FOB: American Dream and Asian Adoptees

Fresh Off the Boat is inching toward its season one finale and I am eagerly waiting for ABC to announce another season. Right now it’s all up in the air, on whether FOB will have a second season, but over the course of the season FOB’s views and ratings have been quite consistent after a slight dip flowing the season premiere. Episodes seven and eight, again, were not as heavy as the first few episodes, but still brought up important issues such as the “American Dream” and Asian adoptees. Here is a quick recap of episodes seven and eight.  

Episode 7: “Showdown at the Golden Saddle” (9/10) – 8.5 for Randall Park and Constance Wu plus the extra 0.5, since Eddie got Nicole to say “Hey”

 

Eddie’s dad, Louis, wants to boost sales at the restaurant and buys a billboard near the longest stoplight in town. Initially things go so well that Louis and Jessica get invited to a charity dinner at the local country club. This week Eddie’s problem is that his bus ride home sucks and that his crush, Nicole, ignores him. I was privileged enough to never ride the bus in middle school, but to my knowledge the bus ride was some kind of hell. Screaming, hormone crazed middle schoolers that wanted to kill each other…Ya sounds about right. Eddie, being the little schemer he is, asks his mom to carpool. Jessica agrees to this during a particularly charitable moment. Nicole, however, likes riding the bus and Eddie just ends up carpooling with some strange neighbor kid and his brothers. He gets a second chance to impress Nicole when his parents go to their country club charity dinner. He thinks she is just coming for dinner but, she ends up babysitting Eddie. Eddie tries to impress her in some cringe worthy scenes but, as you can imagine, fails.

Louis, meanwhile, is facing his own problems. Golden Saddle is repeatedly vandalizing the billboard; Louis reveals that he stole the idea for his restaurant from Golden Saddle. He ripped off Golden Saddle, since didn’t want to pay the $50,000 franchise fee. Jessica says that he is a great businessman that provides for the family and supports his decision. Jessica and Louis vandalize the Golden Saddle sign in retaliation. The cops come by and they run. The next day, Eddie is back on the bus and it seems maybe his scheme with the rap CD actually worked as Nicole actually says “hi” to him on the bus.

This episode deals with immigrants grinding and fighting for their piece of the “American Dream.” In this episode, Louis did some shady things to ensure that he could support his family and help them be well off. Although, I do not condone illegal activities in the name of prosperity and success, I do respect “the hustle.” I respect all those people who knew they were worth more and put themselves out there on a dream. This episode really conveyed this idea well and Randall and Constance really hit it out of the park with their performance.

 

Episode 8: “Phillip Goldstein” (7.5/10) – This episode overstressed the point that America is a melting pot where, “A Black kid and Asian kid go to a concert to listen to Jewish rappers.” This simply made the episode feel forced and unauthentic.

 

There’s a new kid named Phillip in school and he’s Asian! Eddie thinks they can be friends, since you know they are the only two Asians at school. Although everyone at school thinks they look alike and therefore must relate to each other, they have nothing in common: rap vs. classical, Shaq vs. Tolstoy, stinky tofu vs. gefilte fish. Meanwhile, back at the restaurant Louis needs to hire a new host, since Mitch went to work at Golden Saddle (Ya I know kill the traitor). Louis hires a new host named Wyatt, who is almost too good to be true. Ok back to Eddie. Jessica gets to meet Phillip and she instantly thinks he is the perfect Chinese son, since he plays cello, studies hard, and practices all day. Eddie sees this as an opportunity to get his Mom to let him go to the Beastie Boys concert. Phillip wants to go see Les Mis, but it’s on Shabbat and he does not have a ride. Eddie and Phillip make the agreement that if Eddie takes Phillip to see Les Mis, Phillip will go to the Beastie Boys with him. Mitch hates his new job and asks for his job back. Louis agrees to hire Mitch back, but only if he fires Wyatt. After Les Mis ends, Phillip ditches him, so he doesn’t have to go to the concert. Eddie thinks he lost Phillip and Jessica panics. She wants to tell the Goldsteins the truth and goes to their home. When they get to the house, Phillip answers the door and says Shabbat ended at sundown and he took a bus home.

 

Jessica: “I thought it ended at midnight.”

Phillip: “I’m a devout Jew, not Cinderella.”

 

 

 

Jessica stands up for Eddie and declares that Phillip “is not a good Chinese boy.” She makes it up to Eddie by taking him to the Beastie Boys herself. Next day Eddie wears his Beastie Boys shirt to school and the black kid also wears the same shirt.

This episode created the impression that all adoptees are socioeconomically well of and aren't struggling with issues of identity. Many Asian American adoptees grow up in predominantly white communities and lose the ability to learn and identify with their own ethnic backgrounds. There are many cases where parents approach adoption as “color-blind”, where the adoptee’s ethnicity is completely disregarded and insignificant. It is intolerable to pretend that ethnicity does not matter; adoptees will be judged by their ethnicity for all their lives. Nearly every day, they will be confronted with Asian stereotypes that they will be unable to cope with in the white community.