The Huang Family
The Narrator of the show, an 11-year-old American-born-Taiwanese kid who is into hip-hop, and trying to fit in when his parents move from Washington, DC to Orlando, FL.
- Author Avatar: ... by merit of being the author as a kid.
- Berserk Button: Absolutely hates being mistaken for Japanese.
- Black Sheep: Compared to Evan and Emery, who are much more traditional and thus get his parents approval more.
- Broken Pedestal: When he sees his older cousin again, whom he idolized for introducing him to hip-hop, he's horrified to find out he's become into grunge and is basically a proto-emo.
- Decoy Protagonist: He's the narrator, and the book the series is based on was written by the real life Eddie Huang. However, the series itself is just as much, if not more, about his parents. He's made out to be the main character of the first season, but starting in Season 2 the rest of his family get more screen time.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: Eddie wants to fit in with everyone else at school, down to getting "White people lunch."
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Generally acts like a bit of a standoffish slacker, but this is more due to his own frustrations and fears over not being accepted than any genuine malice on his part.
- Likes Older Women: Eddie is convinced that being seen with an attractive, mature woman will win him respect among his peers. He tries to put the moves on his neighbor's young wife before finally meeting her teenage stepdaughter, who seems to hate his guts at first glance but who is at least closer to his age.
- Precocious Crush: On Honey, and then on Nicole. He likes 'em older.
- Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Well, "Pretty Fly For An Asian Guy." His cousin got him super into hiphop, and he wants that lifestyle.
- Your Mom: Tries this on one of the kids who bullies him. It backfires.Trent: Dude, are those nurse's shoes?Eddie: Yeah, they're your mom's.Trent: My mom does happen to be a nurse, and she helps sick people get better!
Chinese name: Chu Tsai Hsia
Eddie's overbearing mother. Speaks with a distinct accent, and often gets her way through sheer volume and bossiness.
- Adaptational Heroism: In comparison to the original memoir, at least. Her real life counterpart was basically the TV character Up to Eleven, to the extent that had she not been toned down, the show likely would have been attacked for perpetuating the Asian Tiger Mom stereotype.
- Bad Liar: Is a compulsive liar, but is not very good at it.
- Celeb Crush: She has a thing for Denzel Washington.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: In "Keep 'em Separated," she is quite jealous of Louis's friendship with a woman at a pool hall.
- Comfort Food: Her go-to snack when dealing with stress and anxiety of taking the realtor's exam is a chip-wich.
- Deadpan Snarker: One heck of one.Jessica: (seeing her sons playing basketball) Looks like we're going for academic scholarships.
- Education Mama: When Eddie, who was an average student (at best) in DC, gets straight A's (and Emery and Evan get... whatever those stickers are supposed to represent), she demands to know where the nearest CLC (Chinese Language Center) is. When the principal informs her that there isn't one, she starts homeschooling them for three hours a day.
- Gaydar: Her complete lack of one is a running gag. Even when a pair of gay men refer to themselves as a couple, she didn't get it. Hell, one of her usual hangouts is a lesbian bar.
- Greed: Forces her family to live a less than middle-class lifestyle to save money, made Louis cut down on cheap items like napkins and croutons for his restaurant, tampered with a Thanksgiving raffle by taking out the winning ticket herself (but losing anyways) and as a realtor Jessica discriminated against her potential customers if she suspects they can't afford the house she's selling.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: She's shown that when she throws something at someone, she never misses. The first season involved her beaning a dine and dasher with an onion. Season 2 involves her beaning one of the boys who was gonna egg her real estate property with an egg...in the dark!
- Inscrutable Oriental: Plays this trope the straightest, especially in her interactions with the neighborhood women.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Overbearing, overly strict, and occasionally rude... but also deeply caring for her family and desperate to ensure her kids have a future.
- Last Het Romance: For Oscar. With the twist that she doesn't even realize it, as she had no idea the utterly Camp Gay Oscar was gay, even in the present.
- Malicious Misnaming: She renames people or organizations that she doesn't like the name of with a name she thinks is better. It borders on Accidental Misnaming because after her initial renaming, she seems to have genuinely forgotten that she even did it, and thinks her new names are better.
- Mama Bear: Do NOT threaten her son for defending himself after being called a racial slur or abandon him at a concert venue.
- Never My Fault: Refuses to apologize to Eddie after smothering him with a Hello Kitty plushie, only because she believes he at least should be grateful she even gave birth to him.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: When she sings. Justified considering the fact that while singing a song in an accent that is foreign, people can sound remarkably like a native speaker.
