By Tamera “EON” Pillay, Staff Writer
If you live in America, odds are Ken Jeong, a Korean-American comedian and actual doctor, has been circling your life for the almost eight years now. From a coked out companion in the “Hangover” movie series to a deranged teacher, security officer and student in the television show “Community,” Jeong has always played an eccentric supporting character. Now, he has finally gotten his shot at being the main attraction while also starring in and writing for a more tamed role in ABC’s “Dr. Ken.”
Many moments made my heart smile or were just a nice wink to his Korean upbringing. He brought in his own noticeable Korean qualities and references that made the show unique.
This show is definitely one that could be great. It is great to see an Asian family in America experiencing all of the same factors and day-to-day topics that all average Americans undergo: firstborn child gets their license, youngest has the absolute worst talent at a school talent show, coworkers casually and brutally make fun of each other and etc.. The pilot episode, which aired Oct. 2, showcases the family in a very quirky and loving way. Sometimes, the acting seems a little forced, but I think the show is steadily becoming what Ken Jeong seems to have envisioned.
The first two episodes were really enjoyable, with relevant jokes, top quality references and bizarre idiosyncrasies. When Ken’s daughter, Molly played by Krista Marie Yu, said, “Dad please, no one waves anymore,” his new reality became clear. He was fun, zany and shaped by his children. He gave a really good depiction of being a manic parent when he said he needed both cars so his daughter could use them.
“No, I need that one, too. I’m having a parade,” Jeong said to Molly,
The other hilarious joke was played out when Ken said, “Everyone knows Korean Mt. Rushmore is the guy who does Gangnam style and the Korean couple from Lost.”
The Gangnam style reference was pretty generic, but the idea of Sun and Jin being pop culture icons for Koreans is very funny and if true, a very nice doorway into how frames of culture can create multiple paths of magnitude for different cultures. I don’t want him to play on too many stereotypes, like his Korean parents being really cold people (i.e. “Grandma’s dead. Here’s candy.”). But that scene may just portray how his own parents are or the kind of characters that he wanted to create, but people need to know any race’s elders can be really cold.
Comedic timing is challenging today because everyone wants new stuff. Even if it is done well, it’s not original. Watching “Dr. Ken,” you know it is not exactly something new. The show gives the same feel as most multi-camera family sitcoms, such as “George Lopez,” “Grounded for Life,” “Two and a Half Men,” and even “The Cosby Show.” This replication isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
The next episode of “Dr. Ken” will air Friday, Oct. 30 at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time or 7:30 p.m. Central on ABC.
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