Fresh Off the Boat Author Eddie Huang: ABC's New Cultural Sitcom Is 'Historic'

Fresh Off the Boat

Eddie Huang isn’t throwing ABC’s upcoming Asian-American comedy Fresh Off the Boat — which is based on his memoir of the same name — overboard.

Despite his recent editorial for Vulture, claiming that the show watered down his book, Huang voiced his support for the sitcom at a Television Critics Association press tour panel in Pasadena on Wednesday.

“I care the most about the conversation that’s going to happen because of this show,” he said. “This show, to me, is historic. This show has a huge place, culturally, in America.”

“It’s important, for me, to have a qualified support for this show — makes sure this show stays authentic to the book and people of color in general,” he continued. “I believe this show is very strategic and smart in how it’s opening things up.” For example, the way the comedy deals with the word ‘chink’ in the first episode “is borderline genius and insane at the same time.”

As for his exclamation in the article, “Why isn’t there a Taiwanese or Chinese person who can write this?” — executive producer Nahnatchka Khan (Don’t Trust the B— in Apt. 23) was born to Iranian parents — Huang said, “I absolutely feel like we should have more writers of Asian-American descent in the writers room. But I do not debate Nahnatchka’s ability, at all, to do the show.”

Added Khan, “For me, I related to this when I read his memoir. The specifics were different to my growing-up experience. What I really related to was the immigrant experience. That was my access point.”

Khan had nothing but positive words about Huang’s editorial, saying she was “thrilled” when she read it. “I really value Eddie’s voice in the process. … Eddie is the heart and soul for the inspiration of the show.”

Fresh Off the Boat‘s tough time slot — Tuesdays at 8/7c opposite NCIS — was also a point of concern during the panel, but Khan is optimistic that the family comedy will connect with viewers.

“We’re excited for this show to be on at 8 o’clock so parents and kids can watch together,” she shared. “Hopefully, it breaks though, people will find it and it will build an audience.”

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18 Comments
  1. Et al says:

    Any word on when Hulu will be streaming the unaired episodes?

    • Pia says:

      October 19th

        • Brendan says:

          So snarky, but totally true. And an Asian-American show is not historic since Margaret Cho had a show as well (it was cancelled during the first season and her set was used for the Drew Carey Show) So yea, nothing really new here. If anything, it’s more like Black-ish: Asian version.

          • Lizo says:

            Wow. There’s so many levels of racism in this comment I don’t know where to begin. A) so because one Asian person had a show once means that the 2nd Asian show isn’t?! The fact that its 2015 and this is the 2nd show with an Asian lead is horrific. And 2) it’s essentially like blackish? Because yes, all people of colour have the same experience. Especially in America, black people and Asian people have the exact same history and contemporary experiences. /sarcasm.

      • Stacy says:

        You’re now my favorite person in the world. Sorry, mom…

  2. Grey says:

    Has there been any news at all from TCA about The Whispers?

  3. Sam says:

    Eddie Huang sounds like one bitter person!

    • Lizo says:

      He sounds like a man who isn’t toning down his language to make all us white people feel better about ourselves. Good for him.

    • B says:

      he has an article on vulture.com I recommend reading it, seems like he is disappointed at how ‘white washed’ his memoir has become for the tv show

  4. Tran says:

    Even though I’m Asian American, ABC has high hopes for this series and I’m looking forward to it.

  5. Zach says:

    Isn’t Iran in Asia?

    • Alice says:

      Isn’t it possible that, Asia being a huge continent, that Iranian and Taiwanese cultures are completely different and that the experience growing up in those cultures would not be equivalent?

      • Zach says:

        He said “Asian-American”. He then complained about her not being Chinese or Taiwanese. I agree that the experiences growing up are likely very different. (That was in the full article, IIRC).

  6. shelly O says:

    i don’t understand the controversy. it is showing where people’s roots are from and using their culture to do it. the mexican didn’t have a kidnapped american baby did it? the man with the turban didn’t have a severed head did it? no that would be controversal and racist. yet the show blackish is ok? i don’t understand where the line is between controversal and fine is.
    i think this show looks funny and can’t wait to see it.