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: Ken and the Basketball Star – A Shot to the Heart (Review)

KEN JEONG

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.

The Story:

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.

TISHA CAMPBELL MARTIN, SUZY NAKAMURA

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.

Standout Moments:

The Ken wearing Dave’s pajamas story.

“You’re embarrassing me in front of Danny Willis.”

“Armageddon!”

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.

Final thoughts:

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.

DAVE FOLEY, SUZY NAKAMURA
Dave Foley and Suzy Nakamura and that espresso machine…

Cast:

Guest starring Zak Henri as Danny Willis.

Dr Ken: A Park Family Christmas – Fun Allison, D.K.’s Bad Santa and Connor (Review)

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

Dr. Ken delivers another brilliant dose of comedy with a generous helping of sentimentality on the side. A suicidal patient, D.K. as grumpy Santa and Allison working overtime to prove to her colleagues at Welltopia that she can be fun. Clark tries to get Connor the perfect gift and Molly manages to meet and impress Pat’s Stanford friend.

The real tour de force of this Christmas episode however was the “perfect gift” that Connor gave his boyfriend Clark.  A bended knee proposal that insured there would not be a dry eye in the house.

Ken Jeong and his ensemble team of performers have once again delivered that mixed bag of treats; comedy with just a touch of “watery eye” and lump in the throat moments.

We get to see just what makes Allison tick. Not only is she above and beyond professional in her dealings with patients, she also seems them as friends. In other words, Allison cares for those she counsels as much as she cares about how her Welltopia workmates see the real Dr. Park.

The teaming of Allison and Ken at the clinic has seen Dr. Ken changing ever so slightly from the irascible medico we met in the first season.  While this has enabled the couple to learn from each other at work, they also mesh better at home, to the benefit of all.

D.K. continues his contrary behaviour this week with his ever so grumpy Santa. Telling all the kids that they will get a ball instead of what they want, Dave is more than mortified at his grandfather’s depiction of jolly old St. Nick.

When he explains the motivation behind Father Christmas, D.K. thanks his grandson and tells him that he too will get a ball for Christmas. Dave is not impressed.

Apart from D.K.’s splendid comic offering, the women of the Park household get to shine in this episode.  (Although when D.K. presses the send button on Molly’s application, her expression is beyond  priceless.)  Allison proves once and for all that she is the mistress of multitasking and can, indeed, be fun.

Molly shows that when the party chips are down that she can orchestrate the perfect game plan to save the day. She manages to impress not only the man from Stanford but the rest of the party goers as well.

This season has seen a move toward letting the character’s on the show progress in satisfying arcs. Allison is more rounded this year and twice as funny as a result. Molly is growing up before the audience’s eyes and Dave has also advanced logically. (He does still maintain that comic “off the wall” personality that makes his character so much fun though.)

Another storyline that has been undergoing an evolution of sorts is the Connor and Clark storyline. We see in this episode that Connor puts a lot of thought and love into every gift he gives Clark. Clark tries to match that with his Christmas gift and it is touching to see how well it goes over.

Connor manages to beat his boyfriend in the perfect gift stakes when he proposes to Clark. This was a sweet end to these two and their romance throughout the second  season. Damona is still with Eric and while there are no wedding bells in the air for these two, they are a pretty satisfactory match.

The end of the episode gave Ken Jeong a chance to show off his “pipes.” If there were any dry eyes in the audience after Clark and Connor’s scene, the heartfelt rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” meant at least a Texas-sized lump in the throat  of all who watched.

Standout Moments:

ROSE ABDOO, ALBERT TSAI, GEMMA BROOKE ALLEN, DANA LEE

The entire D.K. and Dave scene in the library.

Ken’s attempt at talking Allison out of hosting the party.

Pat’s canceling the party remark.

Clark and Connor and that bended knee proposal.

Ken showing up at Welltopia to support Allison and the two of them inviting  their patient to the party.

The moment D.K. hits send on Molly’s laptop.

Molly’s saving the party and the “sushi” bit.

Allison’s “this is the party I planned.”

Mistletoe.

“That’s what Santa does…”

The song at the end.

Final Thoughts:

This was a splendid episode with the right amount of comedy and sentimentality. Christmas episodes have a tendency to be downright mawkish on a lot of shows. Nothing in this offering from Dr. Ken was over done, we believe implicitly in Allison’s move to invite her patient to their party.

We also believe that she is sincere in her wish as appearing more than just “Professional Allison.” Suzy Nakamura brings equal measures of comedy and clearcut moments of truth to her role.

Albert Tsai and Dana Lee were the new “Park” double-act in this episode. This allowed Krista Marie Yu the chance to hone her comedic skills most admirably. Jonathan Slavin continues to round out Clark and Tisha Campbell-Martin manages to seemingly do so much with so little effort.

(On a sidenote: Stephen Guarino, who plays Connor, is steadily becoming another regular, more as straight-man than anything else, who delivers each time he appears.)

