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Fresh Off the Boat - Review - Practicum

This episode didn't cover a lot of new ground and featured one of my least favorite FOtB staples, namely the weird uneven relationship between Evan and Jessica. However, great performances and some good choices in the story make this an episode with a bit more to recommend it than not. Let's dive in.

"Gentle suggestion - stop calling her 'Mommy.'"

Thank you for saying it, Emery. Look, I think that what other people think shouldn't dictate the rate at which someone matures or what parts of their childhood they let go of when, but I can't escape the fact that the deeper Ian Chen's voice gets, the creepier I find the whole "Mommy" thing. Stop it.

So, yeah. We have another episode of Jessica micromanaging Evan so he can be "Doctor President." I'm not excited about it, especially poor Emery's part in the whole thing. I know that he's got classic Middle Child Syndrome, but it's kinda of a bummer that Evan and Eddie's hyper involved mother doesn't know what grade her other kid is in. Ouch. At least Louis stalking his square dancing lessons showed he cared. However, there is one thing I really enjoyed. Evan told Jessica off, and he stuck with it more than usual. I don't know how many times Jessica can learn the lesson that she needs to give Evan more space - given the series limited number of remaining episodes, not many I guess - but unlike her constant battles with Eddie, which involved Eddie pushing the limits and being a rebellious teenager, Evan is usually just living his mostly perfect life and gets a Jessica intervention if even a toe seems out of line. There's such an imbalance in action and reaction that it's not fun to watch a lot of the time. I mean, I get it, puka shells are not usually a great sign on a dude, but let the kid live. Seeing Evan finally gain some ground and for their final conversation to feel more like her conversations with Eddie was a welcome step forward. This dynamic really needed to move forward, and maybe in these final episodes, it actually can. Besides, I also hate a lot of things, so I kinda got Jessica's side better this time around. Lots of things are stupid.

Louis and Eddie's story was the kind that every show has done, about a parent wanting to be their kid's hero, often specifically because of a hero project at school. Which, I have to ask, does any parent actually do this to their kid? Like, I interviewed my parents once each for school projects that they fit the criteria for, but I mostly put down authors (when I was a nerdy kid) or TV characters (slightly less nerdy teenager) as my "heroes" for stuff and I don't remember my parents ever breaking the car or anything over it. The way they did the cliche thing was pretty fun though. I liked that it was about Eddie trying to find a scholarship for college, a solid reminder of Eddie's recent character growth. Louis worrying about staying close to Eddie when he goes to college, a recurring theme of the season, was sweet, and his dance to I Need a Hero was well worth a busted car. Also, while both plots were well worn and a mixed bag as to how effectively they were pulled off, it was a great episode for the entire cast. Wu and Chen's final conversation, especially the back and forth about Evan's unisex fragrance, was a showcase for both actors; Emery's harried "Not enough information" as he struggled to finish his test was hilarious; and Yang and Park did great comedic and more serious work throughout their entire storyline. The across the board excellent performances helped prop the episode up in spite of its faults, reminding me what we'll lose with this cast when the show ends in a few weeks.

Bonus bad sports reel was super fun, too. Get out of the road, Jenny!

What did you guys think? Are you also already starting to miss the cast? Let me know in the comments below!

Best Quote: The Mommy one. Definitely that one.

90s Stuff: Alan Iverson, puka shell necklaces, The Macarena (all those kids had to learn the dance for this scene, and as a 90s kid who was part of this trend catching on - sorry our obsession with what was basically the new Hokey Pokey is now your burden as well. I don't know what to tell you. It seemed like a good idea at the time)

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