The Huangs head to Taiwan in the season 3 premiere of Fresh Off the Boat. Since Gene went back home, leaving his brother and his family off the wedding list, Louis had no choice but to go reconcile with Gene in order for them get back in the wedding. The opening scene of this episode shows that Fresh Off the Boat still knows how to be funny, with Louis giving a long explanation as to why he’s traveling and Jessica being able to mark a box that says a relative owes her. It also reintroduces audiences to the Huangs’ subtle comedic style.
From the moment they land in Taiwan, Jessica keeps telling the boys that they’re home and not tourists. That revealed that the episode was going to be about them learning how they’re not as authentically Chinese as they believed, which isn’t a bad thing. In fact, Louis and Jess are the ones that end up learning that the hard way.
Louis’s reunion with Gene was probably the funniest part of the episode. The way they made that guy run to the other person in order to deliver a message. It was surprising that the show didn’t play with that scene for a couple more seconds. It was alright because of the following joke about Louis spending money being the reason that his brother forgave him. The show always talks about how Chinese people save money, so it was nice to see them play with that ideal in order to show affection. Naturally their reunion couldn’t end on that happy note, because Louis ended up getting jealous. It’s hard not to blame him when he found out that his brother had a nice wedding hotel, a great apartment and a beautiful wife.
Jessica was the one that ended up helping her husband see the light, but not before she saw it herself. She wasn’t feeling as home as she thought she was going to be. The overall moral of the story can be compared to Patrick Swayze from Ghost. They’re neither American or Chinese. They live in an in-between space belonging to neither. Well, not really. The moral is that moving to America was a good choice that Louis made. Shopping is easier, education is better for the boys, and he earned everything.
Since the episode is centered around the parents, the kids needed something to do as well. Eddie’s attempts at contacting his girlfriend were enjoyable. He had a funny scene when he tried to bribe the hotel clerk, but couldn’t tell if three dollars was a lot or a little to her. It was also funny seeing him being overly dramatic about potentially losing his girl at the dinner table. It was surprisingly realistic too, which added another layer to the joke. Luckily for him, Allison was leaving him, but the same couldn’t be said for Shaq. Eddie’s fantasy scene with the Jordans was also beautifully shot. Unfortunately for Evan and Emery, they are still uninteresting. This has been a problem since the beginning of the series. Most of what they do doesn’t stick and their jokes are forced. The show needs to find a way a more natural way to better incorporate these characters into the show.
Fresh Off the Boat airs Tuesdays @ 9/8c on ABC.