Thursday, March 31, 2016

Fresh off the Boat 2.16: "Tight Two"

“Being a manager is a lot like chess. If you can’t get rid of any of the pieces, you can’t win the game.”

“Tight Two” was an episode of “Fresh off the Boat” that definitely focused on the Huang parents. I also thought it exaggerated Jessica and Louis even more than usual in an attempt to achieve maximum comedic effect. In doing that, it was a bit of a failure in my book. I have a bit of trouble buying that Jessica would find working with the Cattleman’s Ranch staff so difficult, or that Louis would be scared to spend alone time with his kids. Although the first is certainly more plausible than the second. Louis always seemed like a reasonably good father, but apparently he’s so obsessed with always being the “fun dad” that he goes nuts if he spends any extended time alone with his kids. The situation evolves to really absurd heights, without any of the kernel of truth that usually makes episodes of “Fresh off the Boat” shine.

As the episode opens, Louis plays a practical joke on Mitch to make a big announcement. Cattleman’s Ranch is now going to offer food “to go.” Later that evening, the kids are watching TV and contemplating what they would do on a deserted island. Eddie wins, because he says he’d be willing to eat his brothers to stave off starvation. Just as this conversation is really getting going, Louis arrives home from work. He puts on an elaborate comedy routine and even brings the kids a cake from the restaurant. Shockingly, Jessica lets the kids eat the cake in their room before bed. Louis tells Jessica that he’s really trying to make the few minutes he has with the kids count, and Jessica thinks he’d have more time if his staff were competent. While Louis is continuing to try and be goofy, he falls and breaks his leg. And his mother resents his fancy wheelchair.

Louis really wants to go to work for the first day of Cattleman’s To Go, but he can’t even dress himself. Jessica thinks he should stay home, but Louis thinks his staff needs supervision. Jessica offers to take over for him at the restaurant since things are in a bit of a lull with the rental property. Louis finally agrees, but he tells Jessica she’s not allowed to fire anyone. The kids are excited to hear that their dad is going to be home when they get home from school. At the restaurant, Jessica holds a staff meeting to try and get everyone psyched up for the To Go launch, but it doesn’t go well, especially because Louis paged Mitch that Jessica isn’t allowed to fire anyone.

After school, Louis happily greets the kids, who quickly become occupied deciding which of them they would eat on the deserted island. When Jessica gets home, she is concerned to hear that Louis went to the diner without the kids. Jessica goes to the diner to confront Louis, and he admits he can’t be alone with the kids. Louis says the kids only like him because he sees them for just a few minutes a night. He can handle a “tight too,” but he’s afraid the kids will be disappointed if they spend too much time with him. Jessica says Louis needs to spend the next day with the kids by himself.

The next day at Cattleman’s, Jessica really rides the staff, and they don’t react to it well. A family picking up a To Go order asks if they can sit at a table after all, and Jessica says that’s fine. Mitch gives Jessica a heads up that he and the staff won’t receive a tip for that table, but Jessica doesn’t seem to care very much. In fact, she even starts suggesting to To Go customers that they eat in. She calls it “Cattleman’s To Go To Stay.” The staff start retaliating by making fake To Go orders. Jessica answers a phone call for an especially fake sounding, very large order, but the call didn’t come from either Mitch or Nancy. She may have actually blown a large order. Meanwhile, back at the house, Louis greets the kids with some rapid fire jokes and impressions that just leave them confused, then he jumps at the chance to just watch television with them. The only problem with that is that Grandma is watching a movie, and because she resents Louis’ “mobile throne,” she doesn’t want to change the channel. Louis tries to put words in the mouths of the movie characters, but that even wears thin quickly. He gives in and decides to let the kids draw butts on his cast.

When Jessica gets home, she sees that Louis no longer has his cast on his leg. Apparently he let the kids cut it off for entertainment, which is a new level of dumb even for Louis. She takes him to the E.R., where the doctor says it will be at least a six hour wait. Apparently they don’t consider letting your kids cut your cast off because you’re afraid they’ll be bored a true emergency. The kids were at the E.R. as well, but Louis again panicked when he thought they looked bored and gave them $50 to go spend to the vending machine. Jessica is annoyed, but she has bigger fish to fry. She really wants Louis to let her fire some of the employees at the restaurant. Louis doesn’t agree, and Jessica leaves in disgust, telling him he should spend time with his kids.

When Jessica arrives at Cattleman’s she sees a large T-ball team that fits the description of the To Go order Jessica blew off, and Nancy and Mitch are waiting on them hand and foot. Mitch says they really pulled out all the stops because it was a huge order for the restaurant. Jessica is impressed, and she asks the coach if he wouldn’t mind paying the tip. He says he specifically did To Go To Stay so he wouldn’t have to tip, and he and the team leave. Jessica actually tips Nancy and Mitch herself. Back at the hospital, the boys arrive back from their vending machine adventure. Louis is forced to admit that he isn’t always “fun” and is sometimes boring. The kids say that’s okay. They’re happy with just chilling. Louis is amazed.

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