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Fresh Off the Boat

Fresh Off the Boat

Fresh Off the Boat is an American sitcom series, starring Hudson Yang, Randall Park, and Constance Wu.[3][4][5] Created by Nahnatchka Khan, it is loosely inspired by the life of chef and food personality Eddie Huang and his book Fresh Off the Boat, depicting the life of a Taiwanese-American family in Florida in the 1990s. It is the first US television sitcom starring an Asian-American family to air on network primetime since Margaret Cho's All-American Girl, which aired for one season in 1994.[6] Its style has been compared to the comedy series Everybody Hates Chris.[7]

The show debuted on ABC in February 2015. Its sixth season premiered on September 27, 2019.[8]

Fresh Off the Boat
Created byNahnatchka Khan
Based onFresh Off the Boat
by Eddie Huang
  • Randall Park
  • Constance Wu
  • Hudson Yang
  • Ian Chen
  • Forrest Wheeler
  • Lucille Soong
  • Chelsey Crisp
  • Ray Wise
Narrated byEddie Huang (season 1)
Opening theme"Fresh off the Boat", performed by Danny Brown[1]
Composer(s)Bo Boddie
Country of originUnited States
No.of seasons6
No.of episodes102(list of episodes)
  • Nahnatchka Khan[2]
  • Jake Kasdan[2]
  • Melvin Mar[2]
  • Rich Blomquist
  • Eddie Huang
  • Justin McEwen
Production location(s)Orlando, Florida (Series is taped in Los Angeles, California)
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time30 minutes
  • Fierce Baby Productions
  • The Detective Agency
  • 20th Century Fox Television
Distributor20th Television
Original networkABC
Picture format720p (HDTV)
Original releaseFebruary 4, 2015 (2015-02-04) –
External links
Website [78]
Production website [79]


The story follows the course of Eddie Huang's Taiwanese family after they make their way from Chinatown of Washington, DC to Orlando, Florida, to open a cowboy-themed steak restaurant in 1995[9] (with the first five seasons being set between 1995 and 1999, which takes place exactly 20 years before airing).[10][11] His mother struggles with the culture clash between her upbringing and a Florida community that does not have a large Asian population,[12] his father embraces the "American Dream", and Eddie struggles with assimilating into school.

Cast and characters

Main cast

  • Randall Park as Louis Huang[4][5] is the father of Eddie, Emery, and Evan, and husband of Jessica. He is nice and mild-mannered, and embraces all things American, which is often seen when he recounts his younger days. He owns a Western steakhouse restaurant in Orlando named Cattleman's Ranch.

  • Constance Wu as Jessica Huang[13] is the wife of Louis and mother[14] of Eddie, Emery, and Evan. She is a no-nonsense, pragmatic and highly competitive woman who believes in tough love. She often pushes her sons and husband to be more successful and also keep in touch with their Taiwanese heritage.

  • Hudson Yang[15] as Edwyn "Eddie" Huang is the show's protagonist (Season one) and a die-hard hip-hop and rap fan, as well as a great fan of basketball. The oldest of three brothers, he eschews Taiwanese culture and is more rebellious than his younger siblings, which makes him a frequent target of his mother Jessica's complaints. Because Eddie represents the writer of the book on which the show is based, all of the season-one episodes were told from his perspective, and the real-life Eddie Huang voices the narrator. A creative change for season two expands the focus to the entire Huang family.

  • Forrest Wheeler as Emery Huang[16] is the middle son of the Huang family. He is a romantic and lovable kid who is fairly intelligent. He is also depicted as charismatic and mature for his age, and the typical "ladies' man". He is shown to be good at academics as well as athletics as he thrived in a tennis tournament. He graduated elementary school at the end of the second season.

  • Ian Chen as Evan Huang[16] is the youngest son, who is a star student and obeys the rules. He is Jessica's favorite son. He was allowed to skip fifth grade between seasons three and four and is starting middle school in the fourth season.

