Review: 'Fresh Off the Boat' gets its '80s nostalgia on with 'The Fall Ball'
A few thoughts on last night's "Fresh Off the Boat" coming up just as soon as I gyrate you into my orbit...
"Fresh Off the Boat" returned this fall without the narration of the real Eddie Huang, whose public ambivalence about the show only seemed to grow over the course of the first season. But the show honestly hasn't missed that "Wonders Years" device, because the ensemble has become so well-established, and the writing so sharp, that we don't need to have everything filtered from the perspective of Eddie, young or old.
It's been a really strong start to the season, with the negotiation sequence at the end of last week's "Shaquille O'Neal Motors" a particular delight. Constance Wu has been so great as Jessica that it's been easy to overlook how funny Randall Park is, and "The Fall Ball" seemed designed to remedy that. Louis' John Hughes obsession had the episode encroaching on "The Goldbergs" territory, but the script wisely kept the '80s fixation limited to him, whereas Eddie and his friends (who become better-defined every week) were busy doing '90s things like their amusing "Mr. Boombastic" slow dance or Trent getting his tips frosted. It helped that while Louis was overly invested in Eddie going to the dance, he was only semi-uptight about it, letting the hip-hop outfit and "Eddie Money" haircut slide. And if the closing scene was just an excuse to let Park breakdance, is that so wrong?
And Jessica didn't exactly vanish from the episode, as the B-story sharply (if predictably) got into the tensions between her and Grandma, while continuing to make good use of Honey as the outsider who often fits into the family better than Jessica does.
ABC has problems elsewhere, but the network really has a knack for finding and (save the unfortunate story of "Trophy Wife") nurturing these smart, funny, and specific family comedies. Really happy with how "Fresh" has done so far this season.
What did everybody else think?