realizes this, she encourages Jacqueline to confront her problems with her husband rather than trying other procedures to fix them and hoping they fade.

The infamous “I can’t believe this room smells like this” Febreeze commerical.

The episode is a social commentary. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, “17.5 million surgical and minimally invasive cosmetic procedures performed in the United States in 2017”  with higher percentages and rising numbers in other countries (https://www.plasticsurgery.org/news/press-releases/new-statistics-reveal-the-shape-of-plastic-surgery). The episode tries to ask if plastic surgeries actually address the “problem.” Sure, some procedures for some people may “adjust” a something they have always been dissatisfied with, but for others the “problem” may stem from deeper issues such as self esteem. The episode points out that something like plastic surgery is not a blanket solution. 

The episode also criticizes attempts “self help” methods that rarely seem to do anything for the consumer other than take their money. In the episode, Jacqueline claims she bought two books on the “outside-in” method, the idea being that a good outward life can reflect onto a good inner life, prompting Jacqueline to get procedures to improve her attractiveness and outward happiness. However, as Kimmy points out, this method does nothing to address the problems that actually affect Jacqueline. The episode shows how these “self help” methods are rarely helpful and most of the time consist of regurgitated information. 

Dead Patients Aren’t Just Organs

This week, I saw the 3rd episode of Grey’s Anatomy. As with each episode, the show was arguing a couple of things. The first thing it argued was the behavior of men towards women. For example, in the same episode, one of Meredith’s patients tried to hit on her as well as her co-intern Alex Karev, as well as Derek Shepard. With Alex, the way he approached Meredith was very rude which causes me to believe that the episode tried to show the receiving end of the interaction and make the audience realize that it was disrespectful.

Another thing that the episode tried to argue was that dead patients are still human beings. For example, when Cristina was talking to the family of a brain-dead patient about harvesting his organs, she talked about the patient like it was a dead pile of organs that they could use on other patients. The episode shows the reaction of the family and makes the audience realize that even though a patient might be dead, they still have family and a life where people cared for them and that it’s important to think about that as well.

The second theme closely relates to the show because the show is based on the lives of many patients, many of which end up not making it. This realization that each patient has a family and a life, causes the audience of the show to be able to connect with each patient to actually feel sorry when each patient passes away in the future of the show. This also puts the audience in the shoes of the doctors, making them realize that each patient, alive or dead, is still a human beings and not just a pile of organs. Even the connection that Izzie forms with the patient strengthens this point because it shows that even though a patient may be brain dead, they’re still alive inside.

This patient hits on Meredith as she’s trying to look at his wound

Crazy Ex Girlfriend and Deconstructing the Love Triangle

In the season 2 episode “All Signs Point to Josh… Or is it Josh’s Friend?” Rebecca spends most of the 42 minutes allotted looking for a heaven sent sign that will tell her whether she should date Greg, the man whose heart she has broken multiple times, or Josh, the man she has been obsessing over since the start of the show. Although she’s genuinely distressed by her indecision, there’s a fair amount of glee in her tone when she tells her best friend Paula that she’s in a “love triangle.” The Love Triangle is a common trope in media, and what is somewhat desirable about being the apex of the triangle is that the person having to choose essentially holds all of the power in the situation, while the other two can only try their best to enrapture them. Rebecca goes through the episode weighing the pros and cons of the two men, never doubting for a second that she will decide everything and that both men want her desperately. However, outside of Rebecca’s inner world, that is clearly not the case. While both Greg and Josh do want Rebecca, they are also both consumed by more important problems: Greg must decide whether to follow through on his dream of attending Emory University (far away from the show’s setting) and Josh must try to get his adult life back on track after losing his apartment with Valencia. While Rebecca imagines that she is the one making the decision that will end the love triangle, it is actually the two men in her life that decide to opt out of the triangle, with Greg abandoning his chance of a new beginning with Rebecca in favor of Emory and Josh ending their relationship after a pregnancy scare that makes him realize he is not remotely ready to settle down. In this episode, the show essentially argues how much of a fallacy the Love Triangle trope is- in reality, people rarely have such all-consuming importance to two others, and the two ends of the triangle have just as much of a say as the apex, as demonstrated by Greg and Josh’s refusal to participate. This deconstruction of a popular trope is very much in Crazy Ex Girlfriend’s purview, as the show is largely about the delusions of the main character, who often imagines that she lives in a much more romantic and Rebecca-centric world than she really does.  In a broader interpretation, this episode’s theme confronts a fallacy that most people fall into- the fallacy that we are the protagonists of the story, and everyone else are merely side characters affected by our actions.

