English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Tag: Fresh off the Boat (Page 2 of 5)

“My G” #2 Post on Writing

For the TV show Fresh Off the Boat, I could have chosen any episode in any season and it would have provided a general overview of its writing style. However, for the episode I chose, season 2 episode 14, I particularly liked how the storyline goes against Asian convention with Louis and Jessica supporting Emery with his hidden talent in tennis. Throughout the episode, the writers, Khan, Huang, Shah, and Wang, collectively create a light-hearted atmosphere while highlighting the comedic effect of Emery’s sudden rise in fame in the tennis world.  This should come with no surprise that the main writer, Khan, has plenty experience writing other comedic shows such as “Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23” and “American Dad”.

Khan often use a free-flowing dialogue structure to mimic a natural conversation, thus making it easier to follow. Furthermore, the writers try to avoid utilising advanced vocabulary to make it more appealing to younger participants and it also helps portray across life’s perspective coming a young Asian teenager boy. Interestingly, the characters often express their thoughts out loud to not only exhibit “thinking out loud” characteristic but it helps the audience to decrypt their ulterior motive. This is evidently seen when Jessica inadvertently tells Eddie to move out of his room to make space for Emery so that Emery could more efficiently recover from his physical pain from tennis matches.

Like in any TV show, It is important for the writers to appreciate the perspective and theme the show is portraying across. In this case, it is the significance of mimicking an Asian teenager’s perspective of school as real as possible. They have done a superb job in doing so, with Eddie constantly using vocabulary that belongs in the lexical field of youth. Nouns such as “my G” and “my jam” in addition to portraying across a light-hearted tone, it also allows the show to come across more relatable to younger audiences.

My G, My G!!!!

The Mothers of Fresh Off The Boat

So I’ve avoided discussing gender in Fresh Off the Boat. I wanted to give the show a chance to defend itself – but I’m low on topics so the time has arrived. Now I have to give a bit of a disclaimer – this show is a satire. It plays off stereotypes for comedy, so it should be expected that some of those are going to seep into gender.

For starters, In terms of screen time, there is only one lead female roll and that is Jessica Huang. The grandma rarely gets screen time and has very few lines. It is only for comedic sake, but it still rings true that females don’t get much time. In this particular episode they got far more time than usual, because it followed the story line of Jessica instead of Eddie.

In this episode in particular the topic focuses on Eddie Huang’s crush on an older girl. All she cared about was dropping out of school to go to beauty school… ok. This is problematic. But they don’t portray all women like this. The only female main roll is the mom, Jessica Huang. She is obsessed with being the best at everything and encourages her kids to be the same. Her determination is so strong that she temporarily quits her efforts to become a realtor because she is worried she will not be the best realtor in the district. So we have a strong female lead. She’s determined to work her hardest and refuses to even be associated with stay at home moms, because she wants to be associated with the image of a powerful working woman. The side characters are stuck in the past. We have the previously mentioned crush. In addition, we have a huge culture of stay at home moms that the show features who are aggressively conservative and look down upon working mothers (bad) but the show frames them in a way that is clear that they are looked down upon for not supporting fellow women (good). In this episode in particular one of the moms tries to encourage Jessica to work hard to accomplish her dreams, while playing the role of a very stereotypical mom.

this is a look into the stereotypical moms on the show

Although the show presents gender through stereotypes, it endorses women being proud of who they are, and supporting other women. In the end that’s the whole message of the show, be who you are.

Fresh Off the Gender Representation

Episode 7 of Season One of Fresh Off the Boat is called “Showdown at the Golden Saddle” and is about Eddie trying to get the neighbor, Nicole’s, attention. Compared to the previous episodes in season one, this one gives much more agency to Nicole. Nicole is no longer just a character that reacts to Eddie’s remarks but now also interacts with him. Though Nicole is a more developed character in this episode she is still portrayed as a prize, mostly due to her appealing physical appearance. This is reasonable as the whole show is supposed to be from the perspective of Eddie who is still a young boy.

The show still does a good job of incorporating other active female characters such as Jessica and her best friend Honey.  Jessica is the alpha of the family who always makes significant decisions that impact many of the other characters. As Eddie said in this episode, “The tough guy in my family had always been my mom” referring to Jessica. Not only is she a prominent female character, Jessica also facilitates the representation of Asian Americans. Even though the whole show revolves around race representation, Jessica is a prominent character that holds up certain stereotypes while dismantling others.

Even though the show does a really good job of representing the male and female genders, it does not have much gender spread beyond that. There have been zero characters so far that identify with a gender other than these two. However, it is still early in season one so there is a possibility that such characters will be represented later on.


