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:

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

Dr Ken: Allison Finds a Lump – Stand Up to Cancer (Recap/Review)

DR. KEN - "Allison Finds a Lump" - During a self-exam, Allison finds a suspicious lump in her breast, causing Ken and the HMO gang to rally around her for support while she anxiously waits for the doctor's diagnosis. Meanwhile, Dave has questions for how he will portray the character he's playing in the school play, and Pat and Damona share an unexpected moment, on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24 (8:31-9:00 p.m. EST), on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Ron Tom) KRISTA MARIE YU, SUZY NAKAMURA, KEN JEONG, DAVE FOLEY, JONATHAN SLAVIN, TISHA CAMPBELL-MARTIN

This second season of Dr. Ken has managed to successfully mix tears and laughter on many of its episodes. None, however, more masterfully than “Allison Finds a Lump.” This one touches upon a personal note. Ken Jeong’s real-life wife fought and won against “the Big C” (as the late Duke Wayne referred to the disease) and at the end of the episode Ken and Tran  talk about Stand Up To Cancer.

The episode starts with Dave taking on the role of Peter Pan and complaining about the nonsensical nature of the tale while learning his lines. Later, after a shower, Allison discovers a lump in her breast. Ken takes time away from watching a tic-tac-toe playing chicken to reassure her.

He calms Allison down after trying to rip a hand towel in half. The scene ends with the two watching the creature play the game as Ken tells a story about the bird.

The next day, Allison puts off ringing her doctor for an appointment and Ken rings for her. As she talks to the receptionist, Molly overhears her conversation. Learning that Allison has found a lump is clearly upsetting.

As Allison waits to learn when her doctor can see her, the receptionist puts her on hold. The music playing is a variation on the old Benny Hill Yakety Sax theme, every time Allison is put on hold, she is treated to this upbeat music.

She learns that her doctor cannot see her for two weeks. Ken vows to help Allison find another doctor to see her. She tells the rest of the Welltopia staff and she gets a group hug from everyone, including a passerby named Carl.

Allison and Ken go to see the most dour surgeon in all of Welltopia, Dr. O’Sullivan.  Allison worries about everything that is going on and Ken reassures her that he will help out. After he then breaks a sculpture in the doctor’s office the surgeon reveals that Allison does have a lump.

He schedules a biopsy the next day during his lunch break. Allison jokingly asks if she can be in an induced coma while waiting for the results and O’Sullivan reacts poorly, the man really does have no sense of humor.

Molly speaks with Ken about her mother and expresses her fears and offers to support  both her parents however she can. She agrees to drive Dave to his play incase Allison is not up to going to the show.

Pat, who has been going on phone dating sites since breaking up with Megan, talks with Clark and Damona about realizing how short life is. The realization that Allison could have cancer has touched them all. He vows to do more with his life and Damona talks about taking tennis lessons.

Allison and Ken have a moment where she talks about how waiting for the news is driving her crazy. They decide to attend Dave’s play and they arrive to find Pat, Clark and Damona already in attendance.

Dave’s harness malfunctions and the audience are in stitches. The next day Allison learns that the lump was not cancerous. Pat surprises Damona with a box of tennis gear and he further surprises her with a kiss. She asks him why he had to complicate things and then kisses him back.

At the Park home, Allison reveals to Molly that she got the all clear and the family indulge in a group hug after Dave announces that he is a star.

At the end of the episode Ken and his wife Tran talk about their story and Stand Up To Cancer.

This was another of those special moments on Dr. Ken where a personal note was introduced into the show. The series is already based, somewhat, on Ken Jeong’s real life and this episode broaches the fear of breast cancer and the effect it has on those around us.

Ken also, via the auspices of personal experience,  manages to dispense some brilliant advice for those who might share Allison’s experience. Dr. Ken reminds his TV wife to be proactive in getting help. The message is clear, being diagnosed with a lump is the first step, not the final one.

It is done effectively. In ways that are touching and humorous, the story line shows how life goes on all around the cancer victim, or potential victim. Dave, who never learns about the lump, goes on to adapt Peter Pan. Molly steps up to help out and Ken proves that there are no limits on his love for Allison.

There are obviously no limits on the feelings that Pat and Damona have for one another either. While this passion has never cooled, it could be a bit awkward for Damona and Eric, since they are still, presumably, a couple. The re-ermegence of this love affair has been a long time coming.

“Allison Finds a Lump” was a splendid mix of comedy with tears. Suzy Nakamura and Ken Jeong were spot on with their reactions to one another with what could have been devastating news. Krista Marie Yu provided a powerhouse performance that was simple but oh so effective. Albert Tsai proved, that in the scheme of things, he really does not need a straight man, the kid has got comedy chops for days.

