Dr Ken: Jae Meets the Parks – Korean Footloose (Review)


 JUSTIN CHON, KRISTA MARIE YU

Dr. Ken “Jae Meets the Parks” takes a dark turn with Ken reacting very badly to the news that Molly’s new “bae” has dropped out of UCLA Pre-Med to become an artist. Ken comes unglued and behaves so badly that Allison compares her husband to a Korean “Footloose.”

Storyline:

Ken is initially overjoyed with Molly’s choice of boyfriend. The guy may be that little bit older but he is in UCLA Pre-Med.  Molly’s dad is so pleased with Jae that he can hardly contain himself.  Allison has to tell Clark about the boyfriend situation as Ken drags it out.

Pat forces Clark to be his “fat” monitor and help him to lose his “holiday” weight-gain. The administrator reacts angrily every time Clark intervenes,  making his conscience rather nervous. Damona learns that she can wear fashionable clothes at Welltopia and cannot wait to come into work the next day.

Dinnertime at the Park household starts off well but ends in disaster when Ken learns that Jae has quit college to become an artist.  He is horrified that his “smart, ambitious” daughter had chosen a dropout.  When he forbids Molly from seeing Jae she reveals that she loves her artist.

Ken’s daughter is beyond furious with him for being so awful about Jae’s personal decision and for attempting to stop her from dating him.  She stops talking to Ken, only speaking to Allison or D.K.

Dave decides that Molly will be moving out of the family home and tells Ken that “word on the street is that we don’t have to listen to you.” Ken goes into a downward spiral of anger and disappointment with the once “fair haired” potential son-in-law.

At work Damona lords it over Clark with her new, colour coordinated work wear and then gets toner ink all over her outfit. Freaking out she rushes to control the damage.

The ladies room is closed and the elevator is too packed with people. She  leaps through the stairwell door and only remembers that she has no badge  when the door closes. Damona is now trapped in the stairwell with no way to get out.

As the show progresses Damona gets increasingly desperate to get out of the stairwell. She hears voices and chases the sound hoping to find someone who will let her out. At one point she decides the place is haunted. Later she yells that she needs to use the toilet and then finds that she really needs to use the toilet.

At the end of the episode, Pat stumbles across a smudged and disheveled Damona who has been in the stairwell all day. She hungrily grabs Pat’s smuggled muffin.

Ken goes to apologize to Molly about his reaction to Jae’s dropping out of Pre-Med and learns that there was a method to Jae’s madness. He was going for, and gets, an art scholarship. The young man is overjoyed that only Molly believed in him, even his parents were not behind his move.

Molly and Ken make up and once again he is overjoyed with Molly’s choice of boyfriend. Dave resigns himself to listening to his father again and harmony is restored.

Standout Moments:

D.K.’s story of catching a shark with his fist…at a freshwater lake.

D.K., again, admitting to having made the tale up and refusing to defuse the tense situation at the Park dinner table.

Damona trapped in the stairwell at Welltopia. This was comedy gold with Tisha Campbell-Martin showing those comedy chops.  Literally so funny that tears were streaming. “Ghosts!”

Pat and Clark with the “diet cop” storyline. Pat’s reactions to Clark as his “waistline” Jiminy Cricket were so funny.

Damona’s reaction when she learns that receptionists do not have to wear scrubs. “Who told me that, Pat?”

Ken forbidding Molly from seeing Jae and literally losing his daughter for a brief time.

Dave’s “word on the street” scenes.

D.K., yeah again, as the voice of reason. Explaining that perhaps, he was not the best father since he alienated Ken’s sister for years.

Ken’s reactions to Jae initially, creepily telling Molly’s new fella that looking at him was like looking into a mirror… (Very Trump-like and very funny.)

Final Thoughts:

This was a brilliant episode. Ken Jeong managed to say so much about the fragile dynamic between fathers and daughters in a very short period of time.  The storyline also speaks volumes about the parental  expectations of their offspring often not matching up with their children’s own plans.

“Jae Meets the Parks” also allows D.K. to build on his character’s “lessons learned.” He wisely reveals to Ken that perhaps he is not the best role model to aspire to. It adds a depth to Dana Lee’s characterization that was pleasantly humble and yet almost painfully honest.

The moral of this episode is that before going all “Footloose” on the apple of your eye, stop for a moment and think about remembering the faith you normally have in your kids. It can stop you from over reacting and losing something special.

Once again Dr. Ken walks that fine line between comedy and tragedy. The anger of Ken, first with Jae and then later with Molly, feels real as it is an honest reaction.  Molly’s response is also truthful to the situation and this dramatic counterpoint to Damona’s comic performance, and the comedy duo of Pat and Clark, is what makes this show so special.

Dr. Ken has regularly managed to make the audience laugh and cry, if there are no actual tears the viewer will definitely get “choked up,” on a regular basis.

Kudos to Krista Marie Yu for hitting those dramatic high notes faultlessly and for Ken Jeong for rising to meet those somber and upsetting tones brilliantly.  Mad props to Tisha Campbell-Martin for reducing this reviewer to tears of laughter with her stairwell predicament.

Dr. Ken airs Fridays on ABC. Do not miss this brilliantly written and expertly acted family comedy.

Cast:

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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