English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Tag: whitepeoplelunch

the story about a little guy that lives in a blue world

The first episode of Fresh off the Boat is about as provocative as one can get when it comes to social issues for POC and immigrant families in the US. The writers of this show certainly aren’t scared to put their opinions and experiences out there, I mean Eddie Huang even named the main protagonist after himself. I thought Arvin’s commentary about the irony of the title was interesting too, essentially remarking that the family isn’t really fresh off the boat (from China or anywhere), but really from D.C., a markedly American town… and by saying ‘American’, let’s be perfectly clear that I mean all kinds of Americans. Chinatown very much being included. For that reason, I felt that Arvin’s observation shone a riveting spotlight on the theme of the storyline: that all people, background and skin color aside, are equal, but are treated as if they aren’t.

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uh oh…racism? *sips tea*

Personally, I enjoy the way that Eddie Huang brings us this theme. He doesn’t do so in a condescending or stark manner, but rather uses comedy, like Eddie’s quirky obsession with Nas, or the use of slang by the stereotypical ~cringy~ dad, plus a very stereotypical accent as the cherry on top. Because this theme is so provocative, especially in today’s political climate, the comic relief more effectively communicates Huang’s side of the story. As Eddie says as he’s preaching his life plan to his parents at the dinner table, he’s taking “a seat at the table” in a conversation far larger than himself or the show. By representing this Chinese American family as the focus of the story, and really by daring to tell their side of the story, Huang not only communicates the theme but tells it through a lens of respect and empathy which makes his message more tender and approachable.

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and so is this theme, @Eddie

If we’re really honest, we all know people get treated differently, whether you lie on the side of privilege or not so much so. Overall, I have already really attached to the characters. I enjoy them. And I enjoy their story. The one with less privilege, the real one, the awkwardness, and the struggle. This theme, so clear yet so delicately presented, is still very much present and poignant in Fresh off the Boat. And so far, I’m diggin’ it.

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i <3 fotb

Works Cited:

Huang, Edwyn. “Fresh off the Boat.” Season 1, episode 1, Hulu, 2015.

Slight change in direction!: Writing

So I ended up watching Fresh off the Boat, and it’s off to a great start! The cast is definitely very unique and nothing like shows I have previously seen. The writer of this pilot episode is Nahnatchka Khan. Nahnatchka Khan is was on June 17, 1973 and has also been a part of American Dad! and Don’t Trust the B—– in Apartment 23. Khan created Fresh off the Boat with the mindset that minorities are very underrepresented in television. Being part of a minority herself, an Iranian American, Khan experienced what it was like growing up in the United States as a child of foreign parents. The dialogue is very realistic: Khan takes into account how the parents would have an accent, but the children do not. Growing up in American really allowed Khan to imbibe her personal experiences in the writing to make the show more realistic, and so far, she has been very successful. In addition, Khan has found a good line between if the stereotypes she uses are offensive or not. This really adds to the quality of her content because other minorities similar to Eddie’s family would not find that Khan is taking advantage of stereotypes in order to make the content more comical. There are not any voiceovers, that are apparent at least, and in my opinion, this adds to the realness of the show. Something that really stands out to me about Fresh off the Boat is that it reminds me of the show Full House with an awesome twist to it: a large family living together solving family problems with a lot of love. Another important fact about the writing of this show is that it is the first American tv show to star an Asian-American family since All American Girl which first aired in 1994… This is definitely a jump in progress to make American television more similar to life in American, similar to the topic of our class.

I have definitely felt this before lol

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