Flash forward more than two decades later and now Eddie Huang– successful chef, entrepreneur, author and media celebrity– finds seeing his life story played out on TV weird.
Huang writes in Vulture that he wasn’t all that sure he wanted to sell the television rights to his memoir, Fresh Off the Boat.
He knows his television story isn’t his story, that its been adapted to appeal to a wider audience.
Huang recalls what his executive producer, Melvin, told him.
“It’s not your story anymore. Get over it. The kids ARE NOT going to a Gravediggaz show! This is a HISTORIC network-television show inspired by your life, and it’s going to get Americans excited about us. 2 It’s never going to be the book; it’s never going to be Baohaus (Huang’s restaurant). 3 It’s Panda Express, 4 and you know what? Orange chicken gets America really excited about Chinese people in airports.”
Fresh Off the Boat debuts Wednesday February 4 on ABC at both 8:30 and 9:30pm before moving to its permanent Tuesday time slot the following week at 8pm.
It may not be completely the way Huang wanted it, but its already generating a lot of excitement. Not only among numerous critics who have named it one of the most anticipated shows of 2015, but among Asian Americans who look forward to seeing a positive representation of themselves on television.
The show follows Huang’s life growing up in Central Florida. Asian Americans there see the show bringing a focus on AAPIs in an area of the country not know for its Asian American population.
“It’s definitely a long time coming,” Ricky Ly, a University of Central Florida graduate said of the sitcom to the Orlando Sentinel. “I think it’s a great step to focus on an Asian American family. With the cultural aspects of being Asian American, I think it is great to showcase that on a national level.”
You can read more about Huang’s struggles with seeing his story on TV in Vulture.