ABC has picked up the sitcom “Fresh Off the Boat,” based on chef Eddie Huang’s memoir of the same name, for the network’s 2014-2015 primetime schedule.
It will be the first sitcom about an Asian American family in nearly 20 years. The last one was “All-American Girl,” starring Margaret Cho, which ran for one season (1994-95) on ABC. The first was “Mr. T and Tina” (1976), starring Pat Morita, also on ABC.
In announcing the fall schedule, ABC Entertainment Group President Paul Lee said, “Our schedule reflects a judicious mix of boldness and stability. ABC is finishing the season with momentum — we now have building blocks on every night of the week, and we’re using them to launch our new series. This season we set out to develop passion projects from world-class storytellers and showcase the faces and voices of America. Both plans unleashed a wave of creativity and we’re extremely excited about the new slate.”
The other new shows are “American Crime,” “Black-ish,” “Cristela,” “Forever,” “Galavant,” “How to Get Away with Murder,” “Manhattan Love Story,” “Marvel’s Agent Carter,” “Secrets and Lies,” “Selfie” and “The Whispers.”
Fall premiere dates will be announced at a later time.
“Fresh Off the Boat” stars 10-year-old Hudson Yang, son of Wall Street Journal columnist Jeff Yang. His character is based on Huang, who was born in Washington, D.C. in 1982 to Taiwanese immigrant parents and grew up in Orlando, Fla. Today, Huang is known as the owner of BaoHaus, a restaurant in New York, and a former Cooking Channel host. His memoir was on the New York Times bestseller list last year.
“The show is like nothing you will have ever seen before on television,” wrote Jeff Yang, who was on set when the pilot was filmed. “If it makes it to air, it will blow minds, raise eyebrows and, to quote a line that my son says as Little Eddie, ‘change the game.’ I would honestly say the same if I weren’t the lead actor’s father. It’s that different. And provocative. And, yes, gut-bustingly funny.”
ABC gives the following description of “Fresh Off the Boat”:
It’s the ’90s and 12-year-old hip-hop loving Eddie (Hudson Yang) just moved to suburban Orlando with his family. Before this, his immigrant family settled easily into Washington, D.C.’s Chinatown. But here, it is pure culture shock for them. Orlando doesn’t have a Chinatown… unless you count the Huang house.
The popular kids at Eddie’s junior high school are impressed by his love of hip-hop, but banish him from their table when he opens up his “fragrant” traditional Chinese lunch in the middle of the crowded cafeteria.
It is almost as bad for his immigrant mother, Jessica (Constance Wu), who has never seen the inside of a traditional American supermarket and can’t understand the fast-talking, rollerblading neighbor moms. Plus, the Florida humidity is a disaster for her hair.
His immigrant dad, Louis (Randall Park), is the complete opposite. He loves all things American and proudly embraces his patriotism with his Old West-themed American steakhouse complete with wagon wheel tables. He’s determined to bring in more customers and make his restaurant a success so his family can prosper and be happy in this country.
His Grandma Huang is in her own world, cracking up while she watches the shopping networks with her new credit card in hand. Although she speaks no English, she is inexplicably tickled to death by Joan Rivers.
Eddie has to watch out for his 9-year-old brother Gary, the suck-up of the family, who is always ready to tell on his brothers every chance he gets. It is Eddie’s 11-year-old brother Freddy who is fitting in best. He scored a girlfriend the first day of school while Eddie, trying to maintain some street cred, ended up in the principal’s office for fighting the school’s other least popular kid.
Through it all, they have each other’s backs and their American Dream.