Sunday, April 2, 2017

Fresh off the Boat 3.14: "The Gloves are Off"

“I get that. March 24th was my steak birthday.”

Overall, I enjoyed this episode of “Fresh off the Boat” because it delved into something the show hasn’t explored much yet: Honey and Marvin’s family. We meet Marvin’s ex-wife, Sarah, and the episode explores the dynamics of the blended family. Jessica, naturally, tries to mix in when she starts learning about the full situation, which results in wacky hijinks. And everyone involved comes to some important realizations. Except maybe Marvin, who is a freaking coward. I am both Team Honey and Team Sarah in this whole situation, although Honey still comes to Marvin’s defense because he must have some redeeming qualities if she married him and all. He’s pretty clueless to what’s going on with Honey, Sarah, and Nicole, though, which doesn’t really speak well of him.

The episode opens with Jessica preparing for a day of yard sale shopping. She wears Louis’ fishing vest and puts a different denomination of money in each pocket (it helps with her bargaining). Eddie really wants Jessica to find him a used gold grill, but that seems unlikely. Meanwhile, Evan is at Honey and Marvin’s house, trying to sort out Jessica’s Tupperware from the pile on the table (they switch Tupperware back and forth so often they have trouble keeping track of what belongs to whom), when Nicole shows up. She didn’t work on her science project when she was spending time with Sarah, so now Honey is going to help her. And to make things worse, Sarah shows up too, acting like she still owns the place. She insults Honey, then she goes to use the bathroom, which she says she was retiling while Honey was sleeping with her husband. Sarah is played by Heather Locklear, by the way, which seems appropriate. Marvin clearly has a type.

Jessica is at the yard sale trying to haggle over a blender with a child (who is smartly skeptical of Jessica’s bargaining tactics) when she spots a woman who seems to have the haggling thing down. She’s telling a tall tale about the death of her aunt, hoping to earn sympathy. This earns mad respect from Jessica, naturally. Later, Jessica wants to have a post-yard sale cider at her favorite bar, the Denim Turtle. Honey joins her, and she quickly wonders why the bartender is serving them three ciders. The third member of their party is none other than Sarah, who is the woman Jessica met at the yard sale. Sarah and Honey are obviously not thrilled to see each other, and they start sniping at each other right away. Honey wants to leave, but Jessica has requested a Sarah McLachlan song, and nobody is allowed to leave while Sarah is playing. As soon as the song is over, she leaves.

Meanwhile, the boys and Louis are watching television with Grandma when they see her look wistfully at a Jazzy electric wheelchair commercial. Emery thinks they should get one for her, and if they can prove she’s over 65-years-old, it’s free. The problem is that nobody knows how old Grandma is. She doesn’t even know. When prompted, she says that the day she celebrates as her birthday is actually just the first day she ever ate steak. The boys start asking Grandma questions to try and figure out her age, and when Grandma asks why, Evan says that Emery is writing a report on her. Emery decides he’s going to legit write the report, and this leads to him using a quirk in a photograph to prove that Grandma is over sixty-five. When the family presents Grandma with the data, she’s thrilled to find out that she might still be in her 60s – she thought she was older. They all go to the store, and Emery is prepared to present his case to the salesman. The salesman, however, says that Grandma is obviously older than sixty-five, and he just needs to send a photo of her face to the insurance company. Grandma swears that the salesman has made a new enemy that day, and at the end of the episode, she rolls up to his car in her new Jazzy and keys it.

The day after the bar skirmish, Jessica shows up at Honey’s house (with more Tupperware) to apologize. She sees Honey struggling to get Nicole to work on her science experiment. She’s supposed to be investigating the effect of different corrosive acids on teeth (using Marvin’s tooth collection, which may be a mistake). Nicole doesn’t pay attention to the timer at all, and the experiment is a disaster. Nicole reminds Honey that her mother didn’t finish high school, and she’s doing fine as head of the gloves department at the local department store. Honey tells Jessica she wishes Nicole didn’t think her mom could just get her a job at the department store, because maybe then she’d put some effort into school. Jessica goes to the department store and is talking to Sarah when Sarah is really rude to a customer. Next thing we know, Jessica is asking Honey to thank her because she got Sarah fired. This leads to a heart-to-heart between Honey and Jessica, where Honey explains that sometimes she just needs to vent. And she also has to explain to Jessica want venting is. It’s a word Jessica didn’t understand before. Like “closure” or “Clinique.”

Sarah is packing up her things at the departments store when her manager tells her she’s not fired after all. The customer who complained recanted. Sarah sees Honey and Jessica and immediately assumes Honey tried to get her fired. Jessica admits what she did and apologizes. Honey swears she didn’t want Sarah to lose her job. Sarah eventually admits that her issue with Honey isn’t Marvin. She’s over Marvin. She doesn’t want Nicole to think that Honey is the “fun one” and like her better. Honey assures Sarah that Nicole needs her mom and she would never try to get in the way of that. The two ladies reach an accord. The next time Sarah drops off Nicole, she has already done her math homework and wants to watch a movie with Honey (who is in the dog house with Marvin for ruining some of his famous tooth collection in the failed science experiment attempt).

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