Rebecca realizing that people around her have inner lives that have nothing to do with her

Movin’ On Up

Broad City’s general brand of humor deals with the relatable yet wacky incidences of daily millennial life, and Abbi and Ilana are perfect portrayals of twenty-somethings trying to get ahead in life. While this brand of comedy accords with the general millennial, season four of Broad City takes a slight turn from wacky to mature. In episode 3 of season 4, titled “Just the Tips,” Abbi’s and Ilana’s characters progress from an innocent, early-20’s mindset to a more mature, late-20’s mindset.

“Just the Tips” reflects the general theme of season 4 in that Abbi and Ilana are not the same wacky, young semi-adults that they once were in earlier seasons. They are maturing into adult women, and they start to attain a sense of stability and maturity that is unlike themselves in earlier seasons. While there still is plenty of craziness that goes on, the protagonists are evidently growing up, and this episode reflects how in real life, people grow up, and they start to make more stable, mature decisions for themselves.

Season 4 of Broad City, spoofing Beyonce’s “Formation” 

In this episode, Ilana is enjoying the fruits of her new high-paying waitress job as she is able to afford daily things that were otherwise luxuries, such as a king-size bed. Abbi, interning at a graphic design firm, is coming to terms with her complicated relationship with Trey, her former boss, and she starts to realize that sex-only flings are not important anymore. While at a party, Abbi and Ilana confront these new lifestyle changes as Abbi is forced to think about her relationship while Ilana is forced to confront Lincoln, her former friends with benefits. Abbi realizes that she needs to invest more time in her well being, and Ilana moves on from the pain of leaving Lincoln as she talks with him face-to-face. Ilana even tells Lincoln that “I[Ilana] am much more mature than when you last saw me.” Both Abbi and Ilana acknowledge what they want, and they start to think for themselves as adults rather than young, innocent millennials. They face their past conflicts head on, and they do not shy away from improving their lives as adults in New York City.

Ilana enjoying her new disposable income

The theme of maturity and growing up in “Just the Tips” relates to the course of Broad City overall because the shift from the earlier seasons to season 4 resembles what happens in real life to most young people. In the earlier seasons, Abbi and Ilana are working dead-end jobs, and they engage in risky endeavors to unsuccessfully better their lives. However, in season 4, Abbi and Ilana are working at stable, worthwhile jobs, and they feel much more content. While there is still plenty of absurdity, Abbi and Ilana are clearly maturing into better versions of themselves. In the end, Broad City takes a more progressing turn as Abbi and Ilana “move on up” in their respective lives.

Ilana and Abbi leaving the party in “Just the Tips”

Decisions… Decisions in Grey’s Anatomy

Every episode of Grey’s Anatomy shares a common thread that ties the whole episode together. In some specific episodes, however, the commonality is a theme or concept usually concerning debates within the medical world. Episode 4 “Save Me” really delves into the foggy part of the medicine as it concerns ethics and a patient’s choice.

Doctors and surgeons are tasked with helping the sick to the best of their ability and to “do no harm” according to the Hippocratic Oath. Then comes the question of whether a medical professional should perform a procedure that might do harm, if that is the patient’s choice.

Ultimately, the patient has the last word.

