Based on the memoir of chef Eddie Huang, Fresh Off the Boat centres on a feisty Taiwanese-American family living in the lily-white suburbs of Orlando, Florida during the 1990s. Parents Louis (Randall Park) and Jessica (Constance Wu) are American-educated immigrants with three young boys: hip hop-loving Eddie (Hudson Yang), sweet-natured Emery (Forrest Wheeler), and precocious Evan (Ian Chen). The show humourously embraces and skewers ‘90s nostalgia, the Asian immigrant experience, and both internal and external racial conflicts. Wu is the stand-out performer, hilariously presenting the astute, no-nonsense, and heritage-inclined matriarch, constantly at loggerheads with the ignorant whiteness of her neighbours, the foolishly optimistic plans of her husband regarding his wild West-themed restaurant, and her rebellious, rap and basketball-obsessed eldest son (who is the weakest/most annoying character and, unfortunately, also the narrator of the show). The two youngest children are insanely adorable as well, both overachievers with cheery dispositions and baby-faces. Check out a cute clip of the show here.
Rachel Chu is a young professor from New York living simply and contentedly with her handsome boyfriend, Nick Young. When Nick invites Rachel to visit his home country of Singapore over the summer, she is poised to discover is the incredible wealth and history of Nick’s family and friends—all old-money billionaires with extravagant properties, jet-set lifestyles, and traditional rules of behaviour. The secrets and dramas of these cloistered, upper-class dynasties make for salacious reading as the clash of low and high class, old and new money, and Singaporeans and other East Asians (Hong Kong, Mainland China, Malaysia, etc.) buzz at a fever pitch. Tantalizing descriptions of mansions, designer clothing, heirloom jewels, and obscene feasts abound, with Mandarin, Cantonese, and Hokkien phrases slipped in for good measure. Currently, Crazy Rich Asians is also being developed into a movie with an all-Asian cast headlined by Constance Wu.
Listening: Woman by Rhye
A very relaxing musical duo fronted by the chill, gentle, feminine vocals of Canadian singer Mike Milosh and supported by the wonderfully smooth, orchestral, and atmospheric sounds of Danish instrumentalist Robin Hannibal. Rhye’s album Woman was released in 2013 and has a strong Nordic influence (think a jazzier Sigur Ros), making it great music for cold weather and evenings. Enjoy the album while wrapped in a blanket in front of a painting of a glacier by Lawren Harris, hygge-style. Rhye is a great choice for fans of Bon Iver and Beirut or even Sade and Les Nubians. Check out the music video for their single, “The Fall”.
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