Dr Ken: Ken Cries Foul – Once, Twice, Three Times (Review)

You have to love the dynamic on Dr Ken. In this episode, Ken Cries Foul, both Dr. Park and his wife throw down the penalty flag, not once but twice, although Ken does so a third time. The show is all about Ken’s desperate attempt to get Dave (Albert Tsai) to fall in love with Ken’s sport of choice, basketball.

KRISTA MARIE YU, SUZY NAKAMURA, ALBERT TSAI, KEN JEONG

You have to love the dynamic on Dr Ken. In this episode, Ken Cries Foul, both Dr. Park and his wife throw down the penalty flag, not once but twice, although Ken does so a third time.  The show is all about Ken’s desperate attempt to get Dave (Albert Tsai) to fall in love with Ken’s sport of choice, basketball.

In keeping with the youngest member of the Park family being that bit more eclectic and less athletic (See what I did there?) Dave is more interested in the community drought problems and less in being the next Kobe Bryant.

In this week’s episode we get to see another rapid fire “shooting down,” but this time the victims is Molly and not Pat . Even Dave gets involved. When Molly  teen shows up in a tiny skirt to go to a study group. Alison starts off the salvo with:

“I’m sorry. Did you say study group or “slutty” group.”

Cue a machine gun delivery of parental dismay and disapproval of their daughter’s attire with a finish by Ken who makes a couple of jokes at Molly’s expense. She retaliates with a first amendment ploy that Ken then shoots down for a “constitutional burn” and Dave enters asking where the rest of her outfit is.

Molly (Krista Marie Yu) strikes back with a withering comment about Dave’s lack of sporting ability, but little brother gets the final word with: “The  joke’s on you, I know I’m not good at sports.”  Defeated Molly rushes from the room to go change. 

KRISTA MARIE YU, KEN JEONG
Ken for the win, aka constitutional burn…

 

This episode had some brilliant comedic moments between the parental team (who seldom agree on how to handle their children) and Molly as well as Dave.  The issue with Molly’s apparent love of tiny skirts re-emerges at Dave’s “forced” basketball game.

While the exchanges between Ken and Molly are a comic delight, “What are you studying? Business, cause everyone can basically see yours,” the battle of wills between Allison (Suzy Nakamura) and Molly are just as funny. 

When Molly turns up at Dave’s game in her mother’s old “skirt” the tables are deftly turned by Mom who explains that the small bit of cloth that her daughter thinks was  a skirt is actually a headband.

*Sidenote*  The only complaint is that this must be the biggest headband in the history of fashion.  Perhaps “tube top” would have worked better?

In the scene, where Molly shows up with her smallest skirt yet, she removes her fatigue jacket to the cheers of two teen boys in the bleachers. After learning that she is wearing her mother’s old headband, the jacket comes back on; to the boos of the same lads:

Molly: “Settle down pervs, you wish…”

Ken learns that Dave really does not have any skill “on the court” and while refereeing the game, he allows his son to leave and attend the drought meeting.  Ken rocks it as the comically inept, but enthusiastic, referee substitute.

Of course Dr Ken is not just about the family Park.  Ken’s colleagues also deliver the laughs and Jonathan Slavin gets the award for non-Park family laugh of the evening. 

Clark shows up to watch Dave’s game as  show of support.  Ken mentions that he thought his assistant had a date, Ken surmises that the guy stood him up, to which Clark replies:

“B*tch did not even text. Go Dave!”

This after the backtrace and oily skin gag earlier in the office which were “issues” in his “30s.”

Also back at the office Damona (Tisha Campbell-Martin) and Pat (Dave Foley) have a running double act going that shows off both to great effect.  Julie (Kate Simses)  suggests to Damona, who wants time off to visit a friend in Mexico, that she get Pat to inadvertently racially incriminate himself.  It seems that the administrator did so once before and gave Damona a lot of extra vacation time as a result. 

What follows is her repeated attempt to get Pat to come out with any non politically correct statements that can be used against him.  Campbell-Martin and Dave Foley were brilliant together and the entire cast have shifted into capable  ensemble status with ease.

TISHA CAMPBELL MARTIN, DAVE FOLEY
Damona and Pat both and Tyler Perry hysterical…

Ken Jeong runs his comic ship with aplomb and can coax laughs with ease.  A stand out moment is the “basketball training” he undertakes with Dave. The failed lay up was priceless (as is the after  credits bit where we see Ken’s whole interaction with the two teams).

In terms of performances, the actors in this show never put a foot wrong. Each brings a sense of timing and delivery to the show. In Ken Cries Foul Krista Marie Yu kills it as the rebellious teen who, unintentionally, insults her mother several times (while pushing the limits on those skirts) by placing Allison’s teen years sometime in the 1950s.

Molly: “You must have been the hottest girl at all those “sock-hops.”

Allison: “I am not 70!”

By the end of the show, Dave proves that he rules at drought meetings, Molly realizes that in this instance, the parents have won and Damona gets a day off.

Ken Jeong and his ensemble equal good laughs and a group of performers who have it together in terms of comedy and chemistry. Dr Ken airs Fridays on ABC, long live Dr Ken.

 

 

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.