  • Lucille Soong as Grandma Jenny Huang (season 2–present, recurring season one) is Louis's mother and grandmother of Eddie, Evan, and Emery. Although she clearly understands English, she speaks only in Mandarin (subtitled in English). She rarely interacts with the family's affairs, usually just sitting back and making sarcastic comments for her amusement. In the season-four episode, "It's a Plastic Pumpkin, Louis Huang", the family discovers she has secretly been taking ESL lessons, and she speaks English for the first time (excluding that dream sequence). In the season-four episode, "The Day After Thanksgiving", Jenny finishes her ESL class and speaks English around her ESL professor. She recites lines from the 1989 Tim Burton movie Batman for her class.

  • Chelsey Crisp as Honey Ellis (season 2–present, recurring season one)[17] is the Huangs' next door neighbor, Marvin's third wife, and Jessica's new best friend. Although she is friendly with Jessica, she is often intimidated by her competitive nature. She delivers her first child, a daughter, in the season five premiere. Later in the season, she gets pregnant again.

  • Ray Wise as Marvin Ellis (season 3–present, recurring seasons one and two) is Honey's much-older husband and Nicole's father. He is a successful dentist who married Honey after his previous wife caught him cheating with Honey on the kitchen floor. He is kind and friendly with the Huang family, though he occasionally gets into a friendly rivalry with Louis.

Recurring cast

  • Cattleman's Steakhouse staff: Paul Scheer as Mitch Jillian Armenante as Nancy Amanda Lund as Vanessa Noel Gugliemi as Hector Martinez Michael Bolton as himself, briefly co-owner of Cattleman's (seasons three and four) Matt Oberg as Matthew Chestnut (season four)

  • Eddie's school friends: Luna Blaise as Nicole Ellis, Eddie's first crush, Marvin's daughter, and Honey's stepdaughter. The two become good friends, and frequently have chats wherein they support each other. In season four, she tells Eddie that she is a lesbian. In season five, she leaves Orlando to attend a prominent fashion school in New York City. Isabella Alexander as Alison, Eddie's girlfriend. They break up in episode two of season four, but remain friends. Prophet Bolden as Walter, one of Eddie's friends Trevor Larcom as Trent Masterson, one of Eddie's friends Evan Hannemann as Dave Selby, Eddie's best friend who lives down the street. Dash Williams as Brian Stone, one of Eddie's friends Connor Rosen as Doug Pew, one of Eddie's friends Brady Tutton as Brock Blanca Albert Tsai as Phillip Goldstein[18][19] Arden Belle as Shelly, one of Nicole's friends. Liliana Mumy as Layla, one of Nicole's friends. Monique Green as Sandy, one of Nicole's friends. Marlowe Peyton as Reba, Eddie's classmate who has an unrequited crush on him.

  • Others: Rachel Cannon as Deidre Sanderson Stacey Scowley as Carol-Joan Colleen Ryan as Amanda Kimberly Crandall as Lisa Arden Myrin as Ashley Alexander David Goldman as Principal Charlie Hunter Maria Bamford as Principal Thomas Susan Park as Connie Chen, Jessica's sister C.S. Lee as Steve Chen, Jessica's brother-in-law Lance Lim as Justin Chen, Eddie's cousin Simu Liu as Willie (Season 5 episode 21) Ken Jeong as Gene Huang, Louis's younger brother Eddie Huang as adult Eddie Huang (voice only), the narrator of the show for season one only Wai Ching Ho as Big Auntie Reggie Lee as Julius Ming-Na Wen as Elaine Jimmy O. Yang as Horace Luke Judy as Zack, Evan's friend. Julia Garcia as Sicily, Evan's Girlfriend (Season 5) Isabel Oliver Marcus as Tina Masterson, Trent's sister who has a crush on Eddie (Season 5)

Development and production

The Fresh Off the Boat cast at a panel discussion for the show.

The Fresh Off the Boat cast at a panel discussion for the show.