On top of the powerful and poignant message that Dr. Ken passed on this week, the culmination of the Pat and Damona relationship (with those two kissing with all that repressed passion) was a splendid moment. This couple needs to be together and this, along with Dave’s happy self inclusion in that familial group hug, made the comedic portion of the episode nigh on perfect.

Dr. Ken airs Fridays on ABC. Tune in and bliss out and embrace the love that this show shares.

(On a sidenote: Does Ken call Allison Molly as they leave O’Sullivan’s office? Answers on a postcard please or down in the comment section below. Please and thank you.)

Cast:

Guest starring Patrick O’Sullivan  as Dr. O’Sullivan

Dr Ken: Pat’s Rash – Allergic to Nuts (Review)

 DAVE FOLEY, TISHA CAMPBELL MARTIN, KEN JEONG

Dr. Ken this week focuses on relationships. “Pat’s Rash” is brought about by his “allergy to nuts,” as Damona puts it, and along the way more than one romance falls by the wayside. It is also crystal clear that both Pat and Damona have unsettled issues with their brief office liaison. This week’s episode is all about relationships, both romantic and otherwise.

The Storyline:

Pat comes into Welltopia with his new girlfriend Megan. He has a rash on his face and Megan is not happy about it. He reluctantly decides to have Ken look at the hives on his face before a banquet that he and Megan are due to attend.

After running tests Ken believes that the stress of dating Megan is destroying Pat’s health. He tells Pat this and he reacts badly.

Meanwhile things are not going too smoothly for Dave with Emily. As he struggles to communicate with the overly quiet girl, Molly steps in to help. D.K. offers to break up with Emily for Dave, who is perfectly willing, at first, to let his granddad do the deed. Molly insists that Dave do it himself.

Clark and Allison attend a meditation class and both find the experience daunting and annoying. As they work on their burgeoning friendship both of them work too hard at compromising.

Ken and Allison discuss Pat’s problem at home and Ken’s statement that “he needs to leave her before his face falls off,” prompts Dave to believe he should break up with Emily.

Pat learns from Ken that Megan is damaging his health and gets angry at his friend and colleague. He then breaks up with Megan in front of Damona, Clark and Ken. She reacts badly and Damona goes to bat for her former lover.

Dave starts to break up with Emily who cuts him short. Using more words in one episode than she has the entire time the two have dated, she tells her boyfriend that the relationship has been over for ages. Emily then leaves.

Pat thanks Ken for looking out for him and later he and Damona talk about their agreeable breakup while making “eyes” at one another. This romance is definitely not completely over…yet.

D.K. is pleased that Emily has moved on and Molly supports her brother with more sage advice and a hug. Later Dave thanks Ken and Allison for their help and Ken takes full credit as Allison uses her new meditation training to deal with Ken.

Standout Moments:

Damona’s reaction to Pat’s rash.

Ken’s exact same reaction seconds right after.

D.K.’s offer to break up with Emily for Dave.

Damona sticking up for Pat “He broke up with you!”

Clark and Allison and their inner dialogue at the meditation class.

Emily’s verbal outburst when she and Dave break up.

Pat and Megan full stop.

D.K.’s reaction to Emily after the break up.

Molly’s impression of D.K. “Dave doesn’t want to see you anymore.”

D.K.’s response to Molly’s impression “I wouldn’t beat around the bush like that.”

Clark’s reaction to Megan’s line about her husband.

Clark and Allison’s inner dialogues at the end of the episode.

Final Thoughts:

As pointed out, this one was all about relationships. Pat and Megan were not a good match over the long haul. His initial refusal to go back to the single life added to his problems. Dave and Emily also had problems but since she never talked to Dave they stayed together.

The message in this episode of Dr. Ken is that sometimes we have to step outside our relationships, with the help of friends and family, to see what is really going on.

It was brilliant to see D.K. back in the mix and Dana Lee, Krista Marie Yu and Albert Tsai rocked it this week. As funny as the main storyline was, the Park family interaction, which included Dave misunderstanding Ken and Allison’s conversation, was brilliantly funny this week.

The ongoing plot line of Allison and Clark trying to bond is still funny and the Pat/Damona “will they/won’t they” arc is far from over.

Everyone in this episode of Dr. Ken got a fair share of the comedy pie. Ken got in some good lines and reaction and Gillian Vigman just killed it as the  shrew in this tale. Brilliant stuff indeed.

Dr. Ken continues to be the best thing about Friday nights. Tune in and check this out if you have not already done so. This is good family fun that everyone can enjoy.

Cast:

 

Guest starring Zooey Jeong as Emily and Gillian Vigman as Megan.

