Half the dialogue of last night’s episode of Fresh Off The Boat was spoken in Mandarin. Half! In Mandarin! Jeff Chiang, a writer on the show, wrote a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter about the significance of the “universality of specificity”, a concept Duana and I have discussed many times on Show Your Work. This is also the key to Issa Rae’s Insecure. And this is one of the reasons (there were many) that Coco worked too.
My mother dialect is Cantonese. I don’t speak Mandarin but I’ve always wanted to. I only know Mandarin from karaoke and even then my pronunciation is sh-t. My point is that while I could pick out some words during Fresh Off The Boat last night, I too had to rely on the subtitles to round out the story. And the experience of turning on the television and hearing Mandarin spoken on a show on a major network in North America, it was exhilarating. As Jeff Chiang notes, this was not something that happened to people with our backgrounds when we were growing up. Now there’s an entire generation growing up right now who can remember this when they get older. Or, maybe, by the time they get older, it’ll be totally unremarkable because it’ll be super ordinary.
I’ve attached a clip from last night’s episode below. (Umm….Randall Park’s Mandarin is better than mine. Shame on me, seriously.) Fittingly the Huangs are celebrating Chinese New Year. For them, in keeping with the show’s timeline, it’s the Year of the Tiger. For us, it’s the Year of the Dog. And today it’s the Snake’s turn.
The Snake is considered the third luckiest sign during this Year of the Dog. It could be a better year than last year. Three peaceful stars are shining on the Snake that may help to reduce potential drama. It may be a good year for marriage and honeymoon and babies. It could also be a good year for career and money. Investments should return well.
But, as always, to balance the energies, there are also two bad luck stars in the Snake’s orbit so be careful of car issues. And avoid red cars if possible. Don’t buy one. And if you already have one, you may want to get a small rabbit charm and keep it on you when you’re driving.
1953 Water Snake – Snakes born this year may be impressive at work, resulting in many compliments.
1965 Fire Snake – the luckiest of all Snakes during the Year of the Dog. The path seems clear to fortune and investments. Celebrate as often as you can, no occasion is too small. This will help offset temptation.
1977 Earth Snake – this might be a good time for Snakes born this year to actively pursue career ambitions, go after it, be aggressive. That would be Kanye West. Keep an eye on Kanye this year. He’s been quietly restoring and regrowing his power for a while now. Male Snakes born this year who do not have straight noses are advised to be extra cautious though. And celebrate a big birthday.
1989 Wood Snake – the Year of the Dog is a good opportunity to improve, to learn new things, add to your skillset.
2001 Metal Snake –if you know a Snake born this year, maybe you’re a parent or a relative, do not indulge them, do not spoil them, and watch them closely to help them avoid mistakes.
Since the Fire is strong during the Year of the Dog, all Snakes should be mindful of lung health, breathing issues, allergies, and coughing. Snakes are also advised not to get too cocky, don’t fill yourself, don’t take more than you need – this applies to everything: love, friendship, food, cash. Snakes may also want to limit outside activities during the summer. Heat management, remember, is critical this year.
In March and April, keep your mind on your money and your money on your mind. Otherwise there may be big risks.
Between June 6 and August 6, if you feel bothered and frustrated, especially if you are a female Snake, try carrying a metal Cow or Rooster charm. It might help.
In July and August, it is recommended that Snakes control their tempers. Holidays should be good for Snakes this year.
Tomorrow we’ll be spending time on the sign getting the most attention from the Squawking Chicken this year: the Dragon.
Yours in gossip,