Dr Ken: Clark’s Big Surprise – Snowball (Review)

 KEN JEONG, JONATHAN SLAVIN, STEPHEN GUARINO

Love is all around in Dr. Ken “Clark’s Big Surprise.” It starts off with just Clark and Connor working to secretly tie the know but the show’s amore factor snowballs quickly and soon every couple are feeling the point of cupid’s bow.

This season has seen a rounding up of a few relationships.  Pat and Damona are now officially a couple (both express their love for the other in this episode) and Clark and Connor prove their love by inviting all of Welltopia to a Vegan barbecue so they can get married.

Another thing that snowballs is the lie that Ken tells in order to get a maximum turnout to Connor and Clark’s little surprise.  Dr. Ken overhears Clark’s secret, he is taking a nap on a couch where Clark spills the beans about the real reason for the barbecue.

Clark makes Ken promise to talk everyone into coming to the event.

Meanwhile, Allison manages to snag tickets to the stage version of “The Bodyguard” and the entire Park family are meant to attend. D.K. invites himself along as well and it will be a real family get together. Pat and Damona have planned a non-refundable romantic weekend at Catalina and Ken must talk them out of going.

The receptionist almost guesses that Clark and Connor are going to exchange vows and Ken lets her believe that he and Allison are going to re-exchange their own vows. Damona then tells Allison what she believes Ken will be doing at the barbecue.

Ken’s lie has taken on a life of its own and Allison is overjoyed at her husband’s romantic gesture.

SUZY NAKAMURA, PATRICK MONAHAN, JERRY BECKER, JONATHAN SLAVIN, STEPHEN GUARINO, MEAGEN FAY
Allison and Clark in gushing mode.

At the party, Allison gushes over Clark, and vice versa, while things go slightly askew as the ordained minister cannot perform the ceremony. Ken takes an online course and marries the two men instead.  Allison is sad to learn that they are not going to renew their vows but she is overwhelmed when Ken explains how complete she makes him.

Pat and Damona both fight to get their non-refundable hotel deposit back and later give the honeymoon suite to Connor and Clark.  After the barbecue the Park’s return home and Ken does renew his vows with Allison after all. D.K. has taken the same online course and he will perform the ceremony. (He also took less time than Ken to complete the course.)

Dr. Ken has moved to bring all the couples in the show closer together. This episode also brought things “up to date,” as it were, on the series’ nod to Ken Jeong’s real life. In “Clark’s Big Surprise” Ken is tired from his late night spent doing stand-up.

He is overly tired at the start, where he reminds everyone he “killed it” at the comedy club and later he is napping on a couch; where he overhears Clark’s secret plans. Clearly the show is imitating Ken’s life even more now.

It would not be at all surprising to see Dr. Ken “become” the real Dr. Ken at  the end of this season. Although that would be disappointing as it could mean the end of the show as we know it.

Kudos to Dana Lee for once again grabbing the comedy by the horns and killing it at the barbecue. His dour off the cuff remark about the lack of meat was priceless. (As was his preoccupation with seeing “The Bodyguard.)

Pat and Damona professing their love for one another was touching, cute and funny. Allison and Ken’s romantic renewing of their wedding vows was also touching and it reminded us of just how perfect these two are for one another.

The highlight of the show was, of course, the marriage of Clark and Connor. With the family Park watching on and the vows exchanged being done with the right amount of comedy and care, it was a splendid moment.

KRISTA MARIE YU, SUZY NAKAMURA, ALBERT TSAI
Molly, Allison and Dave are enthralled at the ceremony.

The message of this episode was simple: Love knows no bounds. It also proved that, as the old saying goes, ” the world loves a lover.” Dr. Ken “Clark’s Big Surprise” also makes a valid point, with its loving nod to a LGBT wedding, there is room for everyone at the altar and that all love is accepted.

It is also lovely to see that the “ebony and ivory” relationship between Pat and Damona has solidified to more than just to opposites attracting.

Suzy Nakamura continues to show off those impressive skills that make her an irreplaceable member of this cast. Her range of emotions throughout the episode helped to make this one of the funnier bits of the season.

Dr. Ken airs Fridays on ABC. Tune in to this brilliant slice of comedy and stay awhile.

Cast:

Sleepy Hollow: The Way of the Gun – War (Review)

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Perhaps one of the best episodes of Sleepy Hollow this season, “The Way of the Gun” offers a lot in terms of time travel and there is a slight nod to “The Terminator” with a plot twist that surprised and entertained.  This season of the show has made mention of time manipulation before and it has been used to good effect in this episode.

