There have been so many wonderful and memorable sitcoms on television and with that, we’ve met families who we love or may have grown up with. We got the Tanners, the Cosbys, the Lopezs, the Winslows, and many more. It’s amazing to see such diversity pass through television history because with every ethnicity in the world comes a different culture and story. One of the great purposes of watching family sitcoms is being able to relate to their stories and reminisce on our own memories with our families–although, this may not be the case for everyone.
You may not have noticed, but through all television history, never has there been a lasting, real, authentic representation of an Asian American family. That was until this year, a new sitcom starring a full Asian American cast, Fresh Off the Boat premiered on February 4 on ABC. This comedy, based on chef and author Eddie Huang’s childhood, tells of a Taiwanese family who are transitioning from their lives in Washington D.C. to Orlando, Florida as they chase for their American Dream.
For me, this show is a big deal. For so long, we’ve depicted and categorized Asians as doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc. and that’s fantastic. In a sense, yes, it is flattering to go to family reunions and hear people’s assumption of how smart and intelligent I must be with my future biology and chemistry degree, but it feels as though this assumption has come across America so often that, that’s all we picture for Asian people to be. With Fresh Off the Boat, it is a step to picturing Asian American’s on the screen–it is a step to seeing what we can do outside our stereotypical boundary.
I am proud of ABC for taking this chance and producing a show that stars Asian actors and telling a story that is not often told. And what’s admirable about ABC is that they aren’t limiting the story plots of this show–they are producing a show that shares equal hilarity and story lines to their other comedies such as the Goldbergs, Modern Family, and The Middle. That way, all audiences will be able to enjoy and relate to the show for all its parts. Not the mention, the actors of Fresh Off the Boat are able to tell so much many stories outside of karate, math, or studying for their big exam (#AsianStereotypes101).
Fresh Off the Boat represents a culture that wants to be heard. This show is the start of defying and breaking down the barrier of those stereotypical speculations of being Asian American. If this show survives, and I hope it does, I want it to inspire our future generations of Asian Americans to know that we all have endless potential. I want it to open more opportunities for them as well because we can be artists, doctors, musicians, directors, writers, actors–anything we set our minds to be. Even though it took this long to have something in the media and entertainment that mainly concentrates on Asian Americans, I am glad that it’s happening now than never because it’s just unbelievable to see this culture finally being recognized.