Dr Ken Keeps the Laughs Coming in ABC Comedic Win

KEN JEONG, SUZY NAKAMURA, KRISTA MARIE YU

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 Yuto 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.

KATE SIMSES, JONATHAN SLAVIN, TISHA CAMPBELL MARTIN, KEN JEONG

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.

Dr Ken: ABC Offering Gives Hope to New Sitcoms

JAMES URBANIAK, KEN JEONGTo be perfectly honest the ABC sitcom offering, Dr. Ken, did  not overwhelm with its pilot episode. The character, a Korean doctor with attitude and an abysmal bedside manner felt forced and awkward.  The family, the coworkers and Ken himself all seemed to be trying too hard to be funny. The pilot really felt like a miss for ABC in terms of sitcoms that just were not amusing enough to spend a half hour of time that would never be returned.

Granted there have been three new sitcoms released this year. One on ABC Family Kevin From Work which was so far from funny that calling it a situational comedy would be wrong. Dr. Ken gives the hope that not all sitcoms are unfunny time wasting exercises in forced humor.

Then episode two, The Seminar aired on October 9, Friday. The storyline, continued the doctor with no internal checking mechanism. Ken Jeong as the aggressive, antagonistic GP hit this stride in this episode, as did the rest of the cast. Jeong has reached the moment  in his show where one looks forward to a rant from the doc with attitude

The cast: Suzy Nakamura as Ken’s wife Allison, Krista Marie Yu and Albert Tsai as the couple’s children Molly and Dave all hit some impressive highs in this second episode. His colleagues:  Kate Simses as co-worker Julie, Tisha Campbell-Martin as Damona, Dave Foley as Pat all acquit themselves with conviction. Simses’ scene where she hugs herself was exquisite in its sincerity which made it that bit funnier.

The two Dr. Ken plot’s are similar, as they would be, he annoys patients who either self diagnose or ignore his prognosis. This week’s target  was a “samurai knot wearing” business owner who decides to stop taking her medication and, taking advice from Dave at Whole Foods, switches to fish oil.

Although this young lady does not lodge a complaint, it is Ken’s nurse, whose feelings are hurt when the doctor does not express support for his passing the RN exam who files a formal complaint about “his” doctor.  This gives Ken  a third strike and mandatory attendance to a bedside manner seminar is his punishment.  Meanwhile, his parents, whom he invited over, are eating dinner with his very reluctant family, sans Ken.

While the jokes come out pretty rapid-fire they were more relaxed in delivery this week and worked so much better because of it.  The humor, which runs from Ken turning everything into a sexual reference with his wife, to non-communicative in-laws and, of course, Ken  in attack mode was smoother and funnier.

Now that the forced feeling is gone and the pacing has steadied  the show provides more gags per minute with less intensity. The feeling that everyone was too desperate for the audience to laugh has also departed and the show is funnier and just a little addictive.

Dr. Ken has something for everyone. Ken Jeong feels a little like a real-life Woody Woodpecker or Bugs Bunny, doing things most people would only dream of doing. His doctor is insulting, arrogant and hilariously aggressive, ready to switch to attack mode in a nano-second.  His family also fit  in with the doctor’s personality and lifestyle.

In the pilot, the best bit of the episode was Ken’s reaction to his son’s decision to be a mime.  In The Seminar, the entire thing worked brilliantly. The family learning that Ken’s family were not “the Korean Rushmore” and the doctor’s realization that his nurse was also his friend.

Dr. Ken airs Fridays on ABC, tune in and prepare to laugh now that the show has found its rhythm.