The topic of abortion is one of the most common dividing arguments. On one hand there is the health of the mother especially if the birth is going to have complications, but also, there’s an unborn life that can’t speak for itself. As Cristina meets a woman who wants to keep her baby even though it will kill her, she can’t understand this mentality as she is trying to save lives. In another situation, Alex, another intern, is tasked with helping a girl who needs a heart valve replacement. However, due to her religion, she won’t let them put a pig’s valve inside her.

Throughout the episode, the interns and patients go back and forth. The interns know that at the end of the day, decisions are ultimately up to the patient, yet this doesn’t stop them from wanting to convince the other party to save themselves. In both the situation of the abortion and the heart valve, both patients inevitably concluded to have treatment (though the girl settled on a cow heart valve).

To me, this episode showed more clearly than any other, the stance of the show’s writers. “Save Me” is saying that doctor must respect their patients wishes, but that the best treatment plan is the one that will elongate someone’s life, and that these kinds of decisions shouldn’t be based on morality or religious views. This kind of conversation is really big in the medical world and political world at the moment with things like STEM cell research, assisted suicide and abortion. Even for a medical show, that’s a really heavy theme to put into a 45-minute episode.

Makin’ Babies: A New Girl Story

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a little Schmidt in a baby carriage. Have I scared you New Girl watchers off yet? No? Good, New Girl‘s S1E21 “Kids” addresses the reality of the relationships of the characters on the show, following the Theme of the complications in love, pregnancy, and the general relationships in the show.

Cece being asked if she used birth control after missing her period S1E21

This episode runs through some relationship issues of the characters of the show. Jess has to babysit her older boyfriend’s preteen daughter, Sarah, who happens to be her student in school as well. Meanwhile, Nick is figuring out his insecurity with having a long-lasting relationship with a mature adult, and Cece must deal with the troubling thought of whether or not she is pregnant with Schmidt’s child. Of course, there is plenty of cringy drama through the episode to ruin every character’s plans, as it also serves to further the topic of the episode.

While at the beginning of the episode everything seems to be working straightforward, as Nick’s current fling girlfriend seems smarter than he is, Jess’ boyfriend’s daughter is the average curious and rude preteen, Cece is the normal rambling mess when it regards her relationship with Schmidt, and Schmidt is his average douchy self. However, this quickly changes as the complicated nature of relationships is revealed. Nick’s girlfriend is 19 and just graduated highschool, as Jess was once even her teacher. The girl that Jess is babysitting has a confusing crush on Nick. And Cece has a total emotional breakdown about possibly being pregnant with a mini-Schmidt.

Cece got her period! Yay!

The episode as a whole serves to explain the fact that relationships are beautiful but confusing by nature. Love is not simple, and it is an emotion that needs processing. Sarah thinks that she is immediately in love with Nick, while despite having a several month long relationship, Schmidt and Cece still will not acknowledge their feelings for each other, while Nick, in general, does not understand his own feelings about what he is seeking in his life in a relationship. The show is arguing throughout this entire chapter of episodes, but specifically, in S1E21 that relationships are difficult, and knowing what someone wants in life regarding love is confusing.

However, at the end of the episode, every character understands themselves and what they want better, as Sarah stops heavily crushing on Nick, Nick realises that he cannot date a 19-year-old out of highschool, and Cece is content with not being pregnant. Though even in the conclusion, Cece and Schmidt’s relationship is not secured, demonstrating again that relationships are never logical or straight, as they depend on the emotions of two people who need to work through what they want themselves. This episode is arguing that no one ever truly knows what they want, but by making mistakes, they can work through and figure out at least what they may want.

The Real Santa?

The theme of a TV show determines the central focus of the story, it is able to connect the characters and the plots to demonstrate the message from the director. In The Real Santa (Episode 10, Season 2) of Fresh Off the Boat, the story focuses on the Huang family celebrating Christmas. There are two subplots in the episode: Jessica and Louis trying to convince Evan of who Santa really is and Emery and Eddie trying to find the perfect present for their mother.


