When Fresh Off the Boat airs season five's penultimate episode on Friday, it won't be just any other episode.
It will be the groundbreaking family comedy's 100th, a coveted television milestone that affirms its longevity, success and, in Fresh Off the Boat's case, deep cultural impact.
Based on chef and restaurateur Eddie Huang's best-selling 2013 memoir, the 1990s-set half-hour, single-camera series debuted on ABC in February 2015 with Constance Wu and Randall Park playing parents, Jessica and Louis, to three young sons -- Eddie (Hudson Yang), Evan (Ian Chen) and Emery (Forrest Wheeler) -- who relocate from Washington, D.C., to Orlando, Florida, to open a cowboy-themed steakhouse. Their efforts to integrate into a community with a largely non-Asian population becomes the root of the series' comedic hijinks.
To a large degree, Fresh Off the Boat represented a pivotal step forward in inclusive storytelling for Asians in mainstream America. It just took a few years for Hollywood to catch up.
A few years later, 2018 became a crucial turning point for Asian American representation in movies and television, thanks to successes on every level -- both big (Crazy Rich Asians, To All the Boys I've Loved Before, Killing Eve) and not-as-big (Searching, Burning).
As Fresh Off the Boat celebrates its historic 100th episode, which makes it the first Asian American series to accomplish such a feat, creator and showrunner Nahnatchka Khan, who is Iranian American, reflects on its legacy and place in the TV record books.
▲ Constance Wu, Randall Park, Hudson Yang, Forrest Wheeler and Ian Chen between takes during filming of the pilot in 2015.
▲ Constance Wu and guest star Ming-Na Wen during a season five episode of 'Fresh Off the Boat.'
▲ Ian Chen and Forrest Wheeler on the set of 'Fresh Off the Boat' during season one.