Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Oh hell yeah "Fresh Off the Boat" is my new favorite show!

ABC's Fresh Off the Boat poster
I tend to remember my years by the TV shows I've seen or obsessed about. The year 2004 will always be The O.C. years. Years 2006 to 2009, years that I considered the golden years of my TV watching life, will always remind me of House M.D., Veronica Mars, The Office, Arrested Development - I was a very voracious TV viewer then. And although 2010 onward has given us your Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and other epic TV shows, my heart still bleeds for the now defunct The Newsroom and the McAvoy Team of Champions.

I was pining for TV shows of days of yore, wishing there's another grumpy, foul-mouthed doctor or news anchor to come my way soon, because Veep episodes couldn't come faster. Until my friend Z, who happens to be my supplier of awesome television shows, told me to look up Fresh Off the Boat, I was hooked so fast enough that I think I will remember 2015 as my Fresh Off the Boat year.

When I asked what's it about, Z answered a universal truth: it's about us. "What do you mean?" I asked again and she only answered "it's Asian funny and what we find funny," a statement I'd like to think ubiquitously acknowledged because even my Singaporean friend understood what I meant when I described the show as being about us.

So am I saying I'm part of a Tawainese family trying to make their way in America in the 1990s? No, but I'm saying anyone with the same upbringing can totally relate to having rice as a basic food group and this show.

Fresh Off the Boat grandma poker

Have you ever had your grandparents live in your house and take control of what you watch for the night (news) because they are your esteemed guests?

Fresh Off the Boat Eddie Huang white people lunch

How about bringing pinakbet for lunch and have your classmates who eat SPAM day in and day out ask you why you're eating bitter vegetables?

Fresh Off the Boat Jessica Huang this is free

Or have everyone assume you're frugal because you're Ilocano (and other regional stereotypes here).

Well, grab a chair; you'll love Fresh Off the Boat.

But I have to admit, once I got past the totes can relate because I am Asian moments, I realized it's really the growing up in the 90s as a kid that endeared the show to me. Having a Eddie Huang re-live how he is an Asian kid who likes the other end of the music spectrum -- rap -- makes me remember the days of how I was as a 10-year-old who likes reading about the life and times of two blonde girls named Jessica and Elizabeth.

I know, I know, I am not a snowflake for doing so, but living in provincial Cavite makes it really difficult to get access to someone who has the same hobbies as mine. This may be a false memory but I got the impression small town Bahayang Pag-asa, Imus, Cavite assumed that all 10-year-old girls want to do is be part of the town pageant.

I have been raised by American TV shows so early on in life that I don't remember ever relating to a television character as much as I relate to Eddie Huang right now. Is that weird or am I alone in this connection with a kid who likes hip hop?

But take away the relatability and I would still watch this show because of its irreverent brand of humor that I like. I love how the characters are OK to acknowledge the stereotypes. They don't tip toe around the topic, but when they take a crack at it, they go all out in a way that it's celebratory, kind of like how we Filipinos like to make fun of the Titas and Titos of Manila are but we love how there's one or two in the family. Does it make sense?

Fresh Off the Boat Eddie Huang life's heavy son

Think of Fresh Off the Boat as the Ober Da Bakod that made it to American prime time televesion, with characters you can relate to because you sort of grew up in a westernized Region 4 and/or Manila, and it all will make sense to you. At least I think it will.
So, got any new favorite show for 2015?

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