Happiness is a Warm TV

FALL TV: Prepare to be dazzled by (the awfulness of) ‘Dr. Ken’

Ken Jeong (left) and Albert Tsai in “Dr. Ken.”
Ken Jeong (left) and Albert Tsai in “Dr. Ken.” ABC

New show: Dr. Ken

When: 8:30 p.m. Fridays on ABC

Cast: Ken Jeong, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Suzy Nakamura, Dave Foley, Jonathan Slavin, Albert Tsai

Premise: The pilot for this show is seriously, tragically bad. But bad in such a way that I also feel compelled to ask all of you to watch it. Not so much for the sake of shared misery, but because it’s so awful that it actually circles back around to compelling.

Ken Jeong (“The Hangover” “Community), who is a real medical doctor with degrees from Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill, co-created the series and stars as a doctor with anger issues. He’s married (Nakamura) with two kids (great to see Albert Tsai from “Trophy Wife,” but he’s wasted here) and has a set of grouchy parents. On the work front, he has a sassy office manager (Campbell-Martin), a nurse nursing a bit of a man-crush (Slavin) and a boss who hates him (Foley).

Jeong’s delivery in the pilot is so whiny and spastic that you assume his entire direction consisted of: “Act with your whole body. Okay good, but more.” At first repellant, his Ed Grimley-meets-Wendy Whiner act becomes something you can’t look away from. Subsequent episodes did tone down the writhing a bit, which is almost disappointing because it doesn’t make the show any better and the train wreck aspect disappeared with it.

By the way, critics likely only got multiple episodes to screen because some reacted so strongly to the pilot that Jeong asked the network to release more. Unfortunately, it didn’t help. All that said, I’m going to watch every single week.

  Comments