Fresh Off the Boat writer on highlighting Tiger Woods' Asian heritage
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, episode writer Rachna Fruchbom breaks down “The Masters.”
This week’s episode centers around Tiger Woods’ dominating victory at the 1997 Masters Tournament. It was his first major win and the first time a person of color won at Augusta National. It was also the first time I remember enjoying golf, a sport my dad loved and that I would sigh at loudly whenever it was playing on our TV, like: “Daaaaaaaaaad, this is so boring, all the white guys are wearing the same clothes except for the one in the knickers.” But suddenly I was like, “Dad, golf is the best!” Sure, Tiger Woods was dressed like all the other white dudes, too, but he was awesome and different, and I could have watched him for hours. Which I did because, well, golf lasts for hours.
The writers have wanted to incorporate Tiger Woods into an episode at some point, both because Tiger became such a huge phenomenon during the time period of our show and also because he’s half-Asian.
You may or may not have known that last part, and that’s the jumping-off point for Emery’s story. Because it can feel important to have heroes (especially ones as huge as Tiger) that look like you, or share a similar background to yours, Emery wants to make sure Tiger’s Asian heritage shares an equal role in the narrative with his African-American one. To help get the word out, he enlists the help of Eddie-enthusiast Reba. Fun fact: Reba’s character is a writer favorite because she’s so self-possessed, and we can have a lot of fun with her confidence and enthusiasm.
In the other story, Jessica and Louis are inspired by what they imagine to be the roles of Tiger’s parents in his life. Using Eddie and Evan as their pawns, they make a bet to prove who the parenting master is between them. So, another fun fact: “The Masters” is actually a double-entendre episode title (not just us appropriating the name of a famous golf tournament). Incidentally, that famous golf tournament has become one of my favorite sporting events to watch, and golf is my favorite sport to play, so now I’m like: “Dad, thanks for introducing me to golf, it’s a sport I can play forever, and it’s kind of fun to get to dress like a white guy.”
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.