Randall Park, left, and Constance Wu appear in a scene from the new comedy series "Fresh Off the Boat" on ABC.
Nicole Wilder/ABC/AP

Is new Asian-American show offensive? First look at ‘Fresh Off the Boat’


New sitcom “Fresh Off the Boat” is making a big splash as the first show in 20 years – and only the third show in history – to feature a predominantly Asian-American cast, with over a thousand flocking to the New York City premiere Wednesday night. 

What was conceived as a small, public viewing turned into a monster affair at Manhattan nightclub The Circle. One thousand people finally crammed into the event after many were turned away at the door; only around 300 were expected to RSVP.

“The response to this community viewing showed just how hungry we are as Asian Americans not just to see something like this — an authentic, fully realized Asian American story on prime time — but to see it together,” Wall Street Journal columnist Jeff Yang, the organizer and father of the 11-year old lead actor, said. 

Related: ’Today, We’ve Arrived’: Fresh Off the Boat Makes TV History

The crowd laughed and shouted for the special double episode airing of the new ABC show. A concern for some Asian-Americans was how the series portrayed Asian stereotypes. But the crowd of mostly Asian-Americans didn’t appear to find the storylines offensive. 

Though one character played by Constance Wu did have an Asian accent, the sitcom’s laugh lines were not overly leaning on her pronunciation, nor the family’s Taiwanese heritage. Asian-American parents kissing in front of the kids (even with a hint of romanticism!) also avoided the stereotype pitfalls previous network series have used.

Many viewers thought the series touches on topics of multiculturalism in new ways, expanding what is an ‘American family.”

Pop Culture

Is new Asian-American show offensive? First look at 'Fresh Off the Boat'