Every week, the cast and crew of ABC’s Taiwanese American family comedy, Fresh Off the Boat, is taking EW behind the scenes. For each episode, a member (or two) is recapping, sharing thoughts on what went down, and walking us through the ins and outs of the show. This week, episode writers Daniel Carter and Jeff Chlebus take us inside “Pie vs. Cake.”
JEFF CHLEBUS: The comic book idea had been something we’d been kicking around as a show for a season or so, like, “If we could find a way to do that, it would be cool.” It sort of just lined up with what our characters were doing in the Jessica and Evan story. We broke that story first, and honestly, we were just sitting there talking about what we could do to end it. And we weren’t locked in on this comic book thing at all. We were trying to figure out how we could reinvigorate Jessica and Evan, and make them ready to go back out and fight. I think one of us brought up the old ’60s Batman cartoons, which I would watch every day religiously after school. I don’t know if we should mention Batman since Stan Lee’s Marvel [Laughs]…
DANIEL CARTER: Take it off the record!
CHLEBUS: We reference some “comic bookie stuff.” It just sort of organically came up that Jessica has gotten her superpower back, and with Evan, they are kind of a new dynamic duo. It all snowballed and came together very quickly in this way that married the two stories together nicely.
CARTER: We were referring to Jessica’s ability to argue as a superpower before we even landed on the comic book story line. So it was just such a natural progression to the heartfelt resolution at the end. Like, “Holy crap, our superheroes are right here.” Then, just as a joke for funsies, we were like, “Hey, why don’t we put Stan Lee in the tag just for fun knowing that we will have to change it later?” I never thought in a thousand years it was going to be possible. Flash forward to us standing on stage watching Stan Lee just absolutely crush it. Oh god, it was like a dream come true.
CHLEBUS: Talk about somebody who delivers on every expectation you have. He was so quick, so smart, so funny. He was just a delight and despite being there a short time, the entire cast and crew was completely charmed by him.
CARTER: It was such a cool bonding experience for the crew. It’s the one thing that can traverse everybody’s age and personality. Stan Lee is a living legend and everybody knows him. Everybody was looking at him like an idol. He’s a living legend, I can’t say that enough.
Fresh Off the Boat airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.
— As told to Derek Lawrence