×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Review: ‘Dr. Ken’

With:
Ken Jeong, Suzy Nakamura, Tisha Campbell Martin, Jonathan Slavin, Albert Tsai, Krista Marie Yu, Dave Foley

Ken Jeong was a doctor before becoming a comic and actor, a bit of biographical trivia that’s about the first and last interesting thing associated with “Dr. Ken.” Designed to trade off Jeong’s profile from “Community” and “The Hangover” movies, the sitcom does build on ABC’s recent run of shows with minority leads. And, in the search to find a mate for “Last Man Standing,” it features another father who seldom knows best. Sitting through many episodes beyond the pilot would require extremely low expectations, but at least no one would worry about fracturing their funny bone.

Jeong plays Dr. Ken Park, who still has patients despite behaving like a Don Rickles-style insult comic at work. That’s demonstrated by an opening in which he chides a man about needing a colonoscopy, which provides an excuse for a flurry of jokes regarding the targeted area, and earns a reprimand from Ken’s bureaucratic boss, played by Dave Foley.

At home, naturally, it’s a different story entirely. Ken’s wife (Suzy Nakamura) also happens to be a psychotherapist, making this possibly the most upscale sitcom family since the Huxtables. As for the kids, Ken is both overinvolved and wildly overprotective, so much so that he essentially puts a tracer on his teenager daughter (Krista Marie Yu) when she goes out for the evening; and seeks to intervene on behalf of his nerdy son (Albert Tsai), who chooses to be a mime in the school talent show. (Accepting kids for how they are might be admirable, but permitting miming would seem to take that a step too far.)

Even allowing for the throwback “TGIF”-style elements, the show presents a neutered version of the wild-and-crazy persona for which Jeong (who shares script credit on the pilot) is known. Nor does he have much comedic support, given how heavily the story leans on him — a situation only eased slightly in the second episode, where Ken’s parents come to visit, while he’s forced to attend sensitivity training after (what else?) mocking another patient.

On the plus side, “Dr. Ken” is essentially colorblind, inasmuch as this could be any American family. On the down side, everything about it is equally generic, and one could argue that ABC’s “Fresh Off the Boat” is much richer because it makes the show specific to the Asian-American experience without sacrificing those universal qualities.

Either way, the series feels about as bland as the decor in a hospital waiting room. And while its undemanding approach might be enough to hang around for a while on Friday nights, when it comes to generating laugh-out-loud moments, “Dr. Ken” can mute more than just mimes.

TV Review: 'Dr. Ken'

(Series; ABC, Fri. Oct. 2, 8:30 p.m.)

Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by Davis Entertainment/Old Charlie Prods. in association with Sony Pictures Television and ABC Studios.

Crew: Executive producers, Mike Sikowitz, Jared Stern, John Davis, John Fox, Scott Ellis; co-executive producers, Ken Jeong, Mike O’Connell, Annette Sahakian Davis; director, Ellis; writers, Stern, Jeong, O’Connell; story by Stern, Jeong, Fox; camera, Gregg Heschong; production designer, Bernard Vyzga; editor, Andy Zall; music, Gabriel Mann; casting, Susie Farris. 30 MIN.

Cast: Ken Jeong, Suzy Nakamura, Tisha Campbell Martin, Jonathan Slavin, Albert Tsai, Krista Marie Yu, Dave Foley

More TV

  • Khloe KardashianKhloe Kardashian, Emma Grede and

    Khloé Kardashian Could Be Next 'Bachelorette,' Says Show Creator Mike Fleiss

    The time has come to choose a new Bachelorette, and “The Bachelor” creator Mike Fleiss has hinted that Khloe Kardashian may be in the mix. “I have already been in contact with my dear friend @KrisJenner about @khloekardashian as #TheBachelorette,” he tweeted Friday, after tweeting Thursday that “any decision regarding @khloekardashian as the new #TheBachelorette [...]

  • How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes

    How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes Sports and Showbiz in an Entertaining Mix

    Walking through the El Segundo studio where veteran sportscaster Rich Eisen tapes his daily “Rich Eisen Show,” the sheer density of sports memorabilia is overwhelming — everything from game balls to jerseys, gear, autographs and uncountable photos are crammed onto every inch of wall and desk space. But step into Eisen’s dressing room, and the [...]

  • Whiskey Tango Cavalier

    TV Review: 'Whiskey Cavalier'

    The crux of “Whiskey Cavalier” can be found right in its protagonist’s name. “Will Chase” is a purposefully ridiculous wink of a name that tries to be both debonair and very silly all at once, just like the FBI agent (played by Scott Foley) to which it belongs. This isn’t a regular spy drama, “Whiskey [...]

  • Brody Stevens Dead

    Comedian Brody Stevens Dies at 48

    Prominent Los Angeles comedian Brody Stevens died Friday in Los Angeles, Variety has confirmed. He was 48. “Brody was an inspiring voice who was a friend to many in the comedy community,” Stevens’ reps said in a statement. “He pushed creative boundaries and his passion for his work and his love of baseball were contagious. [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Malik Yoba to Reprise Role in 'New York Undercover' Reboot at ABC

    Malik Yoba, who starred as Detective J.C. Williams in the 90s show “New York Undercover,” is set to reprise the role in the ABC reboot, sources tell Variety. Picking up 20 years after the end of the original series, “New York Undercover” will follow detectives Nat Gilmore and Melissa Ortiz as they investigate the city’s [...]

  • Chris Burrous dead KTLA anchor

    KTLA Anchor Chris Burrous' Cause of Death Released

    An investigative report on KTLA anchor Chris Burrous has determined that his cause of death was attributed to methamphetamine toxicity, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office. Burrous, 43, was found unconscious at a motel in Glendale, Calif on December 27, and later died at the hospital. The death has been ruled as accidental. [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Crazy Rich Asians,' 'Late Show With Stephen Colbert' Win Publicity Campaign Awards

    Hollywood publicists have selected “Crazy Rich Asians” as the top movie publicity campaign for 2018 and “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” as the best television campaign. Warner Bros.’ “Crazy Rich Asians” topped the campaigns for Disney’s “Black Panther,” Fox’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Paramount’s “A Quiet Place,” Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” and Universal’s “Halloween” for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content