Dr. Ken continues to be the best family show on Friday night television. It consistently brings a wonderful mixture of  laughter and tears which is the mark of any quality comedy series.

Cast:

Guest starring Mark Bloom as Curt.

Dr Ken: Child of Divorce – Like Father, Like Son (Review)

KEN JEONG, DANA LEE

Dr. Ken this week looks at divorce.  In keeping with this season’s focus on family, “Child of Divorce” (aka D.K.’s Divorce) looks at how we turn into children when faced with our own parents’ divorce.  D.K. reveals to Ken that his marriage ended two years ago and Ken is devastated.

The fact that his parents broke up after so many years of marriage bothers Ken and he worries that his relationship with Allison is in danger. Dave, proving that he is his father’s son, decides that his relationship with Emily is also doomed.

The episode begins with a slightly awkward “welcome meal” for Allison where she learns that Ken has been telling stories about their personal life. The awkward shifts into high gear when Pat spies D.K. with a young blonde in the restaurant.

As the group watch, D.K. and the blonde kiss and Ken is not happy. Later he confronts his father about the incident and D.K. reveals that not only have he and Ken’s mother gotten divorced, but Ken is literally the last person to know.

D.K. and Ken’s mother both believed the news would be too traumatic and that Ken would not be able to handle it.   After Ken assures D.K. that everything is fine, he goes into the kitchen ands screams silently. Allison, waits a beat and asks, “So how’d it go?”

Later she tells Dave and Molly about the breakup. Molly immediately asks how her father is taking the news and Dave worries.  Both kids know where their dad goes to cry.

Pat believes that D.K. has  mastered the dating scene and is determined to learn his secrets.  Ken panics and works overtime to “save” his marriage to Allison. He brings her lunch and then, after “overthinking the situation” takes the food away.

Molly treats her grandfather to a psychiatric session. She tells him that Ken is not handling the news well at all. D.K. shows up at Welltopia to see his son and gets hijacked by Pat. He takes Ken’s dad to buy him a beer and pick his brain.

DANA LEE, DAVE FOLEY
DANA LEE, DAVE FOLEY

Damona pranks Ken and he goes to the bar to talk with D.K.  After learning why his parents broke up, Ken tells his father about his worries. D.K. explains that Ken and Allison have a good marriage as they talk about things and have a chemistry.

The episode ends with Ken talking to his mother on Skype and learning that she has a new male friend. Cue more upset from Ken.

Standout Moments:

Ken’s silent scream and collapse in the kitchen.

Allison’s deadpan reaction to the silent scream.

D.K. telling Pat to talk less.

Molly’s practicing psychiatry. “I read ahead.”

Ken surprising Allison at work with flowers and takeaway only to leave with all the gifts seconds later.

Molly and D.K. and their counseling session. “Well, that’s our time…”

Dave and Emily in the kitchen playing monopoly. “Someone’s in a chatty mood.”

Damona’s “dead dad” prank that she plays on Ken.

Molly saving Dave and Emily’s “broken” relationship.

Dave clearly wanting his girlfriend to be less verbal; as in silent.

D.K. with his explanation of how he and Ken’s mother grew apart:

“She watch a lot of golf…I hate golf. Ball go up, ball come down.  I fall asleep. Woke up 30 years later and we have grown apart.”

Pat’s reaction to D.K. making him buy “Asian Doogie Howser” a beer. “Sexy, sexy man.”

Final Thoughts:

This episode was one of the funniest episodes this season. However, apart from the laughs and the divorce plunging Ken into instant childhood, the show revealed a number of things  about the Park family.

Dave is clearly just like Ken in some areas and Molly takes after Allison in others.  The kids have grown this season. Molly is less about the parties, boys and being popular and more about school and family.

D.K.’s pep talk where he helps Dave make friends in an earlier episode  may have helped but the youngest Park is also growing up. Although he still has to learn about letting girlfriends talk if he wants to keep one.

Ken’s relationship with Molly has also matured. He is less focused on losing his daughter.  With Allison now almost literally working down the hall he is more focused on his relationship with his wife.

This was a splendid direction for the show to take. There is just enough mischief at the “office” to keep things interesting and the addition of D.K. makes the Park family comedically complete.

Kudos to Dave Foley, Jonathan Slavin and Tisha Campbell-Martin. Slavin and Martin are the new Dr. Ken double act and Foley is truly hysterical as the single-minded Pat.

ALBERT TSAI, ZOOEY JEONG, KRISTA MARIE YU
ALBERT TSAI, ZOOEY JEONG, KRISTA MARIE YU

Albert Tsai and Krista Marie Yu are “Mary Poppins” kids; practically perfect in every way and have an effortless give and take.  Zooey Jeong is beyond perfect as Emily and the day she and Dave break up will be a sad one.

Ken and Suzy Nakamura continue to be “that” couple.  They are sharing the laughs evenly this season and the show’s familial comedy is stronger for it.

Dana Lee as D.K. nails it, each and every time he is on screen. He is the master of comedic gravitas.

