Sunday, August 27, 2017

Fresh off the Boat 3.23: "This Isn't Us"

“I wanted us to buy this house, but I don’t want us to enjoy it.”

The third season of “Fresh off the Boat” ended sort of how I thought it would (with the Huangs deciding to move back to their old house) with a rather bizarre twist that is going to irritate me until I see how it’s resolved at the beginning of season 4. The Huangs collectively did so much soul searching in this episode to get to the point where they decided they should move back that I was shocked there was such a huge oversight in planning that second move (more on that in a bit). There was also a secondary plot that I thought could have stood on its own. The moving plot was too big to have to share time with Emery going on a crusade against child labor. Although, I’ll admit Emery’s crusade did have a part to play in the Huangs deciding to leave the new house, so I guess it was at least somewhat necessary to have it happen now. Anyway, let’s get to our more in-depth discussion!

When we last left the Huangs, they were moving to a mansion and Evan was going to private school. They only took two days off work for the big move, so Jessica is in full-on efficient mode, painting over the kids’ growth chart and getting impatient with Louis being sentimental. Eddie’s friends are getting sentimental too, upset that Eddie won’t be going to the same high school as them. Eddie, however, tells them not to worry. They have all summer to hang out, and they don’t have to stop hanging out just because he goes to a different school. Plus, the new house has a hot tub, and that will be fun for chilling, too. Evan and Emery also have to figure out how to divide up their toys, since they will have separate rooms. Emery asks Evan not to forget who he is once he goes to private school. This worry becomes more important when Evan is steaming his blazer, and Emery thinks he sees a “Made in China” tag inside it. He just learned about sweatshops, so he asks Evan to have his school look into it.

The new house turns out to be not all the Huangs hoped it would be. It’s very large and not at all cozy. The boys play with the intercom system and convince Grandma Huang that the place is haunted by ghosts. This leads Grandma to put a circle of garlic around her wheelchair. Jessica is being super picky about using any of the house’s amenities like the double oven or the hot tub or the intercom because she claims it will use too much electricity. She even has Honey and Marvin come over so Marvin can take all the bulbs out of the hall lights and Honey can drive her on errands to save gas money. At a family meeting, called via notes pushed under doors, Jessica says that she has done the books, and thanks to the higher mortgage and utility and tax bills, the Huangs are house poor. Louis is a little skeptical about this considering Michael Bolton buying a stake in the restaurant is a pretty big deal, but he trusts Jessica.

Not being allowed to use the hot tub causes problems for Eddie, whose friends are very disappointed when they come over to visit and find the hot tub out of order. They pretty much just came for the hot tub, and one of them took two busses in flip flops for it. Eddie really wants to keep his crew together, though, so he suggests matching tattoos. Eventually the boys decide that they are all going to get pizza slice tattoos, so that when they are all together, they form a whole pie. Later, Marvin convinces Louis to finally fire up the hot tub. Louis is worried Jessica will find out, but Marvin thinks he’ll be able to hide it by taking cold showers the rest of the week. They even enjoy using the heated floors to start drying off after their soak. Unfortunately, the jig is up when Jessica and Honey come home and can see their swim trunks through their very wet white jeans.

The boys all continue to have their own misadventures. Eddie bikes all the way back to his old neighborhood through neighborhoods he never even heard of before, like Little Peru, just to find out that his buddies have been having lots of fun lawn chair banter without him. They do, however, decide to get their pizza tattoos on their elbows, so the whole pie effect happens when they all throw in. And then Trent and Brian almost get into a fight over Trent’s sister. Evan and Emery, for their part, take a meeting with the St. Orlando’s headmaster to talk about the issue with where the blazers were manufactured. The headmaster assures them that child labor is very serious and he will look into it. Evan doesn’t seem to want to press the issue too hard, and he starts singing the St. Orlando’s alma mater.

When Louis returns to the restaurant after the move, more has changed than he expected. It’s now “Michael Bolton’s Cattleman’s Ranch,” and they are selling Bolton merchandise, too. At first, Louis isn’t thrilled about this. It’s a lot of change for two days, after all. Then Michael Bolton gives him a very large check for his cut of the merchandising, and Louis is feeling a lot better. HE buys himself a riding mower to celebrate. When Jessica sees the mower, she freaks out and insists they’re still house poor. When Louis asks to see the books Jessica keeps talking about, she claims they burned in a small fire. Eventually, Jessica has to admit that they are doing fine financially, she just doesn’t want the family to really enjoy all their new creature comforts. She worries that if they get to comfortable, they won’t keep striving to be better. Louis eventually convinces her that they can keep striving while also enjoying a bit of what they’ve earned.

All the Huang boys find themselves in pretty precarious situations by the end of the episode. Eddie finds his friends in the middle of a basketball game, and they tell him they don’t want to get pizza tattoos after all. This makes Eddie very upset, and the whole thing blows up into a big argument, with Eddie ultimately ditching them. Evan and Emery follow up with the headmaster on the blazer issue, and Emery is especially upset that the headmaster hasn’t done any investigating yet. Evan tries to be an apologist until the headmaster starts insulting public school kids like Emery, and then he sticks up for his brother. Sticking up for his brother, though, gets him kicked out of St. Orlando’s. Evan and Emery have to call a family meeting to announce the news. Jessica isn’t too upset by this. She promises to find Evan extra school work to do. Even better, this means they can move back to their old house. She uses her “real estate pimp” skills to get out of their contract on the new house, and they all pile into the van to head back to the old neighborhood. Louis even still has a key to the old place. Unfortunately for the Huangs, however, a new tenant, Adam, has already moved in. Now they truly are homeless.

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