Jessica is Too FRESH

After a one-week break, Fresh of the Boat hit hard with another great episode. Constance Wu’s performance as Jessica continues to be the highlight of the series. Wu’s character, Jessica, could have easily been a stereotypical, “Tiger Mom,” if it not for the excellent writing and acting of the series. Jessica, instead, is a portrayed as a strong, kind woman with clear intentions. And, as we learned with Louis in “Showdown at Cattleman’s Ranch,” she wants everyone in her family to be happy and successful. In “License to Sell,” we learn more about how Jessica views herself and how that translates to the pressures she puts on her three sons. Episode 9: “License to Sell” (9/10) – Just a very enjoyable episode. Funny jokes, great acting, important morals.

In episode 7, “Showdown at Cattleman’s ranch,” Jessica gets into real estate by casually selling a house to a gay couple. She attempts to continue selling houses, even though she doesn’t have a license. Jessica, finally, decides to get a license, when a rival relator comes to the open house, which Jessica is showing off, with a police officer. When Jessica goes to take the exam, she meets Kim McKinnen, a successful realtor who is renewing her license. Kim brags about being in the business for ten years and being the best relator in the area with hundreds of houses sold under her belt. This causes Jessica to have an uncharacteristic confidence crisis. Instead of getting her license, Jessica binges on some junk food and lies to her family when she gets home. Jessica is constantly telling her children “If you’re going to do something, be the best,” and feels that she has to keep up the appearance of being the best. Louis finds out, from Honey, about the situation and confronts Jessica. Fortunately Louis convinces her to retake the test and Evan and Emery help her out with a bit of role-reversal tutoring; Jessica passes the test.

Ever since their move, the Huangs have been trying to fit in and catch up with the rest of white society. Louis is trying to catch up to the successful restaurant owners that are similar to his, Eddie is trying to catch up to his older crush, and Jessica is trying to catch up to her fellow wives, who seem to have their lives and careers already figured out. “They are a minority family in an overwhelmingly white town, always playing catch-up to try and get on the same level as their neighbors — and to general white America.”

While Jessica’s main story is going on, the side story is centered on Eddie’s crush on Nicole. When he asks his father for advice, Louis tells him to “find out where she’s going to be and be there, always.” Nicole hangs out in detention after school. At first, she blows him off; they have a short conversation the next time, when Eddie tries his best to pretend “he’s interested in everything she’s interested in.” Nicole says she wants to go to beauty school and asks Eddie to “come over sometime after school.” Nicole gives Eddie an ear piercing and some henna on his hands. After getting caught by his parents, Eddie stands up to Nicole and explains that he is not interested in the beauty stuff. This side story dealt with the general moral of being yourself. It also expanded the father and son relationship Eddie and his father have.

Also if you hadn’t noticed, the title, “License to Sell,” is alluding to the Beastie Boy’s album, “License to Ill.”