Saturday, October 24, 2015

Fresh off the Boat 2.04: "The Fall Ball"

“She sends her used POGs to Africa. She’s classy.”

The latest episode of “Fresh off the Boat” was another winner. This episode dealt with what happens when we don’t meet the expectations family members have for us, and what happens when we are redeemed. Louis has high hopes for Eddie with regards to the upcoming school dance. Louis is obsessed with the idea of an American dance and wants to live the experience through Eddie. This comes with a lot of pressure on Eddie, clearly. Jessica has high hopes that Grandma (Louis’ mother) will help her invest in a house to flip, and she’s disappointed when Grandma is cold to Jessica as always. It turns out that the coldness has to do with Jessica herself not meeting Grandma’s expectations for filial duty. All is resolved at the end for the best, as is typical of “Fresh off the Boat,” but again, it is thankfully not treacly in the execution. I also appreciated the second shout-out to 90’s collectibles I was obsessed with in my late elementary school years (the first being Beanie Babies) in two episodes. POGs were fun, although of course it wasn’t long before my school banned them!

Jessica and Honey get fliers in the mail about a house in the neighborhood that is up for sale. Jessica is upset because she just sold that house a few months ago, and now the owners are flipping it for double the price. The real money is in house flipping, and Jessica wants some of the action. She doesn’t have nearly enough money for a down payment, though. While this conversation is happening, Grandma gets a delivery of flyers. Her boyfriend, named Charles, just died. Everybody in the family, and Honey too (she introduced them) knew about Charles other than Jessica. This kind of irritates Jessica. Grandma tells Jessica and Honey that she needs to speak with Charles’ lawyer about the inheritance. This gives Jessica the germ of an idea.

Meanwhile, at Cattleman’s Ranch, Louis has gathered his staff for a meeting, and he is telling them that big, profound changes are coming. Before he can tell them what those changes will be, however, he gets a phone call. As soon as he hears what the person on the other end of the line is starting to say, he rushes out of the restaurant, leaving the staff wondering what the heck is going on. Louis shows up in the office of Eddie’s school principal. Turns out the principal was just asking parents to volunteer for the school’s Fall Ball, but as soon as Louis heard “Fall Ball,” he got so excited that he had to show up at the school right away. Early during his time in the United States, he worked in a factory in New Jersey where he watched “Pretty in Pink” over and over, and he became obsessed with the idea of the American school dance. He’s ridiculously excited for the opportunity to live the experience through Eddie.

Louis finds Eddie and all his friends playing games at his house, and he asks them about their plans for the dance. They say they plan to “roll through,” and when asked if they know how to dance with girls, they say they have watched MTV Grind, and they are prepared. Louis is far from impressed with the dance once he sees it, though. He does get even more enthusiastic, if that is even possible, when he finds out that Eddie likes a girl named Allison (the cellist from the last episode). He helps Eddie pick out an outfit (the centerpiece of which is an Orlando Magic jersey) and takes Eddie and his friends for haircuts (Eddie gets “Eddie Money” shaved into the back of his head). It’s not Louis’ taste, but if it makes Eddie feel confident, he’s cool with it.

That evening, Jessica talks to Louis about her big idea. She wants Grandma to use her inheritance to help her buy a house to flip. And she wants Louis to ask Grandma to do this. Louis tells Jessica that she needs to ask Grandma herself. The next day, Jessica offers to take Grandma to lunch. Grandma, however, says she is too busy. Jessica says she’ll just go along with all her busy plans for the day. They end up going to a fountain to steal the coins. Grandma says her late boyfriend used to do this with her all the time. She challenges Jessica to get the good coins from the middle of the fountain. Jessica gets a silver dollar, but Grandma throws it back. Jessica tries mentioning the investment opportunity, but Grandma says she does not want to go into business with Jessica.

Jessica goes to Honey’s house to complain, but Grandma is already there helping Honey cost out her recent house remodel. Jessica and Grandma argue (sort of through Honey…I say sort of because Honey can’t speak Chinese) about why they don’t get along. Grandma thinks Jessica is spoiled. When Jessica mentions all the things she does for Grandma, Grandma responds that those are the basics expected of family members. Honey doesn’t even know where her mother is right now, but Grandma says not to compare their situation to a White family because they are the “cruelest race.” She’s kind of right.

At the Huang house, the boys all assemble before the dance. Louis is all excited because the gathering is an iconic part of all teen movies. He tells Eddie that his life could change forever. At the dance, Louis is about to tell his staff (who are helping cater) about the big change for the restaurant again, but he gets distracted because he smells Polo cologne and thinks Eddie is about to arrive. He doesn’t want to miss that moment. All of Eddie’s friends show up, but Eddie is missing. Louis finds Eddie playing video games at home. When prompted, Eddie says he doesn’t want to go to the dance because he’s afraid his life will change for the worse. Trying to connect with Eddie, Louis quotes Shaq as saying you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, but Shaq makes 50% of the shots he does take. Eddie says that’s not good enough. Louis starts to drive back to school, but Eddie comes running. Shaq actually makes 50% of the shots he takes, and those are good enough odds for Eddie.

Jessica takes the argument with Grandma to heart, and she buys Grandma a grabber so that she can get the “good” coins in the center of the fountain herself. Grandma does truly appreciate the effort, and she offers to give Jessica money to help with the house flip. Jessica says she wants to be partners, and Grandma offers to put her entire inheritance towards it. The inheritance is only $7,000, though. Grandma has a solution for that problem – they ask Honey to be a partner, too. Both Grandma and Jessica agree, however, on shutting down Honey’s idea of putting a horse mural in every room.

Eddie and Louis make an epic (re)entrance into the dance, and to his happy surprise, Allison immediately agrees to dance with Eddie. Louis is a little shocked when the music changes from a slow dance to something more upbeat and Allison forcefully pushes Eddie into a mosh pit. Louis can see that Eddie looks happy, though, so he is happy, too. The episode ends to a cute dancing montage (to a Shaggy song, of course), where Eddie and Allison, Louis, and some of the other kids all take turns dancing. Watching Randall Park breakdance will never not be funny. He is quickly becoming one of my favorite comedic actors these days.

No comments:

Post a Comment