Thursday, October 01, 2015

ABC Fall Pilot Review: Dr. Ken - Premieres Friday, Oct. 2; getTV Gets More Classic TV


Dr. Ken

Dr. Ken - Fridays at 8:30PM ET/PT on ABC
Premieres Friday, October 2, 2015 at 8:30PM ET/PT


by Pavan

As general practitioners go, Dr. Ken Park (Ken Jeong) is a good one...but with a lousy bedside manner. He wants the best for his patients -- he'd just prefer that they take their whining and complaining elsewhere. At the HMO clinic where he works, he is a little too honest, but he can't seem to help himself. At home, Ken is the easily irritated father of two, facing the daily trials of fatherhood neither comfortably nor gracefully. His wife Allison (Suzy Nakamura), a psychotherapist, does her best to keep her husband's anxiety, hypersensitivity and control issues in check. While she supports their highly intellectual nine-year-old son Dave's (Albert Tsai) quest for artistic freedom, Ken envisions the kid becoming the school laughing stock. When Allison encourages trust of their 16-year-old daughter Molly (Krista Marie Yu), Ken instead decides to install a tracking device on her phone.

The self-described "five foot five inches of fury" never seems to get a break, whether at home or at the clinic, where his loyal but oh-so-irritating support staff includes a sharp tongued receptionist (Tisha Campbell-Martin) and Clark (Jonathan Slavin), Dr. Ken's faithful nurse, confidante and partner-in-crime, and of course his nemesis, hospital administrator Pat Hein (Dave Foley), who never misses a chance to put the screws to Dr. Ken and his staff. Dr. Ken Park has a pretty sweet life. A smart and beautiful wife who still wants to have sex with him every now and then, two decent kids and a job in which he gets to help people on a daily basis. If he could only relax, get out of his own way and stop second-guessing everyone and everything around him, Dr. Ken would be just fine. But that’s not likely to happen anytime soon!

Cast Details:

Ken Jeong as Dr. Ken
Suzy Nakamura as Alison
Tisha Campbell-Martin as Damona
Jonathan Slavin as Clark
Kate Simses as Julie
Albert Tsai as Dave
Krista Marie Yu as Molly
Dave Foley as Pat

Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken), known for his scene stealing abilities, has established himself as one of today's comedic stars. In May of 2009, Jeong appeared as the Asian-mobster Mr. Chow in the sleeper-hit comedy The Hangover, also starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis. The film was the highest-grossing R-rated comedy to date, with over $467 million worldwide. Jeong reprised his role of Mr. Chow in the summer blockbuster, The Hangover 2. Following up on the success of The Hangover, the much anticipated sequel surpassed expectations in every way, already grossing almost $600 million dollars and beating The Hangover, while setting box office records for R-rated films. He was then seen in the 3rd installment of The Hangover 3, which showcased his meatiest performance to date. Jeong was also a regular on the critically acclaimed television show Community. Since his feature film debut playing the doctor in Knocked Up in 2007, Jeong has gone on to a number of memorable roles in a series of successful comedies. Directed, written and produced by Judd Apatow, Jeong's first film grossed $219 million at the worldwide box office. The year 2008 saw Jeong with his first major role as the villain in Role Models. Taking on the role of King Argotron, Jeong acted opposite Paul Rudd, Seann William Scott and Christopher Mintz-Plasse. The film went on to gross over $90 million worldwide. The same year saw Jeong with parts in two other major comedies, Pineapple Express and Step Brothers.

Suzy Nakamura (Alison) began her career in the touring company of The Second City and later opened the first two shows at The Second City Detroit. After moving to Los Angeles, she began guest starring on television, eventually landing recurring roles on The West Wing and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Nakamura has appeared in over 100 television episodes. She has been a series regular on shows such as Go On, opposite Matthew Perry, and Help Me Help You with Ted Danson, and recurred on numerous episodic series, including The Goldbergs, Modern Family, 8 Simple Rules and Men of a Certain Age. Suzy has guest starred on Veep, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, How I Met Your Mother, Castle, Grey's Anatomy, and Bones, among others.

