Another year has gone by and we were given another Fresh Off the Boat Christmas episode to hold us over through the hiatus. Happy holidays though, because the hiatus is short and the Huangs will be back on January 4th!

The episode forewent a bunch of guest stars [remember last year’s Paula Abdul episode?] and focused on the evolving traditions as the boys get older, and how Jessica struggles to let go of tradition. Not to take us out of the holiday spirit, but the lack of Honey, Marvin, and Nicole was noticeable and we couldn’t help but think budget constraints are keeping the show to a shoe-string cast.

Fresh Off the Boat – ABC

That is until the B-plot of Emery deciding which friend to bring culminated in Evan inviting -all- of Emery’s friends to show him he’s special. Not the most practical plan, as 12 people on your doorstep to attend a Christmas Eve dinner for 9 doesn’t add up, but it was nice to see a more focused storyline with the younger siblings. Plus the good cop/bad cop scene where Louis and Evan try and force Emery took to make a decision was hilarious – so A+ on that.

The only part of the episode that threw us off is when Jessica gets so fed up with Eddie’s pushing back on tradition and “sabotaging” their Christmas that she throws the tree over. It seemed like a too over-the-top response for Jessica and a lot of misdirected anger at a tree. Also, they used the same “mom destroyed a tree” scene in American Housewife – also on ABC – and also with Ali Wong on the payroll. I see you Ali, and if this wasn’t your doing then….we still see you because we still love you! The episode wasn’t bad for it, quite the opposite: it was nice to see Jessica get emotional and it gave us a break from the traditional (ha) nuanced recurring jokes, like Jessica’s Christmas Village. But with themes of “tradition” and “resisting change” being a focus on both episodes, we can’t help but point it out.

We do raise an eyebrow to Eddie continuously trying to make peppermint brownies through the episode. We haven’t seen hints of the show indicating he is embarrassing his future as a celebrity chef in quite some time, and now we are on the lookout for more indicators! As much as we aren’t ready for the series to end, we want full closure on the family’s journey if it does. So come back January 4th for “Just the Two of Us”, which hopefully involves more of the extended cast [except not Eddie’s new “girlfriend” – not because she’s homeless, but because she is way too old for him. Looking at you grandma Huang!].

You can catch up on the entire season on Hulu in the meantime!