Fresh Off the Boat: Success Perm
March 2, 2015 11:33 AM - Season 1, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Jessica's sister pays a visit from D.C., bringing her husband, mother, and son. In an effort to appear more successful than they are, Jessica and Louis dress the house up and get new hairstyles. The couples engage in a duel of appearances, while Eddie is puzzled by the shifted musical tastes of the cousin who turned him on to hip hop a year ago.
posted by filthy light thief (4 comments total)
Also: episode on Hulu.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:57 AM on March 2, 2015

This was the first episode I repeatedly loled at because the materialism of Jessica's family reminded me of my own extended family. I never thought about perms being a sign of anything except having gotten a perm, but I do remember various relatives with perms and how they all seemed to own Infiniti's and BMWs. A decade later, these relatives' kids were wearing Ed Hardy kids clothes and my mom was complaining that these relatives (mostly uncles) don't have enough money to help pay for my grandfather's nursing home but they all seem to have new cars every other year.

Eddie Huang's grandparents are shown as silent types. My grandparents are/were anything but. Maybe it's a Cantonese thing; nothing was ever just said, it was shouted. I could always tell my dad was talking to his mother on the phone because suddenly his volume would double.
posted by zompus at 4:31 PM on March 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

Interesting, thanks for sharing! I had a hard time finding any web references for "success perms," except this tweet:
As a member of ASPA (Asian Success Perms Anonymous) in recovery, I lived #freshofftheboat. Now straight for 20 years.
So I assumed there was some truth to this.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:03 PM on March 2, 2015

"Success perms" were definitely a thing I remember from the 80's, especially among the closeted. But everyone's hair was weird in the 80's.

I also recalled a lot of very expensive very small shiny leather shoes.

otoh, tight curles are a rare, but not unheard of, natural phenotype in Asians.

(Justin Timberlake, apparently, still practices Success Perms.)
posted by porpoise at 6:58 PM on March 2, 2015

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