Is “Fresh off the Boat” Based on a True Story?

TVOvermind | 2/12/2019 | Nat Berman
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Fresh Off the Boat is an ABC sitcom centered on a Taiwanese-American family called the Huangs. The name of the show comes from a phrase used to indicate people who haven’t assimilated into the host nation’s culture. Under certain circumstances, calling someone a FOB can be a serious insult. However, there are also groups of people who will use it to refer to themselves with a sense of pride. As such, the use of FOB can be pretty complicated, though to be perfectly fair, that is true for most things when it comes to immigration.

Was Fresh Off the Boat Based on a True Story?

Fresh - Off - Boat - Book - Fresh

Regardless, Fresh Off the Boat was based on a book called Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir, which was written by the food personality Eddie Huang. Chronologically, the book covered everything from his childhood to his rise in the food scene of New York City. Topic-wise, it was very much focused on Huang’s experience as a Taiwanese-American, his relationship with his heritage, and his relationship with his cooking. On the whole, Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir was an excellent example of a book about the immigrant experience, though rougher and rowdier than a lot of those because Huang wasn’t shy about revealing the less pleasant side of things.

What Happened?

Cause - Divergence - Fresh - Off - Boat

Unfortunately, that is the cause of the divergence between Fresh Off the Boat and Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir. Essentially, what ABC wanted was something that would appeal to the biggest and broadest viewer base possible, meaning that it wasn’t particularly interested in making an authentic adaptation of Huang’s book. As a result, while there are certainly strong similarities when it comes to the broadest strokes, the finer details are so different from Huang has literally stated that he couldn’t recognize what was supposed to have been...
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