×
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

  • LA's Finest - Season 1 -

    'L.A.'s Finest' Showrunners Hospitalized After On-Set Accident

    Co-showrunners and EPs Brandon Margolis and Brandon Sonnier have been taken to hospital after an accident on the set of “L.A.’s Finest,” Variety has confirmed with sources. The accident occurred Thursday afternoon at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro where the show was shooting. Friday’s production of the show has been cancelled, Variety has [...]

  • THE ENEMY WITHIN -- "Pilot" Episode

    Jennifer Carpenter on Treating 'The Enemy Within' Character as 'Life After Death'

    After spending eight seasons on a premium cable drama (Showtime’s “Dexter”) and one on a broadcast procedural (CBS’ “Limitless”), Jennifer Carpenter is placing her bets back on broadcast. She stars as former CIA agent Erica Shepherd, who gave up classified information to some very bad people in order to keep her daughter safe, in the [...]

  • Firefly Lane Kristin Hannah

    Netflix to Adapt Author Kristin Hannah's 'Firefly Lane' Into Series

    Netflix has put out a straight-to-series order for 10 episodes of “Firefly Lane,” Variety has learned. Based on the novel of the same name by New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah, the show will revolve around Kate and Tully, two women who meet as young girls and become inseparable best friends through 30 years [...]

  • Amy Smart Avengers of Justice Farce

    Amy Smart Among Four to Join DC Universe Series 'Stargirl'

    The upcoming DC Universe series “Stargirl” has rounded out its main cast. Amy Smart, Neil Jackson, Hunter Sansone and Trae Romano have all joined the show in series regular roles, Variety has learned. Smart will play Barbara Whitmore, the mother of Courtney Whitmore, a.k.a Stargirl. Now that her teenage daughter Courtney (Brec Bassinger) is older, Barbara [...]

  • "Rockets, Communists, and the Dewey Decimal

    'Young Sheldon' Renewed for Seasons 3 and 4 at CBS

    “Young Sheldon” has scored an early renewal for a third and fourth season at CBS, the broadcaster announced Friday. The single-camera comedy series serves as a prequel to the hit multi-cam sitcom “The Big Bang Theory.” It follows 10-year old Sheldon Cooper (Iain Armitage) as he struggles to fit in with his family and classmates [...]

  • Ryan Murphy Walk of Fame

    Ryan Murphy Sets 'Hollywood' as Next Netflix Series

    Ryan Murphy has announced that his third Netflix series will be titled “Hollywood.” Murphy described the show as “A love letter to the Golden Age of Tinseltown” in a post on Instagram. The project has received a straight-to-series order at the streamer. Murphy co-created the series with Ian Brennan. The exact nature of the plot [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content