An earlier episode featured witches who had lived for centuries and made themselves appear younger, which is a sort of allusion to time travel as well. Another “repeat” feature was Crane’s old buddy Benjamin Banneker who appeared with more magical items in his goody bag.

Dreyfuss is raising the four horsemen and not only are Crane and his team trying to stop the immortal but a mysterious young woman who wears Malcolm’s symbol is also working against Dreyfuss. She retrieves the “gun of war” (which will be used to summon the last horseman) and the young woman attempts to destroy the powerful totem.

This episode begins with Molly, Diana and Crane all interacting after the youngest witness’ Valley Forge play. It is a precursor, or a portent, of the show’s end scene.  The stranger, who tricks Ichabod and Diana by stealing the gun, turns out to be the grown up Molly.

She is now a young woman who carries and uses powerful magic. Molly  returns from the future with the aid of “a very different Ichabod Crane” to save Diana. Her mother is meant to be the horseman of war and she tries to keep Agent Thomas from dying “again.”

Before the climatic end scene, where Crane mutters (in an apt demon voice) “I am become war,” Wells and Alex are captured by Malcolm’s right hand demon Jobe. The entity tortures Jake and kills Alex, except it not real. The exhibition serves to completely un-nerve Wells and he tells Dreyfuss what he needs to know.

We learn, as a result of this almost execution, that Alex Norwood cares much more for Jake than he realizes. Although before she can confess her true feelings, Jenny arrives to save them both.

The final moments of the episode sees Molly succeed in saving her mother but Ichabod takes the bullet meant for Diana and he “dies” instead. While it seems that Crane is now doomed to be the very thing he has been fighting against, it is not too farfetched to think that the very powerful Molly will able to switch things about.

Dreyfuss has indeed started the ball rolling toward his future as a tyrant who tortures Crane on a regular basis. The introduction of the grown Molly, which was  a brilliant touch, has insured that however things turn out, there is at least one very powerful character who has the magic necessary to save the day.

The casting of Seychelle Gabriel as the grown Molly was spot on. She resembles the young Oona Yaffe enough that it is not a stretch to believe that she is the same character as a grown up.

Apart from the whole time travel storyline, there is the parallel plot line of Jenny’s going back into the relic business. It seems certain that both she and Molly, along with the newly saved Agent Thomas, will help to save Ichabod from a fate worse than death.

Sleepy Hollow airs Fridays on FOX.

Cast:

Guest starring Seychelle Gabriel as Lara/Molly and Edwin Hodge as Benjamin Banneker.

Dr Ken: Ken and the CEO – The Weird Uncle and Wings (Review)

DAVE FOLEY, KEN JEONG, RHYS DARBY

Kiwi actor Rhys Darby guests as the happy CEO who cannot stand Pat in Dr. Ken “Ken and the CEO.”  He likens the Welltopia administrator to that “weird uncle” that no one likes and who turns out years later to not be a relative at all. D.K. manages to upset Molly’s applecart with an old Korean superstition about chicken wings and the end result is a spot of bother in “Xanadu.”

This storyline managed to tie some things up and show a certain amount of strength in a few of the characters. Clark dons his “Miss Marple” or Hercule Poirot, hat and investigates the sudden appearance of a zucchini muffin in Damona’s trash bin.

The zucchini muffin sets up one of the best laughs of the episode. Clark implores Allison to taste the muffin that he retrieved from the rubbish bin. She refuses “because I don’t eat trash” and later, after CEO Charles Evans leaves Dr. Ken’s office, Clark quickly asks him to taste the snack.

Evans takes a huge bite out of the muffin and declares that it is zucchini. Clark is convinced that Damona and Pat are now back together and spends most of the episode investigating this event.

In terms of romance, and character development, Pat is finally explored more fully. This episode shows that underneath that awkward exterior and somewhat superfluous manner lies the heart of a caring and romantic character. One highlight of the episode has Damona, despite her earlier decision to keep their getting back together a secret, telling all the Welltopia staff about being Pat’s girlfriend.

Once again, Dr. Ken takes a touch of pathos, or at the very least some uncomfortable moments, and turns the situation on its metaphorical head. The moment where Damona, Allison, Ken and Clark come to Pat’s rescue is touching. The pinnacle of the emotional moment is Damona’s declaration of love.

