Dr. Ken, Season 1, Episode 5: “Halloween-Aversary”
Original airdate October 30, 2015.
Symptoms: Ken and Allison tell their kids about the Halloween, twenty years ago, when Allison messed up Ken’s proposal. Realizing that this Halloween is a perfect chance for a do-over, Ken makes plans for an attempt to get it right. Julie accidentally dopes up Pat, and Molly gets into a little bit of trouble over a skeleton.
Diagnosis: A pretty fun episode, entertaining and silly in mostly good ways. The office stuff, while still a bit wacky and unbelievable, is at least bolstered by cute costumes, and Dr. Julie has some pretty endearing lines. I don’t know how, but Dave is beginning to win me over. I noticed a few episodes ago that while Ken and Allison laugh together very convincingly, their fighting lacks believability. It’s passionless, it doesn’t have the same familiarity as their laughing scenes, and the timing seems off. It’s true in this episode too, and while it doesn’t hurt the show much in this case, it’s evidence that even the strongest relationship in this series is still finding its space. I’m not giving letter grades on reviews of this series (only because I’m trying not to be lazy or fall into a reviewer’s rut), but if I were, this would get nice B-minus.
Prognosis: I wouldn’t have predicted this, but of the office staff, Julie is emerging as the gentle heart, the one who holds the subplots together and gets the best laughs. Kate Simses communicates a wide-eyed sincerity in the role, and if Julie is still more caricature than character, Simses at least has found a way to bring her along with some sense of realness. That’s quite an accomplishment considering some of the stupid things she’s made to say and do. And despite what surely sounds like my gushing over her, this is really about the show as a whole: we’re only five episodes in, and each episode finds a little bit of room to grow. I’m encouraged.
This is the first episode so far where I don’t think Ken and Allison’s relationship is developed further; in fact the entire family dynamic is about the same as it was last week, with the exception of Albert Tsai’s Dave finding a little bit of footing.
RX: My feelings about the office shananigans are unchanged, yet there is a glimmer of hope with Julie’s finding a groove. If we could just tone down the wackiness a little (please?) and boost the genuine humanness of the Welltopia crew, we could really be on to something lasting.