Two days into Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the Los Angeles City Council has declared May 2 to be "Fresh Off the Boat Day," in honor of the hit ABC sitcom.
"To have the show officially recognized by the city that I was born and raised in is an incredible honor," Randall Park, who plays the family patriarch Louis Huang, told The Times on Tuesday in downtown Los Angeles.
"Growing up I didn't have many images that looked like me, and the ones that did were often one-dimensional."
The declaration ceremony, which kicked off with remarks by Park, Mayor Eric Garcetti, council member David Ryu, council President Herb Wesson Jr. and the show's executive producers, Nahnatchka Khan and Melvin Mar, ended in a luncheon sponsored by Panda Express and hosted at City Hall.
Inspired by chef Eddie Huang's memoir of the same name, "Fresh Off the Boat" follows the Huang family's experience moving from Washington, D.C.'s Chinatown to the suburbs of Orlando, Fla., and is filled with the ensuing micro-aggressions that are specific to the Asian American experience. The show, which is shot in Los Angeles, is the first prime-time network sitcom in more than 20 years — since "All American Girl" with Margaret Cho — to feature an Asian American cast.
"The significance is huge," said Khan. "Especially when you're working in television, all you're trying to do is just make a good product that feels true and entertaining and funny. And then a little over two years after you premiere, to have a day with the city is beyond your wildest dreams and expectations."
Cast members Hudson Yang, Forrest Wheeler, Ian Chen, Lucille Soong and Chelsey Crisp were also on hand to accept the award.
"It's very exciting to have a TV show where I'm the supporting character," said Crisp, who is blond and white and plays Honey, the Huangs' neighbor. "I think that's awesome. It's really exciting to see the city embracing the show."
Randall Park shared Crisp's excitement.
"To be able to have a show like this on the air right now where little Asian American kids can see themselves in multi-dimensions as fully formed human beings I think gives them a little more confidence," he said. "Just a little more feeling of belonging to this country.
"And the hope is that our show can engender many more shows like it."