Eddie Huang's 2013 Fresh Off the Boat caught the attention of TV networks upon release, with ABC and 20th Century Fox Television signing in late that year. Huang, the show's creator and one of the producers of the series,[5] led a Twitter campaign[20][21] to change the original show name, Far East Orlando, when it was in development.[6]

On May 13, 2014, ABC ordered the first season of the show during the May 2014 upfront[7][22] to air in 2015 as a mid-season replacement.[7][23]

The real-life Eddie Huang narrates the first season only. Eleven episodes into the first season, Huang expressed frustration over ABC's approach, saying it presents "an ambiguous, cornstarch story about Asian-Americans" that perpetuates "an artificial representation of Asian American lives". The sitcom was adapted to suit a broader American audience.[24] He also tweeted in April 2015, "I understand this is a comedy but the great comics speak from pain: Pryor, Rock, Louis...This show had that opportunity but it fails."[25] Huang said that the all-comedy television show contrasted with his real family where his grandfather killed himself, his grandmother had bound feet, and state family services tried to remove the children from the home.[26]

Despite his concern for authenticity, Huang finds the show a "milestone" for Asian-Americans as they are at the forefront of this television series.[27] Huang further explained in an interview on National Public Radio, "The studio and network are not on a mission to not represent us. They just don't know how to."[28]

Huang described the exchange between his team and ABC as brief. In an article in Vulture Huang expressed concern over the studio's decision that Nahnatchka Khan, an Iranian-American writer, would represent his memoir for the TV scripts, believing that she would present the story as less than realistic and authentic. "I would be excited, but you attached a Persian writer, and I'm kinda worried it's going to be The Shahs of Cul-de-Sac Holando."[29]

In a 2015 interview, Constance Wu stated that after the first season, she had become more comfortable asking the show's staff to change particular details, for example changing "generic Asian food [in a scene] ... to a 1,000-year-old black egg with tofu and scallions, [which] will be a little more specific, and specificity is just better for character, and it's more interesting than, say, tofu and rice."[30]

Wu received backlash in May 2019 when she tweeted profane tweets in regards to the show being renewed for a sixth season.[31] Wu later publicly apologized, stating that she was excited about potentially working on new projects and disappointed she wouldn't have the time to work on them due to the renewal and clarifying that she loved her castmates and that her tweets had nothing to do with animosity towards them.[32]

Season two changes

Fresh Off the Boat made many changes for the second season, including:

  • Eddie Huang reduced his involvement with the series, including no longer being the narrator, due to creative differences with ABC, as well as time constraints with other projects. He is still credited as a producer, and the show's credits continue to note that the series is based on his memoir.

  • With Huang's departure, ABC decided not to recast the narrator role, dropping it from the series altogether.

  • The writing from season two onward is focused on the entire Huang family instead of centering on Eddie. In particular, more Louis- and Jessica-centered episodes were shot.

  • Lucille Soong and Chelsey Crisp were both promoted from recurring cast to the main cast.


On May 7, 2015, ABC renewed Fresh off the Boat for a second season of 13 episodes.[33] ABC ordered 9 additional episodes on October 13 and two more on November 17, leading to a total of 24 episodes for the second season.[34][35] On March 3, 2016, ABC announced that the series has been renewed for a third season, which premiered on October 11, 2016.[36] On May 12, 2017, ABC renewed the series for a fourth season, which premiered on October 3, 2017.[37] On May 11, 2018, ABC renewed the series for a fifth season, which premiered on October 5.[38] On May 10, 2019, ABC renewed the series for a sixth season,[39] which is set to premiere on September 27, 2019.[8]


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
113February 4, 2015 (2015-02-04)April 21, 2015 (2015-04-21)
224September 22, 2015 (2015-09-22)May 24, 2016 (2016-05-24)
323October 11, 2016 (2016-10-11)May 16, 2017 (2017-05-16)
419October 3, 2017 (2017-10-03)March 20, 2018 (2018-03-20)
522October 5, 2018 (2018-10-05)April 12, 2019 (2019-04-12)
6TBASeptember 27, 2019 (2019-09-27)TBA

Home media

On September 29, 2015, the first season of Fresh Off the Boat was released on DVD. The DVD had two discs with all 13 episodes of season-one and special features such as a gag reel, as well a "Fresh Facts Trivia Track". On May 22, 2018, the second and third seasons of Fresh Off the Boat were released on DVD. The fourth season was released on June 12, 2018.


