In keeping with a theme of mixing a bit of tragedy with the ensemble comedy on offer via Dr. Ken “Ken and the Basketball Star” steps up to the plate and hits a home run. (Yes we are aware that there has been a mixing of sport’s metaphors here.) It was pointed out quite clearly in the first season that Ken is a huge basketball fan.
With last week’s emphasis on Ken’s job and the more serious moments hidden amongst the mundane, this episode looks at Dr. Ken having to break news to a patient that is more than a little life changing. The fact that the patient is a teenager makes the diagnosis all the more upsetting.
Molly is studying with high school basketball star Danny Willis. The kid comes into the Park kitchen and Ken is beside himself. He is so excited that he tells Dave off for embarrassing him in front of the star.
Later Molly calls Ken at work and asks if he can look at Danny’s ankle, he injured it at practice. Since this could keep the boy from playing in the big game, Ken says yes.
After the exam, Ken tells the delighted teen and his parents that playing in the big game will not be a problem. When Ken goes to shake Danny’s hand he notices something and starts asking the athlete some questions.
Another exam takes place and this time the news is not good. Danny has marfan syndrome. The star athlete could literally drop dead on the court in the middle of a game. Willis’ parents are outraged at the diagnosis initially, until Ken reveals that the medical tests have proven him right.
Danny, quite wisely, opts out of playing basketball and instead plans to become a doctor.
The main storyline focused upon Ken’s love of the sport and his hero-worship of the athletes who make the game exciting. It also allowed us to see, again, that underneath the jokes and OTT behavior, Ken is still a doctor who cares.
While the Danny Willis story played out, there were other smaller plot threads in the show. One dealt with Allison’s bonding with Pat and, to a lesser degree, with Damona over a mutual love of good cappuccino.
This made for some splendid comic moments. Not just from the topic of conversation, Allison revealing some of Ken’s humorous moments at home, but also from Damona.
Damona and Allison sneak into Pat’s office to drink cappuccino and the receptionist’s reaction when they are caught is brilliant.
The other storyline featured Connor who in this episode moves in with Clark. The newly engaged couple have some teething pains caused by both men being a bit set in their ways.
Of course Clark being Clark reacts with some OTT histrionics and Connor responds with a more grownup attitude. These two are, it seems, a perfect match and they are brilliant together.
The Ken wearing Dave’s pajamas story.
“You’re embarrassing me in front of Danny Willis.”
Damona blaming Allison in Pat’s office.
“I stayed with Pat a whole extra month for that coffee…”
Dave and his face paint, along with cheering at inappropriate moments.
Ken leaping on the cheerleader’s bus.
Allison and Pat making up over cappuccinos.
Clark and Connor cuddling and the pillow.
D.K. has been missing for a couple of episodes and we miss him. While we may be sad that Dana Lee is not in every single episode, the show continues to deliver, almost flawlessly, a perfect mix of humor with just a touch of the old lump inducing sentimental moments that make this series a special experience.
This year has seen the loss of a favorite character, Dr. Julie, and the introduction of Eric and Connor. Dana Lee’s grandfatherly presence has been greatly increased and the remaining members of the cast are being allowed to widen their characters’ horizons.
Tisha Campbell-Martin, Suzy Nakamura (a personal favorite since that hysterical cameo in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story), Albert Tsai, Krista Marie Yu, Dave Foley and Jonathan Slavin continue to fill their characters with moments of truth.
They also manage to effortlessly work together as one of the best ensemble casts on television. The comedy works each week and every single player gets “a moment.” Even in an episode like this one, where both Ken and his patient get a “shot to the heart,” the players all have a chance to shine.
Dr. Ken is still the best thing about Friday nights. This series can make the most downbeat day end with a smile. Tune in and see what we mean.
- Ken Jeong – Ken
- Albert Tsai – Dave
- Suzy Nakamura – Allison Park
- Krista Marie Yu – Molly
- Tisha Campbell-Martin – Damona
- Jonathan Slavin – Clark
- Dave Foley – Pat
- Dana Lee as D.K.
- Jerry Minor – Eric
- Justin Chon – Jae
- Stephen Guarino – Connor
Guest starring Zak Henri as Danny Willis.