ABC has been basking in the glory of their crown jewel Modern Family. It’s a cash cow, and it’s won the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series five years in a row (one for every single season so far), tying Frasier‘s record. They new they hit something good with relating to white families, so of course they must replicate it.
Black-ish premiered in fall 2014 and tried to do for black families what Modern Family did for white families. Anthony Anderson’s comedy is decent, but never truly feels original. It’ll last, I’m sure, but it’s not the newest and greatest show.
Enter Fresh Off The Boat. Premiering a bit under the radar, this new series stars an Asian family who makes a move from Washington, D.C. to Florida and must adjust during the mid-90s. Rather than focusing primarily on the adults, Fresh is narrated by Eddie, the eldest of the three elementary-age boys. Eddie’s perspective guides the show as the family makes due in their new lives. He’s a wannabe gangster rapper, and his nineties-vibe is hilarious and well-written.
The family is entirely likable, even the harsh Jessica (Constance Wu) and Louis, portrayed by the funny, if not the best actor, Randall Park. The secondary kids are all funny and decent actors, unlike all the kids in Black-ish. Of course Eddie is the standout as the lead. It’s a fresh perspective, different from the kids on Modern Family.
Fresh Off The Boat succeeds where Black-ish fails. While it centers on an Asian family, the storylines don’t hinge on racial stereotypes. While Black-ish (often a very funny show, don’t get me wrong) seems to only have one card to play, Fresh Off The Boat doesn’t use race as an excuse to fill every episode. Sure there are plenty of racial jokes and funny bits having to do with the Asian family, but it’s secondary to the main plot.
Don’t get me wrong, Black-ish is a funny show that will hopefully get better, but Fresh Off The Boat is the real “answer” to Modern Family. It’s got a unique perspective and hilarious take on the family sitcom. I hope it continues.