Tisha Campbell-Martin (Damona) is the epitome of multi-faceted. There's barely an artistic medium that she hasn’t conquered. Best known as an actress, she more recently displayed a more dramatic edge on Lifetime's The Protector. Previously, she garnered an NAACP Image Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series for her role opposite Damon Wayans on ABC's My Wife and Kids, which remains one of the top 10 syndicated shows worldwide. She also directed an episode. Between that and her roles on Rita Rocks and Martin, she's been nominated an additional seven times. Other forays into television include Real Husbands of Hollywood, Everybody Hates Chris, All of Us, A Different World and Fresh Prince of Bel Air, which led to her friendship with Will Smith for whom she's appeared in two music videos.

Jonathan Slavin (Clark) is your "insert occupation here" guy television guest star (Flower Delivery Guy, Fish and Chips Guy, Computer Tech Guy), but Slavin graduated to more memorable roles. He has appeared as a series regular on Better Off Ted, Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Union Square, and voiced Ogo, a neurotic and slightly deranged robot on the cartoon Robot and Monster. He has recurred on Better With You, Family Tools, and My Name is Earl, to name a few. Recent and notable guest stars include Legit, Suburgatory, Castle, Grey's Anatomy, Weeds, The Glades and Perception. His feature film credits include Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day, Dirty Girl, Hard Pill and My Mother's Hairdo.

Kate Simses (Julie) is an actress from New York City who last year was a series regular on Mixology. She has appeared in guest spots on such shows as Comedy Central's Important Things with Demetri Martin, also on 30 Rock, Law and Order: SVU, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

Albert Tsai (Dave) discovered his passion for acting at seven years old, when he participated in his school play. He started his acting career after his TV debut on CBS' smash hit series How I Met Your Mother in 2013. At age 9, Albert landed his breakout role of Bert in ABC's comedy series, Trophy Wife. His portrayal of Bert earned him a 2014 Critics Choice Television Awards nomination for "Best Supporting Actor." He has also appeared on Hot In Cleveland, Benched, and Fresh Off The Boat.

Krista Marie Yu (Molly) had recurring roles on Nickelodeon's comedy series The Thundermans, as well as ABC's Cougar Town, plus she gave some great performances on Marvel's Agent Carter, The Middle, Amazon's Hand of God, ABC Family's Switched at Birth, and Parenthood.

Dave Foley (Pat) is an actor, comedian, writer, director and producer — is best known for his roles on NewsRadio and The Kids in the Hall. Additional credits for television include It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, How I Met Your Mother, The Middle and Hot in Cleveland — plus his own stand-up comedy special Relatively Well aired in 2013. He was also the celebrity host of Celebrity Poker Showdown on Bravo.

Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (airs Friday, October 2 at 8:30PM ET/PT)

Ken is a cranky but lovable HMO doctor juggling medicine and parenting who realizes that even when he's right, his unorthodox approach is often wrong. Allison, his wife and a therapist, helps keep him in check while juggling responsibilities with their two kids — Dave, their youngest, is always making things interesting with his quirky attitude, plus their teenage daughter, Molly, keeping them on their toes. Meanwhile at the clinic, Dr. Ken's staff includes his loyal, but oh-so-irritating staff, including a sharp tongued receptionist; a faithful nurse who is a confidante and partner-in-crime; a sweet, na├»ve resident who's relentless optimism and quest for romance are a constant source of curiosity and irritation; and his nemesis, the hospital administrator, who never misses a chance to put the screws to Dr. Ken and his staff.

Analysis:

Ken Jeong is finally leading a TV series! The funnyman known for his big screen comedies and for his supporting role on Community, really deserves this new sitcom. Ken is in every scene in the pilot and interacts with each member of the talented cast. Ken's got hilarious one-liners, impersonations and facial expressions throughout the pilot. It's a typical sitcom with familiar family plot lines, but Ken is the key to the show. The pilot shows us how Ken interacts and balances his family life and work life. At work, the family issues (in the pilot it is about Ken's teenage daughter supposedly sneaking out to a party) are discussed among the co-workers. In a way Ken's co-workers seem like they a part of the family, too.

The supporting cast is brilliant on this show and has familiar faces from the world of sitcoms. Tisha Campbell-Martin, Jonathan Slavin, Suzy Nakamura, Albert Tsai and Dave Foley especially. Albert Tsai, who of course was brilliant and stole Trophy Wife, deserves to be on TV so much. He once again shines on this show and I can't wait to see him do more. His character may not have that much talent at the school talent show, but he is one talented actor. It's going to be really fun when Ken's family and work life mesh together, especially with this cast of funny people.

