Title: Fresh Off the Boat (2015– )


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"Fresh Off The Boat" can't be my story.

Note that the title of "Fresh Off The Boat" is not, in fact, racist, no matter what silly people in your Twitter feed might be saying. It's traditionally a phrase that has been used within ethnic groups to describe less assimilated members of the same ethnic group. But it's being reappropriated on several levels. The Huangs' transplantation isn't from Taiwan to the United States. It's from Washington to Orlando a journey which, while presumably boatable, is most conveniently taken by land. These characters are NOT fresh off the boat to America, but rather fish out of water being transplanted to a different out of water location, a diaspora within a diaspora.

At the very least, the title is meant to make you examine all cases of cultural transplantation and assimilation. And that's before you get into the '80s and '90s hip-hop usage of fresh, which would seem to validate or celebrate difference. So let's just get this out of the way. The title of "Fresh Off The Boat" isn't racist or xenophobic or literally anything negative. But the fact that we need to have this disclaimer suggests it may not be a great title. As I've been saying since spring: If your title puts up a barrier that dissuades even a single viewer from watching your show, even if that's probably a reflection on that individual persnickety viewer, it's still bad business for a fragile show that isn't going to be able to sell itself on big-name stars or anything.

"Fresh Off The Boat" is more important as a specific story.

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    Especially when Apt. 23 went down — obviously I was drunk for a long time and crying, but once I came out of that — it's like, where is the best home for Fresh Off the Boat, where it has the best chance of getting on the air? They made a strong case just by pointing at what they've done and saying, "We want this take on a family show, we've never seen anything like this and this is something that deserves to be on the air."

    Along with FOX's "Last Man On Earth," "Fresh Off The Boat" is one of the best new network comedies of the spring and both are probably better than any network half-hour -- allowing for "Jane the Virgin" genre wiggle-room here -- that debuted last fall.