Dr Ken: A Dr. Ken Valentine’s Day – Was That a ‘Santa Clarita Diet’ Reference? (Review)

 DANA LEE, JUSTIN CHON, KRISTA MARIE YU, SUZY NAKAMURA, KEN JEONG, ALBERT TSAI

Dr. Ken continues to shake things up a bit with a sly reference to a new Netflix show.  Initially it seemed that the show that “everyone is binging” on the platform might have been Stranger Things. However, the response of “zombies” means it can only be Santa Clarita Diet. You have to love a show that brings topical humor with a capital T.

“A Dr. Ken Valentine’s Day” gives us a generational look at the “corporate” holiday. We see it from Dave and Emily’s viewpoint (Ken Jeong’s daughter Zooey reprises her role as the practically silent girlfriend of Dave.), Ken and Allison, Molly and Jae as well as D.K. all have a different understanding of the holiday focussed on true love.

We also see Clark and Connor, still very much in love and caught up in the wonder of each other. Pat manages to get a date with Megan, the woman he tried to con into believing that Dave was his adopted son and Damona ends up telling Eric about dating Pat.

The story:

Allison sends Ken a text saying that she does not want to do anything for Valentine’s Day. She tells him that laying around the house in her sweatpants is her plan for the holiday.

Clark sets up an intricate scavenger hunt which will lead Connor to a romantic gift of love. He asks Ken to drop off the box in the sculpture garden near his home. Clark then learns that Damona never told Eric about dating Pat after she reveals that their Valentine’s Day dinner will be at a steakhouse they discovered.

Dave is cooking a romantic meal for Emily, with help from D.K. while Molly and Jae are doing nothing for the day; opting to “Netflix it” on the couch. Things get complicated when Dave asks Ken to read the poem he wrote for Emily.

Ken recommends dropping the poem. Later, Allison gets emotional when Dave’s roses for Emily are delivered and she believes that Ken got them for her. She is now regretting her decision to ignore the holiday. Allison then discovers the poem and she thinks that Ken wrote it for her.

Connor and Clark are at the sculpture garden when they learn that Ken did not drop off the gift box as promised. Clark is furious and calls Ken repeatedly. Dave’s meal is ruined and Allison learns that the poem was written by her son for Emily and not by Ken.

Damona and Eric see Pat with Megan at the steakhouse. Megan goes to the restroom and after a very long period of time everyone believes Pat’s date left him in the restaurant. Eric invites Pat to join them at their table.

Ken makes a “sketchy” reservation to apologize to Allison, Connor gets his gift, an email that Clark sent Damona the day after they met, Dave and Emily get past their dinner disaster, Molly and Jae make use of Ken’s reservation and he gets Molly a teddy bear.

Pat learns that Megan did not desert him at the steakhouse after all, she got trapped in the ladies room, and Eric is okay with the news that his girl dated her colleague.

Standout Moments:

Pat’s re-entry into the room to speak with Megan.

Dave’s creme brule gag.

D.K. and Dave’s double act.

Allison’s reaction to the poem.

Pat, Damona and Eric “Sometimes a lot of fun together.”

Megan and Pat.

The “Simpson’s” shot on the sofa with the (possible) reference to the new Netflix show Santa Clarita Diet.

Clark and his reactions to Ken’s forgetting the gift placement.

The cute “flat, warm coke” story about Ken and Allison’s first Valentine’s Day together.

Connor and Clark.

Final Thoughts:

The added bonus of having a second season with a full order of episodes allows Dr. Ken the latitude of being self referential and topical.  The Netflix binging reference, which may or may not be SCD, was brilliant but so too was the return of Megan. “The one that got away.”

It was also nice to see this follow up the Pat/Damona romance after it was made abundantly clear that they both still have feelings about one another. In a perfect Dr. Ken world, these two would eventually get back together. If not, then at least Pat seems to have found a spiritual twin, if not soulmate in Megan.

Molly and Jae (Krista Marie Yu and Justin Chon) could win the perfect couple of the year award. These two young performers look great together and their character’s seem so in sync that they should never break up on the show.

D.K. and Dave are still the perfect double act and the return of Emily was perfect. Zooey Jeong is clearly a chip off the old block. The storyline with Allison and Ken proved once again that these two are the best television husband/wife team on offer.

Suzy Nakamura not only has comedy chops for days but she can exude emotional sincerity almost effortlessly.  The ongoing storyline of Connor and Clark is touching and funny. May these two never ever break up.

Guest star Gillian Vigman killed it as the adoptive mum who gives Pat a second chance. Hopefully she will return and make Pat complete. She and Dave Foley made a brilliant temporary couple.

Dr. Ken airs Fridays on ABC. Tune in for your weekly ration of fun and laughs courtesy of this brilliant ensemble team. On a sidenote, if the characters were not talking about Santa Clarita Diet, what other zombie show is worth binging on Netflix? Answers on a postcard please, or in the comment section below.

Cast:

 

Guest starring Zooey Jeong as Emily and Gillian Vigman as Megan.