Conclusion:

Laughter is the best medicine and Ken Jeong delivers that here. If you're a fan of Mr. Chow or any of his iconic characters from the big screen, then you'll have to tune in for the premiere. There is certainly a lot more diversity on television this season, but when you watch the pilot you will just think of this family as a typical American family. This is the first new sitcom that is multi-camera so far, so there isn't anything to compare it to yet, but in a few weeks it will be facing a new multi-camera sitcom on NBC. This pilot is nothing new or groundbreaking at all and has a lot of the same sitcom plotlines of the past, but I don't know, I see a lot of potential and growth to come. The talented supporting cast has a lot to do with that, along with them meshing with Ken Jeong.

Dr. Ken will be following ABC multi-camera staple Last Man Standing, so it will be sampled. Tim Allen and Ken Jeong should be a nice pair. Reba and Cristela Alonzo couldn't get it done after Tim Allen, so perhaps Ken Jeong could fix the 8:30pm timeslot. Our prescription for this show is: sample and give it a few episodes to find its footing. It's certainly not perfect and may feel bland, but it has that familiarity flare to it and that certainly has worked for its lead-in Last Man Standing. Plus we need to have Albert Tsai on TV every single season for the rest of his life.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 3.5/5
Funniness: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Friday, October 2, 2015 at 8:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • ABC Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Dr. Ken Photo Gallery

    Preview:






  • Merv Griffin

    Expanding on its commitment to add classic TV to its vintage movie lineup, Sony Pictures Television Networks' getTV has announced a weekly night of variety and talk programming from TV's Golden Age, to air weekly on Mondays beginning October 12. The lineup will be headlined by The Judy Garland Show at 8PM (ET) and The Merv Griffin Show at 10PM (ET), with a rotating slate of musical variety specials and series episodes airing between the shows at 9PM (ET). Each week's programming will be repeated that same night, from 11PM to 2AM (ET). In 1963, The Judy Garland Show was a celebrated entry on CBS' fall schedule, bringing the renowned movie star and all-around entertainer to a weekly series format after several successful variety specials. The series has remained a legendary 'lost' series for showcasing the iconic Garland in fine musical form, in both solo performances and with guests including Barbra Streisand, Diahann Carroll, Mel Torme, Bobby Darin, Ethel Merman, June Allyson, Jack Jones, and daughters Liza Minnelli and Lorna Luft. One of the show's many highlights features Garland's show-stopping rendition of Battle Hymn of the Republic,' taped just days after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The performance was intended to help heal the country, and still resonates with critics today. Although pieces of the show have shown up in compilation specials, getTV will present all 26 episodes of the series on TV for the first time since they were originally broadcast. The initial slate of episodes features guests such as frequent Garland co-star Mickey Rooney (Oct. 12), Count Basie (Oct. 19), Lena Horne (Nov. 9), and Tony Bennett (Nov. 16).

    In the Spring of 1965, The Merv Griffin Show kicked off what would become a continuous 20-plus year run in syndication, and for a time, on CBS, helping to create the celebrity guest-based talk show genre that continues to be popular today. Early episodes feature a broad range of guests, from early comedic appearances by George Carlin, Woody Allen and Richard Pryor, to musical performances from Aretha Franklin, Sammy Davis Jr., and The Everly Brothers, and conversations with screen legends like John Wayne, Joan Crawford, and Jerry Lewis. Griffin's series also featured discussions with some of the most powerful and influential political leaders and activists of the time, including Senator Robert F. Kennedy, President Richard Nixon, and Martin Luther King Jr, talking about issues that still resonate today. getTV celebrates the 50th Anniversary of The Merv Griffin Show with a selection of 50 hand-picked episodes from the series' formative years, none of which have been seen on TV since their original broadcast. The network debut on October 12 will feature comedian Carl Reiner and a poignant discussion about civil unrest with Robert F. Kennedy, just eight months before his assassination. Other scheduled episodes include guests such as Sammy Davis Jr. and Totie Fields (Oct. 19) and blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield with her children, including her then-two-year-old daughter Mariska Hargitay (Oct. 26). The original episodes were 90-minutes in length, and will be trimmed down to one hour.

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