The Huangs each toe their own lines between relationships and business.
The truthiest Fresh Off the Boat truth concerns Jessica’s personality: She is driven. Even if it’s to her detriment, the Huang matriarch foresees her own vision and wants to execute it no matter what could stand as collateral damage. Like Honey’s ideas and friendship. They agree to differentiate friend and business time, even setting it on with an egg timer. As Grandma watches Beaches incarnate (Jessica as Bette Midler, Honey as Barbara Hershey) debate open house details. Jessica wins out: cookies over quiches; no corporate teamwork classes; and a $500 monthly budget for a psychic. All somewhat reasonabl—
Wait, let’s talk about this sightseer, whom Jessica boasts being as culturally Chinese as never saying thank you and using a dishwasher to dry dishes. Madam Xing is critically important to Jessica, a presence and sounding board for some of her biggest life moments. (Those bangs were terrible though.) But Madam Xing becomes the main wedge between Jessica and her best — and only — friend. Even if Xing’s advice becomes prescient and sound (to delay listing the house), Honey broaches skepticism in the worst way by calling Jessica a sucker, and she replies in a shockingly worse way, dismissing all Honey’s ideas as stupid. Friendship and work partnership: (temporarily) over.
With that working relationship on the rocks, a new one is bred out of necessity for Eddie. Allison’s birthday is imminent, and he needs money to buy a non-flashy yet classy necklace for her. Louis shuts down any idea of his son earning money at Cattleman’s, but suggests a job for a new neighbor. All that’s known is that he needs help around the house, and he can afford frequenting the country club. Enter … DMX!
DMX! Or, as he prefers to be called when holding his child Genesis, Earl. DMX is the second ’90s icon to appear in this season as a younger self (see: Fu, Shaq). He looks worse for wear at the age of 24, blaming fatherhood and his regular yelling/barking. Not only is Earl going to give Eddie tons of work, he makes him ink a non-disclosure agreement to prevent dishing about their arrangement. It strains Eddie’s relationship with Allison because he never sees her.
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Eventually Eddie learns from his new boss that similar to his gigantic orchid collection, Allison must be treated like Citadel the orchid: It’s about the time and attention, not the finest botanical environment or bling. In his words, it’s about prescience, not presents. Only DMX rolling up in his Caddie could fix the situation; Allison meets a musical idol and all is well.
Jessica needed a similar conversation to realize the error of her ways. The usually unflappable stalwart examines Grandma’s chosen path of loneliness and being right. No amount of oneupmanship and face-crossing-off can make someone feel good enough to push away additional emotional connections. Honey is right not to accept Jessica immediately back, and it’s a move that continues digging more depth for her character (enough can’t be said of Chelsey Crisp for playing Honey up beyond trophy wife who likes Stephen King).
Yes, the Job-Prov moderator lost his mind after Honey and Jessica’s poor take on a customer-employee situation, so much so he walks out in disgust. And, yes, they got Xing’d by the fortune teller’s household mold prediction. But their friendship is far more legitimate than Louis and Barry’s (J.B. Smoove), one sparked by a fateful two months in a New Jersey apartment and nothing remotely substantial. Good luck with your crazy venture, Barry (see below).
Now it’s time for the weekly dose of nostalgia in these recaps: ’90s moments, ranked:
9. Haikus: Kids’ first foray into poetry is often the haiku. It’s since become trite. Don’t listen to Dave. This was not an attempt at a haiku.
8. Charlie’s Angels pose on open house flyers: The original show ran from 1976-81, firmly in the wheelhouse for younger Jessica and Honey. Grandma would rather watch Garfield.
7. Miami Dolphins: The 1995 season was near the end of quarterback Dan Marino’s heyday. Madam Xing’s prediction wasn’t off about the team’s secondary: It was supremely meh. Plus, the team lost early in the playoffs, so her “don’t bet” warning was sound, too.
6. Represent by Fat Joe: The album art in Eddie’s locker is of the rapper formerly known as Fat Joe da Gangsta’s debut LP. The 12-year-old is all about East Coast rap, so his hearing “Flow Joe” with its airy drums is plausible.
5. Lite-Brite Clown: Eddie and Emery want to escape being Jessica’s sounding board to finish their creation.
4. Hello Kitty: Despite the marketing ploy to convince people they need best friends, Jessica could not resist the allure of one. Chalk up a win to the Japanese import.
3. Hi-C: The juice’s logo looks like Saturday morning cartoons and runs the risk of inducing a contact sugar high. This is peak ’90s.
2. Dotcom skepticism: Barry’s past gives Louis no confidence in the former’s newest venture. And really: what kind of name is eBay anyway? Sounds doomed to fail. In the future, there’s absolutely zero way Barry will be able to pay for his own steaks at Cattleman’s.
1. DMX: STOP. DROP. SHUT ‘EM DOWN AND OPEN UP (A FLOWER) SHOP. THAT’S HOW RUFF FATHERS ROLL. Forget that DMX’s first studio album dropped in 1998 and only one single — “Born Loser,” played in this episode — had been out. Forget all the legal issues he would endure. DMX was perfect as the wealthy eccentric single dad in Orlando who cares for his baby girl. Plus, the revelation he wrote “Ghetto Life” on piccolo was a gift that made Allison lose her mind (up in here).