Sunday, February 5, 2017

Fresh off the Boat 3.07: "The Taming of the Dads"

“If I’m going to be stuck on a jury, I want to be in charge.”

“The Taming of the Dads” was, overall, a pretty entertaining episode of “Fresh off the Boat.” There was a lot of great mid-90’s nostalgia, and the fact that there was a legal aspect to this episode didn’t ultimately bug me too much because the biggest plot hole was called out at the very end. Jessica, who is still a legal permanent resident, is called to jury duty, and somehow she ends up seated on a jury even though she’s not a citizen (because she didn’t realize she could use that as a reason to get out of it). A former co-worker of mine used to talk about how she kept getting jury summonses even though she was a legal permanent resident, so she’d have to keep explaining her status. Then she became a citizen and actually had to go to jury duty! So I picked up on that issue right away. It was fun to see Jessica try to take over the jury, though. For the most part, I was able to look at the episode as entertainment, which is pretty rare when I watch anything law-related on television. Usually I just get too hung up on the inaccuracies to enjoy it.

The ‘90s nostalgia hits you right from the beginning of the episode. Louis is distributing that day’s mail to the family, and it was all pretty much right out of my child/tween-hood. Grandma gets a Zoobook, and it looks exactly like the Zoobooks I would get as a kid. I had them all stored in binders and everything. I wonder if my mom ever got rid of them? There were many. Emery and Evan get a package from Cousin Hennessy in Taiwan. It’s a Tamagotchi! I had both a Tamagotchi and a similar knock off when I was a tween, and I loved them. Managed to sneak them into school and everything. Emery and Evan start looking at the instructions, and they realize that caring for their critter is going to be a lot of work. They resolve to be the best Tamagotchi moms they can be, though, and they’re going to take great care of “Jerry,” who is named after that icon of the American legal system, Jerry Orbach.

Jessica’s mail delivery is a jury summons. She really doesn’t want to go, and Grandma thinks she should just throw it out, but Louis disagrees. He thinks that jury duty is something every American should experience (even if Jessica isn’t technically a citizen yet). She does go to jury duty, and she has to watch the poorly produced introduction video that reminds me of the video I had to watch the one time I’ve been to jury duty. I probably could have gotten out of serving on a jury if I was called thanks to being a lawyer and all (lawyers don’t always like to have lawyers on a jury because we know all their tricks!), but it turns out nobody requested a jury trial that day, so I got to go home around lunch time. Anyway, while she’s sitting there, one of the other potential jurors suggests that Jessica say she likes LA Law as a way to get out of serving. Jessica tries that, and it backfires. The lawyers and the judge all love the show, and she is chosen for the jury.

In other news, it’s Eddie and Allison’s first anniversary. She gives him an awesome gift (a Flava’ Flav clock necklace with their picture inside), but Eddie didn’t get her anything. Eddie tries giving her a Too $hort CD that he has in his bag, but Allison sees right through that (although she still takes the CD). She wants Eddie to take her to see the new Romeo + Juliet movie with Leonardo DiCaprio. I remember when this movie came out, although I never did see it. Eddie isn’t thrilled with the idea – he’d rather see Space Jam. Louis, however, convinces him that sometimes being in a relationship means sacrifices, and he encourages Eddie to go to the movie. Plus, Louis is a big Shakespeare geek, apparently, and he starts quoting the play constantly. Eddie his horrified by this, naturally.

The Tagotchi-ing goes well at first. Emery and Evan take Jerry for a walk in their wagon, and the neighborhood power walking ladies fuss over him. Jerry quickly becomes very demanding, though. The boys are trying to do their homework, and Jerry keeps constantly beeping. They decide to start caring for him in 30 minute shifts so that they can actually concentrate. The situation continues to deteriorate, though. He even beeps in the middle of the night, and poor Evan keeps hitting the buttons on his calculator instead of the Tamagotchi. Meanwhile, Jessica has her first day of jury service, and she finds out that the jury needs to pick a foreperson. If she’s going to be on a jury, she wants to be the boss, but the rest of the jury immediately picks a guy named Harvey instead. Jessica tries to bribe the rest of the jury to ditch Harvey with notes and oranges, but she gets found out. The judge says the whole jury will be found in contempt if something like that happens again. She doesn’t want to waste taxpayer money to seat a new jury if she doesn’t have to, though.

Eddie and Allison’s date is pretty much a disaster. Louis meets Allison’s dad, and the two really hit it off, to the point where they both decide to go to the movie, too. They’re laughing it up and sharing candy while Eddie and Allison just sit there miserable. The next day, Eddie and Allison are doing their homework, and Allison asks Eddie if he is getting bored with their relationship. Before they can have a real conversation, though, Allison’s dad shows up early wanting to have a guitar jam session with Louis. They play “Two Princes” by the Spin Doctors in a totally dorky dad way, which amused me greatly for reasons. Later that night, Allison calls Eddie and says she thinks they should take a break. Their relationship isn’t fun anymore. She thinks they should be super enthusiastic about spending time together like their dads now are.

The Tamagotchi situation eventually comes to a head. Emery and Evan are arguing over how Jerry should be taken care of (all Evan does is feed it and all Emery does is play with it), and while they’re arguing, Jerry’s beeping becomes more intense. By the time the boys look at the Tamagotchi, it’s dead. Meanwhile, the trial is over and the jury is ready to deliberate. The jury is all in agreement that the defendant is clearly guilty (there’s video of him celebratory dancing after one of his arsons), but Jessica is determined to hold up the process until she is elected foreperson. Eventually Harvey gives in and says he’ll step down if Jessica will just vote already. She does so, but then she causes a mistrial by giving extra commentary about how shady the defendant is while delivering the verdict.

Louis and Allison’s dad still have big plans. They want to take the kids to Shakespeare in the Park, but Louis puts the kibosh on this once Eddie informs him that he and Allison are on a break. Louis feels terrible about the role he has played in the breakup, so he goes to pay a visit to Allison’s dad. Allison’s dad wants to go to Medieval Times and order drumsticks in iambic pentameter, but Louis says no. If their friendship is tearing their kids’ relationship apart, it will have to go. Louis then encourages Eddie to be a bit more spontaneous with Allison, which Eddie does by planning yet another trip to see Romeo + Juliet. Even though she’s already seen it, Allison is happy that Eddie is putting in some effort, so she takes him back. As Louis drives them to the theater, “Two Princes” comes on the radio, a special request from Allison’s dad. To wrap everything up, the family holds a funeral for Jerry. That’s when Honey points out that Jessica could have used her lack of citizenship to get out of jury duty. As the group leaves the grave site, though, Jerry starts beeping again.

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