These iconic nicknames show how Jessica is represented as an equal with Louis.


Examining the Role of Women in the Labour Force According to the Ideals of Fresh Off the Boat

Within this episode, Jessica attempts to leave her life as a stay-at-home mom behind and join the workforce as a realtor. However, after her first attempt at the realtor licensing exam, she realizes that re-entering the workforce will be a much tougher nut to crack than she originally believed. One of the main challenges Jessica struggles with is her inability to accept the fact that she was a stay-at-home mom and has to cope with the struggles of others like her who have difficulty entering the work force. The difficulty within switching between the roles of motherhood to worker have long been a key issue in the battle for women’s equality within the labor market.

Jessica often aims to be the best at what she does, but she gives up easily when she faces opposition.

As the episode continues Jessica pretends to have earned her realtor license so as not to lose the respect of her husband, family, and friends and struggles with the concept of heavy competition within the workforce and her desire to avoid the label of stay-at-home mother. After hiding from her family and friends to pretend to be working she realizes that she will only be fulfilled once she has begun to work and is able to compete with the other realtors in the area.

Naturally this transition is one that must be balanced while Jessica maintains her duties around the home. It is her responsibility to both maintain her children’s grades and academic standing as well as to cook and clean around the house, which places a large amount of strain on Jessica. Due to her desire to work hard and to be better than everyone else however, she is able to overcome these barriers and maintain a healthy work-life balance that is often strained when beginning a new career. This episode highlights the difficult transition of women into the labour force as well as the rough odds of a woman being successful in the labor force when burdened by a family.

It’s all about the MONEY, MONEY, MONEY

I started out my blog posts with a discussion about the cultural difference of the Huang family and modern America. But, diving deeper into this general theme is how money is portrayed in the show.


The Huang family JUST moved from DC to Orlando with basically nothing. While, most comedy shows would focus on dumb events that occur or misfortunes, Fresh off the Boat manages to make real issues into comedy, like the struggle for money.


Each episode has tons of examples specific to the show and overarching money struggles. For example, Eddies ALWAYS wants a new CD, video game, movie, technology, etc. In episode 6, he is set on a new video game. But, his parents do not just fork over the money because they can’t… they are establishing themselves…and barely have necessities like air conditioning… So, Eddie works as “Fajita Boy” at Cattleman’s Ranch because “there are no handouts in the Huang family”. The show manages to make a comedic 11 year old working a job stem from cultural differences and NEED. Eddie’s grandfather had to work hard, therefore Eddie has to work hard. His parents constantly remind him of the struggles his relatives faced trying to succeed fiscally, which keeps the comedy REAL.

Eddie as “Fajita Boy”

The money struggles comes up not only for Eddies (bc all 11 year olds are broke), but for his parents. His mom is looking for a job to help provide because not all families can live on one income. His dad is constantly trying to make Cattleman’s Ranch a successful restaurant (and usually failing). His family keeps the air conditioning off in FLORIDA to save money, like that is TERRIBLE.


Watching comedies focus on real problems makes it easier to get invested in the shows. In Fresh off the Boat, the struggle of money and assimilating and succeeding are displayed and it has made it a great show to watch #peace #out #blog

Camera Flips & Other Cinematographic Tips

I am not the best at focusing on details and minor messages in media, instead I focus on the plot and characteristics of the main characters. For me this class has been eye opening because we analyze all aspects of television, movies, etc in class. When I was analyzing an episode of Fresh off the Boat, I had to be super intentional and focus on the aspects of the show and visual design.


The first thing I noticed were the bright colors in the show, most likely because the producers are trying to emphasize that the entire show is in the past because it is based on a memoir. The best example is inside Eddie’s school hallway where the lockers are bright orange and the walls are bold yellow. The same theme is in the Huang house, where the wallpaper is yellow and green print, which is outdated for 2018, but in style for 1995.


The next thing I noticed was how the camera was only on the person who was talking. This means that while the scenes are long, the camera is constantly flipping between speaking characters. This did not annoy me…until…I over analyzed it through this prompt…whoops. The long camera shots promote growth of relationships because that is really what this show is about. The plot is just the same thing in different situations for comedic effect, while it focuses on the coming of age aspect of Eddie. But, back to the camera flipping a lot. This technique is super straightforward and focuses on the speaker more than the background or scenery. The quick flipping also enhances the back and forth bickering that is destined to happen in a family with three sons, a naive father, and a control-freak of a mother. But, it can also hurt your head a lot because the camera never stops moving in a similar way that Hallmark cameras are CONSTANTLY moving. And sometimes it is like woahh just zoom out a little bit!

