The season 4 premiere of Fresh Off the Boat was satisfying, and had its hilarious moments, but we couldnt help but feel that the actual dialogue jokes were spread a little thin. It would’ve been better with more focus on hilarious dialogue than relying on situational humour, and we are seeing the boys teen angst muddy the waters as they approach high school.
Like Grandma Huang said of Hotel Honey: 3 stars.
Even though the show seemed disjointed, with the Huang’s having distinct storylines and not interacting enough to generate the typical hilarious dialogue, we did ger an interesting, shocking, and progressive storyline between Edie and Nichole. Both feel friendless (Edie had a falling out with his friends at the end of the school year, and it may stay that way for a few episodes), the two outcasts start bonding more while cruising in Nichole’s new Saturn. Edie of course thinks she must be into him, and he is drowning in teen angst the entire episode, lamenting about his old friends and his gone-for-the-summer-girlfirend Allison. The big reveal is that Nichole comes out as a lesbian, and Eddie does a great fakeout before supporting his long-time friend and calming her nerves by reminding her that whats said in the Saturn stays in the Saturn. We theorize her quick bond friendship with Allison last season might result in a weird love triangle and hurt feelings this season, with Eddie possibly burning a few bridges.
The episode had a glaring lack of our favorite Huang boy, Evan. He did get to provide the recap to their current dilemma–being situationally homeless, leading to temporarily living in Honey and Marvin’s living room. While the rest of the episode happens around him, he burries himself in his now-irrelevant advanced summer reading list until he begins (shamefully) obsessing over Honey and Nichole’s Baby Sitters Club books. The final scene involves the Huangs moving back into their home and his suitcase popping open, hilariously revealing hes pilfering the books.
Emery got an even weirder, even more unrelated storyline, spending the entire episode naking a new birdhouse for their hosts. Louis decides to take their displaced week off from Cattlemans, where Michael Bolton has taken control and business is doing well, and spends his time bonding with Emery. Its a fun background plot, and the resulting horror-looking birdhouse is hilarious and the dialogue gave us a chuckle, but its the Jeasica storyline that provided the real meat for the episode.
Throughout the episode Jessica is wheeling and dealing to buy the Huang house back, whike trying to gouge the former owner, which takes longer than expected and causes her family to majorly impose on Honey and Marvin. It might have been more tolerable if Jessica hadn’t been selected to be on the best friends episode of Wheel of Fortune and wasn’t torturing Honey with non-stop training.
The episode hits it’s peak in the last 8 minutes when Jessica and Honey go on The Wheel and are dominating the game while we see Honey having a full blown breakdown on national tv (within our show. Tc-ception). The inclusion of Pat and Vanna, nd their spat really helped the dialogue clip along and lead into the impressively acted blowup between Honey and Jessica. Cut to a brief cuktural analysis that is rooted less in race and more in upbringing about hospitality and manners and we get a heart warming scene amongat friends that becomes just campy enough at the last second to keep the laughs going.
There were moments in the premiere we thought we’d lost the old Jessica and the writers were majing her too one dimensional, but Constance Wu pulled it out (as she always does) and reminded us why we love this show and made us confident that this will be a memorable season for the sitcom.