Meanwhile, back at the Park household, Jae and Molly have problems when he reveals that he will be going to Rhode Island for his art scholarship. Because of D.K.’s prediction that the chicken wings will make Jae “fly away” from her, Molly goes into freefall with her boyfriend.

ALBERT TSAI
Dave Park (Albert Tsai)

The two have a fight, which they then settle in the Fro-Yo shop where Jae works. Dave polishes off the wings, that he earlier turned his nose up at, and D.K. actually comes to Molly’s aid after her initial meltdown.

(Amusingly, Jae’s grandmother also has a list of old Korean sayings like D.K. and it would not be surprising to see a possible romance turn up here… Although D.K. has shown a proclivity for younger women. He even expressed interest in “mad Megan” Pat’s ex.)

Rhys Darby is brilliantly funny as the CEO who literally loathes Pat, a man who really shares a lot of personality traits with the New Zealand company head. The interaction between Darby, Ken and Dave Foley was spot on and when the episode wraps up the conflict at the end, the chemistry made the payoff that bit better.

The second season of Dr. Ken continues to shine in terms of writing and performing. Each cast member manages to bring those moments of truth to their storyline and character. Ken Jeong and his brilliant ensemble keep the laughs coming and we love them and the show as a result.

KRISTA MARIE YU, DANA LEE
Molly and D.K. – Krista Marie Yu and Dana Lee.

On a sidenote: Dana Lee manages to accomplish huge amounts with a minimum amount of “effort” he and Krista Marie Yu continue to be a great double act, with Albert Tsai stepping in to add a punchline to spice up the proceedings.

Dr. Ken “Ken and the CEO” proves once again that this ABC show has the perfect cast, storylines and mix of comedy and poignancy.  May this series reign on Friday nights for a long time to come.

Cast:

Guest starring Rhys Darby

SNL: Scarlett Johansson – Season Highlight (Review)

 Saturday Night Live - Season 42

It is a clear sign of near perfection when one watches SNL in a crowded Starbucks, full of university students working their collective butts off, and tries unsuccessfully to keep the laughter down as tears of mirth stream helplessly out of both eyes. Scarlett Johansson, in her fifth stint as guest host of the show, killed it with a little help from some SNL friends.

Episode 16, which also featured Kiwi singer/songwriter Lorde, was a season highlight without one real misstep in any of the sketches on offer. (Although the Ivanka Trump advert was a tad…eclectic till the end…) Each skit was spot on and while the previous episode allowed Weekend Update to take a rest from its usual topical hilarity, it picked right up with McKinnon’s Sessions stint and Pete Davidson’s little rant.

The cold open, which opted for a “War of the Worlds” type scenario featuring Baldwin’s Trump, set the tone for the rest of the show. It was pithy, funny and perhaps a tie with the brilliant Jeff Session’s “Forrest Gump” cold open of episode 15.

The entire show was rib-tickling funny. “Zoo Pornographer'” and “Olive Garden” were flatly funny. The latter sketch relying upon broad comedy along with the brilliant reactions from the characters in the skit.

“Translator” was the perfect vehicle to make fun of the POTUS as Scarlett Johansson’s character’s dog revealed that he loved President Trump. He also tells the assorted members of the skit that his owner “masturbates out of boredom.”

The other political skit was the pre-recorded Trump perfume advert which shifts gears midway through to point an accusing finger at Ivanka as a “new” feminist who is anything but. The highlight of this skit is that Ivanka sees her husband in the mirror instead of her own reflection. A superb and somewhat spot on indication of how the world sees the woman who is definitely behind the man in the white house.

“Shud the Mermaid,” with McKinnon’s blob fish mermaid with her pal Conk, the angler fish mermaid, was funny and, like the other sketches with Johansson, proved that the four-time Golden Globe nominated actress is damned funny when given the chance. It is easy to see why Scarlett was been invited back to host SNL for a fifth time.

Musical guest Lorde, who managed to knock it out of the park with both her numbers, especially the second song “Liability” also got to make a cameo appearance in the “Woman’s Day” sketch later in the episode.

SNL has managed to make this episode stand almost head and shoulders above the rest of this season’s offerings. Clearly, the writers stepped up their game with Johansson’s talents setting the boundaries of what could be done with this incredibly talented woman.

This episode of SNL was a “win/win” as every single sketch elicited barely pent-up howls of laughter in a public place. The writers and the performances of all were spot on.

Kenan Thompson was allowed a huge nod, in the monologue, towards his being the senior cast member of the show. Leslie Jones managed to, once again, shine on brilliantly with Scarlett in the “Ninja” skit and perhaps the only downside in the entire episode were those dodgy English accents on offer (a recurring theme in SNL this year).

