Weddings can sometimes be rather predictable and boring – but not if you’re a Huang and really, really love the movie “Ghost.”
On the Season 3 premiere of “Fresh Off the Boat,” Gene (Ken Jeong) tied the knot with his fiancee Margaret (Ann Hsu) in Taiwan. During the reception, Gene presented the couple’s wedding video, introducing it with the sweet but rather prosaic words, “Please enjoy the story of how Margaret and I met and fell in love.”
And then this chyron appeared on the screen:
To the strains of “Unchained Melody,” a mini macabre melodrama unfolded that very loosely mimicked the Patrick Swayze/Demi Moore 1990 supernatural romance “Ghost.” But this time it was Gene and Margaret as the loving couple, and Gene who was the victim of a drive-by stabbing. All this was presented with shoddy, circa-1990s VHS video quality.
Ghost Gene then haunted Margaret and even helped her with pottery until, inexplicably, they both were ghosts. “Our love knows no bounds. We are both ghosts, now and forever,” explained Ghost Gene unhelpfully. The End.
IndieWire turned to “Fresh Off the Boat” creator Nahnatchka Khan for an explanation.
“We started from watching [Taiwanese] wedding videos, seeing what people do and the stories they tell,” Khan said. “There are some that tell the story of how they met. It’s the people who are getting married but they’re playing the college version of themselves in their college sweatshirt with glasses. And then they meet and then they show them on their first date.
“They’re incredible, and they’re all different kinds. There are some that tell a completely different story from scratch. There are some that are just old photos over music. You can kind of make it what you want. We loved the idea that you make a movie like a wedding video and you show it at your reception. We definitely went down the rabbit hole. We just spent the whole day watching wedding videos. They’re really, really funny.”
As for the “Ghost” tie-in, earlier in the episode it had been established that the Huangs’ Taiwanese relatives were obsessed with the film, watching and referring to it often.
“When we were breaking the story, we came to the idea of everyone being obsessed with the movie ‘Ghost,’” said Khan. “It felt very real to us because it’s 1996 when they’re going [to Taiwan], but when you go back to other countries, it feels like stuff from a couple years earlier is really popular now. So we landed on ‘Ghost’ being really popular. We thought it would be a really fun wedding video for Gene because everybody’s obsessed with that, and he makes his version of ‘Ghost 2: The Story of Gene and Margaret.’ It doesn’t make any sense really, but you’re like, ‘Okay…’”
The show also used “Ghost” as a metaphor for Louis and Jessica’s (Randall Park, Constance Wu) mixed cultural identity, an ongoing theme this season.
“We tied it in with the theme of being sort of stuck between two worlds,” said Khan. “It was what Jessica and Louis were going through in a fun way. They finally, ultimately were like, ‘Oh my God, we are “Ghost!”’
“Fresh Off the Boat” airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.