Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Fresh off the Boat 3.17: "The Flush"

“Really, Maryland? You rain for three straight months, but tonight there’s not even a breeze?”

“The Flush” was another episode of “Fresh off the Boat” with two very different plots happening, but overall, I enjoyed both. The main plot of the episode (at least that’s what I’m considering it, since it inspired the title of the episode) was a great pairing of Louis and Eddie that really explored their father/son dynamic and how Louis is going to approach this parenting teenagers thing. The rest of the gang goes on a road trip, which is played more for laughs, but laughs it generates, so I’m okay with that. I might question Jessica’s math that led her to decide the road trip was a good idea, though. I actually wish we could have spent a little more time on the road trip plot. I would have liked to have known more about why Jessica gets grumpy so easily and why the boys wanted to see the “largest peanut” in the first place. It would have been awesome to see how they first learned about it, for instance. Nevertheless, the episode overall was certainly an entertaining enough half hour.

The episode opens with the Huangs and Honey at a furniture store trying to pick out a recliner for Grandma Huang. Jessica is putting up a tough fight with the salesman, accusing him of lying with every sentence he utters. When Grandma picks out the recliner she wants, the salesman says that there will be a $75 fee to transport it from the factory in Georgia. Jessica does some quick math and decides it would be $20 cheaper to drive to Georgia and pick it up herself, so it’s time for a road trip. Honey thinks road trips are fun, so she wants in too. Emery and Evan want a chance to see the World’s Largest Peanut (they saw it in a magazine once, and it spoke to them), so they’re in too. Jessica has everything planned down to the last detail, including buying fruit from roadside fruit stands because it’s cheaper than “city fruit.”

Since they’ll be left at home, Louis and Eddie are going to have a “guy’s weekend.” The younger boys let it slip to Louis that Eddie has kissed Alison, so Louis thinks he needs some bonding time with his oldest son to make sure he still knows what’s going on in his life. The plan is to eat a lot of pizza, watch Police Academy movies, and go to the driving range. When Eddie tells his friends about his plans, they want in too, and Eddie invites them. He has no idea that this could possibly upset Louis. Louis is shocked to see the gaggle of boys when he walks in the house with a pizza and some movies, but he gamely rolls with it for the sake of bonding with Eddie. He goes to order more pizzas as Trent arrives. While Louis is distracted, Trent reveals to the other boys that his sister bought them a bottle of beer. They want to know how quickly they can ditch Louis.

At first, the road trip seems to go well. Everything is perfectly efficient and on schedule, so Jessica is happy. Things start to go south when Honey motions for some truck drivers to honk. Jessica is startled, but the boys distract her by pointing out that the cheap gas station is coming up. While Jessica is washing the car windshield, the boys explain to Honey that Jessica can be a road trip grump if everything doesn’t go exactly according to plan. They missed seeing the World’s Largest Peanut the last time they were traveling through Georgia because Eddie kept asking “Are we there yet?” and they don’t want that to happen again. I do have to say at this point that I question Jessica’s calculations. Sure, she factored in gas, wear-and-tear on the car, and food, but what about the value of her time? How much progress could she have made in selling a house in the time it would take to drive to Georgia and back?

The boys and Louis are all playing poker, but the boys want the game over with ASAP so they can get on with the drinking. They go all in and immediately lose. Louis offers to call it a practice round and try again, but the boys all say they’re too tired. While Louis plays poker with Grandma, the boys all sit around the beer bottle in Eddie’s room. Eddie offers to try it first, but he has a really bad reaction after just a few sips and runs to the bathroom. Marvin stops by to drop off his golf clubs for Eddie to use at the driving range, and when Louis tells him how all the boys “went to bed” really early, he suspects they are probably drinking. Louis doesn’t think this could be possible, but he goes to check, and they are indeed still sitting around the beer bottle. Louis sends all the boys home, telling them he’ll be calling their parents, then it’s time to talk to Eddie. When Eddie finally opens the bathroom door, both Huang men have matching red faces (Louis took a few sips of the beer too). Louis tells Eddie it’s called the “Asian Flush.”

Honey and the boys do their best to keep Jessica placated. As traffic builds up, Sarah McLachlan’s “Ice Cream” is on repeat, and Emery is doing his Jodie Foster impression. In a last minute save, Honey suggests stopping at an ice cream stand while they wait for the traffic to clear. All is well until Honey and the boys discover a parking ticket on the van. A parking ticket is way worse than heavy traffic. Honey makes a snap decision to hide the ticket from Jessica. Later at a farmers’ market, they get another parking ticket. Jessica hears Emery say “another parking ticket?” and Honey is forced to confess to hiding the first one. Honey accuses Jessica of being a “road grump” and says she would have just given Jessica the $20 if she knew it was going to be like this. The boys confirm that Jessica is indeed a road grump. Jessica decides to show her traveling companions that she can change by ripping up the tickets and taking the license plates off the van (so that she can say the plates were stolen and the thief earned the tickets).

What happens after Louis’ discovery of Eddie drinking is Louis being pretty much the best dad ever. He explains that the reaction they experience is an allergic reaction that is genetic. We see a flashback to when it first happened to Louis in college. Eddie wants to know why he has never seen Louis flushed before. Louis said that at first he would fake drink around his white friends, and he could drinks without worrying about it with his Chinese friends. Later, he developed a kit of things to use to lessen the symptoms. It’s full of heartburn and allergy meds, plus gauze pads to mop up the sweat. Eddie thinks it’s ridiculous that Asians (who have the allergy…not everyone does, apparently) have to go through all that to drink something that tastes pretty terrible. They talk about how the drinking wasn’t planned, and all Eddie really wanted was a chill weekend where he didn’t have to brush his teeth. Louis assures Eddie that while he’s going to have some sort of punishment for this, he can always talk to him about anything at any time. They are happily watching a Police Academy movie when Jessica and the boys walk in, all in bad moods. Jessica got yet another ticket for driving without her license plates. The boys never did get to see that peanut.

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