On November 8, 2014, the world premiere of the pilot episode was hosted by the San Diego Asian Film Festival.[40] The show debuted on ABC with two preview episodes on February 4, 2015. The second episode, which aired after Modern Family, was promoted as a bonus episode, and formally premiered in its primetime slot on February 10, 2015.[41] The first of the two preview episodes garnered 7.94 million viewers, becoming the second-highest rated comedy premiere that season.

Fresh Off the Boat premiered on FOX8 in Australia starting May 10, 2015;[42] It was also picked up by Network Ten, and started airing on March 7, 2016 on its sister channel, Eleven until October 2017. It debuted on March 12, 2015 in South Africa on Fox Crime.[43] In South Asia, Fresh Off The Boat, airs 12 hours after the U.S. broadcast on Star World Premiere HD.[44]

In the UK, the first season originally premiered on Amazon Video on February 4, 2015. The second season premiered on September 22, 2015. On November 1, 2017 Fresh Off the Boat received its television premiere on Channel 5's sister channel 5Star starting with the pilot episode.

On July 23, 2018, it was announced that Fresh Off the Boat will be joining Freeform and UPtv later in the year, with local syndication yet to be determined.[45] The series officially joined Freeform on October 1, 2018, airing in the morning/afternoon hours.


Seasonal ratings

SeasonTimeslot (ET)No. of
PremieredEndedTV seasonRankViewers
(in millions)
DatePremiere viewers
(in millions)
DateFinale viewers
(in millions)
1Wednesday 8:30 pm
(Episode 1)
Wednesday 9:30 pm
(Episode 2)
Tuesday 8:00 pm
(Episodes 3-13)
13February 4, 20157.94[46]April 21, 20155.08[47]2014–15786.99[48]
2Tuesday 8:30 pm
Tuesday 8:00 pm
24September 22, 20156.05[49]May 24, 20164.88[50]2015–16865.48[51]
3Tuesday 9:00 pm23October 11, 20165.03[52]May 16, 20173.55[53]2016–17954.66[54]
4Tuesday 8:30 pm19October 3, 20174.51[55]March 20, 20183.61[56]2017–181084.57[57]
5Friday 8:00 pm22October 5, 20182.85[58]April 12, 20193.08[59]2018–191213.80[60]
6Friday 8:30 pm22September 27, 20192019–20

Critical reception

Fresh Off the Boat has received positive reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, the first season holds a 92% certified fresh approval rating, with an average rating of 6.88/10 based on 50 reviews. The site's critical consensus reads: "Once the cliched gags of Fresh off the Boat are superseded by a grounded truthfulness, the series evolves into a humorously charming family sitcom."[61] It also has earned a 75 out of 100 score on Metacritic, indicating 'generally favorable reviews'.[62] Particularly, Constance Wu's performance has been acclaimed, earning nominations for both the TCA Awards and the EWwy Award for Best Supporting Actress in Comedy, as well as an "Individual Achievement in Comedy" nomination at the Critics' Choice Television Awards.

Reviews cited the show's potential to increase the visibility and accuracy of Asian Americans in arts and entertainment.[7][63][64] For writer and poet Jenny Zhang (who interviewed Constance Wu for Lenny Letter), Fresh Off the Boat was a welcome change from the representation of Asian Americans on the TV series she had seen as a child at age 11, where the few people who looked like her were either the subjects of crude jokes or had only minor cameos.[30]

Ester Suh, writing for the Huffington Post, stated that the sitcom had caused "real conversations being had about Asian American identity in addition to acknowledging the lack of inclusivity Asian Americans have had in the nation's cultural and entertainment dialogue."[65] While Suh felt that many characterizations in the show misrepresented the Asian-American experience, she acknowledged that "our experience as Americans, like everyone else’s, is varied, and to say that a single show can exemplify all our experiences, would be a disfavor. I see Fresh as a sound board for future shows with Asian American casts, helping make television a more diverse and inclusive cultural platform."[65]

