5 Reasons To Watch #FreshOffTheBoat Tonight

Randall Park and Constance Wu play the Huangs in ABC's Fresh Off The Boat.
Randall Park and Constance Wu play the Huangs in ABC’s Fresh Off The Boat.

Last week, Fresh Off The Boat debuted as book-ends to ABC’s Wednesday night powerhouse, Modern Family. Tonight, Fresh Off The Boat moves to its regular time-slot on Tuesday nights at 8pm.

Because everyone loves listicles, here are five reasons to tune your TV to ABC tonight at 8pm EST/PST and catch episodes 3 and 4 of Fresh Off The Boat:

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1. Fresh Off The Boat has been getting rave reviews from TV critics.

Seriously, critics love this show. Lots of positive reviews are all over the web right now. It’s got an 8.4/10 on IMDB and an 8.9/10 on TV.com.

My review — one that is a little more reserved in its effusive praise — is here.

2. Fresh Off The Boat is one of less than a handful of primetime mainstream TV shows to feature a predominantly AAPI cast.

The last sitcom to feature an AAPI male lead was ABC’s now-cancelled SelfieThe last sitcom to feature an AAPI family of any kind was the now-cancelled Sullivan & Son, which focused on a biracial Asian American family. The last sitcom to feature an AAPI family with an entirely AAPI cast was the now-cancelled All-American Girl. I mean, seriously, folks — that’s a pretty telling history right there.

3. AAPI viewers are connecting to this show.

I think one of the most interesting reactions to Fresh Off The Boat has been the excitement it has sparked within the Asian American community. Asian Americans across the country are using FOTB to share stories of their own childhoods. The show debuted last week to a 1000+-person watch party in NYC and a slightly smaller one in LA; last night, a preview screening of episodes 3 & 4 also drew crowds.

I’ve been honest in confessing both my interest in the show’s success, as well as my ongoing concerns over some of its topics; I will be continuing to follow Fresh Off The Boat both because its success is clearly so meaningful to members of our community, and also to see how these issues play out.

Whether you love the show or are still reserving judgement, FOTB is the Asian American Happening right now.

4. Fresh Off The Boat debuted last Wednesday to (unexpectedly) solid ratings.

To be honest, I don’t think anyone expected how strongly Fresh Off The Boat would debut on Wednesday of last week. Nearly 8 million viewers tuned in to catch the first episode of FOTB, garnering it a 2.5 in the 18-49 age demographic on the mysterious (to me) Nielsen scale. However, in light of people’s shifting TV viewing habits — many viewers now record shows for later or On Demand viewing  — advertisers and studios really care about a metric called Live+3, which basically refers to how many people watched a show both live as well as within 3 days of its airing.

FOTB‘s Live+3 rating is a staggering 3.3 for viewers aged 18-49 meaning a total of nearly 10 million viewers decided to watch the show last week and also making Fresh Off The Boat the second most popular show of the season.

No one expected FOTB to flop, but I don’t think anyone expected ratings this good for a spring addition to the sitcom lineup.

5. Fresh Off The Boat‘s performance in tonight’s tough timeslot is what really matters to studios.

Fresh Off The Boat‘s fate depends not on its performance last Wednesday, however, but on how it fares in its regular timeslot: Tuesdays at 8pm. This is a notoriously difficult time for ABC sitcoms, and is one inherited by FOTB from Selfie. Tonight, FOTB faces off against CBS’ NCIS, which usually dominates the evening among TV viewers.

So, ABC will be watching — very, very closely — tonight to see if FOTB‘s success last week translates to any viewership tonight. So, if you really want FOTB to make it through the season and be renewed, you should turn your TV on to ABC at 8pm tonight.

6. (BONUS!) You get to hang out with me in a live-tweet party!

Okay, yeah — that’s not really much of a draw, I know. But, yes, I will be live-tweeting the two-episode airing of Fresh Off The Boat tonight starting at 8pm EST on #FreshOffTheBoat. I’m told I’m pretty funny in live-tweets (although the person who told me that does have a vested interest in complimenting me since he also lives with me). To prove my Twitter chops, here’s the Storify of my live-tweets for FOTB‘s episodes 1 and 2.

A better draw? Some other wonderful folks — at least the following, so far: @originalspin, @altonwang @kirida — are also committed to live-tweeting tonight. Now there’s a reason to tune in, am I right?

So, please join me at 8pm EST (or you can catch it at 8pm PST if you’re West Coast) for the third and fourth episodes of Fresh Off The Boat and live-tweeting at #FreshOffTheBoatI promise I’ll try to be Twitter-funny.

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