Dr. Ken continues to be one of the best ensemble comedy shows on television. The series airs Fridays on ABC. Stop by and get ready to laugh…hard.

Cast:

Dr Ken: Ken’s Banquet Snub – High Road (Review)

 SUZY NAKAMURA, KEN JEONGSeason two of Dr. Ken just keeps getting better and better.  “Ken’s Banquet Snub” managed to top the prior two episodes on the laugh scale.  This installment saw the return of Juan-Julio, the arrival of a stalker for Dave and Allison does stand-up.

At work, Ken is stressed that he has not gotten his invitation to host the HMO banquet. As he angrily queries Siri and checks the clinic phones Pat enters telling a joke to some very appreciative staff.

“How many psychiatrists does it take to change a lightbulb?”

“None, unless it’s ready to change.”

Ken learns that Pat will MC the banquet and also that Clark and Damona both knew already. He kicks a waste basket on his way out of the office.

He has a moan at Allison about being “winklevossed” and she tells him to take the high road. Ken then decides to buy a bottle of scotch for Pat to congratulate him.

Dave has an interesting new friend; Emily. She stares at him through the kitchen door. Molly calls the neighbor kid weird and D.K. chases the girl off with a pot and wooden spoon.

Pat and Damona have a exchange  where he shows his displeasure at Eric attending the banquet as her plus one.

Ken goes off on Siri in the parking garage and in mid rant he backs into Pat’s car. Juan-Julio is ecstatic as he wants to give Ken’s parking space to the new “Ear, nose and throats” specialist.

KEN JEONG, DAVE FOLEY

Pat is angry about his car, especially after Juan-Julio shows them the CCTV footage. (Ken screaming “I hate you, I hate you” as he backs into Pat’s “boy toy” is pretty damning.)

Ken explains he is taking the high road and Pat responds that he would not know a highroad if he was driving in the Alps. “And those are high roads!”

Emily manages to finally get inside the house after D.K. turns the sprinkler on her and chases her off. When she is gone, Dave misses her and Molly suggests that there may be more to their relationship than stalker and victim. It is after this that he and Emily become an item.

Pat’s car breaks down the night of the banquet and Ken is asked to MC in his place. As Ken eagerly  goes to man the mic, Allison looks at him. Ken realizes he needs to pick Pat up from  the 405.

The two men bond on the way back to the HMO banquet. Pat reveals that he forced the committee to let him host the banquet. He wanted to impress Eric, Damona’s new boyfriend.

Pat confesses that he can be “small and petty,” and that he can  be pretty “low road.” Ken replies that he can as well.

KEN JEONG, DAVE FOLEY

Back at the banquet Allison is “killing em” at the mic. Ken and Pat come in and Ken is delighted to find that his wife is funny.  Later he tells her that she is much more than “bookclub funny” she is HMO Banquet funny.

Standout Moments:

D.K. and his reactions to Emily.

Allison doing stand-up.

Ken screaming at Siri.

Pat’s line about his father telling him about the birds and the bees…and the rest of his family. Slightly disturbing yet so funny.

Dave’s matter-of-fact acceptance of Emily as his stalker. “Sometimes she has lunch and other times she just ‘powers’ through.”

Allison lying to Ken about how much of her material was about him.

Bookclub funny.

Eric and Damona at the banquet. Eric’s line about Damona’s “big a**ed biscuit’s you call feet.”

Clark and Connor’s argument and Clark’s overreaction.

Connor talking to himself.

Molly and Dave with their high-five and Molly’s surprise at Emily being in the kitchen.

Emily.

ALBERT TSAI, KRISTA MARIE YU, ZOOEY JEONG
ALBERT TSAI, KRISTA MARIE YU, ZOOEY JEONG

Final Thoughts:

This episode was all about relationships, familial and otherwise. Ken’s relationships with Pat, Allison, Damona and Clark are all looked at here. There is even a peek at his not-so-good relationship with Juan-Julio.

Dave enters into a relationship with Emily, with the wise counsel of big sister Molly and D.K. has entered into a different kind of relationship with the family since moving in.

Allison is more present in this season. The first season showed how she and Ken felt about one another and this time around they have more interaction per episode.

Suzy Nakamura killed it in this episode. Her performance at the microphone was the right balance of nervous confidence and intense pleasure at getting those laughs.

Ken Jeong and Suzy Nakamura continue to be the funniest couple on television.

Jonathan Slavin continues to be a delight and may Trish Campbell-Martin and Jerry Minor keep doing what they do. Dave Foley keeps that comedy mark high and Krista Marie Yu and Albert Tsai just get better and better.

Ken Jeong’s daughter Zooey Jeong knocked it out of the park as Emily.

This season has  brought back the more volatile and excitable version of Dr. Ken.  It fits very well with the new focus on family and relationships and it makes the show even funnier as a result.

Dr. Ken airs Fridays on ABC.  Tune in every Friday and get your giggle fix for the week.

Cast: