diversity | May 20, 2014

Fresh Off the Boat: Eddie Huang's Sitcom Puts Asian-Americans Back on Primetime

Everyone's talking about Fresh Off the Boat—the first Asian-American family-centric TV series in 20 years. Airing on ABC, the new sitcom, which is based on speaker Eddie Huang's bestselling memoir, has sparked an important discussion about diversity on television. As PolicyMic says, it's "a long-overdue win for Asian-American representation in the primetime slot."

Huang, who is also chef and owner of the popular Taiwanese restaurant Baohaus and host of a Vice travel series and Pivot's new weeknight talk show TakePart Live, told Buzzfeed: “I just want to bring my story—and my take on the Asian-American experience—to pretty much anyone who’ll listen...I want to represent the Asian-American story, but even more than that, this is a coming-of-age story. I hate when people say ‘finding your place in America’ or ‘fitting in’—those are assimilation words. This is about creating your place in America. It’s not about fitting into one reference group, because fuck it, I’m going to make you adjust to my life.”

There is no word yet on a release date for the show, but Wall Street Journal reporter Jeff Yang, whose 10-year-old son Hudson plays Eddie, has this to say from the month and a half he spent watching the creation of the pilot: "The show is like nothing you will have ever seen before on television. 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."

In his talks, Huang takes a look at his life so far and asks: What does it mean to be Asian in America right now? Race is part of who we are, he says, but it doesn’t have to define us. Your own story, in the end, is the only one worth telling. To book Eddie Huang as a speaker for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency.