‘Dr Ken’ Dr Wendi: Coming to LA – Sibling Hilarity (Review)


Moving deftly from the trials of parenting to sibling rivalry, Dr Ken has to deal with his little sister’s fame on TV as Dr Wendi comes to LA. She asks Ken onto her show and hilarity ensues, although it is not limited to her big brother’s disparaging remarks about her show. Margaret Cho (Drop Dead Diva, 30 Rock) rocks it as Ken’s little “hot mess” of a sister who has grown up and made something  of herself.

This first season of Dr Ken has taken off and flown steadily higher in terms of Comedy Airways and there is no reason to believe that their flight will hit turbulence or drop dramatically from their current spot in the altitude that the series occupies.  Leaving all things allegorical aside, suffice to say the team; writers, director, crew and actors, are all firing in the right direction.

Cho as guest star is relevant in many ways. The performer, as Ken Jeong states, was a trail blazer for Asian-Americans and continues to be an influence on many things (not all entertainment related either). She is an outspoken proponent of LGBT community, amongst other things, and has taken a journey few could face and continue to perform.

This guest spot on Dr Ken proved that “Dr Wendi” (Cho) is a good “all rounder” able to entertain, act and trail blaze with equal dexterity.  Ken Jeong is a man of many talents, who is able to channel his inner familial cog and integrate it seamlessly into a character that can be overconfident at the same time he deals with self confidence  issues.

Jonathan Slavin and Kate Simses just before “the shrimp.-gasm”

In this episode, Molly (Krista Marie Yu) starts off by building her case for a Gordon Ruby backpack, combining charm with a nod to “bullying” her little brother “DAVE!” (the way big sisters have since time out of mind) after Ken has booed the fact that his favorite contestant,  David Arquette,  loses on Dancing with the Stars.

The show moves forward to his sister’s visit. Dr Wendi has a fanbase that Ken is apparently unaware of, Dr Julie is a huge fan who used to watch her show all the time when she lived in “Buffalo.” While the show is pretty much a familial theme, it allows Jeong to return to his character’s prickly ways.

In the first of the season, viewers had Dr Ken as a sort of human “Woody Woodpecker.”  (Although he was a cross between the feathered troublemaker and Warner Bros’  irreverently funny Bugs Bunny) Ken is back on form as the sarcastic quip-meister who puts down all who disagree with him.

In the “show-down” with his sister, it becomes clear that both brother and sister are cut from the same cloth. After their moment on Wendi’s show, mom and dad show up to express their displeasure.  The scene was a great build up, or riff, on Jonathan Slavin’s “shrimp-gasm” earlier. Mr. Parks begins speaking:

“We are very disappointed in you two. You have brought shame…”

“Oh! Shrimp!”

It is also another reminder of how “single minded” Dr Ken can be. When Wendi tells her big brother that she owes a lot to him for “bailing her out” so many times when they were younger, Ken’s response is:

“So everything you have is because of me?”

After repeating the phrase several times, Wendi gives up. Stating that she now knows what Allison  means about her brother, she agrees with Ken. A funny moment that is also a brilliant tell about Ken and his view of himself and his life.

Once again, everything moves well and the pacing is perfect. The “Dr Wendi Show”is funny in and of itself, add Dr Ken to the mix and it became a sublime  bit of comedy dealing with sibling rivalry, jealousies and how each perceives the other.

Albert Tsai has grown to become truly excellent in his role as the “outside the box” brother who marches to the beat of not just a different drum, but an entire orchestra.  From his “mime” gag in the first episode to his curious attachment to a crumb duster, his Dave is becoming a great comic treat. His interaction with big sis Molly (Yu) is spot on and the two feel like a perfect fit.

Molly excited to the nth…

Kudos to the Chinese-American Actor Dana Lee who plays the patriarch of family Park, who actually has some great gags in this episode and to Margaret Cho for showing that comedy runs through her veins.

The show has an ending that says it all about the Park family dynamic.  Molly has a “backpack-gasm” after getting that Gordon Ruby bit of bling and Dave underplays his excitement at the crumb-brush “Who wants toast?”  Adorably funny on both counts and Ken’s reaction to his youngest is also very funny, in a sort of The Quiet Family  way..

Dave and his dream crumb brush…

Dr Ken is one of the best comedy shows on television and ABC was wise to order a further “back-nine” episodes for season one. Now the network needs to hurry up and order a second season…stat…

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, http://MikesFilmTalk.com Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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