Ah, the sex talk. They always end being so much funnier on family sitcoms than they do in actual families. And while more or less every show has riffed on the premise before, Fresh Off the Boat found a pretty nifty way of getting into the subject in tonight’s “Persistent Romeo” episode—it involves everything from school sleepovers to workplace conduct.
It all begins Monday morning when Eddie finds a group of his classmates raving about their last sleepover party, which they hold every Friday at his rival Brock’s house. Eddie’s made some progress, socially, since the start of the series, but he still doesn’t quite fit in completely, and watching his peers recap their weekend revelry isn’t helping. Luckily, his shenanigans from last week—a.k.a. scoring an extended hug from the MILF next door in a very public setting—have bought him a little bit of pull with the group, earning him an invite to the next pajama jamboree. Which is good, because Brock’s got something all the boys want: the new Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.
But of course, Eddie has a bigger rival than Brock: his mom. He needs her permission, which would be tough under regular circumstances, seeing as how Jessica’s natural mode is to be overly protective and highly suspicious. To make matters worse, she’s been sitting at home a lot (moving to Orlando has cleared her dance card), watching lots of the worst thing that a naturally suspicious person can watch: the Nightly News. After watching investigative features on the likes of child molestation, date rape, and who knows what else, she emphatically vetoes Eddie’s remote sleepover—though she does say she’d be more than happy to host one at House Huang, where she can be sure the affair will be free of child predators. Eddie’s into the idea, but he’s got to find something that can entice the group more than Brock’s SI issue.
Jessica’s got a problem to field, too: Her husband’s restaurant is suddenly popular. Louis comes home to boast that Cattleman’s Ranch even has a waiting list now. That’d be good news for most, but Jessica knows better. “Mo’ money, mo’ problems,” she says, quoting Biggie via Eddie. And thanks to her beloved Nightly News, she knows exactly where those problems will come from: sexual harassment. One lawsuit could ruin the Huangs, so Jessica decides that she should take it upon herself to give the staff a sexual harassment seminar.
Cut to Jessica more or less harassing all the employees. The seminar doesn’t go well, so they’re forced to bring in a “professional”: a man named Dusty Nugget, played by the very funny Brett Gelman (you may know him as “That guy!”). Dusty is a repeat sexual harassment offender who, “after a complicated plea deal, is now working for the good guys.” He comes prepared, with videotapes on sexual harassment and everything.
This turns out to be good news for Eddie. He’s convinced the boys to sleep at his place by promising to provide a dirty movie—but he doesn’t have one yet. After his first two plans to acquire one (asking his cute neighbor Nicole to wash a car, stealing one from the video store) fail, and the party seems doomed to be a bust. All Eddie has to entertain them are Squiddies (discounted dog food) and Legos.
Enter Dusty Nugget’s sexual harassment video. Since this is the ’90s, with limited to no Internet access, the boys don’t even know what a dirty video is. A tape about sexual harassment in the workplace? Maybe as well be Debbie Does Dallas to them. As one friend puts it, “I don’t know what harassment means, but… it’s got the word ‘ass’ in it.”
It ends up doing the trick: The retro video features such characters as the Persistent Romeo, the Crooner, and Tempting Tanya. It becomes such a hit, the video ends up getting passed around the school, prompting “a sexual harassment revolution at my school.” The campus boys are all walking around like weird little perverts, inappropriately (and often incorrectly) flirting with their female classmates. It causes concern for the principal, who brings in Eddie’s parents. The principal tells Mr. and Mrs. Huang that it’s time to give Eddie The Talk.
And so we’ve arrived at the big moment. First, Louis gives Eddie some background: Sex was a big reason Louis came to America from Taiwan, he says. He wanted to raise his sons somewhere where they might be able to actually have sex with someone before marrying them, a place where the topic is less taboo (the Nightly News notwithstanding). Then Louis offers The Talk, reprinted here for your enjoyment:
Okay, where to start… This will sound crazy, but it’s way better than video games. You know how sneezes feel really satisfying in a weird way? [time lapse] Stay away from Arkansas, they outlawed all the fun stuff. [time lapse] Spring Break, my God… I am so excited for you. I might come with! [time lapse] That’s a great question, I say you burn maybe about 200 calories? [time lapse] If you pretend like you have a bad back, you don’t have to do so much work! [time lapse] Three words: Old. National. Geographic. [time lapse] I like having the lights out so I can pretend that we’re in a castle. [time lapse] You know, a hot tub always seems like a good idea, but actually it’s quite painful. [time lapse] These are not the type of crabs Maryland is known for. [time lapse] And most importantly, like we always say during the SNL monologue when a musician hosts: Wrap it up.
Hilarious stuff! After all is said and done, Eddie wins the sleepover wars by promising to educate his pals on everything—”Spring Break, Black Spring Break…”
Still, none of that stops Jessica from going off and attacking Eddie with a stuffed animal—her way of burning into his head the dangers of date rape. This leads everyone to the conclusion that Jessica needs to find a job, which should make for a great plotline in the coming episodes.
- “I hear Elle Macpherson’s pretty!” —Eddie’s friend
- “Because pedophiles! I saw it on the Nightly News.” —Jessica
- Honey: Uh, are we still going to the movies? Jessica: Only if there’s something with Denzel. Movie theaters are a hotbed of disease. Nightly News. Honey: Crimson Tide is playing? Jessica: Start the car.
- Jessica: Eddie, what’s the thing you always say that the fat brown man says? Eddie: Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems? Jessica: Yes, that.
- Jessica: At my family’s furniture store, I handled employee grievances. Louis: The employees were you and you sister. Jessica: That bitch…
- “[gasping] The official drink of Slimer!” —Eddie’s friend
- “Love isn’t dirty. It’s beautiful!” —Emery
- Eddie, at the video store: You guys cause a distraction. Emery: [drops to the ground to do pushups] One! Two! Three!… Evan [throwing raisins around the store]: Raisins, raisins! They used to be grapes!
- “They Hannibal Lecter’d me! Don’t be alarmed, I got booked on showing, not touching.” —Dusty Nugget
- Eddie: I’m Eddie. I’m your neighbor. Nicole: Yeah, I see you staring at me always. Eddie: Cool, cool.
- Dusty Nugget, as the video narrator: Next up: sensitivity when holiday-party planning. Kids, in unison: Yeah!!
- Eddie: How do you sleep at night? Eddie’s rival: With two night lights. I’ve got a big room!
- Jessica: Louis, we need to install floodlights in the parking lot. Louis: Why? Jessica: Because bad guys steal babies from the backseats of cars. It’s a baby-selling scheme.