Fresh Off the Boat Proves You Can Be Responsible About Sexual Assault and Still Be Funny

Spoilers, of course.

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In addition to being a welcome breath of representative fresh air for Asian-American audiences who don’t get to see people like them being celebrated on TV all that often, ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat also happens to be a totally hilarious sitcom—you know, if you can deal with how annoyingly sexist and, well, twelve, the main character can be. Luckily, the show doesn’t pull any punches with teaching him the error of his ways.

A scene from the most recent episode, “Persistent Romeo,” is proof of that: after Louis (Randall Park) is done giving his son the talk about the Birds and the Bees, Jessica (played by the amazing Constance Wu) swoops in to remind Eddie of one more thing his father forgot to mention: that he shouldn’t date rape anyone.

Observe, in GIF form (via VisualStimulation on Tumblr):

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So, here are two things that are awesome about this scene:

1) While it’s played for laughs due to Wu’s intensity (which, to be fair, gets her in trouble later during the episode), we still have a mother teaching her son not to pressure girls into being physical with him. That’s pretty revolutionary, given that most of the time in American society we spend more of our efforts, indirectly or otherwise, on instructing girls how to protect themselves from rape then we do actually explaining to boys what behavior is or isn’t okay.

2) It’s a rape joke that works. Often when we complain about terrible jokes that buy into rape culture rather than challenge it, rape joke defenders chime in with something like “but in comedy, nothing is off limits!” or “freedom of speech!” Well, yes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be responsible about how you frame a joke and who you might be affecting by telling it. This is a funny scene, and it is meant to be funny, but it’s not framed at the expense of any possible rape victims who might be watching.

Basically, mad props to Fresh Off the Boat for this scene–and for writing an entire episode that speaks to feminist principles on a show that isn’t strictly about “women’s issues.” Good job, team!

As a bonus, here’s another scene from the episode where Eddie shows his classmates a sexual harassment video (that they all mistake for porn, of course). I find it particularly telling how the behaviors of the male and female “offenders” differ:

Ladies, you ever find yourself in one of those situations where you are generally cordial to a guy you know and they mistake it for flirting and start acting super weird around you? This is the comedy equivalent of that, basically. Genius. Everyone start watching this show right now.

(via Buzzfeed)

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