In this ONE 40 second scene, the camera flipped drastically 17 TIMES to follow the speaker

I continued to go into the next episode and noticed all the same visual/cinematographic elements, so it is something that ties all the episodes together. While I have watched 6 episodes, this is the first time I was intentional and noticed the cinematographic components even though it is a constant throughout the series.

Not Just a Housewife – Fresh off the Boat

Even though “Fresh off the Boat” is written about Eddie Huang’s life, I believe that his mother is actually the main character. Most of the show’s plots are centered around some conflict related to her, or about some fear of her. So for this gender analysis blog, let’s take a look at the real main character of “Fresh off the Boat” – Jessica Huang.

There isn’t too much of a gender spread on “Fresh off the Boat” – a majority of the main characters are male, except for Jessica and Louis’s mother, Grandma Huang. Jessica is a house-wife turned real estate agent, but don’t let that fool you. She is far from a typical TV housewife – she is the matriarch of the Huang family. The entire family (except for Grandma Huang) lives in fear of her, closely following the boundaries and rules that she has set. Jessica is also a very powerful and capable character, frequently shown as naturally good at many skills and a hard negotiator. In spite of her toughness, the show also demonstrates that she is capable of putting her tough love aside to show warmth to her family. Her decisions and actions are the primary fuel for the show’s plots. So “Fresh off the Boat” did a great job in representing Jessica as a powerful female, but what about everyone else?

In terms of gender, there is little active representation beyond Jessica. The show only portrays males and females, and outside of Jessica, a majority of females depicted are the rather ditsy women that share the neighborhood. However, “Fresh off the Boat” shines in terms of merging race and gender. It’s the first ABC show to depict an Asian family as its lead, and while it is a Western stereotype that Asian women are quiet and submissive, Fresh off the Boat went out of its way to ensure that it would not contribute to this image in any form. Its lead female is respected by everyone, both in and out of her family, and the only person she somewhat fears is her mother-in-law. Thus, even though “Fresh off the Boat doesn’t extend its arms into many other representational axes, it did a fantastic job in what it did choose to represent. It broke stereotypes and created one of the most iconic families to currently exist on ABC, and showed that being a housewife is anything but a sign of weakness or incapability.

It was very early in the show, but this scene is a perfect demonstration of how Jessica gets stuff done.

Women Off the Boat, in New Places of Power

Throughout the first season of Fresh Off the Boat, gender roles remained very static and I’d go as far as saying they were very stereotypical. None of the characters really break any molds; most everyone is a typical character and there aren’t any radical characterizations regarding gender. One may argue that Jessica’s place of power in the Huang family challenges the typical patriarchal scheme of a family that we see emphasized through the rest of the neighborhood moms. While this is certainly the case, she is still very dependent on Louis to make all of the money and she fits into the whole “tiger mom” stereotype. I guess all of this is passable since the series is loosely based on Eddie Huang’s book, so this may very well have been how these people existed and interacted.

Towards the end of the first season and certainly in the second, there is some shifting of power regarding gender. Jessica gets a job and is able to provide for the family and move her character away from its previous positioning as a strong matriarch that is only concerned with the performance of her kids. In season 2, episode 3, she also demonstrates her ability to negotiate with salespeople and scores her family a new car for significantly less than its sticker price. As such, she definitely has a big effect on the plot of the show and begins to break away from the more typical role she previously occupied.

Additionally, Nicole, Eddie’s neighbor, is expanded from just being Eddie’s crush to also being a strong, plot-driving character. In episode 5, she demonstrates a lot of power over the boys in school by scaring them away from Jessica’s real estate property. This is definitely a shift towards a more progressive role than she previously held as more of just a pretty face.

Image result for fresh off the boat nicole

Nicole scares off some boys.

This is probably the lone example of something in the show shifting into focus without becoming the butt of a joke, as with sexual orientation. The show brings this up a lot, but it’s never really explored. It’s always used to convey a joke, which I hope will change in the way we’ve seen the show’s representation of gender evolve. In addition, the rest of the female characters occupy very stereotypical roles, as stay-at-home neighborhood moms and a trophy wife. The same can be said for the men, who are mostly rich country club members. At least each gender is accounted for in near equal numbers. I guess the directors just take a lot of time to push the plot in new directions and are slow to approach new facets of representation.

Image result for fresh off the boat bar

The Denim Turtle, Jessica’s escape. Also happens to be a lesbian hang-out.

Chicken Pox and Radars: Sitcom Filming

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.

