Ronny Chieng: International Student – Episode 3: Clash! Ronny vs Instructions! Obey?

In this new episode, a new bubble tea shop has opened on campus and American student Craig can’t wait to have his first “international experience” by ditching his pizza and ordering a taro milk tea with “double pearl”.

“Go hard or go home, right?” Craig tells Chinese student Wei Jun, who is also queuing up at the bubble tea shop to order her favourite drink.

As soon as Craig takes his very first sip of the Taiwanese-originated beverage, he starts to imagine things in his mind, takes off his shirt and talks to the Japanese fortune cat figurine in the shop (I didn’t know people could get high on bubble tea!).

Meanwhile, Ronny offers to fill in for Asher at the campus co-op, but has some difficulty following the instructions of the hippie shop owner, such as sprinkling dirt on produce to create an organic, farm-to-table look.

One thing leads to another, and somehow Ronny and Craig and the shop owner’s hippie group get into a full-costumed Power Ranger-style showdown at the end of the episode.

At the end of the day, Craig is disappointed because his “Asian experience” was not “authentic”, as bubble tea was from Taiwan, the Power Rangers show was from Japan, while the tea lady was from the Philippines.

However, Asher condoles him by saying, “You drank too much and got into a fight. Mate, it sounds like you just experienced Australian culture.”

In general, this episode was less logical than the previous ones, and some elements might have worked better in a stand-up routine than on a TV sitcom. For instance, some characters in this episode lacked motives for their actions, thus I found it hard to fully follow and enjoy the storyline.

Chieng himself confessed in a recent interview with The Guardian, “Writing a whole series was a crash course in screenwriting, which is a very different muscle to standup comedy writing. I guess you can say I learnt that the hard way.”

Nevertheless, the Power Rangers motif did bring back a lot of memories!

Ronny Chieng: International Student, airs on ABC every Wednesday night, 9.00pm. Episodes are available on ABC iView immediately after broadcast. 

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