Fresh Off the Boat recap: Jessica Place
Gather round, drama lovers, it’s time for “Jessica Place” on Fresh Off the Boat. With your regular, extremely capable recapper Will, out for the night, gone also is his ranking of ’90s moments, but that’s only because the entire episode of was one giant ’90s homage to Melrose Place. Tonight, Fresh Off the Boat became the land of betrayal, manipulation, backroom planning, and all kinds of soapy goodness, and hair-related reveals, all with a huge dose of humor, as per usual.
At her weekly Melrose Place watch party with the horrible Deidre and her cronies, Jessica learns the concept of TV season finales (as we all know, they’re the worst) as Honey continues to get passive-aggressive comments from the neighborhood women who still feel an alliance with Marvin’s ex-wife (the woman with the cocaine problem who apparently identified as “asexual” in the last census). Jessica’s life goes gray at the idea of a whole summer without the drama and intrigue of Melrose Place, but quickly her life gets Melrose-ified.
During Jessica’s lowest Melrose-less moment, Honey suggests to her best friend that she get a pool, and Jessica happily obliges. Unfortunately for Eddie, who was hoping for a backyard pool with a waterfall complete with “giggling honeys” for him to ogle, Jessica settles on a MUCH less extravagant aboveground pool. But at least it comes with faux-wood paneling!
Unfortunately for Jessica, the HOA has to vote on all changes made to the homes in the neighborhood, and Deidre shows her fake ways by making everyone vote against Jessica’s pool, as well as an adorable cow mailbox — renamed the “moo box” by Evan — that Jessica’s neighbor Lisa wanted to install on her property.
Jessica complains about Deidre’s true colors to Honey, who has known all along just how fake her nemesis really is, and she proves it some more by bringing Jessica to Deidre’s house for some snooping. The two quickly discover a major secret. Is it that Deidre is cheating, in true Melrose Place fashion? The secret’s not quite so scandalous, but it’s definitely in keeping with the Melrose theme: Turns out Deirdre with the perfect hair doesn’t get her hair so shiny thanks to olive oil as she claims. That shine is all fake — Jessica and Honey reveal to Carol through some detailed photos that Deidre actually wears a wig!
Meanwhile, after seeing Emery freak out at his father and himself following a breath-holding contest, Eddie learns his brother has a history of having intense emotional outbursts as a result of holding in his feelings for much longer than is healthy or recommended by mental health professionals. Louis doesn’t think too much about it; he’s much more focused on buying a vest at Structure, the store he’s been dreaming about going inside. Eddie tells Emery that he needs to learn how to express his frustrations in a much healthier fashion, but unfortunately Emery takes that as meaning he needs to express his frustrations much too openly and harshly, which he proves by telling his father that the vest he just bought is terrible.
NEXT: The real puppet masters
Louis’ feelings are clearly hurt and Eddie tells Emery to apologize, which he does and then adds that he’ll never express himself again. Louis gives Emery a pretty great dad talk at first by telling his son that he should never feel like he cannot share his true feelings with his father. But that being said, Louis echoes Eddie’s statements: Emery needs to learn not to have such insane outbursts, especially since they happen so rarely. So how does Emery keep everything in? By releasing it actually. Emery shows Louis the “scream jars” he keeps under his bed that he apparently screams into every time he gets annoyed or angry. Louis is rightfully disturbed, telling Emery that this is strange, “like I don’t want to tell your mother strange,” he explains.
Back to Wig-Gate: Surprisingly Carol takes this news extremely poorly. She’s been getting adult acne all around her forehead after putting olive oil in her hair night after night. Her husband even sleeps in a different room now thanks to the oily sheets. She’s so angry with her best friend that she’s ready to reveal another of Deidre’s secrets: She owns a secret herb garden: A no-no according to HOA bylaws. The punishment? Expulsion from the HOA, which Jessica then uses to her advantage to get the other HOA members to vote in the “moo box” and her aboveground pool.
But TWIST! Here’s another shocker: The real puppet master pulling the strings for Deidre’s expulsion is the hilarious pairing of Honey and Evan, who turns against Deidre as she “has no respect for the HOA bylaws.” Of course, getting a pool out of the deal is a happy bonus. After an extended flashback, including a character breakdown in true Melrose spirit, Jessica reveals that she learned the truth of the pairing from Deidre and was more impressed that her life had become Melrose Place in the show’s absence than anger over being played by her kid and her best friend.
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So why did Honey do it? She couldn’t understand why her best friend wanted to be friends with someone as fake as Deidre who said terrible things to her about her life with Marvin. She essentially didn’t want to lose her best friend to the terrible insults she experienced before Jessica moved to Orlando. Jessica assures her that will never happen, and the HOA lets Deidre back into their group. Deidre shows a tiny bit of good faith by letting Lisa (and by extension, Evan) keep the “moo box,” which may or may not have been Evan’s goal all along. And to really give us the proper Melrose Place tribute, Courtney Thorne-Smith makes a quick cameo.
As for Emery’s frustration issues, Jessica gets rid of the aboveground pool that Louis was going to use to help Emery release his emotions, and then she insults Louis’ vest along with the pool, calling both tacky. Louis quickly sees just how valuable Emery’s scream jars can be. NEXT TIME ON JESSICA PLACE: Can we get some more epic ’90s TV tributes?
Eddie Huang’s memoir adaptation tells the comical adjustments of a Taiwanese-American family settling into the wild ways of ’90s Orlando, Florida.