“Good Morning Orlando” was hard to read as anything but meta-commentary on minority representation in television. Upon its January debut, Fresh Off the Boat was the first Asian-centric sitcom since All-American Girl with Margaret Cho. That was in 1994 and ended after six months and 19 episodes. ABC now has another show — Dr. Ken, with Ken Jeong — but the burden of representation still exists, and the Huangs know that.
Ever looking for something for free, Jessica pushes Louis to appear on Good Morning Orlando to garner some free advertising for Cattleman’s. During his his brief appearance on the local talk show (with an effervescent host pairing of Ken Marino and Kathleen Rose Perkins), he does a decent Rocky impression and spot-on Donald Duck one — which Evan taught him and received no credit for. Louis returns home to celebrate and revel with his family, but Jessica isn’t happy.
Jessica bemoaned Louis’ segment for one basic reason: Chinese people don’t appear on TV often. When she asked Louis to name one, he could name only Pat Morita — who’s of Japanese descent. So when given the opportunity to add to the paltry population, Louis primarily pulled his clownish comedy routine. The act upset Jessica incredibly because he became, in her view, Long Duk Dong from Sixteen Candles, the walking stereotype of an exchange student. (Jessica has usually been the one to espouse retaining and promoting their roots and tradition; this is a more nuanced, evolutionary version of that.) In the wake of Louis’ appearance, Cattleman’s patrons begin laughing at him “in a gross way.” It’s a knock Louis dealt with after Sixteen Candles‘ release; he’s reminded of the one time his hero John Hughes failed him.
Ultimately, after many failed attempts to put on the best face possible — including a stern, aggressive return to Good Morning Orlando, which makes the hosts uncomfortable and leads to his banishment — Louis and Jessica realize it’s impossible to hit every positive attribute to represent a whole group of people. Instead, it’s better to be yourself and show that. Even if that means stealing the microphone from field reporter Mindy (the much-missed Scrubs alum Judy Reyes) and being earnest, goofy, and Michael Jackson-y.
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Meanwhile, in the hormone-raging land of seventh grade… After the Fall Ball, much has changed for Eddie: He has a girlfriend! The romantic moshing was an effective courting method, apparently. He’s so stoked he announces it to his family in the only way he knows — and the premier running gag of the show: Grandma wheeling in and slapping the boombox, which slaps Janet’s “That’s the Way Love Goes.” But that’s not all: Ned, de facto message delivery guy, has given all of the kids notes indicating they have girlfriends too — even tiny Brian and weird Dave! The only issue is none of them know whom their better half is.
Their detective work and cork-board efforts are no help when they get to the roller rink and have to pick out their girlfriends. Brian aces the test, picking the tall Edith, prompting a timely and lethal “Later nerds!” Trent errs, selects the wrong girl, and gets embarrassed. Allison is initially angry Eddie was unaware of their two weeks of dating without one conversation — at her friends’ terrible recommendation — but he owns up and apologizes. They weather their first fight, and all is right. The other fellas should really just listen to Emery: He’s a well-established player.
Now it’s time for the weekly dose of nostalgia in these recaps: ’90s moments, ranked:
7. Square pizza: Who even sells this abomination anymore? Didn’t an executive order in 2003 ban this? Those right angles are dangerous to eat, as Eddie shows.
6. Rambo impression: There are varying degrees of Sly Stallone impressions for Louis. Rocky? Go for it? John Rambo, disenfranchised Vietnam veteran? Stay away.
5. “The Choice Is Yours” by Black Sheep: Definitely a cool song. Has to be knocked a few pegs for its canonization alongside the creepy Kia hamsters.
4. That Bill Cosby reference: Gus asks Louis for an impression of then-America’s most-beloved TV dad, calling him “America’s moral compass.”
3. Moonwalk: Not the best moonwalk ever performed on morning talk shows for local affiliates, surely. Louis turned in a decent one.
2. Roller rinks/rollerblades: The setting of many an awkward junior-high interaction.
1. “That’s the Way Love Goes” by Janet Jackson: Thrilled to have new Janet Jackson in 2015; however, love must be shown for her OG cuts.