- Only Sane Man: Usually this when with the other housewives in her neighbourhood.Jessica: You think I like pretending Samantha isnt carrying a bag of dog poops in her hand? No, I dont like this. We ALL see the poop that is rolling around!
- Psychopathic Manchild: She's truculent, selfish and very greedy. She's forced a pregnant Honey to go on a long trip to find Stephen Hawking (the latter getting a restraining order against Jessica for stalking him) and stole Eddie's bed when he refused to do his homework.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The hot-tempered and aggressive red oni to her more laid-back husband's blue.
- Selective Obliviousness: Jessica is very oblivious to tell-tale signs that someone is gay.
- The Scrooge: Both she and her sister are all about being cheap, especially since their mother's an even bigger skinflint than both of them and it's the only way to get her attention. For example, not turning the AC on in the middle of a heatwave.
- In "The Big 1-2," it's revealed Jessica used the same pinata for birthday parties since Eddie was 2-years old.
- Well Done, Daughter Girl: As above, she and her sister constantly vie for their mother's attention.
Eddie's father. It's his dream to open a restaurant, and moved to Orlando to do so. His optimism and niceness contrasts his wife's cynicism and rudeness.
- Adaptational Heroism: The real Louis was an abusive parent. TV Louis is a typical kindhearted Bumbling Dad.
- Adorkable: His earnest enthusiasm and general likability makes him this.
- Benevolent Boss: He believes happy employees lead to happy customers.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Not afraid to steal from his competitors to help his business.
- Bumbling Dad: Averted. While a bit goofy and definitely embarrassing, Louis is generally competent, understanding and helpful when dealing with his kids.
- Chick Magnet: Was apparently the most sought after guy in college, but his own Oblivious to Love nature stopped him from realizing this. Jessica is disappointed to learn the it was her, not him, who hooked up with the school hottie.
- Closet Key: He's the one who made Oscar realize he was gay.
- Closer to Earth: Much less pushy and overbearing than his wife.
- Cutting Corners: He's notoriously cheap, though that has a lot to do with his being a struggling business owner.
- Henpecked Husband: Jessica really wears the pants in the relationship. Jessica means well, but she can be a bit overbearing, even at his place of work where she is technically not employed. Though this does not mean Louis lets her control his restaurant and food however she wants, Louis has kicked her out of the restaurant and even banned her from helping him in the chili cook-off. Louis also does correct Jessica's rude behavior at times such as when Jessica kept constantly hurting Honey in "We Done Son".
- Nice Guy: Always friendly and kind to his family and employees. Eddie even says that everyone thought he was the nicest guy in Orlando.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Louis Huang is supposed to be a first-generation Taiwanese-American, but in the show, his actor, Randall Park, attempts at an Asian accent briefly before ignoring it completely.
- One can argue that Louis has no accent/little accent because unlike Jessica, Louis spends more time with native English speakers on a regular basis.
- Not So Above It All: He's just as superstitious as Jessica is, despite denying it.
- Oblivious to Love: Louis never gets the hint whenever people are flirting with him. Jessica claims that his "love-dar" is broken and that it took her six kayak trips with him for him to understand she likes him.
- Only Sane Man: While his efforts to promote his restaurant get extreme at times, he's generally the most reasonable and competent person around at any given moment.
- The Pollyanna: His naivety and blind trust in others frequently gets him in trouble.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The generally more calm and clear-headed blue oni to his wife's domineering red.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: He's a bit naive, and overly optimistic both about the future, the present, and other people. One of the first things we learn from Eddie is that his dad has "bought into the American dream". His optimism is contrasted with Jessica's cynicism and distrust of the people around her.
The middle child, Emery is fitting in the best of all the Huangs.
- The Ace: Hilariously, the most skilled, well-adjusted, and socially successful member of the family is Emery, a grade schooler.
- Apologetic Attacker: In "Michael Chang Fever," he always shouts "Sorry" when he aces an opponent.
- Asian and Nerdy: Shown to be really bright, and happy to do schoolwork.
- Camp Straight: Very feminine but also a Chick Magnet.
- Chick Magnet: He's shown to be popular with his female classmates.
- Keet: Infinitely cheerful and the most outgoing of the Huang siblings.
- Kid A Nova: Unlike Eddie, Emery instantly becomes popular with classmates, to the point where he brings two girls as his dates to the neighborhood block party. In "Family Business Trip," he has an autograph table dedicated to signing girls' yearbooks.
- Mistaken for Gay: When busted for watching movies with buff men, Louis's choice of words heavily implied this.
