Jessica Huang (née Chu) (Chinese Name: Chu Tsai Hsia) is the mother of the show's main protagonist, Eddie Huang. She is often bewildered by the casual Western lifestyle while living as a Chinese-American compared to her preferred strictly formal Eastern lifestyle back in her home country, Taiwan. Jessica is a no-nonsense pragmatic woman who believes in tough love. She is played by Constance Wu.
When Jessica was a child, she had a sister named Connie Chu. She was raised by a mother, much like herself. Grandma Chu, was mostly uninvolved, but when she ever did interact with Jessica, she was telling her something negative and putting thoughts of extreme fear into her head. In the episode Boy II Man, a flashback showed that Jessica was obedient to her mother for the majority of her childhood, and that on one rare occasion, Jessica simply just wanted to pick out her own shoes. Grandma Chu showed Jessica a dead woman in a coffin and said that she picked out her shoes too. In the episode Success Perm, Jessica and Connie both revealed how their childhoods were spent, trying to impress their mother with their success, only for her to be indifferent and aloof to what they did.
In the episode "Hi, My Name Is ...", it was shown that when Jessica was in college, she went by her birth name, Chu Tsai Hsia, but since nobody could pronounce it, she changed it to "Bob", since that was the name of her favorite haircut. After a week, she learned how this was a guy's name and then changed it to "Jessica", named after the Allman Brothers song of the same name.
Jessica first met Louis Huang at a seafood restaurant, as mentioned in the episode Love and Loopholes and shown in a flashback in the episode Hi, My Name Is .... Jessica had eaten something that had given her bad food poisoning and she rushed to the bathroom to dispose of it. While waiting in line, she saw Louis, who was in the line next to her, having the same dilemma on his hands. This is where they first met and first fell in love.
In the episode Shaquille O'Neal Motors, a flashback revealed that when they got married, Jessica was too cheap to buy the car and so she had Louis carry her off from the wedding. After getting married, they had three children, Eddie, Emery, and Evan.
In the episode Fajita Man, after passing the real estate license exam Jessica gets a job as a realtor mainly cause she got fed up with Louis making too little to even no money off the restaurant.
In the episode How To Be An American, according to Jessica's Visa application, she was born on June 12, 1962 in Taipei, Taiwan. It also shows that Huang's family address is 808 Meadowridge Lane, Orlando, FL 32801.
In the episode Citizen Jessica, she reveals that she is a Republican-leaning independent.
Out of all the members of the Huang family, Jessica is the most culture shocked of all of them and the most oblivious to the ways of the American lifestyle. She doesn't understand the differences between the two cultures and will sometimes do some things in America that would seem odd in the American culture. She really tries to fit in with the rest of society and tolerate the new things that seem odd to her, but deep down, these new things are driving her crazy and it just makes it difficult for her to put up with. Overall, she prefers Chinese culture as opposed to American culture and she wants her family to know that their way of life is better than this.
She somewhat has a catchphrase of "I'm just...." or "I'm only...." when she's asking the family to do something in favor of her interests, despite that her demands could not be any more extreme or ludicrous.
Jessica is very superstitious of certain things according to Chinese culture such as the number 4 although she claims Grandma is the superstitious one as seen in Very Superstitious. Louis describes Jessica's personality as "aggressive yet elegant" which Jessica takes as a compliment. Jessica has a tendency to overcomplicate things and get stressed out. She can also get snippy quick. Her son, Evan Huang, exhibited bossiness at a friend's party which made Jessica realize he got it from her. She is also seen walking up to a mother's car and yelling at her for her disobeying the rules of the road. However, Jessica does apologize although hesitantly so that Evan could continue his friendship with the mother's son. Jessica is very opinionated and argumentative.
Jessica is opposed to creative career fields such as art, painting and theater and instead praises academically vigorous fields such as law and medicine, often pressuring her sons and her sister not to follow their passions of acting or painting respectively. In "Sisters Without Subtext" it is revealed Jessica used to do painting such as avocados and zebras, but she painted like a child and blamed it on her not being good enough when really she was being lazy, as both Louis and Jessica agree her art wasn't the best.
