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Fresh Off the Boat recap: Fall Ball

Louis is thrilled for Eddie’s first middle school dance. Meanwhile, Jessica tries to bond with Grandma Huang.

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Tyler Golden/ABC

Fresh Off the Boat

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Randall Park, Constance Wu, Hudson Yang
Eddie Huang

Middle school dances can really suck. Pressure and expectations come from just about every source imaginable: parents, friends, crushes, John Hughes’ movies. It can really can get to shy folks or those with a false confidence to hide their insecurities. Like young Eddie. Many can empathize with his nerves of the chance of discovering your crush doesn’t like you back. Especially if it’s someone as cool as Allison, the hip-hop flutist seen in episode 2 who sends her used Pogs to Africa.

It’s a fear felt in all the characters of Pretty in Pink, Louis’ go-to Hughes flick while working in the horrible factory conditions of New Jersey. Ever the dreamer, Andie’s (Molly Ringwald) strife struck him in the midst of creating the pizza savers. He stands firm in his love of the teens, even if Chow (a very funny turn from NBA player Jeremy Lin) thinks the movie should simply be called Sad Redhead Goes to the Dance.

This isn’t the first time Louis has imparted his view of the American Dream upon his kids. He uprooted his family from Washington D.C. to Orlando to open, own, and operate his own restaurant. He told Eddie a big part of going Stateside was so he and his brothers could have a lot of sex. He secretly indulged in vacations and sought country club admission to fit in with the neighbors, most of whom were white and unmistakably bled red, white, and blue.

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So Louis had his chance at this seminal moment; he was so excited, he bolted for the door and left poor Mitch and the crew hanging on a “news that will affect each and every one of [his employees] profoundly.” He’s desperate to help Principal Thomas and interrupts his busy schedule of froyo testing, and he’s also desperate to whip the boys into shape. They’re all having a great time playing Shaq Fu with the Game Genie on hand. When all they’ve done is study up on The Grind and prepare an awkward courting dance set to “Boombastic” by Shaggy, they all need some serious help. Sorry, Eddie. But the chance Allison and the other girls will be able to be gyrated into your orbit seems slim. And if Trent keeps yelling, “SHAGGY!” all hope is lost. Time to get your perfect outfits and hair ready, whether it’s a “Eddie Money” buzzed in to your or hair or the fanciest frosted tips.

But still: The promise of hanging with your friends in an out-of-school function with members of the opposite sex is still debilitating for a preteen. And that’s fine! If zero commenters empathize or share a similar story, it would be a bigger shock than if Emery and Evan actually managed to make an edible salad with Grandma Huang’s bereavement flowers. In true Hughes fashion, Eddie and Louis bond when he realizes Shaq knows all. Cue up the Simple Minds track, it’s time to throw on a pinstriped jersey, Tims, send greetings to the girl you like, and brave the moosh pit. All Louis could do was enjoy the adolescent experience he couldn’t in Taiwan and seize his moment on the dance floor.

NEXT: House-flipping and coin-stealing