One of the main question posed in this episode is: “Who is Santa Claus?” Jessica believed that Santa needs to be “improved” and tries to instill values upon Evan by trying to create a Santa Claus who is a scientist that graduated from Princeton. When the plan for Marvin to act as Santa backfired, Jessica told Evan that Santa is actually Chinese! At this part of the story, the question of “Why Can’t Santa be Chinese?” is raised. Instead of forcing everyone to believe the white and chubby Santa Claus and sticking to the norm, Jessica’s version of an intelligent Chinese lady as Santa offers a look on diversity as a part of Christmas culture. In the end, Jessica successfully convinced Evan of her version of Christmas, and Eddie and Emery were both able to find amazing presents for their mother.


Jessica as Santa Claus


This particular episode relates to the show overall as the Huang family finds balance between their traditional Chinese values and the American culture. Throughout the show, the Huang family sees the differences between the two cultures but are able to find the pros and cons of both and adjust appropriately to the new environment. In this episode specifically, Emery and Eddie were able to learn what “good presents” really are, and Jessica was able to create a different concept of Santa Claus. It was an interesting episode as it wasn’t the usual gift and Santa Christmas episode and offers a cultural twist on the idea of the holiday.

Living Life

In the episode that I will talk about, Xavier, the crazy guy who thinks that the world is going to end soon, got a job at the same company that Evie works at. She is the girl that left her “almost husband” to live an ‘adventure’ with Xavier. They wanted to do things that they always wanted to do before the world ends. Most of the workers at this company were dissatisfied with their job and did not enjoy their careers and what they had to do every day. They always complete the same mundane task every day, and with each passing day they become less and less content with their lives. When Xavier got this job, just to make she happy, he changed the way that things worked, making the work easier and way more fun. He convinced all the workers that life is too short to get into a rut. After convincing workers to do their roles in the way that they like without affecting the production of the company, the profit and production rise and company started make more money. However, even with the increase in profit, they got stopped by the director for being out of the pattern and formal way of work.

Considering all the episodes and analyzing them, I think that the message that this TV show is trying to show us is, if we do what we like and if we do what makes us happy, we will have way more fun and we will live life more ‘easily.’ Everything in our lives can be taken as learning and it is up to us to make this decision. We have priorities in our life and have to choose what make us happier. Xavier does not like to work, but he is happy living his decision. Choose what makes you happy and live life the best way you can. “Don’t worry about a thing, cause every little thing going to be all right.”

“Rebecca Tries to Make Healthy Choices!”

What constitutes a healthy choice, and how does one make them? This concept is the thematic motif of episode 4, “I’m Going on a Date with Josh’s Friend!” In this episode, Rebecca aims to make healthier choices after almost following through on the impulsive decision to have a one-night stand with a Tinder date. While Rebecca has a solidly clear end-goal in mind – to feel less regret about the decisions and choices she makes – she has several ways to go about this that the episode demonstrates.

For most of the episode, Rebecca believes making healthy choices comes down to resisting her urges. It’s why she becomes vegan, despite expressing several times how much she misses meat; it’s why she becomes Buddhist; and it’s why she goes on a date with Greg, despite being in love with and wanting to wait for Josh.

Combined with resisting her urges, Rebecca’s approach to making healthier choices also includes being more practical and less idealistic, and the episode’s two songs, “Sex with a Stranger” and “Settle for Me,” both demonstrate this dilemma. “Sex with a Stranger” musically summarizes Rebecca’s sexual experience with the Tinder date, and there’s an intriguing dichotomy present in it: the visual presentation of the song is hypersexual and idealized, but the lyrics express a more realistic thought process, featuring thoughts like how stinky his genitals are and whether he’s been tested for STDs.

