GC: What would you say to people who watch Fresh Off the Boat but haven’t read Fresh Off the Boat?--Marshal Zeringue
EH: I would say, “Read the book.” But I wanna know what you think.
I think the show and the book are completely different. The book is much more cerebral, and there’s anger and pain in the book that’s just not in the show. You don’t get to see Eddie grow up and unpack the things that happen to him and realize that they are part of bigger, systemic, racial issues. All these sort of hapless incidents that occur in the show are kept at an entertaining level, whereas the book takes the time to show how institutionalized and marginalizing these attitudes are.
I want you to start the article by saying what you said.
Everyone asks me to talk about it and every time I express my feelings about the show, people are like, “Why are you so negative? It’s a great show and it’s great for Asian Americans.” I get on Facebook and people are like, “Shut up” and “You need to just let it happen,” and I’m like, “This is my LIFE.” It’s so insane that people are saying this to me and writing to me on social media, “Get out of the way, we just want this show,” and I’m like, “But that’s my life, man.”
The show is just a Prozac children’s version of the book. The real life Eddie at eleven or twelve years old was...[read on]