The Harvard Political Review commented that "Fresh Off the Boat captures the essence of why diversity in media matters—we, like young Eddie, all want to see ourselves as worthy of being protagonists, whether in stories or in real life. However, lost in translation are the stories of parents and grandparents, who also have claim to labels like the Asian-American experience."[66]

Fresh Off The Boat is covered in Chinese-language news media, where the title is simplified Chinese: 菜鸟新移民; traditional Chinese: 菜鳥新移民; pinyin: càiniǎo xīn yímín; literally: 'Beginner New Immigrants'.[67][26]

Criticism of the representation of the source material

Television critic Emily Nussbaum, in her review for The New Yorker, compares the memoir and television version of Huang's relationship with his father and with black culture, "Without a cruel bully for a father, Eddie's taste for hip-hop feels more superficial—in the book, it's an abused kid's catharsis and an identification with black history."[68]

Huang was outspoken in his criticism of the development process of the show, writing a lengthy essay about his concern that his vision for the show was compromised.[69][70] Huang has said that he does not watch the show, because he thinks that the storyline after the pilot episode is not what he wrote in his memoir.[71]

Awards and nominations

2015Critics' Choice Television AwardsBest Actress in a Comedy SeriesConstance WuNominated
TCA AwardsIndividual Achievement in ComedyNominated
Poppy AwardsBest Actress in a Comedy SeriesNominated
Gold Derby TV AwardsBest Comedy ActressNominated
Unforgettable Gala – Asian American AwardsActor of the YearRandall ParkWon
Female Breakout Star of the YearConstance WuWon
2016Critics' Choice Television AwardsBest Actor in a Comedy SeriesRandall ParkNominated
Best Actress in a Comedy SeriesConstance WuNominated
NAACP Image AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Youth (Series, Special, Television Movie or Mini-series)Hudson YangNominated
Women's Image Network AwardsBest Comedy SeriesFresh Off the BoatNominated
Young Artist AwardsOutstanding Young Ensemble Cast In A TV SeriesHudson Yang, Forrest Wheeler, Ian ChenWon
Best Performance in a TV Series – Supporting Young ActorIan ChenNominated
Best Performance In A TV Series - Recurring Young Actress (14-21)Luna BlaiseWon
Best Performance In A TV Series - Guest Starring Young Actress (11-13)Laura KrystineNominated
Young Entertainer AwardsBest Young Ensemble Cast - TV SeriesHudson Yang, Forrest Wheeler, Ian ChenWon
Best Recurring Young Actor 13 and Under - Television SeriesTrevor LarcomNominated
Best Recurring Young Actress 13 to 15 - Television SeriesLuna BlaiseNominated
Best Recurring Young Actress 12 and Under- Television SeriesIsabella AlexanderWon
Best Guest Starring Young Actor 11 and Under - TV SeriesCole SandNominated
Teen Choice AwardsChoice TV: Scene StealerHudson YangNominated
TCA AwardsIndividual Achievement in ComedyConstance WuNominated
Gold Derby TV AwardsBest Actress in a Comedy SeriesNominated
Poppy AwardsBest Actress in a Comedy SeriesNominated
Best Actor in a Comedy SeriesRandall ParkNominated
Critics' Choice Television AwardsBest Actress in a Comedy SeriesConstance WuNominated
2017NAACP Image AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Youth (Series, Special, Television Movie or Mini-series)Hudson YangNominated
Young Artist AwardsBest Performance in a TV Series - Leading Young ActorIan ChenNominated
Forrest WheelerNominated
Best Performance in a TV Series - Leading Teen ActorHudson YangWon
Best Performance in a TV Series - Recurring Teen ActorTrevor LarcomWon
Young Entertainer AwardsBest Leading Young Actor 14 and Under - Television SeriesIan ChenNominated
MTV Movie & TV AwardsBest American StoryFresh Off the BoatNominated
Critics' Choice Television AwardsBest Actor in a Comedy SeriesRandall ParkNominated
Best Actress in a Comedy SeriesConstance WuNominated

See also

  • Television shows with a similar premise: The Family Law Citizen Khan Kim's Convenience Brown Nation


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