Fresh Off the Boat
Fresh Off the Boat was one of the most talked-about shows of the 2017-2018 television season. The ABC sitcom, starring Constance Wu, directed by Lee Zeplin, follows Wu’s character as she tries to adjust to life in Orlando, Florida after moving there with her husband and kids. With its diverse cast—which includes Wu, Randall Park, and Lakeith Stanfield—it was fitting that Fresh Off the Boat was such a hit. The show won the 2018 Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding Comedy Series.
Though its run has since ended, the show still inspires discussion about its portrayal of Asian-Americans and its diverse cast. For example, Wu’s character is an accomplished chemist who is an expert in gluten sensitivity, while Park’s character is a veterinarian who is proficient in Japanese animal language. These characters and their expertise make Fresh Off the Boat a show that anyone could enjoy. The show’s success is a testament to its strong writing and its stellar performances by three terrific actresses: Wu, Park, and newcomer Jessica Wu. The former was even nominated for a Television Critics Association Award for Individual Achievement in Comedy. We ranked the top 10 most unforgettable moments from the series. Keep reading for more!
10. The Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie
The gluten-free pumpkin pie is back, and it’s as good as ever. On Fresh Off the Boat, it’s called the ‘eggplant parmigiana,’ and it’s a special request for Wu’s character, Louisa. She asks for it because she knows that it will make her son, Charlie, happy. Even though Charlie has been diagnosed with gluten sensitivity, he loves pies and hopes for some of Louisa’s famous eggplant parmigiana. Though Louisa makes it clear that this is because she wants to make her son happy, we know that she also hopes that he will one day enjoy the food product that she creates.
It’s a sweet moment when, a couple of seasons later, Louisa finally serves Charlie his eggplant parmigiana. He enjoys it so much, in fact, that he requests a 2nd helping. That’s when Louisa finally figures out that Charlie has a problem. She realizes that he is not going to grow out of this food allergy, and so she decides to cook him traditional American food in order to satisfy his cravings. It’s a nice moment that shows how much the character’s relationship with her son has changed.
9. The Glorious Twelfth
It’s Christmas time, and it’s been a tough year for Charlie. He lost his grandmother, who was a big part of his life. He also lost his job as a security guard when he had to go on medical leave due to depression. At the same time, he’s been homesick and misses his dad, who is still in Perth, Australia working on his master’s degree in architecture. To make matters worse, his dad has become a vegetarian since learning about the cruelty to animals that comes with meat production. This change of heart has alienated him from his family and friends. So, when Louisa makes the decision to finally tell Charlie that he’s adopted, it’s a relief to him. It means that he can finally come home for the holidays and be with people who love and support him.
For a while, it seems like it’s going to be a happy reunion. While louisa and her husband, Eddie, are cooking a traditional dinner to welcome home Charlie, his brother, Nick, comes into the kitchen with a woman on his arm. The woman is none other than Charlie’s long-lost love, Serena. On their first meeting, it seems like their chemistry is undeniable. Though they have both aged significantly since their time apart, it’s clear that their feelings for each other haven’t changed at all. So, when Charlie opens up to Serena about his homecoming, she joyfully accepts his invitation to spend Christmas with him in Orlando. This is one glorious twelfth!
8. The Evolution Of A Family
Though the show focuses on Louisa Wu’s character and her interactions with other family members—her husband, Eddie, and their two boys—we learn a lot about the evolution of a family through the characters of Louisa’s son, Charlie, and her daughter, Sally.
Charlie is a typical millennial who is more concerned with his mental wellbeing than anything else. After his grandmother’s passing, he decides to go on a sabbatical to Europe. While on the trip, he stumbles upon an old diary and is inspired to take a fresh look at his life. He comes back and decides that he wants to live in a bigger house with his family. He even starts looking for job opportunities that would allow him to support his family. Meanwhile, Sally is a very career-oriented young woman who has big dreams of her own. She wants to be a famous fashion designer who can provide a comfortable lifestyle for herself and her family. Though their goals may seem very different, we learn that they both have very much to offer the other. For example, Sally is the complete opposite of Charlie when it comes to making important decisions. She likes to take the path of least resistance and so always opts for the easy way out. Though she may come across as an airhead at times, she’s actually quite the opposite. She’s very intelligent and has a great grasp on practical matters.
The series ends on an emotional note, as we see Eddie and Louisa drive off to start a new life together. Though the couple has been through a lot, they seem happy and content in the end. It’s been a long road for all of them, and it’s clear that they all made many changes along the way. The story of Fresh Off the Boat is one that anyone can relate to. It’s a show that will speak to and affect anyone who watches it. The series finale is both uplifting and encouraging, as we see Eddie and Louisa embracing their new life together. It’s a testament to the strength of the writing and the performances by the entire cast that this series finale is one of the most heartfelt and emotional episodes of the television season. We rank the top 10 most unforgettable moments from the series.
7. The First Thanksgiving (Pilot)
The first Thanksgiving was one of the earliest television series to ever premiere. It’s been more than 60 years since its original run, but the series still holds up as one of the best Thanksgiving-themed shows. The comedy, which originally aired in 1947, stars Walter Matthau and Eleanor Parker. The former is a cantankerous, elderly man who refuses to leave New York City. Matthau plays fast and loose with the facts of American history, but this doesn’t seem to bother anyone but Parker.
The show’s main setting is a New York City apartment building. All of the main and supporting characters—with the exception of Walter Matthau—visit the apartment for various holiday celebrations. The first Thanksgiving is a series of vignettes that chronicle famous American events from colonial times to the present. The episode centers on the Revolutionary War and features Abraham Lincoln, who is played by James Whitmore. Though Whitmore’s portrayal of Lincoln was considered stately and dignified back then, it still comes across as stiff and cold today. That’s probably because all of our impressions of Lincoln are from the movies. This was certainly not the case in the 1940s, when Whitmore first played the 16th President of the United States. The actor won an Emmy for his role and also recorded a memorable interpretation of the Gettysburg Address. This probably explains why this episode of The First Thanksgiving still resonates so strongly with viewers today.
6. The Matchmaker
The Matchmaker, starring Debbie Reynolds and George Burns, is one of the classic films from the golden era of Hollywood. The movie, which was released in 1951, is about an aging actress who decides to try matchmaking after her career takes a sharp turn for the worse. Reynolds plays Mildred Adams, an elderly woman who decides to take a leap of faith and set up her own matchmaking business. She calls her company ‘Adams and Company.’
Though her clients are mainly older men, Mildred becomes determined to find love for her younger sister, Estelle, who is played by Joan Leslie. The two of them set out to find the perfect husband for Estelle, who is plagued by bad luck and bad choices. The film is well-known for its memorable and extravagant weddings, which are the perfect showcase for Reynolds’ dramatic acting chops. She received an Academy Award nomination for her role in The Matchmaker, and the film also marks the acting debut of Carrie Fisher. Though it is considered one of the greatest films of all time, the actress later noted that she wished that she had never made the film. The Matchmaker is one of the first films to tackle the issue of ageism and to shine a light on the hidden prejudices that older generations often have against those who are different from them.