Amidst the controversy of ‘Fresh off the Boat,’ one of its stars is speaking up in defense of the ABC series– and she’s confident that Asians should be ‘proud’ of the show.
Fresh off the Boat premiered on Feb. 4 and immediately stirred up controversy due to its sensitive subject matter: immigrant Asian families. Now, however, one of the stars, Constance Wu who plays Jessica, is coming to the series’ defense, discussing why the new show is actually helping to give immigrants a voice, the dangers of portraying a specific group, and even how Tina Fey fits into all of this.
‘Fresh off the Boat’: Constance Wu Speak Out
In its first few episodes, Constance has practically been stealing the show on Fresh off the Boat, the series on which she plays the mother to the main character, Eddie (played by Hudson Yang, based on the author of the memoir by the same name, Eddie Huang).
Following a mixed response to the show from both fans and critics, Constance says she has no doubt that the series is a positive contribution to immigrant culture.
Jessica is “aware of her difference, yet she doesn’t think that’s any reason for her to not have a voice,” Constance told Time. “It doesn’t elicit shame in her. She’s doesn’t become a shrinking violet. And instead of that being something that Asians should be embarrassed of, I think that’s something that we should be proud of — the types of characters who know they don’t speak perfect English, who know they have different customs, who don’t think that that’s any reason for them to not have a voice.”
Well said, Constance.
‘We Are Such A Varied Group’
Constance also described the pitfalls of portraying a specific group on television. “If you see Tina Fey on television, you’re not like ‘All white women are like Tina Fey,'” she said. “Yet people are like, ‘Oh, Jessica Huang’s not like my mother, but this show is supposed to be about Asians, so shouldn’t she be like my mother?’”
Though frustrated by some of the criticism, Constance does see the worth in being part of such a risk-taking series. “We shouldn’t be a voice for all Asians– we are such a varied group,” she said. “But we’re given that burden because we’re so rarely represented.”
What do you think of Fresh off the Boat?
— Casey Mink