The fourth season of ABC’s hit sitcom Fresh Off The Boat premiered last Tuesday, and it really kicked off with a bang. As the show’s main character is a fictional version of Asian-American personality Eddie Huang at the age of 11 years old, it deals with many of the struggles of teens and pre-teens, and the writers have decided to add a come out story to the list.
In the episode, Nichole, played by Luna Blaise, invites Eddie to a Mexican restaurant because she “wants to talk to him about something”. In the past, he used to have a huge crush on her, but he later let that go and got a girlfriend. That is why, when they were talking, he rushed and tried to let her know that he was not interested in her, having assumed that she had taken him on a date. Instead, he gets shocked when she lets him know that “she might like girls”.
Following the unexpected statement, Nicole and Eddie have an awkward trip back home in which she tells him: “I’m sorry if I made things weird, I’ve never told anybody that before. It feels really strange saying it out loud. But you’re my friend and you’re easy to talk to so, I thought you would understand, you know? Please, don’t tell anybody yet, I’m still trying to figure stuff out.” This is a conversation which anyone who has ever had to come out probably knows and has already gone through. So of course, Nicole’s feelings of frustration when Eddie does not say much and simply leaves her in the car are easy to understand. Fortunately, a few seconds later he comes back and invites her to have a talk about it, following a bunch of questions that are logical for a boy of that age to make.
Although we are seeing more and more coming out stories in televisions lately, this one is important for several reasons. Since the first season of the show, Nicole has been presented as the idea of a young “feminine” woman who is very popular and has many boys after her, and there have never been any hints about her being interested in other women. This is very helpful to shatter the stereotype that all queer women look or act a certain way, and also to show people that it is possible to figure out your sexuality at that point in your life. Also, it is important to take into account that this storyline is specifically progressive because Fresh Off The Boat takes place in a Florida of the ’90s and centers on an Asian-American family, which is why lots of its viewers who watch it and relate to it are still conservative and not accepting of the LGBTQ+ community and they were not used to seeing stories like this in their daily life in their childhood. Exposing Nicole’s story to young LGBTQ+ women who are less used to seeing themselves in the media than gay men and to people who are still not open about sexuality is a fresh way to bring even more diversity and inclusion to the show.
The first LGBTQ+ character to appear on the show was Oscar Chow, in the tenth episode of Season One. He represented the idea of a stereotypical but proud gay man and only appeared in two episodes. Here is to hoping Nicole’s storyline gives her an even more important role in the show and the writers keep diving into her story, perhaps even including more queer characters to make TV slowly more and more diverse.
Watch the scene below:
— Fresh off the Boat (@FreshOffABC) October 4, 2017