If you missed this latest SNL offering head over to Hulu and check it out or watch the YouTube highlights of the episode. This was a good one.

Dr Ken: Ken’s Professor – Tough Love (Review)

KEN JEONG, JONATHAN BANKS

Jonathan Banks, who has made a career out of playing characters that one would not want to be stuck in a doctor’s waiting room with, guest stars in Dr. Ken as Ken’s old professor from his intern days. In this episode Ken’s old mentor re-applies some “tough love” (a practice he utilized while overseeing Ken’s training years before) only to learn that the student has become a teacher as well.

Banks, who caught the public’s imagination as Mike Erhmantraut in both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, worked with Ken in Community and yet is another alumni of the popular comedy to “drop by” and play an integral part in Ken Jeong’s hit show.

Ken has been spreading the “Community” love heavily since helming his new series last season and the show has benefited from having guest stars who have brilliant chemistry not only with Ken but his co-stars as well.  Banks, a prolific veteran character actor, proves to be just as adroit in a low key comedic part as he is in playing his usual roles.

(On a sidenote: Banks continues to get better and better with age. The actor has consistently been cast as quirky and unpleasant characters who, with a mere glance, give the audience palpitations. Tough and aggressive, Banks never disappoints; except, that is, when his character is killed off far too soon, as in The Expanse‘s pilot episode.)

Little is seen of the Park children in this episode. Dave, who has an issue with his own version of Dr. Erwin (Banks) takes his father’s advice about redoing a “Moby Dick” essay/review that she gave him a “D” on. Another instance of Ken rising to the occasion while suffering almost severe anxiety because of his former mentor’s presence.

Dr. Ken “Ken’s Professor” manages to serve up a double-helping of comedy, with a touch of poignancy (the show’s overwhelming trademark) by allowing the Damona/Pat storyline to share the limelight. This is an interesting, and favorite, part of the Dr. Ken verse that continues to please.

While Pat and Damona clearly find each other irresistible in the physical chemistry department – those steamy clinches in the supply cupboard were funny and very revealing – they also, apparently, bring out the best in one another.

Damona tells Pat earlier that his focusing on her happiness, even when they were apart, meant a lot to her. On the surface this appears to be a case of “opposites attract.” However, if one looks closely, the two are very similar. Both tend to avoid conflict, Damona “ghosting Eric” to avoid telling him that their relationship if over and Pat’s living in his boat on his ex-wife’s driveway in season one are good examples.

Of course Pat’s reluctance to end things with “Manic Megan” was also a clear indicator that the Welltopia Administrator will go a long way to avoid a confrontation. (Unlike his behavior at work where he ran roughshod over Clark in the union negotiations.)

The couple also have “grown up” issues something that Pat hilariously uses to “one up” Damona.

The power of this episode, as in many of the episodes in season two, is Ken’s reaffirmation of his skill as a medico and his growth as a character.

Dr. Ken has been less about the gags and his comedic yearnings to be a stand-up comic this year. It has been more about his personal journey to become a better father, husband, doctor and colleague.

It is the growth of all the characters, not just Ken, that makes the second season of Dr. Ken a real winner in the comedy stakes and the poignancy on offer ups the ante considerably. Allison has become more of a working spouse (no pun intended) and less of a punch line – although she has knocked some real comedic zingers out of the metaphorical park this year – Molly and Dave have also taken the comedy reins in hand. (With Krista Marie Yu killing in the cancer episode in the drama stakes.)

Dana Lee, who was absent in this episode, makes any episode he appears in funnier and Jonathan Slavin  is another performer whose work makes his character more in-depth and multi facetted, while still milking those laughs with his more outrageous moments.

It goes without saying that Dave Foley and Tisha Campbell-Martin bring a certain comedic level of expertise to the show that continues to grow and and grow.

This was a brilliant episode that bears re-watching just to see the splendid chemistry between Banks, Ken Jeong, Tisha Campbell-Martin and Dave Foley.  The interactions of these actors and their characters in this episode went beyond delightful.

Dr. Ken “Ken’s Professor” ends with Dr. Erwin informing Ken that he is now his doctor. Ken manages to simultaneously beam with pride while looking a tad panicky at the thought of future consults with his old professor.

Great stuff.

Dr. Ken airs Fridays on ABC. Tune in for a great bit of Friday night TV.

Cast:

Guest starring Jonathan Banks as Dr. Erwin