This same dichotomy is even more present in “Settle For Me,” the song summarizing Rebecca’s interpretation of Greg asking her out. The video and instrumentals depict an idealized version of romance and love, complete with a dance sequence, fancy outfits, and a black-and-white tint. And yet, Greg says several awkward things, and the lyrics are literally about how Rebecca should settle for him despite loving someone else.

Ultimately, Rebecca’s approach to making healthier choices leads to more regret as she ends up making a chain of impulsive decisions – namely, eating meat and then leaving her date with Greg early to hook up with the hipster taco vender she met during the date – and at the end of the episode, Rebecca’s moved away from such an approach, acknowledging its unhealthiness.

This theme of making healthy choices – and the associated, inherent dilemma of practicality versus idealism – is relevant to the show as a whole, especially in terms of how healthy Rebecca’s pursuit of Josh is and whether it’s actually worth it. This theme is also definitely relevant to society. There’s been a cultural shift in the last several years in favor of leading healthy lifestyles, which has led to more discussion of how exactly to live healthily; and the “practical versus dream” conflict is one that emerges frequently in people’s lives, from jobs to romance.

Jess goes to the Party held by Prince

For the third Blog Entry, I am focusing on the theme of the “Prince”, the fourteenth episode of season 3 of New Girl. In this episode, Jess and her best friend Cece were invited to a party held at Prince’s house. When Jess’s boyfriend Nick tells her he loves her, she replies him with a finger gun hand gesture. Nick and his roommates crashed Prince’s party, so Nick can talk to Jess. At the party, Prince gives Jess a makeover and helps her to tell Nick she loves him back.

Jess replying Nick with a finger gun hand gesture

I discovered a couple of arguments that this episode is trying to make. It is arguing that being honest with your feeling is important in a relationship with others and yourself. Also, telling the other person how you feel is the best way to obtain a good relationship. Lastly, it argues that we can gain something very precious by overcome our fears.

The show makes this argument by first setting the scene where Nick accidentally tells Jess he loves her for the first time and Jess gives an awkward reaction and leaves for a party. At the party, Jess told Prince that she is scared to admit her feeling and is worried that it will be painful if something goes wrong. After talking to Prince about her fears, she overcomes it and tells Nick that she loves her too. After being honest with their feelings, telling the other about it, and overcoming their fear brought out the best result for their relationship.

I believe the theme in this episode relates to the show overall because this episode and the overall show argues that being honest with yourself and the other is essential. I also think that this episode relates to a greater cultural conversation how being honest is important in our culture. Also, how we need to overcome our fears to gain something fruitful.

Community and Help: An Important Element to Jessica Jones and the World

For this post, I analyzed the theme presented in Jessica Jones Episode 4 “AKA 99 Friends”.

Multiple arguments were made in this episode that bolstered the theme of the episode. First, the show played around the necessity of therapy in the episode. In this episode as well as the previous episode, Jessica is shown having a dismissive attitude towards therapy. Due to her PTSD, she often recites a series of words that remind her of her happiest moments. Even though Jessica always seem to dislike the idea of therapy, the show shows how the support group she is apart of helps her face Kilgrave, the main antagonist of the story. She even recommends that support group to Malcolm, Jessica’s neighbor. The show clearly argues the need of therapy or support to those in troubled situations.

The second argument the show makes during this episode surrounds the idea of personal responsibility. Jessica Jones is clearly portrayed as an abnormal hero. Throughout the show, Jessica struggles with what she is really responsible for. In other words, should she help anyone who asks for it? This question is asked multiple times, and in this episode particularly, the morality of personal responsibility is questioned when (*spoiler warning*) Jessica finds out Malcolm is actually working for Kilgrave as Jessica’s stalker. In addition to this twist, Jessica originally met Malcolm when she first encountered Kilgrave all those years ago and tried to save Malcolm from Kilgrave. Interestingly, Jessica continues to help Malcolm despite being betrayed completing the argument of personal responsibility. The show ultimately argues that help should be given without condition. This is clearly shown when Malcolm asks Jessica if humanity is worth saving, and this goes well with Jessica’s struggle with personal responsibility.

