DVD Review – Fresh off the Boat (Season 1)

It’s always interesting to see perspectives from those who haven’t been in the United States for long. The American Dream, and trying to balance out old world sensibilities with the newness of America, is always an interesting one to look at. It’s why, I think, Fresh off the Boat resonates. Trying to assimilate into America while still holding on to the culture and traditions of your past is something immigrants have dealt with for generations. Not a lot of television shows or movies have handled this very well, either, and the show resonates because it tackles this dilemma head on.

Based off of “Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir” by Eddie Huang, the show takes a look at a family dealing with the American dream.

Eddie (Hudson Yang) and his family have moved from Chinatown in Washington, DC, to Orlando, FL, as his father (Randall Park) pursues his dream of opening a steakhouse. His mother (Constance Wu) wants them to maintain their cultural heritage while her husband fully embraces Americana. The show revolves around Eddie and his two brothers as they and their parents deal with life outside of an Asian-centric community.

The one thing that prevents this from being a comedy that relies on nostalgia in the 90s is that the show isn’t just about 90s nostalgia. There’s a great story about a family trying to adjust to a new culture in their new home, as well as try to maintain what they had in the old country meshed in with a great tale about the trials and travails of childhood and maturity.

It’s the same sort of formula The Goldbergs has ridden so far. Take a well written show with strong characters and give it a hook. In this case it’s set it in the 90s but the universal theme about the nature of assimilation and maturity is strong and fairly nuanced for a network television show.

Fresh off the Boat is more than merely a show with the best Asian characters on television; it’s one of the sneaky good television shows out there.

A trivia track as well as a gag reel are included.

20th Century Fox presents Fresh off the Boat (Season 1). Created by Nahnatchka Khan based off “Fresh off the Boat: A memoir” by Eddie Huang. Starring Randall Park, Hudson Yang, Constance Wu. Run Time: 281 minutes. Released on DVD: 9.29.2015

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