Dr. Ken, Season 1, Episode 14: “Dave’s Valentine”
Original airdate February 5, 2016.
Symptoms: It’s time for the Sweethearts Dance at Dave’s school, and when Dave says he’s too shy to ask his crush to attend with him, Ken gives him advice on how to get the girl. This is before he realizes the object of Dave’s affection is the daughter of an ambulance-chasing lawyer Ken can’t stand. At Welltopia, Pat’s relationship with Damona continues with much of the accompanying awkwardness. They agree that attending Julie’s Presidents Day party (newly designated because Julie’s beau Topher can’t make it) is more appropriate for the state of their relationship than her originally planned Valentine’s Day party.
Diagnosis: I cannot believe how easily the Pat character is being fixed. Without toning down his goofiness, Dr. Ken‘s writers have made him more human simply by involving him with Damona, and allowing her to admit some discomfort without cheapening the relationship’s sincerity. There are jokes, but they are not the cutting jokes about Pat in the bedroom one might expect. Almost everything Pat says is still crazy and irritating, but because he has this connection with Damona, he’s suddenly more believable, as he was in those fleeting moments in the “Ken Helps Pat” episode. He’s too wacky for my tastes, but no longer does he stick out as a cartoon, and this elevates the show to a new level of believability I never would have predicted. I really like the way the Welltopia characters are centralized either in the office or at Julie’s apartment, while having their own stuff going on away from both.
Prognosis: This is another Molly and Dave episode that strengthens the show, and the continued development of the Welltopia crew makes this two good episodes in a row.
Rx: It’s weak to say “more of the same,” but Dr. Ken has some catching up to do. Part of me wants to see Molly and Dave in their worlds away from their family, or Allison with friends, all stuff that can make everyone more believable. On the other hand, there’s more unexplored territory here: we’ve only recently begun to hear about Clark’s life away from the office, for example, and I don’t know if I want the Damona and Pat relationship to be a long-term thing, but it demonstrates how much room there is for connectedness among the characters, and how great that can be for the overall vibe of the program. Clark’s excitement for his cowboy party, combined with his devotion to Damona in her time of need (as silly as that need is) works so, so, so much better than the weird reverence he has for Ken, which we were just supposed to accept in early episodes with no context or background. So, more of the same, please.
I am assured by Joz Wang that neither she nor her guest co-host was drunk during the taping of this week’s Post Show and Tell. It’s funny, whatever their BAC, so check it out.