Friday, February 6, 2015

Underthinking Pilot Season: Fresh Off the Boat

Hello lovely readers,

Did you miss me? I've been around. Not on this blog, but I've been around. I could tell you what I thought of Galavant but that can always be a post for another day (maybe if it gets a second season). I was recapping it for another site and I had enough of it without trying to review the pilot here. Suffice it to say I don't think they really did right by their female characters and I place a lot of the blame for the lackluster quality of the show at Glenn Slater's door because I think stronger lyrics would have helped a lot.

Now, on to Fresh Off The Boat. It worries me a little that they aired the first two episodes back to back in Galavant fashion. This isn't The Quest. You should not be trying to burn off episodes as quickly as possible. And furthermore, it's not necessary because this show is fantastic. It does not reinvent the wheel as far as family sitcoms go. And the comparisons to Blackish are fair. It's another smart, funny family sitcom that deals with racial issues. And I'm totally cool with that. I'm still watching Blackish and I will keep watching Fresh Off the Boat every week until/unless they take it off the air. Now, I don't think this show deserves to get cancelled but the majority of shows I love don't have a long shelf life, or at least spend that air time scrabbling to stay on the air.

I understand that the focus right now is on Eddie and his father. They are the two main characters who have the strongest motivations and the clearest goals right now so it makes sense that their stories are dominant. But I would love to eventually see more meaningful input from the female characters whether that's Eddie's grandmother or other students in school or easily one of my new favorite characters on television, Jessica Huang. Constance Wu is everything. Her favorite song is Something To Talk About by Bonnie Raitt. Yes. If I were younger and watching this show, Jessica/Constance would totally be one of my role models along with Lea Salonga for whom I harbor a deep-seated adoration. In two episodes she is already a strong, complex human character who is well written and well acted. And if that weren't enough, she gets to be funny. She's not an utterly ridiculous clown and she's not the straight man. Instead she's given a part that I can only describe as one that you'd expect a male character to have on any show where the actress wasn't also involved in the development process.

Conclusion: Needless to say I highly recommend checking this show out and supporting it. It might not rock your world but it has a strong, coherent voice and unlike many of the comedies we've gotten this season, it manages to be consistently funny. ABC might have failed on the rom-com revolution (though I did watch the entire seasons of Manhattan Love Story... it got better and Selfie... it was amazing and I hate them for cancelling it) but they are knocking it out of the park with their family comedies.