I was invited as media to cover this press event. All opinions are mine alone, and may differ from your own.
I’m home from LA and can’t wait to share all the exciting news from the press trip! First up in the insider scoop on ABC’s new comedy, Fresh Off the Boat, which is loosely based off the memoir by chef Eddie Huang.
The show is based on the year 1995 when Eddie’s family moves from the Chinatown section of Washington DC to Orlando, Florida in search of the American dream. Eddie’s dad, Louis, opens a western-themed restaurant, Cattleman’s Ranch Steakhouse on Orlando’s infamous I-drive. The premise of the show is to follow the lives of the Huang family and their adjustment to their new, strange lives, while taking a humorous look at the life of American immigrants in the 90’s.
While in LA, our group of bloggers had the opportunity to sit down with Fresh Off the Boat Writer/Executive Producer Nahnatchka Khan and Co Executive Producer Kourtney Kang.
Both ladies come from immigrant families and could relate to the show’s premise. Khan mentions during the Q&A, “if you’re from any kind of immigrant experience or if you just felt like an outsider for whatever reason, this is a show that you can relate to.” Kang follows up in agreement mentioning, “That’s what I think is so neat about the show. Even though it’s sort of like Asian thing, it’s really about this like broader sense of not feeling so much like you’re a part of things.”
Khan also shares, “We had so many story ideas up on the board because people could just identify with a lot of different parts of it, with the music part, I mean even that was like an element of not understanding the sort of music that other people were listening to and you felt different because you liked something [else], and not being able to afford Air Jordans or whatever.”
When asked about working on shows with young kids before, both producers said they hadn’t. However they think it makes for a fun working environment.
The group interview finishes with Khan graciously sharing that although the show is a risk that it’s been extremely satisfying to see the response from people understanding and embracing the show.
We also had the opportunity to sit down with young actors Forrest Wheeler (Emery) and Ian Chen (Evan) from the ABC show.
The boys were simply adorable and very polite. The boys are 10 and 8 and Fresh Off the Boat is their first tv series as the main cast. When asked what his favorite part of working on set, Ian mentions, “playing after work.” The whole room laughed and that’s when this picture was snapped below. Out of the mouth of babes, right?!
When asked if they are like their characters on the show, Forrest said, “Yes. The only difference between Emery and me is that I don’t have girlfriends yet.” While Ian adds, “he’s a tiny bit like his character [because] first of all he doesn’t tattle tale.” The boys shared that they like being on set and learning different things like how the camera works and the art department.
We also had the opportunity to see Fresh Off The Boat upcoming episodes 2 (The Shunning) and 4 (Success Perm), both appearing on ABC tonight!
While I didn’t have firsthand experience with being an American immigrant, my great grandparents did, and I grew up hearing their stories of coming over on boats from Sicily and trying to make a better life for their families while living in New York. I did relate on other levels since I’m a kid of the 80’s and grew up in Orlando, Florida where the show is based. I remember Cattleman’s Ranch Steakhouse and was a super Orlando Magic fan, I’m still a fan of the basketball team to this day. A lot of the references feel like inside jokes to me because the story is based on my town. While the show is being pitched as a family comedy, I don’t think it’s something my young boys will watch. Young Eddie (the oldest son) uses language that’s more suited for a teenage and adult audience. I find the show comical and very relatable though. I definitely recommend checking out the show!