It was late at night when I stumbled onto Eddie Huang’s new Vice TV show Fresh Off the Boat. I like food travel shows, and I like degenerates, so this show was already in my wheelhouse.
I’m a vegetarian, and I wouldn’t recommend the first episode of Eddie’s Bay Area show because he spends much of the episode with a Bay Area motorcycle crew killing rabbits. (Although I’ll note that I enjoyed his ending rant where he suggests to meat eaters who don’t kill their own critters that they imagine the dead bunny every time they take a bite.)
Yeah, there are a bunch of things to discount these Eddie Huang shows: the slang which seems both forced and out-of-date, the relentless sexism (women appear only as sex objects or as servants), and the hipper-than-thou tone which permeates the whole project.
But I’m not going to pretend that I don’t like parts of the show. Eddie comes across as pretty smart, adding complexity to some of the traditional narratives about food, culture and popularity. And more than that, he simply shows his foolishness. He tells self-deprecating stories, snaps on absolutely everyone, sports terrible fashion, and spends more than enough time mired in drugs. Witness his first episode in Taiwan where he not only explains how to buy Betel nuts, but also how to use them, showcases a juvenile aversion to penis shaped waffles, and spends some time at the late night shrimp pool. Not your traditional travel food show.