- Rage Breaking Point: Hits one in "Jessica Place" after Eddie cheats at a breath-holding contest between the two of them. Louis explains that Emery tends to hold back on anything bothering him before unleashing any anger.
- Those Two Guys: In the first season, Emery and Evan usually share scenes. The only time they don't is usually a gag about how Emery has a new girlfriend. They grow out of it later on when Emery ages and acts more like Eddie.
Chinese name: Chih Fu
The youngest child in the Huang household.
- Adorably Precocious Child: He's clearly wise beyond his years. To the point where he regularly hangs out with the neighborhood women and they listen to his suggestions. He even runs the Home Owners' Association. He even applies to Harvard at the age of 12.
- Ambiguously Gay: He's very stereotypically feminine and campy and gets along with the other housewives much better than Jessica does.
- Asian and Nerdy: Even more than Emery, he really enjoys his schoolwork, and seems to be more naturally brilliant and innovative than his two older brothers.
- Enfant Terrible: Briefly during Science Fair week when he infected Emery with his chicken-pox so he wouldn't win first prize.
- Like Mother Like Son: In "Doing It Right", Evan temporarily absorbs his mother's personality by becoming bossy and aggressive towards his friend Jay Jay due to all these years of being pushed around by everyone in his family from his grandmother to Eddie.
- Momma's Boy: His studious, A-grabbing personality fits to Jessica's model for her ideal child and is usually the one kissing up to her.
- The Reliable One: The parents often rely on him to get the inside knowledge on the neighborhood. In one instance, he even mentions that his parents rely on him before being dragged out of a store.
- Teacher's Pet: Even (especially) when their mom is the teacher.
- Those Two Guys: Emery and Evan usually share scenes in the first season. They grow out of it by the second season.
- Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Jessica and Louis reference a couple of times that they wanted Evan to be a girl. Though Evan does act very girly.
Full English name: Jenny Huang
Louis' mother, she lives in the same house as the rest of the Huangs. She's a big fan of Garfield.
- The Ace: If there's a game that involves some form of gambling, Grandma has mastered it.
- Agony of the Feet: Wheelchair-bound because she had her feet, uh... bound. Played for laughs, of course.
- Bilingual Dialogue: Only speaks Mandarin, but others talk to her in English and she seems to understand.
- In later seasons, she starts taking English classes, and puts in a real effort to start speaking English even at home with her family. However, she'll usually also speak some Mandarin.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: She's a little out there. For one thing, she believes that OJ Simpson is free and his lookalike is on trial. She also thought that Eddie's football phone was a hatching egg, and she stole a potted plant from a bank (and tried to get the pens, too).
- Cool Old Lady: Happily embraces being used as a prop for Eddie's pimpwalk entrances by holding his boombox and playing them when he comes in.
- Hidden Depths: At least in Jessica's eyes. Grandma Huang has an extremely active social life that every other character knew about.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Her grandsons learn this the hard way during an afternoon of poker with her.
- Parents as People: As an older woman, she has her quirks, but her intervention of Louis' behavior in one episode implies that she's fully aware that whatever way her husband treated Louis shouldn't be a reference of how Louis should treat Eddie.
Cattleman Ranch staff
A host hired for Louis' steakhouse in the first episode.
- The Face: Of Louis' steakhouse. He was hired to be the host because Louis (rightfully) suspected people would be more comfortable dealing with a white guy. Like many of Louis' business decisions it's still quite misguided, as Mitch isn't terribly charismatic.
- The Klutz: Once squirted lime juice into both of his eyes at the same time.Mitch: Oh God! The limes! They've turned on their handler!
- Nice Guy: Very affable, and incredibly loyal to Louis.
- Office Romance: Slept with Nancy at some point. He brings it up at times that's utterly irrelevant.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: When Golden Saddle offered him double his pay, he suddenly became a jerkass to Louis.
A waitress at Cattleman's Ranch.
- Cannot Tell a Lie: When putting up a front to convince Louis' brother-in-law everything is fine, she's the one who breaks the facade. And when she does, she cheerily points out that she still did way better than anyone could expect her to.
- Good Is Dumb: She's probably nicer than Mitch, but she seems pretty much incapable of thinking on her own.
- Office Romance: Slept with Mitch. She regrets it.
The Huang's next-door neighbor, and Jessica's first and closest friend in Orlando.
- Adoptive Peer Parent: By merit of being a step-mother.
- All the Other Reindeer: The rest of the women in the neighborhood hate her for being so young and pretty... and for being the other woman when Marvin was still married to his first (technically second) wife.
