The Office may have Christmas and Roseanne can keep Halloween, but Fresh Off the Boat—the first sitcom about an Asian-American family in more than 20 years—just gave us what's likely the first-ever Chinese New Year-themed episode of a U.S. television show.

The '90s-set comedy (which airs on ABC, a part owner of Fusion) is loosely based on the childhood of restaurateur Eddie Huang. In Tuesday's episode, the Huangs make plans to travel back to D.C. to celebrate the holiday with their extended family, but they're stranded in Orlando when they miss their flight. Instead, they find their way to a party hosted by the Asian-American Association of Orlando, which turns out to be a school gym filled with exactly zero Chinese or Taiwanese people.


"Everyone here is an Asian, or hoping to associate with one," explains AAAOO member Rick (Rob Huebel), who, needless to say, is white.

Not only has Rick not heard of the tradition of gifting red envelopes stuffed with cash—much to the Huang kids' dismay—but the party's dragon dancer is a male stripper in a team mascot costume.


Eventually, their friends help Louis (Randall Park) put on a celebration at the family's restaurant, complete with lanterns, oranges, and fireworks and other familiar staples of the Lunar New Year.

Now partway through its second season, Fresh Off the Boat has already found ample opportunity to offer audiences a unique window into the Asian-American experience.


Showrunner Nahnatcha Khan expressed her interest in making Chinese New Year an annual tradition for the series in an interview with Vulture.

"It becomes in the canon of our show like, What are we doing for our Chinese New Year episode? Like not even up for debate if we’re doing one, just, what’s it going to be this year? That kind of thing would be fantastic," she said.

The 2016 Lunar New Year, a centuries-old festival based on the traditional Chinese calendar, will take place next Monday, February 8.


Molly Fitzpatrick is senior editor of Fusion's Pop & Culture section. Her interests include movies about movies, TV shows about TV shows, and movies about TV shows, but not so much TV shows about movies.