Image result for jessica jones and malcolm

Scene that shows the comical side of the relationship between Jessica and Malcolm

At the end, both these arguments support the one of the main overarching themes of the show: seeking community and help. Both these arguments show the importance of having a community or a friend who will help unconditionally. In the example with Malcolm, Jessica has no reason to help him especially with his betrayal. However, Jessica continues to help him even though she always acts like she doesn’t care about Malcolm. I believe this theme applies to the real-world very well. Often, mental illness and suicide often arise from the lack of community and the lack of help from others. The theme shown goes to show how important community and help is to our society today.



Expecting the Unexpected

The episode I have chosen to write about this time is episode eleven in the first season of Orange is the New Black: Tall Men with Feelings. In this episode, lots of dynamic changes occur in the plot, ones that drastically shift the situation of various characters and leave the viewers shocked. The main theme presented in this episode is that no matter how deep one may be committed to something, one should always be prepared to experience change. Not only will that person face unexpected adversaries, but he/she will learn more about themselves that they will realize.

An example is present when Piper did not realize Larry her fiance, knew that Alex her old lover was in the prison indeed and that Piper was having an affair with this woman who she previously loved. Piper found out when Larry appeared on the radio talk show and the whole prison tuned in. Larry made oblivious side comments about Piper’s secret personal situation in the prison, and when Piper realized, she confronted Larry over the phone about this unexpected situation. Ultimately, this led to them to temporarily breaking up at the end of the episode and Piper realizing that her anger towards Larry should be instead directed towards herself, as she let Alex intrude in their relationship and ruin the dynamics of everything.

Another example is when Dayanara, a fellow inmate of the prison, had an affair with John Bennett, a guard who had mad feelings for her. Dayanara loved him too, and accidentally got pregnant, in turn trying to have sex with the creepy hated prison guard in order to place the blame on him instead of officer Bennett. However, unexpectedly, other people in the prison found out about the situation and attempted to intervene, making Dayanara’s relations much more complicated than it originally was.

The point is, the theme conveyed in this episode is to expect the unexpected. The show writer does a superb job of creating these dramatic life-like events that are so relatable yet deep so that the audience is able to connect with the show on a deeper level.

The Unexpected Couple of Dayanara and Officer Bennett

Kimmy Schmidt and its Thematic Intricacies

The episode I will be thematically analyzing in this blog post is “Kimmy Goes to Court” (Season 1, Episode 12). Being the second to last episode in the season, the main issue revolving around Kimmy’s kidnapping comes to a head in this episode where Kimmy must testify in court, face to face with her kidnapper.

In this episode there are a couple of arguments trying to be conveyed to the audience, but the overarching message conveyed in this chapter of Kimmy Schmidt’s adventure is to stay true to your values even when faced with adversity.  In this episode Kimmy is faced with the extremely challenging task of having to face her kidnapper in court.  Even while everyone in the court is siding with her charismatic kidnapper in court (her own prosecution team included) and not recognizing Kimmy’s plight, she puts her head down and works herself to find evidence that will surely convict her kidnapper even when she is made the enemy of the very situation in which she was victimized.

This episode promotes the prominent theme of the entire series which is the power of the individual.  Throughout the season, Kimmy is forced to relearn about the world she departed for nearly a decade in the most fast-paced, overwhelming city in the nation, New York City and is forced to adapt and persevere with just her will power and strength.  This theme is found even before the series begins when flashbacks demonstrate to the audience how Kimmy would constantly defy her barbaric male kidnapper who greatly disrespected the women that he kidnapped through harsh words and unusual tasks.  Not to mention, Kimmy defies everyone by getting a job and having a quality life in New York City even after society pities her for being a mole woman victim.  Kimmy wants to be more than that, so she does.  She proves that the strength of individuals can really be something special when the individual is determined to accomplish a desired goal.

