Sunday, November 8, 2015

Fresh off the Boat 2.05: "Miracle on Dead Street"

“I saw our bucket on her fire escape a week later. She planted aloe vera in it.”

If you’ve ever spent any time reading MTVP (anybody? Anybody?), you know that Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love Halloween for most of the same reasons Louis mentions in this episode. It’s a chance to be somebody else for a day, and that’s a lot of fun. I’m pretty crafty, so I really enjoy planning out the perfect costume. As a Halloween lover, I really appreciated that this episode was really an ode to Halloween. It’s the Huang’s first Halloween in the Orlando suburbs, and to them, it is their first “real” suburban Halloween. Halloween in DC’s Chinatown wasn’t much of a Halloween. Most of the family is super excited, but as you’d expect, Jessica just finds the whole thing silly. Much family hilarity and hijinks ensue.

Like I said, most of the Huang family are very excited for Halloween, but for different reasons. The kids, even Eddie, who is kind age-wise of on that borderline between trick-or-treating and going to parties, really want to stuff themselves full of candy. There’s a great scene where Eddie describes what Trick-or-Treating was like back in Chinatown, and we see the three Huang kids roll up to an apartment door. The older woman who answers it takes their candy bucket instead of putty any candy in it. For Louis, Halloween seems to fall in the same category as school dances. One of those stereotypical American things he is desperate to experience but hasn’t gotten the opportunity yet. We see a flashback of him flinging candy out a Chinatown window to unimpressed passers-by.

The one Huang who isn’t excited for Halloween is Jessica. She’s very wrapped up in the new investment house that she and Honey have been painstakingly readying for sale. The contractor has finally finished his work, and Jessica scoffs as he gives her the business card of an exterminator he recommends to spray for termites. Jessica doesn’t believe in termites, apparently. The contractor is reluctant to go to his truck because some teenage boys are loitering across the street, and they are really, really good at insulting people. Jessica doesn’t see what the big deal is, so she goes and gets the paperwork herself. She and the boys get into it, and they threaten to egg the investment house on Halloween night.

Jessica is appalled by the fact that someone might mess up her house she has spent so much money on, so she wants the rest of the family to help her guard the house and keep the boys from vandalizing it. Meanwhile, all of Eddie’s friends start to gather at the Huang house for Trick-or-Treating. There are some awesome classic 90’s costumes in the mix, including the Mask. Louis has Eddie take the younger kids along with him so that Jessica can feel free to go try and guard the investment house. Louis, dressed as Mr. T, doesn’t want to help Jessica with this particular issue. He thinks the eggs won’t be too difficult to clean up later, and it’s just harmless kid stuff. Plus he really, really wants to hand out candy. Disgusted, Jessica leaves for the investment house alone.

Louis is very sad about the fact that his street has a reputation for being a “dead” street on Halloween. Kids don’t choose it for their Trick-or-Treating. Louis wants to talk to the HOA and see if they can do something about it. Hilariously, his youngest son Evan is in charge of the HOA, so Louis pulls some strings to get a spot on the agenda of the next meeting. The regulars at the meeting are pretty unhappy with the agenda shift – they would rather complain about the plantings in the community garden, and they accuse Evan of nepotism. Louis’ big speech about why he loves Halloween, however, wins the neighbors over. He wants them to decorate to the hilt to finally become a Halloween destination for kids, and the neighbors do it. Watching them all try to hastily convert Christmas decorations into Halloween ones is pretty funny, and Louis is ecstatic that his plan worked, and he may actually get to experience an ideal suburban Halloween.

Jessica and Honey stand guard in front of the investment house. Honey is dressed in a Miss Piggy costume, and Jessica just doesn’t get it. She thinks Halloween is foolish, and she doesn’t think there should be any excuse for bad behavior. As time passes, the kids still don’t show up. Honey’s husband does show up, though, dressed in a Kermit costume. They are planning to go to a Halloween party, and the party takes precedent over guarding the house for Honey. Jessica is upset, but Honey shares Louis’ opinion that kids are going to be kids, and the threat of egging isn’t really all that big a deal. So Jessica is left alone at the investment house, with just her and a lacrosse stick between the boys and the house. Meanwhile, Louis is having the time of his life handing out candy. He is gleefully trying to guess the kids’ costumes, and he gets most of them wrong.

Near the end of the evening, though, Louis looks over at the pumpkin wearing the Mrs. T wig he bought for Jessica, and he realizes that he let her down, and that’s not acceptable. He gathers up the kids (including Eddie’s friends), and they all take the van to the investment house. It turns out to be good timing, because just as they’re all piling out of the van, the boys show up, letting go with the taunts right away. Eddie’s got a great plan, though. He has enlisted help of the only people who could possibly scare off obnoxious teenage boys. Obnoxious teenage girls. Nicole and her posse of high school friends arrive on the scene, and they taunt the boys, “Mean Girls” style, until they run off. Jessica is so happy that the investment house has been saved that she offers to take the boys to do more Trick-or-Treating. Meanwhile, there’s a much bigger threat gathering in the investment house. Termites, of course.

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