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“You Get the Rep Sweats”: Why ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ Is So Important to Asian Americans

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On Twitter last night, writer Jeff Yang reported that 1000 people showed up for the live viewing party of ABC’s new half-hour family sitcom Fresh Off the Boat at The Circle nightclub in New York City. Yang, who writes a column for The Wall Street Journal, also happens to be the father of Hudson Yang, the Asian-American child actor cast in the role of young Eddie Huang in the show based on the chef’s memoir of the same name.
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CONSTANCE WU, FORREST WHEELER, HUDSON YANG, IAN CHEN

‘Fresh Off the Boat’ Is 2015’s Best New Sitcom

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Fresh Off the Boat has a lot of hype to live up to when it debuts Wednesday night on ABC. Eddie Huang, the chef and author of the memoir that the sitcom is loosely based on, and who is credited as a producer, has been simultaneously talking up and questioning the show, praising the final product but also expressing understandable frustration with the network’s notes and interference. Combined with a load of early critical praise and the fact that it’s the first Asian-American sitcom since Margaret Cho’s infamous 1994 disaster All American Girl, that means Fresh Off the Boat is sure to draw more scrutiny than most of this year’s freshman programs. Fortunately, it’s a series that surpasses expectations in every way — as a family comedy, as a commentary on race, as an honest depiction of alienation, and, perhaps most importantly, as a genuinely funny sitcom. 
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KERRY WASHINGTON

‘Scandal’ Season 4 Episode 10 Recap: “Run”

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Welcome back, Gladiators. Before we check in with Olivia Pope, a confession: I was not looking forward to Scandal‘s return last night. Although nothing in particular had happened in the midseason finale to put me off the show, I was growing weary — weary of the Fitz-Liv-Jake love triangle, weary of Papa Pope’s pontificating, weary of wounded psycho-puppy Huck, weary even of my favorite character, Mellie. Character arcs were spinning into character circles; relationships were gridlocked. Scandal needed nothing more than to rip itself up and start again — and that’s exactly what last night’s winter premiere accomplished. Even better, Shonda Rhimes (who wrote the episode) did it with a riveting 45-minute action movie that put the average big-screen blockbuster to shame.
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Your Weekly TV News Roundup: ‘Supergirl’ Casts Its Jimmy Olsen, ‘Togetherness’ Renewed

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The television world moves so fast that by the time you learn of a show’s premiere, it could already be canceled. It’s hard to keep track of the constant stream of television news, so Flavorwire is here to provide a weekly roundup of the most exciting — and baffling — casting and development updates. This week: A whole batch of new pilots to hate, Supergirl casting news, and a Togetherness renewal.
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ABC’s Musical Comedy ‘Galavant’ Started Strong — But Can It Avoid Lapsing Into Obnoxiousness?

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At times, Galavant — both the series and the titular protagonist — can be so charming that it’s irresistible. Then again, Galavant has to be charming: It’s a medieval musical-comedy, a typical fairy tale about a warrior’s adventure to rescue the love of his life from an evil king; if it wasn’t occasionally charming, it would be obnoxious and grating. To be honest, though, it’s occasionally grating, too. Dan Fogelman’s Galavant, which premiered on ABC last night, is a mixed bag of tricks, some new and some old, that come together in a shaky sitcom that both delights and annoys, depending on the scene.
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KAREN GILLAN

The Confident ‘Selfie’ Finale Sets Up A Promising Future That We’ll Never See

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Back in September, Selfie burst out of the gate with a confidence that was unwavering, even when its first episode was far from perfect. It was this confidence — and the obvious potential found within that first half-hour, largely due to its two irresistible leads John Cho and Karen Gillan — that kept me (and a group of loyal viewers) returning week after week, first to ABC and then, after its frustrating cancelation, to Hulu. ABC decided to burn off the rest of the episodes on Hulu, a move that provides mixed feelings: Yes, we get to see the conclusion of a series but also we get to see how positively that series has progressed after it was deemed not good (see: popular) enough for television. In Selfie‘s particular case, we saw how important confidence was for the series — and the protagonist, Eliza Dooley.
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‘Scandal’ Season 4 Episode 9 Recap: “Where the Sun Don’t Shine”

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Whatever Scandal‘s problem is, from week to week and on the whole, as one of TV’s fastest-paced and most consistently bonkers dramas, it’s never that the show has gotten too silly. This is not to say that Scandal is not, very often, a remarkably silly show; the thing is, silliness is more often than not a good look for Scandal. Think about Mellie’s fire-and-brimstone monologues, which we haven’t heard nearly enough of this season. The show works as a high-stakes political thriller and a romance built around a love triangle and even, in the past two seasons, a family drama. Scandal sacrifices tonal consistency in these moments of Twitter-friendly, in-your-face wackiness — but if it didn’t have a screwy, campy, self-aware sense of humor, it would be a slog to watch.
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rowan-olivia

‘Scandal’ Season 4 Episode 8 Recap: “The Last Supper”

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In past seasons, Shonda Rhimes and her writers have filled each Scandal episode to the brim and then made it sprint, combining raw action with endless plot twists in a way that was guaranteed to break both individual viewers’ brains and Twitter. This year, though, the show has displayed more restraint than I ever thought I’d see from it — with mixed results. While the first few episodes were just plain sluggish, Scandal has recovered significantly in the past several weeks, as it’s set up several season-long arcs. Last night’s installment, “The Last Supper,” was the final one before next week’s “Winter Finale” (but shouldn’t that be “Fall Finale,” since it’s not even Thanksgiving yet?). The first two-thirds of the episode dragged a bit, but it ended on a strong note, largely thanks to a brilliant action sequence that brought several apparently unrelated storylines together.
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KAREN GILLAN, JOHN CHO, SAMM LEVINE

How ‘Selfie’ Became a Better Show — Just in Time to Get Canceled

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Selfie was doomed from the beginning. Its title was both obnoxious and alienating to potential viewers, its premise — a modern-day My Fair Lady — was a turn-off for many, and its obsession with social media made the series a niche concern. It certainly didn’t help that the pilot was extremely irritating. I noted in a pre-air review that I wholeheartedly believed Selfie had massive potential hidden beneath that first episode’s Yelp puns and the fumbling character development. Now, with six episodes aired, Selfie has bettered itself and found its place on television — only to get canceled by ABC.
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abby

‘Scandal’ Season 4 Episode 7 Recap: “Baby Made a Mess”

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If you recognize the origin of last night’s Scandal episode title, there’s a good probability that reading it makes you cringe. “Baby Made a Mess,” you see, refers to a leaked video that captures Senator McDonnell of Virginia dressed as an adult baby and, rather unfortunately, soiling himself. It’s the kind of clip that unceremoniously ends a political career, and McDonnell (side note: change just one letter of the fictional senator’s last name and you’ve got newly reelected Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell) resigns immediately. Thankfully for those of us who get nauseated thinking about it, his particular shame only gets a few minutes of screen time. But what it represents — powerful men throwing self-destructive tantrums and giving in to selfish, immature urges while competent women step in to take control — becomes the theme of the week.
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