Dr. Ken, Season 2, Episode 9: “D. K.’s New Girlfriend”
Original airdate December 2, 2016.
The patient’s immediate condition.
Allison and Ken have problems with D. K.’s not respecting boundaries while living in their house. When Ken tries to talk about the issue with him, D. K. decides to move in with his girlfriend of three weeks, an arrangement Ken is not comfortable with. Allison, on a mother-daughter spa day with Molly, confesses that she’s having trouble with her adjustment to Welltopia, and although she likes Clark and Damona, she’s frustrated with their involvment in her personal life. Ken lets Dave attend a jazz festival with Pat. When a pretty woman strikes up a conversation, assuming Pat is Dave’s adopted father, Dave plays along so that Pat might get to know her better.
Some indicators questionable.
The execution is a little shenanigany for my tastes: an orange bra and men’s dress socks strewn across the living room couch, Clark and Damona stealing someone else’s couples massage, for example. But it’s a small quibble in an episode where the central characters for once act like normal people with normal issues.
Vitals are stable and within normal limits.
Well heck. That’s certainly not something I’ve seen before. I just Googled “later life crisis,” and it’s apparently a thing. While the setup is only marginally interesting, the concern Ken feels about his dad’s state of mind when D. K. moves out is convincing, and when he talks to him about it, D. K.’s existential response is also convincing, in a way that doesn’t come out of left field like some of this character’s serious moments in recent episodes. It’s well done, and the characters don’t force the poignancy, as is their wont.
Unforced is a nice way to describe the whole episode. There’s a nice theme through all three plots, where Molly, Dave, and Ken play grounded, self-aware, sensitive children advising their parents — in Dave’s case, advising his real dad and his fake dad. What I really love is that this all works because the characters have already been established this way, not as wise-beyond-their-years children, but as well-adjusted, independent thinkers who have been encouraged to become these people.
It all works together to allow Clark and Damona to go a little crazy, and their comic relief is genuinely funny, and well timed. When the show doesn’t depend on zaniness, the zaniness does its job.
Patient is conscious and comfortable.
A pleasant surprise. While the episode neither goes for nor achieves wow, it’s a solid, thoughtful, believable half hour. 4 ice chips out of 5.