In Fresh off the Boat Season 4 Episodes 1 and 2 both Huangs, Jessica and Eddie, learn a thing or two about friendship, tolerance and understanding and Louis and Emery get their chance to shine.
Jessica and Honey learn more about each other’s cultures on Fresh off the Boat Season 4 Episode 2, while Eddie learns exercises his tolerance and learns how to be a good friend. In the first return of his Chinese Zodiac birth year, Emery struggles with the life of an average joe, while Louis must learn how to adjust to the life of a high-roller, dealing with controlling celebrities. Fresh off the Boat has finally found their character arc and thematic balances this season and I’m completely here for it.
Fresh off the Boat Season 4 Episode 1: B as in Best Friends
On Fresh Off The Boat Season 4 Episode 1, “B as in Best Friends,” the new season kicks off with an Eddie and Jessica centered episode. Honey deals with Huangs making themselves too at home, while Eddie, still arguing with his friends, learns an important lesson of friendship from Nicole.
Back to the Balance
It was nice having an episode about Eddie again. Lately all the episodes have been about Evan and Jessica. It’s not that I don’t love Evan and Jessica, both are neurotic but funny characters. So, their personalities make soom for easy story-telling. However, their stories gained a little monotony and I really missed the rest of the family. Every 1 out of 3 episodes would have a slight focus on a Eddie, Emery, and Louis, and then it would be back to Jessica and Evan.
Characters become like repetitious plots when they are constantly battling similar conflicts with the same formula. They’d both conflict with something or someone, they’d complain and gripe, but then win out due to their cunning or persistence. And then the episode would tie up with a wholesome theme. It’s not the formula that gets tedious. It’s the fact we began having the same formula with the same characters.
This season is gaining back some of its balance and I absolutely love it.
Jessica Huang and Honey are #BestfriendGoals
Jessica and the Huangs moved in with Honey, while Jessica does her usual bartering system. However, a cultural disconnect occurs, beyond what Honey and Jessica talk about during the show. Yes, Jessica didn’t how southern hostpitality works. However, she also didn’t understand how nuclear families differ in America.
Whereas, Chinese families take the responsibility of taking care of their parents seriously, and Chinese parents often love their eventual stay with their future, adult children. American families don’t usually share these ideals. Once a parent can’t live by themselves anyone (after they’ve held onto their independence tooth and nail), more often than not, they go to senior home due to the parents work schedule, the size of their family etc.
Chinese people take family much more seriously. Jessica touched on this by saying that usually Chinese people don’t have to say “thanks” to their families because it’s their duty to take care of each other. This episode highlighted an interesting cultural difference that underscores why we don’t try to act like racial or cultural differences dont exist, but instead, make sure to be cognizant of these differences and respect them to avoid future problems.
Eddie Trying to Attain #BestfriendGoals With Nicole
Still fighting with his best friends, Eddie tries to find his footing as a true friend and a good listener to Nicole. Fresh Off the Boat Season 4 Episode 1 had a lot of Nicole and I have to say that I’m here for it. I’ve always wanted to know more about her character. She would pop up in episode here and there but we never really got to know her personality, her likes, her dislikes etc.
This episode gave us a peak into her personality and now i want more and more of her character. She’s a young woman who is struggling to grasp her sexual identity as a lesbian due to the culture of America during the 90s that viewed this sexual orientation as “weird,” “wrong,” or just a phase.
Initially, it seems like Eddie is a part of the ignorant masses that reject people due to their sexual oritentation. You guys, I was heated. This wonderfully kind young woman was his friend when he had none, let him vent when you had no one to speak to, and the moment she opened herself up to him — he dipped?
Thank God he came back in the car, because I was about to riot. The good thing is she not only taught him how to be a good listener but she also gave him a way to excercise his tolerance and compassion. I absolutely loved this episode.
Both lessons on tolerance and understanding were an amazing theme to kick off a new season in the Trump era.
Fresh off the Boat Season 4 Episode 2: First Day
On Fresh off the Boat Season 4 Episode 2, “First Day,” Louis deals with Kenny Rogers’ diva demands that threaten to take away his restaurant’s identity. Although Jessica tells him that he must think of the bigger picture and focus more on his restaurant chain, Louis can’t let go of his son– I mean restaurant. Emery, whose “normal” has always been super lucky, must figure out the cause of his bad luck and how to cope with, once again, having to share his school with a sibling.
Louis and His Baby
Of course Louis loves his kids. All of season 4 episode 1 showed him and Emery having a much needed father-son day. However, he has also spent a lot of his nights and hours shaping and growing his restaurant into the booming business.
This is a big reason why Jessica chose to stay home and take care of the house. We’ve all seen the episodes where their roles switched or when Louis tries to manage his restaraunt and the house duties. It leads to chaos for everyone. So, it makes complete sense why he would be resistant to someone else coming in and trying to take custody of the restaurant that he’s been raising by himself since its inception.
I love how this episode does a great job exploring Louis’s character for the people who may be new to the series, and also does a wonderful job at setting up his series conflict: expanding his resturant into a chain without losing its integrity to the world of big businesses and conglomerates. Even though Jessica did give him some good advice about compartmentalization, Louis stuck to his guns and told Kenny Roger’s assistant what he could do with all of his “little suggestions.”
And although he was only so easily victorious because Roger’s assistant was too busy worrying about his son’s concussion, the point is he was victorious. He got the keep the integrity of his restaurant and a big investor that will help him build his chain. Louis Huang 2, Kenny Rogers 1.
Emery and His Zodiac Year
Emery’s 12 birthday marked the year of his Zodiac’s return — the year of the Ox. It’s Chinese superstition that if you’re alive when your birth year comes around, it’s an affront to the God of Age, Tai Sui. Therefore, throughout the entire year you will recieve bad luck.
However, is it really bad luck? People ignoring you sometimes, not believing you when you have a story, etc. doesn’t truly count. Emery’s version of bad luck is warped because, normally, he’s high off of good luck. He’s so used to his place of privilege that regular things, such as getting a zit or getting a high school book with porn in it, seem wildly unfair.
Emery’s Character Growth
This new dynamic for Emery means that this season will be the perfect season to add some nuance to his character. Emery gets the least amount of shine in Fresh off the Boat, only falling right before grandma, who is slightly crazy and only speaks in English 50% of the time. We don’t really get to know his character much. I believe this is because he hasn’t really had to experience many things going wrong in his life due to it’s usual awesomeness.
So, he has always favored patience and kindness because that’s all life has asked him to be. Because of this, this flat characterization was initially okay. I hated how we didn’t get to see Emery much, but it was understandable. Now, the writers have no excuse. Like everyone else, he will have things to struggle with and I would love to watch his character grow and mature because of these pressures.
p.s. I love grandma Huang. She’s such a G. She pimped a red gatorade from Emery for something she could have easily told him at the house. She is still and will always be the true MVP.
What did you guys think of Fresh off the Boat Season 4 Episode 2? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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