Dr Ken: Kevin O’Connell Episode Another Win

TISHA CAMPBELL MARTIN, WILL YUN LEE, KATE SIMSES, KEN JEONG

The news that ABC has ordered a full season of Dr Ken is not surprising. Despite the naysayers who do not “get it” the show is funny. Kevin O’Connell is a perfect case in point. The episode has Ken coming to grips with the fact that his wife’s old boyfriend is not a “pasty-faced” Irishman but the hunky Will Yun Lee (Wolverine, Total Recall) who was adopted by Irish parents.

Not only is Kevin good looking and athletic, but he is a generous humanitarian and, from the look of it, an all around nice chap.  Ken is beside himself with jealousy and annoyance that his wife lied to him about O’Connell.  Everyone seemingly prefers this plastic surgeon to Ken, his son and daughter are instantly drawn to the man as are Dr Ken’s coworkers.

At the hospital ball, where Ken does a stand up “satire” of all the staff in the place, he re-writes his material at the last minute, poking fun at Kevin to assuage his wounded ego.

As usual Dr Ken hits the funny bone just right. Each gag revolves around Ken Jeong’s comic delivery and his costars also prove that they can deliver. Each actor has a chance to shine and Kate Simses continues to be the queen of comedic timing in this show.

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

Co-creator  and show star Jeong has wisely surrounded himself with performers who are adept at comedy and this makes the show work on more than one level.  There cannot be many who do not find Ken funny as his delivery and timing are spot on.

ABC have ordered a full season for the show, congratulations to the entire cast and crew and the writers, and it is nice to see the network recognizing that they have a hit on their hands. While IMDb rankings are still lower than Fresh Off the Boat (to be fair, IMDb contributors seem to have in it for Dr Ken and most of its cast, the message boards pertaining to  the series are all quite nasty and derogatory) the show is funny and all the cast members shine, unlike the Huang family comedy. (Many of the younger actors are “lacking” in the delivery department on Fresh Off the Boat.)

Kudos to the whole cast are in order for this sixth episode. Tisha Campbell-MartinDave Foley (who feels like he is channelling his inner Terry Thomas sans the English accent), Suzy Nakamura,  Jonathan SlavinKrista Marie YuAlbert Tsai and, of course, Ken Jeong all turn in tour de force performances.

Guest star Lee is brilliant as the “nice guy” who actually supports Ken, while he is slowly dying on stage, and the San Andreas actor shows just why he works so steadily.  Another great episode for Dr Ken and proof that,  despite best efforts from other unfunny shows, the sitcom as television genre  is not dead and that filming before a life audience still works well.

Dr Ken airs Fridays on ABC, tune in and hold on to your sides.

The Player: House Rules – Wesley Snipes Kicks A**

The Player - Season 1

The Player continues to raise the stakes in terms of action and subplot. Ginny is at last revealed to be alive and, apparently, well. Just who is holding Alex Kane’s wife is not revealed but considering Cassandra’ reaction to the CCTV footage it is clearly not her. Mr. Johnson is the safe bet, after all, the pit boss needs to provide a player that the gamblers like and Kane fits that bill perfectly.

This week in House Rules a young hacker; a’la Scorpion protagonist Walter O’Brien, is accused of uploading a Chinese virus onto the Pentagon’s computer system and a team of parkouring Triad assassins are sent to kill the boy. The NSA also want the teenager and Alex’s job is to get the hacker, Solomon (Nik Dodani) to safety. 

Episode 4, allows Wesley Snipes to prove that he still has the moves (Snipes has an extensive martial arts background) not once but twice. At the start of the episode and at the end Mr. Johnson kicks a**.  Meanwhile, Kane discovers some discrepancies in the dates on some pictures that he found on Ginny’s hidden sim card.

House Rules shows just how coldblooded Mr. Johnson is, the pit boss kills Zeng  (Will Yun Lee) with his bare hands for violating the rules of the game. In the scene, the two men fight and recount a story of a hawk who dies trying to save its master’s (the king’s) life. Before Zeng is killed he asks Johnson which one he is, the pit boss answers, “The sword'” as he suffocates the loser.

The Player - Season 1
Wesley Snipes and Will Yun Lee

*Sidenote* The appearance in “The Player” is Will Yun Lee’s second guest role on a television show in the same week. He also turns up in the ABC sitcom “Dr. Ken” as Ken Park’s wife’s old medical school flame. 

Philip Winchester as Alex Kane proves he learned his action lessons very well on Strike Back (Sky 1,  2010 – ) where the actor was put through his paces by former SAS instructors. Will Yun Lee, Zeng in the show, also worked on the UK series as did another NBC series star, Blindspot‘s Sullivan Stapleton.  

It is Winchester, as usual, who does the lion’s share of the action in House Rules. The actor does stunts that look convincing and has some pretty powerful acting chops as well. Whether he is sliding across a pebbled roof while shooting a handgun or almost welling up at the thought of Ginny, Winchester sells it.

Alex Kane even manages to outshine the parkouring Triads who are after Solomon the teen hacker who attempted to remove the Chinese Pentagon virus. The shootouts in this episode are very impressive, with a NSA/Triad/Winchester gunfight in a Seattle subway.  This same scene has one heart-stopping stunt where “Alex” leaps in front of an express subway train into an opening on the far side.

The Player - Season 1
Philip Winchester as Alex Kane with Nik Dodani as Solomon.

Regardless of whether this stunt was “real” or CG, it was impressive and on par with other actions sequences on the series thus far.

Stunts and shootouts aside, by the end of the episode, Alex learns that Ginny is still alive, which he  pretty much realized when discovering that her corpse did not have the “ring” tattoo. Solomon Desai, the computer prodigy saved by Kane, does algorithms on the incorrect dates discovered by Alex at the start of the episode and finds a cell phone number.

With an area code of 702 it is a Las Vegas number and Alex calls it. He speaks with his wife but she cannot tell him anything that can help him to find her. At the end of the call, Ginny tells someone the viewer cannot see that she has done as asked and now wants to go home.

There is no answer.

Alex tries to ring again and the number is now out of service. Cassandra (Charity Wakefield) also learns that Ginny is still alive. The dealer has been attempting to access all the footage of the night that Alex’s wife was “killed,” and finally sees the body swap. Her reaction is, “Oh my God, Ginny.”

This episode had crooked NSA agents and Triad assassins as well as a computer whiz kid and great actions sequences. Away from all those guns and physical altercations, Cassandra makes a young hacker’s day when she tells him that she loves The Matrix, and one is left with the idea that Mr. Johnson is the person that Ginny is speaking to after her  phone call with Alex.

The Player - Season 1
Cassandra King makes a computer hacker’s day.

The Player is rapidly becoming a treat not to be missed. It airs Thursdays on NBC and is exciting television. Tune in and get swept away by the stunts as well as Snipes, Winchester and Wakefield.