- Bare Your Midriff: The majority of her outfits sure show it off.
- Bi the Way: Has had at least one relationship with a woman. She and Marvin refer to that period of her life as "the year you were a lesbian".
- Butt-Monkey: At times, especially when she gets taken advantage of by Nicole or Jessica.
- Male Gaze: As the resident Ms. Fanservice, she gets a lot of it.
- MayDecember Romance: She's considerably younger (at least 32 years) than her husband, played by Ray Wise. Louis thought she was his daughter at first.
- Ms. Fanservice: Skimpiest dresser in the show, and most women don't want their husbands to even be around her because of it. Scenes have included putting lotion on, and her jogging while wearing a sports bra.
- Nice Girl: She genuinely has Jessica's back and Jessica even considers her family.
- So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Her youth and beauty are the cause of a lot of her problems from the neighbourhood wives excluding her to Eddie mistaking her for a stripper.
- Trophy Wife: Marvin's young, blonde wife.
Honey's teenaged step-daughter, she's Eddie's neighbor and crush.
- Bratty Teenage Daughter: She's a mild delinquent, and refers to her step-mother as "slut" in lieu of her name or "mom."
- Daddy's Girl: In contrast to how she treats her step-mother, she is sweet and bubbly to her daddy.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: She didn't even give Eddie the time of day initially, but very gradually is warming up to him. She even refers to him as a "friend" at the end of "Family Business Trip."
- Establishing Character Moment: She struts into the scene, swats a ball thrown by a kid playing a game, does an odd little booty dance, and calls her step-mother "slut." Clearly Eddie's battle for her affection will be an uphill one.
- Lipstick Lesbian: Realizes that she is lesbian in Season 4.
- Pet the Dog: Her occasional sympathetic actions towards Eddie, starting with a simple "hey" on the bus.
- In "Miracle on Dead Street", she and her friend aid Jessica in scaring off the teenage boys who threatened to egg Jessica's investment house.
- Precocious Crush: She's the object of Eddie's affection despite being considerably older than him. (Two years being "considerably" older to a middle schooler.)
Abraham Lincoln Middle School
The black kid at Eddie's school.
- Acting Your Intellectual Age: He's basically a grumpy old man in a kid's body.
- Catch-Phrase: "This school/cafeteria is ridiculous," which occasionally is borrowed by others.
- Defeat Equals Friendship: It takes a while, but he apparently harbors no ill-will towards Eddie for beating him up.
- Intergenerational Friendship: His best friend is 40 years old. Jessica and Louis think this is weird.
- Not So Different: Eventually bonds with Eddie over The Beastie Boys.
- N-Word Privileges: Apparently has them, as he didn't get in any trouble for calling Eddie a "chink."
- Token Minority: Was this until Eddie came around. He's ecstatic there's someone lower on the pecking order now.
A kid in Eddie's school who constantly clashes with him.
- Alpha Bitch: A Rare Male Example. He seems to lead the clique that Eddie tries to join. It's almost parodied, as though Brock ticks of all the standard Jerk Jock Big Man on Campus criteria, his friend group is made up of socially awkward losers.
- For the Evulz: Really doesn't have much of a reason for being mean to Eddie or excluding him.
- Jerkass: More or less mean for the sake of being mean.
- Spoiled Brat: His parents keep buying him expensive things, and he's not afraid to flaunt it to his classmates. He tries to win the Student Council Presidency by bringing in a Street Fighter II cabinet.
One of Eddie's neighbors, and a friend in his clique.
- Disappeared Dad: His dad walked out on him, which distresses him to no end. Many jokes are made about it.
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Jokes about his Disappeared Dad make up the majority of his screentime. His mother also seems borderline neglectful as well.
- Ironic Inversion: In the Shaq Fu episode, Dave's mom gets him a game based off the seven year old film 9 to 5. It winds up being way better than Shaq Fu, despite the fact that everyone expected that Dave's game would be awful.
The other Asian kid in the school, he was adopted by a Jewish family.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He seems really nice at first, but promptly reveals himself as a Jerkass to Eddie.
- Happily Adopted: The Goldsteins love him very much and he reciprocates.
- Jewish and Nerdy: Hes almost as devout to musical theatre as he is to Judaism.
- Twofer Token Minority: Hes both Asian and Jewish.
- Why Are You Not My Son?: When Jessica meets him for the first time, she cant stop berating Eddie for not being more like him.
- Yiddish as a Second Language: Purportedly spoke Yiddish to his mother, except it was just bad German for "Have you seen my...?"