Sparks Magazine Online

Dr. Ken – “Kevin O’Connell” Shows The “American” In Asian-American Families

It’s easy to see why “Dr. Ken” got a full season order. The ABC program continues to soar above other sitcoms, which tend to feel stale quick. In a change of pace from last week, instead of revealing how great Ken is and how he can change over the course of an episode, this episode presents someone else that compares and challenges him. As a sitcom that only airs for 30 minutes, there are only so many things that it can touch on in an episode, but I look forward to seeing more relationship development.

This episode continues show the more “American” aspect of Asian-American relationships, revealing how Asian American families can be just like everyone else, with the same relationship troubles and jealousy of other marriages. Allison and Ken are equal partners, who listen to each other and value each other’s’ opinions which is a positive model for other shows out there.

The relationship dynamic between Ken and Allison gets more interesting, when an ex from Allison’s past is the featured guest at the Welltopia Banquet.

It’s nice to see that in this episode, Ken hasn’t returned to his out of touch ways. Making use of his stand up skills, Ken is performing at the banquet. His specialty is making fun of people (according to Demona), while Ken calls it satire.

Yet again, we see how out of touch Pat is – he slows down the internet in order to pay for the banquet but doesn’t recognize how the internet is vital for charting. This brings back the dynamic from last episode, where Pat was making the “lowers” lives more difficult and Ken tries to lend a hand from his limited position of power.

While the episode’s featured love triangle has the audience’s attention, Molly comes home and tells her parents that her new homework assignment is about what she wants her career to be – but she still has no idea. Keep in mind she’s only 16. Her parents remind Molly that everyone has to do things that they don’t want to do. Ken continues to make snarky comments and Allison says that this is why he’s the funniest primary care doctor in the valley, which Ken characteristically over inflates to being the funniest person in the world. Without realizing how ridiculous he will later sound, Ken starts to joke about Allison’s ex, and how Irish he is. Allison remains silent, in a segment that is even funnier upon second watch.

When Ken goes to work the next day, he starts working on his routine for the banquet and Kevin O’Connell walks in. Kevin then proceeds to upstage Ken by correcting his dosage of medication, exposing the fact that Ken doesn’t read journal articles. Seeing Ken have real competition is interesting, because usually it’s about Ken discovering his own flaws, with no one to compare to.

Ken invites Kevin over, resulting in a humorous exchange where both Dave and Molly realize the stark differences between Kevin and their dad – Molly high fives Allison, and Dave asks if Kevin could have been their dad. Ken and Allison then go to the kitchen to argue, where Ken claims that Allison has been dishonest about how attractive her ex was.

Ken calls Kevin the hottest Korean guy in the world and “Korean Channing Tatum.” Allison of course assumed that Ken had lied about his ex’s too – and in fact he completely made them up. She then mocks Ken’s “delicate features” by telling him to put on his big boy pants – hitting him where it hurts. This dynamic is interesting because the view gets to see the person that Allison could have ended up with.

The parents return to the living room to find that Kevin has inspired Molly to want to become a doctor – despite not having any idea what she wanted before, instead wanting to enjoy the journey that life would take her on.

Ken and Allison continue their civil arguing until the next day, when they go to the banquet – and Ken decides to get back at Kevin’s perfectness by mocking him. This is alternated with shots of Kevin explaining how he helps kids after natural disasters and how he shattered his shoulders saving two children. This highlights how terribly Ken’s routine can backfire. When Ken finally goes out on stage, it’s only his wife who laughs at his jokes about Kevin – and she later admits that Kevin was too perfect for her.

*Feature photo courtesy of Dr. Ken’s official Facebook.