Monday, October 5, 2015

Pilot Review: Dr. Ken

Dr. Ken (ABC)
Premiered October 2 at 8:30pm

My hopes weren’t high for this show after seeing the initial trailer and then watching a recap of the same cringe-worthy jokes during a Ken Jeong-hosted ABC primetime preview I caught on ABC a few weeks ago. Jeong is the perfect example of an actor who shot to fame with a scene-stealing role in a movie that has probably earned him every part he has gotten since. Emerging naked from the trunk in “The Hangover” was undoubtedly the reason he got cast in “Community,” and now it’s why this comedian who does well in small, loud doses has been given a show of his own. The best way to describe this sitcom is that it fires off punchlines as frequently as possible, usually without waiting for the entire joke to be told. The concepts presented are immensely familiar – a doctor with no bedside manner, a daughter eager to grow up and be responsible even if her parents don’t trust her, and a son who just wants to be weird while he thinks he’s actually being normal. Dave Foley’s Pat is there to spew as many stereotypes and generalizations as possible, armed with an arsenal of extra vacation days to offer those around him so that he won’t get sued. I was happy to recognize Jonathan Slavin, one of my favorite parts of the much-missed “Better Off Ted,” as Hector, but I do wish he had a much better part (and show). Another familiar face is Albert Tsai, who was the standout player on “Trophy Wife,” who plays Ken’s free-spirited son Dave. Joeng comes on very strong, and I can tell he’s excited about having his own show, but I think even he wishes it was a lot funnier than this.

How will it work as a series? Downloading an app to track his daughter’s whereabouts in episode one showed Ken’s style, and I think he’ll make plenty of similar foibles in the weeks to come should the show last that long. His wife should keep him grounded, and hopefully the show will find a less tread path down which to take all of its characters.
How long will it last? Despite abysmal reviews, it seems that this show may actually be a good fit for ABC’s Friday night comedy lineup. I definitely think a season two renewal would be premature at this point, but the ratings were good enough that this show seems much more stable than a lot of other new offerings.

Pilot grade: F

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