'Fresh Off the Boat' puts focus on Asian-American families

Tue Feb 3, 2015 2:02pm EST
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(Please be advised that paragraphs 8 and 9 contain language that may offend some readers)

By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hip-hop loving 12 year-old Eddie Huang just wants to fit in. His Taiwanese immigrant dad Louis is trying to make a go of running a country-style steak house, and mom Jessica finds little in common with her new, white, roller-blading Florida neighbors.

The Huang family is "Fresh Off the Boat" in U.S. network television's first Asian-American family comedy in 20 years, premiering on ABC on Wednesday. And despite a title taken from a common put-down for immigrants, the Asian-American community appears ready for the program.

"I thought it was so refreshing," said California Congresswoman Judy Chu after watching an early screening of the program. "It showed a full view of Asian Americans in this country as opposed to a stereotypical image we've had to live with for a long time."

"Fresh Off the Boat" stars Randall Park and Constance Wu, who with their three children move in the 1990s to Orlando, Florida, from Chinatown in Washington, D.C.

The culture-shock comedy was inspired by New York BaoHaus restaurant owner Eddie Huang's best-selling 2013 memoir of the same title. Huang, 32, narrates the TV series and is a producer.

Although Asian-Americans make up about 5.5 percent of the U.S. population according to census figures, it is the first family sitcom about that community on network television since comedian Margaret Cho's "All-American Girl" ran for one season in 1994-95.

"Fresh Off the Boat" pulls no punches over racism.   Continued...

ABC's "Fresh Off the Boat" stars Forrest Wheeler as Emery, Ian Chen as Evan, Hudson Yang as Eddie, Constance Wu as Jessica and Randall Park as Louis. REUTERS/ABC/Bob D'Amico/Handout