Saturday, November 14, 2015

Fresh off the Boat 2.06: "Good Morning Orlando"

“I need to go back on that show.” “I will iron your television pants.”
-Louis and Jessica

While “Good Morning Orlando” wasn’t as laugh-out-loud funny as many episodes of “Fresh off the Boat” have been, the episode definitely had a message. Diving into the territory of the meta, Louis and Jessica contemplate what responsibility Louis has to be the perfect representative for all Asians when he gets an opportunity to appear on a local morning talk show. When “Fresh off the Boat,” there was a lot of hype about how this was the first comedy to feature an Asian family since the 1990’s. I imagine at least some of the cast must have felt as Louis and Jessica did in this episode – that they had a responsibility to do this job perfectly and be everything to all people since it was such a rare opportunity. Meanwhile, in a lighter B story, Eddie and his friends become very confused by the strange creatures that are middle school girls.

The episode opens with Eddie and his friends having lunch in the cafeteria, when Eddie’s school dance partner Allison and her posse enter the room. The boys talk about how none of them have talked to the ladies since the dance. Eddie is kind of upset since he thought Allison really liked him. With perfect timing, Eddie gets a heart-adorned note from Allison. The next day, Eddie and the boys get an invitation to a group date at the mall from Allison and all her friends. The date consists of the group of boys passing the group of girls on opposing escalators and saying “hey” to each other before the girls all go to Wet Seal. The boys are all still excited for their first “date,” though.

It’s a normal day at Cattleman’s Ranch when Louis is introduced to Gus (Ken Marino!) and Mey-Mey, hosts of a local news morning program. Louis is so excited to meet them that he does his duck impression for them. Gus and Me-Me find this and Loui’s Rocky impression hilarious, and they invite him on the show for a segment that highlight’s local businesses. Louis is a little nervous about the idea, but Jessica pressures him into it. The Huangs need the extra money to cover the cost of the termite extermination at the investment house. We get a bit of a flavor of the morning show, Good Morning Orlando, with a series of reports on a tortoise blocking the drive-through lane at a local Rally’s (which I had never heard of until I spent a week in New Orleans this summer…I had only heard of Checkers).

Louis, as you’d expect, is kind of awkward on the morning show, first giving directions to Cattleman’s ranch, then launching into his impressions. When he arrives back home after the show, Jessica is not pleased. She reminds Louis of the character Long Duk Dong from “Sixteen Candles.” In his making pizza box tables in Chinatown days, Louis was always goaded by his friends into saying Long’s lines from the movie, and it really irritated him. Jessica says that it’s important to break stereotypes when they have a rare opportunity to be on television. Jessica’s fears are confirmed when Louis returns to Cattleman’s Ranch and some (white) customers start asking Louis to do his impressions. He starts getting flashbacks to being asked to say Long Duk Dong lines back in the way. He tells Jessica he’s worried people are laughing at him, not with him. He wants a second chance to go back on Good Morning Orlando.

Meanwhile, again at lunch, Eddie and his friends happily reminisce about the mall “date.” The euphoria is broken, however, when one of Eddie’s friends is told that one of the girls wants to break up with him. The boys all realize that they have no idea who each of them is supposed to be dating. Eddie is incredulous about this, because he’s certain he’s dating Allison. He starts to doubt himself, though, when all the other boys say she pushed them in the mosh pit at the Fall Ball, too. Suddenly that dance doesn’t seem so special. The boys put together a conspiracy wall in Eddie’s room to try and figure out who each of them is dating. Evan interrupts to retrieve a tub of Gak, which makes the early 90’s kid in me very happy. The mystery is on its way to being solved when one of the girls (Eddie doesn’t know who) invites all the boys to a roller rink date. Eddie thinks if they all fall at the same time, their respective girls will help them up, and they will finally know who is dating whom.

Louis does get his second chance on Good Morning Orlando, and this time he goes too far in the other direction. He accuses the hosts of wanting him to be a Chinese clown. He says he is doing an impression – an impression of a successful Chinese-American businessman. At home, Jessica chides Louis for being serious, and then she goes into a long list of exactly how he should have acted. Louis says he can’t be all things to all people, and sometimes it’s okay to be funny. He wants another chance to be on Good Morning Orlando, but since he has been banned from the studio, that’s going to take a little creativity. Louis goes to the site of the turtle drive-through incident (it’s still going on), and he wins everyone back over with a Michael Jackson impression.

The boys arrive at the roller rink, and after a mix up with the wrong guy trying to hold hands with the wrong girl, one of the boys admits that none of them know who they are dating. Allison is especially offended that Eddie didn’t realize they were dating. It doesn’t help when Eddie mentions how many people she pushed at the dance. Emery gives Eddie some very good advice – talk to Allison. The next day at school, Eddie explains why he was confused, and he also says he was afraid to mess things up because he likes Allison. Eddie says he’s sorry they broke up, and Allison says they didn’t break up – they just had a fight. Eddie’s and Allison’s friends aren’t dating anymore, but Eddie and Alison themselves are now solid. She even lets him walk her to class. In the episode’s tag, Emery then gives dating advice to all of Eddie’s friends.

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