Fresh Off the Boat

TV review by Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Fresh Off the Boat Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 12+

Fierce memoir about Asian family makes fresh, sweet sitcom.

ABC Comedy 2015

Parents say

age 12+

Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 11+

Based on 30 reviews

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Good racial discussions, but not the kind of behaviours you want to pass on to kids

As a teacher consolidating an English unit on narratives from the Asian perspective, I was thinking of showing some episodes to my grade 7 students. Upon watching the pilot, I realised this would not be a good idea. While the issues around racism, mainly from the Asian perspective are especially poignant (while remaining lighthearted about it), especially as an Asian-Australian myself... the behaviour of the main character, Eddie, is completely inappropriate at multiple points, without being properly addressed by his parents, making it seem acceptable. One of the main behaviours I would not want my students bringing back home to their parents is the consistent swearing that Eddie does throughout the pilot. The mother reprimands him just once at the start, but he simply ignores it and continues to do it in front of her for the rest of the episode, without her mentioning anything about it. This seems to 'normalise' his bad language and rude attitude towards his mother at a young age. Another very problematic behaviour is Eddie's violent response to being called a 'chink'. While Eddie's negative feelings are completely warranted, his parents actually seem to encourage this response rather than discuss what other less violent approaches Eddie could have taken to the situation. I feel it is dangerous territory to be allowing children to sort their problems out with violence, and thus I would prefer to avoid imparting this message on impressionable younger kids. This would be a good watch to discuss racial issues, but probably with slightly older teenagers who have a better handle on what sort of behaviours they know is acceptable and unacceptable.

This title has:

Great messages
Too much violence
Too much swearing
2 people found this helpful.
age 14+

Not the best role models

As an American of Chinese descent, I can honestly say that much of what is depicted in this TV show about the Huang family and their experiences is accurate,although with a comic twist instead of the more sobering reality of being different. And much of what I didn't experience but is featured on this show, I have witnessed myself in my Orange County neighborhood, such as the Chinese Learning Center after-school. Much of this show I found to be very humorous. I have concluded that Fresh Off the Boat is an entertaining vehicle for many Asians raised in America, and for the non-Asian it could be a cross-cultural education. Unfortunately, the positive and educational messages are marred by inappopriate language , especially by the parents. Mom's "HELL, NO!" shows up in numerous episodes, and the father kiddingly namecalls a tennis partner "a- - wipe." As mentioned by a previous reviewer, behaviors, not just words go outside the young child viewing category. While 11-year old Eddie embraces the sexy adult-aged neighbor he lets his hand fall to her behind, to the awe of his peers. The woman looks surprised and takes no action. Inappropriate on so many levels. Eddie talks with a lot of swag and pomp, which is entertaining, but in reality, for a child of any age, to talk to his parents with a prideful attitude is not cool. Anyone with a teenager can tell you they don't want their kids to receive any additional encouragement from TV for their children to behave with [a disrespectful] "attitude. " To do so is NOT an Asian trait. I am very sad that this show was unable to be more family-appropriate so I could watch it with my daughter and talk about my own childhood experiences with racism. It won't be through this show anytime soon.

This title has:

Great messages
Too much sex
Too much swearing
2 people found this helpful.

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