Jessica is an obsessed fan of Stephen King but intensely dislikes any cinematic adaptations of King's novels (in real life King dislikes many of the adaptations too). However, Jessica can't accurately interpret King's novels because she stated that Jack Torrance from The Shining is a hero.
Constance Wu describes Jessica's mindset is to "excel at everything you do." She exhibits much of a "Type A" personality which includes being very competitive.
Jessica is lapsed Buddhist, as revealed in "WWJD: What Would Jessica Do?". She's not fond of Christianity and wasn't happy about Evan converting to it, but she actively celebrates Christmas.
In the episode Family Business Trip, a towel boy offered Jessica some towels but she rejected them, saying that she would use the sun to dry them off, and called the sun "God's towel." This contradicts with her religion, because in Buddhism, they do not use the term "God" to describe Buddha. Although just because she said "God's towel" doesn't necessarily mean she believed in God and was perhaps being sarcastic. It can be argued, however, that becoming a Buddhist in "So Chineez" was only one of the things that she temporarily changed about her lifestyle, in order to connect more with their Chinese culture and that she abandoned that religion when she abandoned everything else. This would also explain why Eddie didn't know what Buddhism is in that episode.
However, all subsequent episodes of season 2, where The Huang House had more screen time, many Buddhist statues were seen in the background on a shelf by the kitchen table. This would mean that they still have some small dedication to Buddhism in their lives.
In the episode The Real Santa, it was shown that the Huang family celebrates Christmas, a holiday that Christians celebrate, and Jessica was shown to be the biggest fan of the holiday out of all of them.
- Louis Huang: Louis is Jessica's husband. They both work hard to help make their family a success and to make their new lives in America work. The two of them get along well enough except for some problems that primarily stem from Cattleman's Ranch. There are things about the restaurant that usually cause problems and it will always put some sort of burden in the way of the things that they do but any problems that they face, are problems they face together and when it comes down to it, they can always get out of it and make some sort of agreement that works out for the best.
In the episode Love and Loopholes, it was revealed that Louis and Jessica met each other while waiting in line for the bathroom. In the episode Shaquille O'Neal Motors, it was shown when they first got married. Jessica didn't want for Louis to actually buy a car, so he just carried her out of there.
All in all, Jessica is a very lazy and unappreciative housewife to Louis. She complains about Louis paying strangers to cook him food (going to restaurants) but that he expects her to do so for free in "Shaquille O'Neal Motors" and multiple times she tells Louis to just shut up before he can request her for something. It's more than enough to make Louis a henpecked husband to her.
- Eddie Huang: Jessica doesn't always approve of Eddie's love for the African American culture. She sometimes fears that he's losing touch with the Chinese culture and wants him to understand that their way of life is better. Due to Eddie being the main character, he's the most frequent target of Jessica's wrath. Jessica always disparages Eddie compared to Emery and Evan, such as exaggerating to Eddie that she'll threaten to disown him and just have 2 sons (Fajita Man). In "Gotta Be Me", Jessica proves that she can be a fun, enthusiastic person, making Eddie give her the alias as "Fun Mom", as when they went on a field trip that celebrates Pilgrim history. Eddie then gets angry over the fact that Jessica won't be "Fun Mom" unless they go on field trips. Jessica then pleads that Eddie accepts the fact she can't be Fun Mom all the time because she feels discipline is more important to get her sons to do their homework and to behave. Eddie accepts this, and their relationship very much improves, and they bond more by playing Mario Brothers together.
- Emery Huang and Evan Huang are extremely loyal to her unlike Louis and Eddie who have their lives made very difficult by Jessica. Evan, in particular, is especially loyal to his mother and is said to be her favorite child (Hi, My Name is...).
- Honey: Jessica and Honey are best friends, and it's possible that Jessica is Honey's only friend. She first became friends with her in the episode The Shunning when they found out that they had the same interests. However, Jessica was forced to keep her friendship a secret in this episode because she heard that Deidre and the rest of her friends didn't like her and that she would be shunned for admitting that she's good friends with her. In the same episode, she came to her senses and realized that her friendship with Honey is too strong and that Honey was feeling very terrible with being hated by everyone and so she just gave up on it and openly admitted that she was friends with her. Even though Jessica considers Honey her best friend, she still can be rude and insulting to Honey. Honey will usually shrug off Jessica's aggression such as in Boy II Man where. but then drew the line in We Done Son, when she decides she's fed up with her ideas not being accepted by Jessica.
- Deidre: Deidre is a good friend of Jessica's but not a friend that she likes very much because of her insensitive and pretentious personality. Jessica still somehow manages to tolerate this enough to be her friend. Deidre will sometimes make some off-putting and slightly racist comments about Jessica's ethnicity that can get on Jessica's nerves sometimes.
Jessica is officially a criminal and has committed many crimes throughout all four seasons. Legally speaking, she should be in jail but she always manages to avoid any jail time. In season 3 episode 9 "How To Be An American," Jessica turns out to actually have a criminal record.
- Vehicular Assault: Ran over the three dine-and-dashers with her van on purpose and made out the poor rebuttal "Well, you hit my car with your body!" when one of them complained about this. The 3 obviously didn't call the police to confront Jessica because they themselves committed dining and dashing, which is also illegal. (Home Sweet Home-School)
- Fraud / Practicing without a License: Tried to pass herself off as a realtor without a proper license. Officer Bryson was called to this and when he asked for Jessica's license, she lied it was in her car, which allowed her to drive home and avoid Bryson, who lacked the common sense to follow Jessica as if he did, he would have then arrested Jessica. (License to Sell)
- Passive Electioneering: She aggressively put up signs pressuring "Vote Yes on Prop. 187" directly inside Cattleman's Ranch which was designated a voting center. As Louis explained, this is a polling violation since it unfairly pressures voters. (Citizen Jessica)
- Child Abuse: She has the nerve to keep her sons from sleeping in their beds such as when she forced Emery and Evan to sleep in a closet and confiscated Eddie's bed.
- Rigging Raffle: She took out the winning ticket out of Louis's Thanksgiving Turkey dinner Raffle for herself. Given that she charged money from the customers at Cattleman's for the raffle, this action was illegal. (No Thanks-giving)
- Unlawful Eviction: She attempted to evict Jordan and Raquel out of the house for not paying their rent on time and for giving her a fake check that bounced, but because she provided Jordan and Raquel with a Bar Exam study manual, they learned that she cannot legally do so since she's the one who rented out the house to them and ordered her to simply leave or they'll arrest her. (Rent Day)
- Destruction of Personal Property: After she rented a house to Jordan and Raquel but then they refuse to pay any rent, she tried to get the two to move out voluntarily by shutting off their water and sneaking in a cat to eat their chickens. (Rent Day)
- Minor Vandalism: Wrote on a canoe with a permanent marker to jot down Louis' number after he left. (How To Be An American)
- Overstaying a Visa: Jessica failed to renew her Green Card in time, and this was her fault due to negligence as she was too lazy, thinking it really meant "Permanent Card" as in permanent stay, but really the permanent card means permanently legal for a temporary amount of time. (Citizen Jessica)
- Contempt of Court: Her behavior in court for jury duty was highly unacceptable, and she was very disrespectful to the Judge. (The Taming of the Dads)
- Perjury: Jessica lied while giving out a testimony that she was heavily influenced by the TV show L.A. Law even though she doesn't know what the show is about. (The Taming of the Dads)
- Bribery: She bribed the entire jury into making her the jury foreman with "oranges" and framed that on Harvey. (The Taming of the Dads)
- Stalking: She stalked Stephen Hawking in hopes of meeting him, which made Hawking get a restraining order against her.
"She's married, you perverts!" -Jessica about Honey during a team-building course about all of the men who volunteered.
"Oh, great, I get to watch money wilt." -Jessica receiving flowers from Louis as an anniversary gift.
"We will be using God's towel, the sun."-Jessica refusing a towel from hotel staff.
"Shop is closed."-Jessica responding to Louis about having another baby.
- In the episode "Hi, My Name Is ...", it was revealed that her Chinese name is "Chu Tsai Hsia", which means "Beautiful Sunset Glow".