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Fresh Off the Boat - "Chestnut Gardens" - Review



For anyone who hasn't heard, this is officially the last season of Fresh Off the Boat. I think we all knew that this was a possibility but it doesn't make it less sad. I'm here to commiserate for anyone who needs it. Personally, even though I'm a little sad, I'm always happier to see a show end on its own terms than get cancelled with no notice at the end of the year. In the meantime, we still have a few episodes left, so grab a crateful of chestnuts and your copy of The Vagina Monologues, it's time for a weird, disjointed episode of FOtB.

It's probably too early to call this, but it's starting to feel like for every great episode this season, we get a not-so-great one. And since last week's Ha-Lou-Ween was so enjoyable, I'm not surprised that we're back to a weird shrug of an episode. Chestnut is back! Which is ... nice, I guess? I find Cattleman's revolving door a little tiring and Matt Oberg is great. Really, I just miss Mitch and Nancy. Anyway, I appreciate that Jessica is trying to be supportive of Louis as he tries to find his next passion. It wouldn't be Jessica if she wasn't trying to control the process a little, but it's the thought that counts, and this is a pretty considerate thought from Jessica. And she turns out to have the answer to his predicament in the end, so all's well that end's well. The Trent and Eddie being fed up with Chestnut stuff was a fun aside and led to some great lines and hilarious dance, so that was fine too. The problem with this A-story is that it felt a bit like they threw too many things in the pot. It was Jessica trying to be supportive because school told her to and Louis's indecision and the boys machinations and then Jessica's machinations and Chestnut coming back and maybe leaving again - it was a lot, and it didn't always flow well. I generally enjoyed it, but it wasn't the show's strongest storyline.

And then there's the take on feminism. The weird TV trope when people assume a man is sexist but then it turns out that it's the woman who is the sexist one is a choice. Which isn't to say that internalized misogyny isn't a thing or that women never say sexist things but we've known Honey and Martin for six years. Matin playing into the stereotypes of his generation is hardly new but I'm blanking on Honey ever talking like this. She's definitely been blunt before, but the weird football coach-esque bullying of Martin seems new. So while "examine your own biases" is a good lesson, this just feels like unnecessary and kinda uncomfortable both sides-ing because "sexism can come from anywhere," I guess. I dunno, maybe it's just the execution, because I do like the conclusion that Evan and Emery arrive at. Trying to keep these things in mind, questioning your biases, and keep trying to learn and do better are all good things. It's definitely further along than a lot of guys their age get. Still, this whole thing could have been handled better.

So that's it. One of the last reviews for the last season. Was everyone happy to see the Chestnut back? Do you feel like they dropped the ball with how they handled their B-plot, Honey in particular? And what will you miss most about the show when it's gone? Drop a comment down below!

90's Stuff: The Vagina Monolgoues

Best Line: "I built up my hand strength crawling out of your father's ass." *eagle noise*