Sufferers of 'Asian Flush' around the world got to experience a pretty cool victory recently as the hit TV sitcom Fresh Off The Boat guest staring comedian Ali Wong and NBA star Jeremy Lin, highlighted an embarrassing moment that many Asian people have had to reckon with.
The Episode titled 'The Flush' premiered on Tuesday 14th March 2017 at 21:31 on ABC (Season 3, Episode 17 can still be watched online here if you have access to ABC Go) and illuminated a sort-of-humorous but pretty socially isolating aspect of the Asian-American experience: Asian Flush.
Louis Huang, who is the father and one of the main characters in Fresh off the boat, explainins Asian flush/Asian glow to his son who sneakily managed to try his first beer with his underage friends and is pretty freaked out by the red face and body that followed. The father explains to his son why some people suffer from Asian flush and how he personally deals with his alcohol flush reaction both practically –using his 'Flush Pack'– but also on a macro-social level when drinking with his Asian-American friends and his non Asian-American friends.
The father Louis explains how in college he would fake being drunk when he was with his white friends to avoid embarrassment, but he would let his red shine freely whenever he drank with his Chinese friends because “they understood.”
The episode manages to navigate a pretty subtle topic area without feeling too preachy, judgemental or overtly sentimental, so props to the writers for doing such a good job!
Do you get the Asian glow? 🤔#FreshOffTheBoat— Fresh off the Boat (@FreshOffABC) March 15, 2017
The reactions on social media to the episode following it airing on national TV are appreciative of ABC airing such a relatable episode. Many also thanked the shows creators for finally explaining the concept of Asian flush to the rest of the country in an understandable but still inclusive way (explaining the social aspect of flushing in particular was a big deal, as well as some of the pains people go to in order to avoid/get rid of it). Many also breathed a sigh of relief that they wouldn’t have to explain alcohol flushing to every single one of their friends anymore!
@FreshOffABC I say this 2 my friends all the time! "Just because I'm red doesn't mean I'm drunk. My body doesn't know how to process alcohol— Erica Long (@e_longie) March 15, 2017
Omg I relate so much with this Asian flush episode of Fresh Off the Boat. HE HAS A FLUSH PACK.— Emily Koh (@meltingnoise) March 15, 2017
They talked about asian flush on Fresh Off the Boat and it's as if I was Louis explaining to everyone ever why I get so red w/ a single sip— The Numi (@OhThatNumi) March 15, 2017
What's in Louis' Asian Flush Pack?
In the episode, the father Louis hands his son a pre-made drink that he calls 'Lou Brew' claiming that it "also gets out permanent marker and blood stains" and goes on to talk about his "pre-game routine" that he uses to fight alcohol flush:
Louis (father): My flush pack. Before I drink, I take these precautions and it lessens the side-effects.
- Eye Drops
Eddie (Son): You have to do all this non-sense everytime you drink?
Louis: I don't write checks my body cant cash! ....Also, there's some cash in here.