ALL CROPS: FRESH OFF THE BOAT - "The Taming of the Dads" HUDSON YANG, ISABELLA ALEXANDER; 489392560 Rich Blomquist
Credit: Nicole Wilder/ABC; Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

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, one member is recapping, sharing thoughts on what went down, and walking us through the ins-and-outs of the show. This week writer Rich Blomquist brings us into the seventh episode of season 3, “The Taming of the Dads.”

Fresh Off the Boat takes place in the 1990s, famous for grunge: angsty music for depressed people wearing rain-drenched flannel shirts. But to me, nothing embodies the bleak nihilism of the decade more than the Tamagotchi.

With the advent of the digital keychain pet, science seemed poised to solve the biggest problem with pets: They die. (A harsh reality forever burned into my brain by Where the Red Fern Grows, which Evan reads in this episode.) Finally, keeping one’s pet alive would be simple as changing a battery. But instead, the cruel minds behind the Tamagotchi decided to make them even more fragile than actual living creatures. If their beeps went ignored, they would turn into a pixelated ghost hovering above a tombstone. And this was a toy for children. It doesn’t get more depressing than that.

In this episode, Jessica gets jury duty. The courtroom scenes were shot at the Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum, a decommissioned Los Angeles County Courthouse now home to one of the biggest collections of African American art, media, and literature in the United States. When we shot the courtroom scenes, the monitors were set up in a storage room filled with boxes of old Ebony magazines.

I really like the casting in this episode. Brian Huskey, who plays Harvey, is a professional scene-stealer. Gabby Sanalitro is hilarious when she uses her lizards as an excuse to get out of jury duty. Biff Wiff kills it as Bob, the kindly farmer. This episode marks the second appearance of Eddie’s girlfriend’s dad, Gary Olsen, played by the brilliant Cory Blevins. His unbridled, positive dad energy wasn’t just for the cameras — he’s like that all the time. In between takes, I asked Cory how many kids he has. He said zero. Now that’s acting.

Fresh Off the Boat airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.

Episode Recaps

Fresh Off the Boat

Eddie Huang’s memoir adaptation tells the comical adjustments of a Taiwanese-American family settling into the wild ways of ’90s Orlando, Florida.

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