Good Morning
Good Morning

'Dr. Ken' review: A case of malpractice

Comic Ken Jeong, who is a physician, plays

Comic Ken Jeong, who is a physician, plays one on television in ABC's new sitcom "Dr. Ken," premiering Friday. Credit: TNS / ABC


WHEN | WHERE Premieres Friday night at 8:30 on ABC/7

WHAT IT'S ABOUT He's that guy from that thing, as Ken Jeong once described himself in a "funny" beer commercial, spoofing his semi-ubiquity in supporting roles in all those things -- "Community," "Glee," "Hot in Cleveland," the movie "The Hangover," standups on talk shows, cartoon voice-overs, Kelly Clarkson's Christmas special.

Now he's got a series in his own name and his own semi-story. He doesn't just play a doctor on TV. Jeong actually is, or was, one, doing a medical residency before hitting the standup scene. Now he does doctoring in this "family" sitcom, which otherwise involves whining about his whiny patients and his whiny wife (Suzy Nakamura), hot teen daughter and nerd son.

MY SAY Note those words in air quotes. "Funny." "Family." Because neither is accurate. "Dr. Ken" may not last long, but the pilot could live on -- in TV writing classes to demonstrate What Not to Do in a sitcom.

Note the parade of cliche characterizations (the way-too-understanding wife who gazes upon her dim guy with affectionate he's-a-dope-but-he's-my-dope amusement). Also the schlock writing ("I said that out loud?" -- so 2000s). Plus absurd situations (don't everyone's kids visit arrested Dad through the bars of his jail cell?). And a "likable" lead character who's variously improbably clueless or, as one patient notes, "a mean jerk."

As for "family," let's all get grins from doc mocking a patient's inflamed, uh, behind. ("Dr. Ken" talks cruder than we will.) A future episode uses streetwalker vs. escort as a metaphor for graduating into registered nurse status. It doesn't help that Jeong's approach to live-audience acting careens between spitting his lines and cowering in the corner.

The plots aren't much, either. Daughter gets driver's license and goes to "a rave." Son starts doing mime; dad mocks mercilessly. Boss is a money-grubbing racist. (Poor Dave Foley. How the funny have fallen.)


More Entertainment