Disney-ABC to reach out to #AAPI moms for #FreshOffTheBoat!

Constance Wu, who plays Jessica Huang on ABC's new sitcom "Fresh Off The Boat"
Constance Wu, who plays Jessica Huang on ABC’s new sitcom “Fresh Off The Boat”

It’s no secret: Fresh Off The Boat has been hugely impactful to the AAPI community. One particular subset that has connected with the show are AAPI mothers, particularly first-generation parents who gravitate to Constance Wu’s funny, poignant and nuanced portrayal of an intelligent, fiercely passionate fish-out-of-water immigrant mother in Jessica Huang.

That may be at least partially why AAPI family bloggers reacted with such dismay earlier this week with news that a Disney-ABC mommy blogger junket that included a screening and cast meet-and-greet for Fresh Off  The Boat  and Big Hero 6 included no self-identifying Asian American or Pacific Islander family bloggers. Lack of AAPI representation at this junket was a missed opportunity to engage with the AAPI community surrounding programming of particular significance to us.

Yesterday, I blogged about why these kinds of promotional junkets are important, and how Disney-ABC could stand to benefit by increasing engagement with Asian American consumers.

Today, we’ve got some amazing news from this studio: it looks like Disney-ABC heard us!

Continue reading “Disney-ABC to reach out to #AAPI moms for #FreshOffTheBoat!”

Review: “Fresh Off The Boat” sets sail with promising first two episodes

The Huangs of ABC's new sitcom, Fresh Off The Boat.
The Huangs of ABC’s new sitcom, Fresh Off The Boat.

Call it #FOTBFever. Call it #Huangsanity.

Last night, the hotly-anticipated new ABC single-camera sitcom, Fresh Off The Boat, debuted in a special preview event: the series’ first two episodes aired in a bookend fashion around ABC’s Wednesday night anchor show, Modern Family (displacing for one week Anthony Anderson’s Black-ish); despite its clunky interrupted format, FOTB earned a solid 2.5 rating in the 18-49 demographic making it the second highest ranked comedy premiere this season and attracting better ratings than the most recent episode of Black-ish.

This marks the first time in 20 years that a primetime family sitcom has aired starring an all Asian American family, which is itself an historic occasion for the normalization of the Asian American nuclear family. That impact on the American pop culture (and political) zeitgeist cannot be — and should not be — understated.

However, in an effort to correct a few over-exuberant headlines and tweets of the past week, let’s also be clear: FOTB  is not the first Asian American family sitcom; not the first sitcom to star an Asian American male lead; not the only primetime comedy or sitcom to star an Asian American; not the only currently airing primetime network show to star primarily Asian American actors and to delve deeply into questions of Asian American identity; and — since multiracial Asian Americans are still Asian American — not the only sitcom of the last two decades to focus a lens on a diasporically Asian American family.

Nonetheless, Fresh Off The Boat deserves kudos for being one of the few primetime shows — of any genre — to engage Asian American creative talent at all levels of production: inspired by the autobiography of a Taiwanese American celebrity chef, the show also boasts an Asian American producer, writers, and lead cast. For this reason, FOTB‘s voice (unlike that of many of its predecessors) rings clear as undeniably Asian American, and therefore marks a pioneering moment for the representation of an Asian American lived experience in mainstream television.

For this reason, Asian Americans could not have been filled with greater glee (and a healthy dose of trepidation) yesterday had Jeremy Lin single-handedly led the Lakers to a flawless victory over the Heat while announcing during the game’s halftime show his secret engagement to Taylor Swift below a stadium-cam HBO simulcast of Manny Pacquiao defeating Floyd Mayweather by total knockout victory in the second minute of round 2. All day, my social media timelines were a deluge of breathlessly excited status updates and tweets over FOTB; and, by the second episode’s closing credits last night at 10pm EST, viewers had crowded into live watch parties across the country to watch the series’ launch with over a thousand of their closest friends, and the hashtag #FreshOffTheBoat was a top trending topic on Twitter.

So, was it worth all the hype?

Continue reading “Review: “Fresh Off The Boat” sets sail with promising first two episodes”

ABC adds 2 new sitcoms featuring Asian American male leads with “Selfie”, “Fresh Off The Boat”

The diverse cast of ABC's new sitcom, "Selfie".
The diverse cast of ABC’s new sitcom, “Selfie”.

Last week, ABC made history by green-lighting two new sitcoms for their fall lineup that will include Asian American men in leading roles.

Earlier in the week, ABC announced it was picking up Selfie, a sitcom adaptation of My Fair Lady. Scottish actress Karen Gillan (Doctor Who) plays Eliza Dooley who enlists the help of Henry, an arrogant marketing expert (and likely love interest) played by John Cho (Star TrekSleepy HollowHarold & KumarBetter Luck Tomorrow), to help her rebuild her image after a humiliating break-up goes viral and launches her social media presence into the stratosphere.

Selfie features a racially diverse cast, and with its pickup, Cho will join only a small handful of Asian American men currently on TV as lead characters in primetime sitcoms.

Continue reading “ABC adds 2 new sitcoms featuring Asian American male leads with “Selfie”, “Fresh Off The Boat””