If you’re not at least a little bit in love with Constance Wu then I sincerely worry about you. Either something heavy hit you in the head or you aren’t watching “Fresh Off the Boat.” It could be both, in which case I really, really worry about you. If you are watching you know that Constance plays family matriarch Jessica Huang on the new ABC series. As an Asian-American girl I vividly remember watching “All-American Girl,” broadcast TV’s first sitcom featuring an Asian-American cast, back in the 90s. Now, 21 years later, I’m keenly watching our second.
So far, boy oh boy, do I like what I see. And I’m definitely in love with Constance’s no-bullshit Jessica. She is amazing. She is hilarious. She is a badass. She is by far the runaway, scene-stealing star of the show. But she’s also a real-life badass who understands the heavy burden placed upon actors playing underrepresented roles. We understandably want so much from these characters because we see them so little. Be they black, Asian, gay, disabled, whathaveyou. We pin our hopes on them. But it’s also an unfair expectation, and wildly unrealistic to boot.
As Constance told Time magazine (in an interview you should read in full):
We shouldn’t be a voice for all Asians. We are such a varied group that there’s no one show that can be like, “This is what Asian America looks like!” But we’re given that burden because we’re so rarely represented. If you see Tina Fey on television, you’re not like, “All white women are like Tina Fey.” Yet people are like, “Oh, Jessica Huang’s not like my mother, but this show is supposed to be about Asians, so shouldn’t she be like my mother?”So Jessica Huang is just Jessica Huang. But we’re lucky because Jessica Huang is pretty fucking awesome. And so is Constance. Plus, damn, lady has the voice of an angel. A badass angel. Happy weekend, all.