When I heard that ABC was going to launch a TV series about a family moving to Orlando, Florida in the mid-nineties – my interest way piqued. You see, I lived all over the U.S. as a child growing up… Georgia, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. I even lived in Kentucky for a short time waiting for our new home in Tennessee to be built. Then, in the late eighties, my family relocated to South Florida. Seeing the lack of snow, they stayed until in the mid-nineties I moved out on my own to…?
You guessed it: Orlando, Florida.
So the prospect of a series that portrayed mid-nineties Orlando seemed like fun. I learned it was loosely based on a book called Fresh Off The Boat by Eddie Huang. I bought a copy and checked it out. Reading the book, I was even more curious about how they were going to turn a narrative about someone who was (most likely) the most famous weed dealer at Rollins College into a family friendly sitcom. After one season of development, Eddie dropped support for the show and the show became less “based on” and more “very loosely based on” the book.
I have no issue with that. Creative decisions and whatnot.
I do take issue with how much Orlando isn’t portrayed as Orlando. FUN FACT CALIFORNIANS: I-4 runs East and West – not North and South. (Someone made mention of I-4 North in an episode.) Sure – technically, it runs Northeast and Southwest, but locals refer to it by EAST and WEST.
That’s just one example. The first episode actually made mention of International Drive… bravo! After that, you created non-stop fictional locations when there are plenty of actual locations: The Florida Mall; Gatorland; etc.
If the show is as much about Eddie’s family as it is about Orlando – show Orlando a little more respect. Make it a real place.