Ken Jeong is back on television. You may know Ken Jeong as the naked Asian guy from the Hangover but more so in his breakout role as Senor Ben Chang in Dan Harmon’s Community. In Community Ken Jeong played the wonderfully acerbic Spanish teacher with a harsh and in-your-face attitude towards his students. Ken Jeong’s new show is loosely based on his real life in that Dr. Ken Jeong was in fact a doctor before becoming a full time comedic actor. Unlike his real-life Dr. Ken the character has an incredibly poor bed-side manner towards his patients. On top of that Dr. Ken also has a bizarre attitude towards his children, wife and co-workers which make him very unlikeable and hard to watch.
Rounding out the cast are veterans like Tisha Campbell-Martin (Gina from Martin) as Damona, Jonathan Slavin (Phil Myman from Better of Ted) as Clark, and the incredibly talented Dave Foley (Dave Nelson from Newsradio, Kids In The Hall) as Pat. Also part of the show are Kate Simses as Dr. Julie their clinic resident, Suzy Nakamura as Ken’s wife Alison Park, and Krista Marie Yu and Albert Tsai as Ken’s children Molly and Dave.
(Above clip is from Knocked Up)
Central to the show is Dr. Ken’s over-acting and somewhat narcissistic approach to dealing with everyone around him which makes it very difficult to watch. The pilot episode took a strong departure from the script removing some really X-rated jokes, only to replace them with more “suitable” (?) R-rated jokes. More surprising was Dave Foley’s character making openly racist “remarks” to Dr. Ken which wasn’t originally in the script.
Reviews of the show from USA Today to Hollywood Reporter have not been great and as the season progresses the writers are attempting to make Dr. Ken more likable and even retooled Foley’s character away from the overt racist sense of humor.
In this episode we try really hard to find some moments in the show that worked and that were funny, and we manage to find a few. Dr. Ken has the potential to make for a great show but the prognosis based on the pilot is a sitcom barely breathing and hardly worth saving.