Perfect Timing in Fresh Off the Boat’s Writing

In the conclusion of season 1, the Huang family struggle with their cultural heritage. They feel that they have become so assimilated into American culture that they have forgotten their roots. In the end, however, they realize that, in fact, they have not lost their heritage, but instead choose to put on an American persona when necessary. In this blog I will discuss the writing of this episode.

The episode, just like the rest of the show, was written by Nahnatchka Khan. She has written episodes for American Dad and Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23. Her parents immigrated to the US from Iran, so she can relate to the crisis that the Huang family face in the episode.

One of the most significant scenes in the episode is the revelation that Jessica has that the family is losing their culture. This scene occurs towards the beginning of the episode so as to clearly illustrate that this is the central topic. Jessica’s worry starts when their neighbor, Honey, tells her that “[the Huang family] are just like regular old Americans to [her].” During the scene, Jessica recounts all the American things they have started to do that completely contradict Chinese traditions. It seems as if one more contradiction keeps appearing. It starts with Louis allowing shoes to be worn in the house, then Evan comes in asking how to ask Grandma to speak English in Mandarin. As if on cue, Eddie walks in wearing a Rastafarian outfit for his world cultures project. Then, the scene culminates as Jessica realizes that she made mac and cheese for dinner. Obviously, Khan made each thing happen on perfect timing to add a comedic tone and dramatic effect. On top of the perfect timing of each element, the scene ends with a slow-mo huge crash as Jessica drops the pan of mac and cheese that fades out into silence. Khan does a great job in this scene of introducing the audience to how significant Jessica’s culture is to her by using such dramatic sound and perfectly timed dialogue.

The ending of the scene where Jessica drops the mac and cheese

In other parts of the episode the writing style is relatively similar to the rest of the season. There are a lot of events that happen quickly and right after each other with quick cuts between scenes with a small sound snippet used as a transition so as to keep the audience engaged and maintain an overall positive mood. This style is common among all shows in the sitcom genre and is comfortable and normal for an American audience. Khan decides to use this style because she strives to demonstrate the commonalities between an Asian-American family and a typical American family. Had she decided to choose a more unique and different style, it may counteract this goal.

Eddie’s Creative Yet Purposeful Cinematic Effects

This blog entry discusses the cinematography and direction in the TV show “Fresh off the Boat”. I find episode 13 in season 1 particularly appropriate to discuss this topic as that episode reveals Jessica’s anxiety for their family losing their Chinese identity. Therefore, this episode utilises many cinematic effects to symbolise the respective cultural identities.

However, not all of the effects used in show is designated to symbolise a particular culture, in fact, the cinematic effects contribute significantly to the overall atmosphere of the show. For example, in every episode’s introduction scene, the vibrant, crayon styled layout comes across to the audience as an “easy-watching” show with cheerful connotations. Further elements such as having a bunch of quick cuts instead of lots of long takes mimic a real-life dialogue with lots of back-and-forth comments to help ground the audience with this show’s realistic appearance. However, in occasions, we do see the directors to break the “quick cuts rule” when they are trying to highlight an important point. Particularly, the directors used slow-motion technique to dramatise the motion of Jessica dropping her pot of Macaroni and Cheese onto the floor. Thereby, this helps show Jessica’s trauma of finding out how “Americanised” their family have become.

In hope to remind the children of their Chinese heritage, Jessica decides to refurbish the house with more Chinese elements. It is clear that that the house’s colour tone shifted dramatically towards predominantly red and yellow. Purposefully, these two colours represent the three most important symbols in Chinese culture: wealth, luck and happiness. Therefore, it is interesting how the show utilises different colours to represent various cultures. In contrast, Brock’s presentation on Russian culture often used colours red and black to symbolise communism and conservatism attitude in Russia.

Snapshot of Jessica’s Predominantly Red and Yellow Traditional Chinese Dress, with hints of Chinese Culture in the Background

Fajita Man Brings Home The Bread

Episode 6 from season 1 of Fresh Off The Boat is called  “Fajita Man” and revolves around the theme of hard work. There are multiple different arguments this episode makes about hard work but the most prominent is that first generation children have to work twice as hard for the same reward, a video game. This is consistent with the theme of the the show in general, the challenges of immigrant families in America. When Eddie asks his parents for money for the new game, they do not just give it to him for free like the other children’s parents, and instead they make Eddie start working at the family restaurant in order to instill a good work ethic in him. This reminds me a lot about my children, similar to Eddies’ parents my parents also made me work at the family business. And just like Eddie I too despised having to work and envied the other kids that would get “free hand outs”, but eventually I too realized the true satisfaction of hard work.

