Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Dr. Ken - Pilot - Advance Preview: "Diagnosis: Terminal"

SpoilerTV - TV Spoilers

Dr. Ken - Pilot - Advance Preview: "Diagnosis: Terminal"

Dr. Ken premieres on Friday October 2 at 8:30/7:30c on ABC
Pilot episode watched by reviewer
Starring: Ken Jeong, Suzy Nakamura, Dave Foley, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Albert Tsai and Krista Marie Yu

At its core, Dr. Ken has all the ingredients to succeed as a comedy: a workable premise that could make use of plenty of funny elements, a solid and great cast that could enhance the jokes there and an overall environment that sets the mood for an enjoyable comedy. However, the show’s jokes doesn’t take any advantage of any of them.

We are off to a bad start when we see the episode begins relying on fat jokes, one of the cheapest punchlines on television along the lines of gender, sex and gay jokes. Instead of graciously coming with something funny to joke about, the first remark at which the canned laughs jump on is out Dr. Ken saying “you are fat”. That wouldn’t be so bad if the rest of the episode did anything to redeem that cheap comedy.

Unfortunately, everything about Dr. Ken is a bunch of tone deaf jokes in every front. This is a comedy that tries to be warm when it stays with the family - falling flat on that front -, and that tries to be more edgy when it’s on the work place - instead, it comes off cheap.

Every character on the show is extremely bland, mostly stereotypical in one way or another: Dr. Ken is rough on his patients but gets a pass because he is too good at his job, and at the same time he is a very over protective family guy who wants nothing but to provide for his family; that’s mashing up House with millions of family sitcoms dads, and the result is nothing to write home about. The rest of the characters don’t add that much, all of them can easily be defined in a few words: the sassy nurse/assistant, the despicable boss, the warm nurturing wife, the quirky son and the wanna be rebel but is actually a good kid daughter. And that’s it, that’s your everyday character on this show.

Dr. Ken doesn’t benefit from splitting its setting on two different live areas; neither of them are very developed by what I saw from the pilot. The workplace setting is a bunch of cheap jokes that doesn’t bring anything that we haven’t seen before, going for laughs just of having Ken Jeong being mean to his patients. The family comedy setting is no better, with plots that have been done before better, lacking at the execution.

If there is any redeeming quality to the pilot is that you can definitely feel its potential: the relationship between Ken and his wife Allison (played by Suzy Nakamura) feels natural, and there is a lot that could be developed with their children in order to make real good sitcom material. The workplace stuff though needs major retooling in order to make it compelling, it can’t just be Ken being mean to patients and have Dave Foley tell him off; as amazing as Dave Foley is, that part of the show just can’t depend on a single actor warming up the setup, it has to have something going for it, at least coming up with more decent jokes or some funny running gags that could make it better.

Dr. Ken tries to be two comedies at once and it’s failing on both fronts. This is really sad considering that the cast is strong enough to deliver some incredible and very well crafted jokes, however the plots and the punchlines are just not there. The writers seem to be aiming to an audience that is going to laugh at cheap comedy, and as we’ve seen lately that it rarely works. They could afford to be riskier and make some more creative jokes and plotlines to work.

Dr. Ken feels like a comedy that would’ve been fresh and innovative by the beginning of the 2000s or the end of the 90s, but as 2015, it just uses the same old resources we know from head to toe. And even then, they could make it work by executing it well and triggering nostalgia from that era, but sadly by the pilot there is no account of that happening. A promising premise and a well rounded cast is buried under the weight of cheap jokes and meaningless plots.

Grade: C-

About the Author - Pablo
I'm currently studying Psychology while also writing fantasy books (one already published in my home country, Chile, you can check it out on the facebook icon). I watch many different types of shows, including my favorites Revenge, Game of Thrones, Once Upon a Time and about 23 more. Currently writing reviews for Once Upon a Time, The 100 and the upcoming Supergirl
Recent Reviews (All Reviews)

Sign Up for the SpoilerTV Newsletter where we talk all things TV!


SpoilerTV Available Ad-Free!

Support SpoilerTV is now available ad-free to for all subscribers. Thank you for considering becoming a SpoilerTV premmium member!
Latest News