Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Fresh off the Boat 2.09: "We Done Son"

“There is no such thing as a best friend. That’s just something Hello Kitty made up to sell more Hello Kitty.”

Overall I was entertained by “We Done Son,” which as you might expect from the title, has a unifying theme of strained friendships. I did however, find the guest appearance in this episode a little forced. Yes, “Fresh off the Boat” is a comedy, but at the core of all the wacky hijinks that befall the Huangs, it usually feels like there’s a kernel of emotional truth at the center. I was missing that feeling for much of this episode. Every show has it’s off episode now and then, so I’m still expecting great things from “Fresh off the Boat” moving forward. The show so often strikes a great balance between family hijinks and exploring the immigrant experience with a bit of an edge to keep things from being to treacly. They just need to not have special guest stars too often.

The episode begins with Jessica, Honey, and Grandma having a business meeting. Honey has quite a few ideas for growing their business. First she wants to serve mini quiches with bacon instead of cookies at the open house for the investment property. She also wants to go to a teambuilding seminar. Jessica scoffs at both of these ideas for being too expensive. Then Honey asks about someone named Madame Xing on their payroll. She’s costing them $500 a month, and Honey doesn’t know who she is. Jessica says that Madame Xing is her fortune teller, who she always consults before major decisions. Jessica and Honey place a call to Madame Xing, because Jessica is hoping she can get Honey on board with the continued expense. At first, Honey seems to be buying into it, but then Madame Xing says they should push the open house back three months. After the phone call, Honey insults Madame Xing and Jessica’s belief in her, and Jessica says their business partnership and friendship is over.

Shifting over to the plot from this episode that I didn’t really like, Eddie reveals to his buddies that he wants to get his girlfriend, Alison, a $50 necklace for her upcoming birthday. Eddie tells his friends he’s saved up the money, but when he gets home and opens the piggy bank, he only has $5. He asks Louis if he can go back to working at Cattleman’s Ranch for a little while, but Louis says that the investment property has made money tight, so he wouldn’t be able to pay. Louis does have a good alternative suggestion, though. He saw an ad at the country club for a family with a new baby that needs some extra help around the house. Eddie goes to the house, and the person looking for help happens to be none other than DMX (for the nonexistent kids out there who read this blog, DMX was a big time rapper in the 90’s). There’s just one catch. DMX wants Eddie to sign an iron clad NDA, so he isn’t going to be able to tell anyone where he’s working.

When a friend crosses a line, Jessica has a habit of completely cutting that friend out of her life, and when we next see her, that’s what she’s doing with Honey. She’s crossing her face out of pictures, and she sends Emery to deliver a box of all of the things Honey has left at the Huang house over the past few months. Also in the friends arena, Louis’s friend Barry (they were roommates for about two months in New Jersey once) is in town and wants to stay with the Huangs for a few days. Jessica isn’t happy about this because Barry always seems to want money on the rare occasions he shows up. Barry does indeed want money. Over dinner at Cattleman’s Ranch, Barry asks if Louis would be interested in investing in a business that would sell “used goods” that he is trying to get off the ground. There’s one other investor – a Frenchman in New Delhi – and the whole thing sounds super shady.

Work has made Eddie run down, and he’s so tired that he is rude to Alison when she’s trying to talk to him by the lockers at school. Eddie has become irritable at work, too, and at one point, he kind of snaps at DMX. DMX asks what’s wrong, and Eddie explains that he took the job to buy his girlfriend a gift, but now his relationship is strained. DMX has the perfect solution. He takes Eddie to his greenhouse out back for some Zen time among his prize orchids. He tells Eddie that giving Alison his time is more important than giving her an expensive gift. DMX then drives Eddie to Alison’s house, and Alison is thrilled to see DMX and receive the gift of one of DMX’s orchids from Eddie. Who knew Alison was a big rap fan, too? I guess this relationship was meant to be.

Back at the Huang house, Jessica is lonely. She tries to have girl chat with Evan and Emery, but that clearly doesn’t go well. She then approaches Grandma, who is watching Wheel of Fortune by herself. Grandma says she cut all her friends off years ago for various reasons, and she’d rather be lonely than wrong in an argument. Jessica doesn’t want to end up all alone watching Wheel, so she decides to try to make up with Honey. She goes about it the wrong way, though, just waltzing into Honey’s house and pretending nothing happened. Honey is not having it, and she sends Jessica back home. Back at home, Jessica finds Louis hiding from Barry, and each admits their friendship failures to the other. In response to Louis admitting that Barry really did just want money after all, Jessica tells him to cut Barry off for good and just rip off the Band Aid. Louis tells Jessica to apologize to Honey and show Honey that their friendship matters to her.

Louis does indeed rip off the Band Aid and tell Barry to leave. He points out that Barry doesn’t even know his last name. As Barry leaves, though, we learn that the big idea he wanted Louis to invest in was Ebay. Oops! Honey ended up going to that teambuilding workshop, and Jessica decides to go, too, just to show she values Honey’s ideas. They end up having to do a “jobprov” exercise together, and they each apologize to each other and make up. Back at the investment house, the ladies decide to put the house on the market right away after all, despite Madame Xing’s warning. That plain is foiled by the inspector, though, who says there is black mold all through the attic. It is illegal to sell the house before the mold is removed, and the removal will take three months. They have been “Xing-ed.”

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