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"Fresh Off The Boat" Perfectly Tackled The Pressures Of Representation In A Very Meta Episode

"One person can’t be everything." You tell 'em, Louis!

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On the most recent episode of ABC's Fresh Off the Boat, things got very real — and very meta — about the pressures of having to represent your entire race when there are barely any Asians on television.

ABC

It all starts after Louis Huang (Randall Park) gets invited to appear on a local morning show — where he decides to bust out impressions of Rocky Balboa and Donald Duck to entertain viewers.

ABC

Though the two Good Morning Orlando hosts crack up at his impersonations, Louis doesn't realize he's made a mockery of himself — and of Chinese people everywhere.

So of course, his wife Jessica Huang (Constance Wu) lets him know.

ABC

She hits him with the cold, hard facts about Asian-American representation.

ABC

She then compares Louis's performance to Sixteen Candles' Long Duk Dong.

ABC
Universal Pictures

It's a stereotype that portrays Asian men as creepy and both socially and sexually inept.

http://reverseracism.tumblr.com/post/132611249768/zuky-richardjohnsplett-fresh-off-the-boat
http://reverseracism.tumblr.com/post/132611249768/zuky-richardjohnsplett-fresh-off-the-boat

So Louis goes back on the show — but he's not happy.

ABC
ABC

And there are no jokes.

But Jessica isn't impressed with her husband's humorless performance either.

ABC

Louis just can't win. And his frustrations depict the representational anxiety that actors of any underrepresented minority experience.

Rep sweats is a very real thing, y'all.
ABC

Rep sweats is a very real thing, y'all.

The scene is also symbolic of that pressure to appease every viewer and meet their expectations of what an Asian-American family ought to look like.

ABC

But the thing is, one person, one actor, one sitcom can't possibly encapsulate every Asian-American experience. And Louis explains this frustrating conundrum to Jessica.

http://richardjohnsplett.tumblr.com/post/132623872346/part-1-part-2
http://richardjohnsplett.tumblr.com/post/132623872346/part-1-part-2

So Louis gets in front of the camera one final time. And he embraces himself.

ABC
ABC

Never change, Louis. Never change.

ABC
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