Another argument the episode makes about hard work is regarding how it is instilled. Eddies’ farther grows to realize that he does not have to be harsh on Eddie like his father was on him. It is true that that approach did result in Eddie’s father a hard worker, but it wasn’t till he talked to his mother that he realized that approach significantly deteriated his relationship with his father. So in order to perserve his relation with Eddie, Eddie’s farther attempts to use a more amicable approach. The show argues that it is possible for parents to teach their children good skills without burning bridges. Overall, the episode is very consistent with the theme of the show in general, overcoming adversity as a family.

Eddie’s mom is also consistently exemplifying a strong work ethic by juggling her career and job as a mother

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.


Nothing to See Here – Cinematography in Fresh off the Boat

After watching many episodes of “Fresh off the Boat,” it’s still hard to decide if there any elements of its cinematography that distinguish it from its counterparts. For the most part, the show follows similar shoot patterns as other ABC comedy shows (except for “Modern Family,” which mostly uses shaky shots to simulate a reality show). Conversations are shot with quick cuts between the talking characters, and with most of the show being conversations, we rarely see any continuous shots. For a show that is so unique, it’s a shame that its editing is essentially a carbon copy of its channel-mates.

The use of color, however, is a bit more interesting. Most of the show is filmed in well-diffused daylight. The walls are always a pastel color, and this combination of color and light create a constant “warm” feel to the scenes. This mundane warmth could be representative of their new, cookie-cutter life in the American suburbs. It could also represent their new comfortable lifestyle thanks to the restaurant’s success. Another interesting color scheme difference in the show is not quite related to cinematography but is still interesting enough to be noted: clothing. Throughout the show, the white women in the neighborhood are always shown wearing brightly colored clothing with very unique patterns, a trademark of the early 1990s. In contrast, we see that Jessica almost always wears plain, light-colored clothes. This is likely a note of the cultural difference between the two parties; a direct symbol of the Huang family’s conservative values. It also shows that in spite of how well the Huangs have immersed themselves in their surroundings, they still remain different and not entirely a part of the community yet. This is especially apparent in S2E2 (my current episode), during which the neighborhood women (Honey included) make several more appearances alongside the Huangs than a typical episode.

Note how Jessica stands out from her neighbors. A clear example of color scheme differences used in the show.

I am far from a cinematography expert, so it’s safe to say that I am missing something, but as far I can see, “Fresh off the Boat” does not attempt to be unique in terms of cinematography. I believe the show-makers are aware that a majority of their audiences take cinematography for granted (myself included), so they focus more on the uniqueness of the plot. While it’s a little disappointing that the show does not innovate in this aspect, it doesn’t take away from it as a whole. “Fresh off the Boat” makes it place with unique writing and casting, not with camerawork.

Success as defined by your gender in #FOTB

From the opening scene of episode 4, it was obvious that the show would continue to stick to traditional and exaggerated gender roles that have played out in the prior episodes. The characters’ success is determined differently by their gender.


Let me set up the scene… extended family members (including an aunt, an uncle, a cousin, and a grandma) are visiting the Huang family from D.C. Within the family, it is a constant competition to be more successful than the others.


For Jessica and her sister, the battle is over looks, shopping deals, and mother’s love. These are the ways that the show gives them their value. The reasons for this might be because the show is suppose to be a throwback to the 90s, so they are overemphasizing the progress that has been made in the past two decades. Also, the roles might be cultural. The sisters are battling to be their mother’s favorite and not chasing after careers, which means that cultural loyalty remains at home for the women. While it is amusing to watch the sisters battle over perms, breast size, and discounted prices, the gender roles in the family are restrictive and limiting. The women seems to add nothing to the family except housekeeping and eye-candy…

Jessica and her sister Connie battle over their mother’s favoritism (w/ Jessica rocking the “success perm”)

For the men of the family, Louis and his brother in law (and ex-boss), their success is determined by their career, cars, and  technology. The male characters are expected to have it all; the car, the computer, the successful company, etc. BUT, this is so restrictive, even for a comedy show. It is just another example of a place where female are not shown as succeeding in the workplace and where men are forced to be the sole provider and suporter. This scene makes men look like they have to be superheros and have it all, when realistically they don’t. This family gender role could also be tied to culture of the Huang family, so the roles speak more to the cultural expectations from this time period.


It is super easy to box genders up and make the characters easy to understand. For FOTB, the focus is on comedy and fast-paced plot, not intricate characters. In every show, something is sacrificed in production and through the family reunion scene, it is obvious that Fresh off the Boat doesn’t waste time having dynamic characters that redefine family gender roles.

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