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Kollab Watches: Dr. Ken 1.03 – “Ken helps Pat”

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Maybe it’s the rep sweats talking, but I definitely wouldn’t be following a show like Dr. Ken if it wasn’t starring an Asian American family. I’ve mentioned on the KollabCast, the official podcast of Kollaboration that I also host (shameless plug), that in the “Must See TV” days, I was always more of a fan of Scrubs over Friends, and come to think of it, I haven’t really actively watched a multi-camera sitcom in a very long time. All that is to say while Dr. Ken isn’t my “style” of show, I have been enjoying following it, if only for the potential of what this show can become. But more on that after the summary!

The main story line of this episode was all about Dr. Ken’s relationship with his team. When confronted with the fact that he’s become out-of-touch  since ascending to senior staff, Ken attempts to negotiate on their behalf to get them out of the mandatory Saturday shifts mandated by his boss Pat. Half listening, Pat invites Ken over to his Yacht for dinner to discuss further, while really having his own selfish intentions for the meeting. Ken being unable to ‘read the room’ is not new territory, after his misunderstanding with Nurse Clark last episode, but it was interesting to see him pitted one-on-one with Pat for the first time and for him to learn how out-of-touch a “rich guy on a yacht” can really get.

Ken’s interactions at work are still some of the most awkward scenes in the show. You can feel that his co-workers are supposed to be friends, but everyone’s too busy throwing zingers that it’s hard to see it. While there’s been some character development over the last few episodes, the crew right now is still just a collection of sitcom archetypes (the sassy lady, the teacher’s pet, the one-sided bff) constantly throwing shade at each other and at Ken. Ken’s scene with Pat on the yacht is significant, because it seemed to slow the pacing down to expose some genuine character moments. Most of it is from Ken, who we see as a conscientious doctor. Pat on the other hand is still very much a cartoon character.

While Ken is out fighting on behalf of his crew at work, the Parks at home are faced with another challenge, Dave’s new unfortunate nickname from school, “Clompers.” It was fun to see the roles of the parents reversed from the pilot, with Ken being the passive dad and Allison becoming the overprotective mom (with an obvious chip on her shoulder). It was Molly, however, that stole the show as being the only member of the family with a plan (and kudos on her for understanding her particular set of skills also had a worth). I was kind of bummed that we never got to see her “Olivia Pope” her brother’s problems away, but I hope they continue this story line of Molly being the only rational member of the family.

All in all, it was a solid episode of Dr. Ken, which seems to be slowly catching it’s stride. Luckily, with its solid ratings performance, it might actually get the chance to find its footing despite the critical reviews, and I absolutely hope it does. Like I mentioned in the intro, I was a huge fan of Scrubs, and shows about doctors are rife with opportunities for emotional story arcs. Being a doctor is hard, and though we’re catching Dr. Ken after his rigorous life as an intern and resident, there’s probably going to be future episodes where Ken brings the stresses of having to make tough diagnoses home. I believe that’s when we’ll see what this show is really capable of.

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Feature Image Credit: Ron Tom/ABC

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Written on October 19, 2015 by · ·
Marvin Yueh is the managing editor of the Kollaboration Blog and the host of the KollabCast.
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