Episode three of Dr Ken proves that ABC have a solid comedic win with the show that has hit its stride and keeps the laughs coming. Show co-creator, and star, Ken Jeong and his co stars prove that comedy does not have to be frantic or rushed or forced. The pilot, which did feel a little rough, was promising, but by the second episode, Dr Ken definitely rocked it.
Unlike other sitcoms, for instance ABC’s Black-ish, that try way too hard for the “yuks,” this newest offering, as stated previously, hits every note spot on. Each character brings something to the table. Everyone has a “high” point, or gag (or personality trait) that pleases, just like co-workers and family members do in real life.
Kate Simses as Julie, never fails to get laughs in all the right places. Last week her sincere response to Damona’s (Tisha Campbell-Martin) “Are you hugging yourself,” was brilliantly funny. This week her quick shift from not caring about working on Saturday to caring…deeply had the same effect. This actress has comedy timing to spare.
Something she shares with Campbell-Martin (mouse reference: “Imma get you a new one.”) Jonathan Slavin as Hector and Dave Foley as the boss everyone loves to hate, Pat. This is one comedy program that gets the formula right. Sure there are funny lines, moments and situations at Ken’s home, but the laughs do not stop when he leaves the familial house.
Jeong’s character has great lines regardless of the setting, but so do his “family” members. Nakamura kills it with her “wise” mom delivery, the gag in episode three has her paying Molly (Krista Marie Yu) to make her unwanted nickname go away. (This is done with a straight deadpan delivery that makes the interchange very, very funny.)
It has to be mentioned here…In the pilot episode the gag that won the “funniest” award for that opening episode was the “molly” bit where Dr. Ken is arrested. Truly hysterical and the sight of a thirty-something professional in a club shouting for “Molly” was brilliant, as was the punchline.
Krista Marie Yu is spot on as the sophisticated teen who gives her mother the “solid burn” in the latest episode and Albert Tsai keeps delivering as little brother Dave, almost also known as Klompers…
This week saw Dr. Ken get “promoted” to indoor valet parking and his staff learning that they must start working Saturdays. Cue friction and a funny song about Ken losing touch. Mrs. Park tells her husband that he should stand up for his co-workers so he approaches Pat (in his “not-yacht”) to talk the situation over.
What makes the episode work so well, at both home and work, are the nods to realism. Despite “forgetting that Hector had issues with Ken the week before notwithstanding, the end result of Ken and Pat meeting about the Saturday shift ended as it would have in the real world.
Dr. Ken loses but, ultimately, also gains. He cannot get the new shift taken away so instead decides to join his “friends with less money” to show support, thus regaining the affection and respect of his staff. At home, the punchline is given to Mrs. Park who tells her husband that she does not mind the new nickname and then goes to ask Molly to get the thing taken care of.
After a 32 year hiatus from American sitcoms this reviewer was dismayed at the sameness on offer from other shows. Then Dr. Ken popped up on the radar and proved that the US sitcom is not dead at all. Kudos to Ken Jeong and the rest of his talented co-stars for a job well done and for proving that the second episode was no fluke.
Dr Ken airs Fridays on ABC, tune in if you like to laugh.