TV Recap: Dr. Ken, Series Premiere

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Dr. Ken isn’t the best show ever, but it’s far from the worst show ever. The eponymous character (Ken Jeong) complains about his whiny patients all the time, but he spends most of his time whining to his therapist wife, Allison Park (Suzy Nakamura), and showing his major trust issues. While this will get annoying over time, it’s entirely possible for Dr. Ken to remain pessimistic without showing his feelings ridiculously every time.

Scene from Dr. Ken
Ken Jeong and Tisha Campbell in ABC’s new sitcom, Dr. Ken. Photo Credit: ABC/Ron Tom

Most of the time Dr. Ken adheres strictly to the classic sitcom formula. Dr. Ken is most similar to The George Lopez Show. Both have their main characters struggling with a messed up childhood. Both have overbearing bosses who threaten to fire the main character at every whim, but don’t when the boss realizes he said something offensive, making it less of a headache to keep them around. And both Dr. Ken and George Lopez have two children: a teenage girl and a younger boy. The teenage girl worries her father because, while she’s smart and overall a good kid, she is a teenager who occasionally succumbs to peer pressure. No one worries about the boy because he’s still young and, while he does weird things, he doesn’t do anything bad. The biggest difference is that George Lopez cares and deep down realizes that some of his actions are because of his mother, where Dr. Ken isn’t self-aware at all and blames other people until he can’t anymore.

The jokes in Dr. Ken aren’t great, but Ken Jeong’s acting skills redeem them. Is it funny to tell your kid you don’t think mime is lame, you know it’s lame? Not really, but miming to your wife three different ways the audience will want to kill themselves after they see your son’s act works, even though it would be cruel to do in real life. As for the joke about Dr. Ken going to a rave looking for his daughter, Molly, and getting arrest for looking for Molly (MDMA), everyone saw it a mile away, but Ken Jeong was able to sell his character’s obliviousness to the aspects of rave culture that have seeped into the mainstream thanks to the Internet and Miley Cyrus.

If given time, Dr. Ken could grow into a much better show. With the exception of Dr. Ken, the whole cast is likeable. There is also nothing wrong with following the standard sitcom formula. However, if you’re going to make a hospital sitcom, it is wise to go more Scrubs, than wacky Dr. House without the cane and Vicodin addiction.

Rating: 5 out of 10

Dr. Ken airs Friday nights on ABC

ow with Stephen Colbert airs weeknights at 11:35pm on CBS.

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Allison Lips is the Founder of Wait! What’s a Dial?, a television blog that showcases the writing of millennials. Allison graduated from Rowan University in May 2013. She has a passion for TV history, especially late night and game shows. If she could go back in time, Steve Allen would still be hosting The Tonight Show. Follow her on Twitter @waitwaitsadial.
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