Dr. Ken, Season 1, Episode 17: “Ken at the Concert”
Original airdate March 4, 2016.
Symptoms: Ken senses that Molly is pulling away from him, so in a bonding effort, he escorts her and her friends to an Emblem3 concert, where Molly tells him to wait in the car until the show’s over. On his way out, he meets some moms who introduce him to the mothers’ lounge, where he and his new friends trade stories about how their teenaged daughters are going through this parents-aren’t-cool phase. Dave has an accident at a birthday party, so Allison takes him to Welltopia for a tetanus booster. Dave, afraid of shots, locks himself in the exam room and refuses to come out. Damona decides to end her physical relationship with Pat.
Diagnosis: The Molly and Ken situation is a real issue that parents have to deal with, and I appreciate the attempt. The bizarre, unbelievable way it plays out, however, seems more than just slightly lazy, and Ken’s shenanigans at the concert are impossible to accept even from Ken. Yet the forced emotional payoff at the end actually somehow works, so maybe I don’t know anything. The real highlight is the interaction between Pat and Dave in Pat’s office. Just as the show appears to be taking away the relationship with Damona that makes him somewhat likeable, Pat finds the second-most unlikely character to connect with, and darn it if that doesn’t also work, against reasonable expectation. I’m tempted to say everyone got lucky with all three storylines, but it’s probably fairer to say that the cast, director, and writers cashed in on some good character development in recent episodes so that even a weak story has an effective payoff.
Prognosis: I honestly don’t know what to think. The show has built up a fair amount of goodwill for its characters, and characters are the most important thing in serial television. Is it possible that my fondness for Ken’s family and colleagues is strong enough that it doesn’t matter what the stories are anymore?
Rx: I still feel strongly that we need a really good Allison-centric story.
In this week’s Post Show and Tell, Joz Wang and her guest co-host chat about “Ken at the Concert,” leaving home to go to college, and first concert experiences. Mine was Rush in 1985 on the Grace Under Pressure tour in Honolulu, something I’m still rather proud of (and still one of my favorite shows ever). I was in tenth grade.