ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat is full of surprises. From envelope-pushing racial commentary to breakout stars like Constance Wu, the show consistently gives us something to talk about. What isn’t a surprise, then, is that the show is now in its fourth season, airing Tuesday nights on ABC (which can now be streamed online too). It’s also not surprising that a show with so much depth has some interesting things happening behind the scenes. Here are five things you probably didn’t know about Fresh Off the Boat.
It’s the First Sitcom about Asian-Americans in over 20 Years
Fresh Off the Boat helps fill a gap in television representation. The last sitcom that focused on Asian-Americans was All-American Girl, which aired for one season in 1994 and featured Margaret Cho. Why the scarcity? Some researchers feel that it could be the result of a perceived lack of audience for Asian lead characters by production companies. There may also be a general lack of awareness of Asian culture, as evidenced by a reporter’s question about whether they’d see chopsticks on the show (really?). With that in mind, it’s great to see Fresh Off the Boat doing so well.
The Show Is Based on a True Story–Sort Of
Restaurateur and chef Eddie Huang’s book Fresh Off the Boat inspired the show. The book is a memoir that tells the story of Huang’s life growing up with first-generation Taiwanese-American parents. The show is only loosely based on the book, though, and it has drifted further off into its own territory with each successive season–so much so that Huang actually resigned from his role as narrator because the storyline moved so far from the truth that he claimed he didn’t recognize his own life.
That Title Has Caused Quite a Stir
The show’s title has caused some backlash because it could be seen as demeaning to immigrants. And a few moments on the show have caused viewers to catch their breath–like the very first episode, which centered around the use of racist slang. However, Eddie Huang says he wouldn’t have it any other way. He actually feels the show doesn’t push the envelope far enough, and has expressed hopes it will continue to tackle tough issues like domestic violence and racism.
The Show Is Pretty Deep for a Sitcom
Fresh Off the Boat is a comedy at heart, but one that can really tug at the viewer’s heart, as well. Several episodes have dealt with tough topics, from the meaning of citizenship to the American Dream. Things got especially real at the end of season three. The family finally starts to attain the success they’ve been fighting for only to find that they feel unsatisfied by it–something that’s sure to hit close to home for many in today’s materialistic world.
The Show and Cast Have Been Nominated for Numerous Awards
Although they haven’t won any Emmy Awards (yet), the Fresh Off the Boat cast has seen quite a few nominations and wins for other industry awards. Hudson Yang (Eddie Huang) won a Young Artist Award, and the whole cast of kids picked up a Young Entertainer Award for Best Young Ensemble Cast. Randall Park and Constance Wu (Jessica Huang) have been nominated for a variety of awards themselves, including Best Actor and Best Actress nominations.
Whether you’re a die-hard fan of the show or just diving in for the first time, Fresh Off the Boat offers a fresh look at the life of a first-generation Taiwanese-American family.
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