This theme is a great one for today and especially in the college environment we find ourselves in as students. For example, I write this blog post right now, I am in the middle of intramural season, have two midterms this week, a job interview, loads of homework and a social life to keep up; however, persisting as an individual through difficult times is possible and is what makes us all grow. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent and this idea is accurately displayed to the audience of Kimmy Schmidt.

Image result for kimmy schmidt in court house

Kimmy’s kidnapper, Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (John Hamm) charming the jury during his testimony

Small Town, Big Themes

The ability of The Middle to consistently deliver a relevant theme is remarkable.  How can the depicted small town of Orson having no significance outside a ten-mile radius present so many moving thoughts?  Perhaps it is the producer’s effort to make viewers feel as if they grew up across the street from the Heck family.  Maybe it is the glimpse into a more authentic family life than Hollywood tends to illustrate.  However accomplished, The Middle certainly invokes thoughts that translate to daily life.

The Middle emphasizes the American family.  There are limitless potential messages associated with family life.  From watching the show, I believe the primary focus is how crucial families are to happiness.  Many of the events portrayed on the show reflect financial struggle and the chaos that ensues with raising three children in middle-class America.  In any event, The Middle never fails to show that family comes first.  For example, stress from a difficult work day and managing her kids’ activities may frustrate Frankie, but at the end of the day she can’t deny her love for her family.  The Heck family may not face ideal circumstances, but they have each other and that’s all they need.  This mentality goes on to underscore how happiness is not derived from wealth and status, but from relationships.

There are many instances in which The Middle attempts to present its theme.  The most effective, however, is the show’s spot-on description of American families.  During one episode Frankie claims, “This is an American family. Yeah, we yell and fight, we eat bad food, we watch too much TV…”  The Middle writers do not try to create a false image of a perfect family…like Frankie, they are honest!  Because of this, the audience is more likely to embrace reality and recognize those who prosper surround themselves with those they care about.

So what if you eat take-out in front of the TV sometimes…at least be true to yourself!

Despite the many themes that comprise The Middle, I see its promotion of relationships and deterrence from chasing fame as the most significant.  With every episode, I am reminded to act humbly during my time at Tech and maintain my family relationships and friendships from home.

The Value of Hard Work in Fresh Off the Boat

In the show Fresh Off the Boat, Eddie’s parents had always expected him to work hard, and when Eddie starts yearning for some extra spending money, his parents expect no less of him than to work for his cash. Eddie gets put to work as “Fajita Man” in the Cattleman’s Ranch restaurant to capitalize on the Fajita craze of the 1990’s and soon learns that his father expects no less work from him than from any other employees at the restaurant.

Eddie working hard as Fajita Man to make some extra money at Cattleman’s Ranch.

After starting to work Eddie soon realizes that the role of Fajita Man is the worst job possible in the restaurant due to its repetitive and demeaning nature. Louis Huang continues to explain that it is his duty to make sure that Eddie works hard for his money because Louis remembers that his father made him work hard for his money to build a strong work ethic within himself.

Ultimately Eddie begins to get discouraged at work because he drops food and breaks plates and has a hard time focusing on the job at hand, which causes Eddie to stop showing up to work, much to the dismay of his father. His father lends Eddie some money so that he can buy the legendary video game, Shaq Fu, because he wants to have a better relationship with Eddie than he had with his father. Eddie returns to work because he realizes that he should work to earn the things he wants in life.

Eddie works to buy the video game “Shaq Fu” which has become known as one of the worst video games of all time.

The episode reinforces the theme that hard work is needed to earn what you need in life throughout the episode but also reminds the audience that occasionally gentleness is needed in relationships. While Eddie ultimately came to realize that hard work makes him feel more fulfilled, Louis realized that occasionally he needed to show affection to his son in order to help Eddie grow as a person and not just a worker.


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