First off, thanks to holiday scheduling Fresh Off the Boat won’t be back until December 7th! When we have gaps like that we expect showed to throw in one of their stronger episodes before going on hiatus, and since this season has felt slightly out of order anyway, they really should have switched this weeks episode to last week and pushed “Mo’ Chinese Mo’ Problems” to this week’s spot. That isn’t to say that “Sub Standard” wasn’t a good episode, it was just extremely standard.
Once again Evan and Emery are shoved to the wayside, in their own B-plot away from any action or character development. Emery gets a splinter and is a baby about it and won’t let Evan remove it until Grandma Jenny lowkey threatens him with the “hard way”. The entire thing could have been one scene, and Evan still thinking he will be a “doctor president” in middle school feels disingenuous? As does Jessica lumping Emery in with Evan as reliable and academically inclined after last week saying he was like Eddie and Evan was her star. Flip floppin’ Jessica was at least on the more praiseful end in front of her middle child. For all of our criticism the hard eye contact while setting off the Operation buzzer was so funny it was worth everything- we cackled so hard we had to pause the show.
On the more adult side of things, after a little prodding by Jessica, Louis goes rogue with Honey as they both try to get back in shape. We get to see them flounder in jazzy 90’s step-class and lash out at an exceedingly stationary stride-and-stroll mommy group. But as we are feeling a twinge of relatable guilty when their weight loss efforts keep coming up in vain they reveal that Honey is pregnant with another baby! This wraps up with us learning an old non-pc phrase that’s new to us: “Irish Twins”. So all-in-all a very successful storyline, but adding another baby to a sitcom? Dangerous, but we’ll always tune in.
And that leaves Jessica and Eddie, who are in a very tiresome dance as Jessica decides weeks later she needs to fill the void from her book’s failure by focusing on her children’s success [thanks to revelations she has while abusing the school councelor]. Enter the titular sub, Mr. Grant, is played by the hunky Ryan Hansen, but abandon all crushes he’s happily married. He was bound to give us strange feelings since he was written as a #relatable bro, like a youth counselor, with “radical” ideas about education that the kids eat up. Of course, it catches the attention of Jessica, who ends up harassing the “real” English teacher out with a broken collarbone. It has its funny moments, but it’s more a heartwarming storyline about Jessica struggling to release control and have an open mind and eventually compromising and bonding with Eddie by meeting in the middle. If anything can get kids into learning, roll with it, and the scene where Jessica doesn’t believe in Eddie but then unknowingly praises his essay really moved me because it was such a relatable moment. So often parents don’t know how competent their children have grown to be, so a thumbs up to Fresh Off the Boat and we look forward to their return on December 7th, where we hopefully get to see Jessica explore her new goals of school administration — an exciting prospect for the show!