‘Dr. Ken’ Episode Review: “Dave Goes on Shark Tank”

Dr. Ken, Season 2, Episode 07: “Dave Goes on Shark Tank”
Original airdate November 11, 2016.

dr_ken_s02e07-10Lit review.
Dave is invited to appear on Shark Tank to pitch his new product, the Hot Legs Duvet.  Allison is thrilled for him, but Ken is wary once he gets a look at how harsh the TV Sharks can be.  Molly begins an internship at Welltopia, where Pat says he’d be happy to write her a letter of recommendation if she does well.  Things don’t work out quite as Molly expects when it becomes clear she and Pat have had a miscommunication.  One person at Welltopia is unhappy with Molly: Clark, who’s peeved that Molly didn’t “like” a photo he shared on Facebook.

It’s only a flesh wound.
What’s the deal with computers on TV having those obscenely loud keyboards?  We’re not idiots; we know what a keyboard sounds like.  There’s really no need to amp up the clickety-clacketing.  That’s a small complaint, but one that should be pointed out in case anyone who makes these decisions is actually reading this.  Then again, I live in a bubble and might not know what keyboards in California sound like, because all I know is what’s around me on my small rock in the Pacific.  Perhaps I shouldn’t weigh in on this one.

My bigger complaint is the whole crossover thing in primetime television, which I categorically dislike even though I admit it kind of works in this episode.

dr_ken_s02e07-5A family history.
The gags in this episode are so stupid they’re funny, a line Dr. Ken seems to strive for but has trouble crossing more than once or twice per week.  Ken’s silliness works a lot better in the context of his family life than in his professional life, possibly because of the family dynamics.  And Clark’s juvenile grudge with Molly is good for more laughs than you’d expect.  I was laughing aloud even as I muttered “So stupid!” to myself.

More encouraging than gags that inspire actual laughter are plots that allow Dave and Molly out of the living room and into the real world.  Dave interacts with TV celebrities with an aplomb that’s believable because of good character development over the past year, and it’s nice to see Molly as a motivated young woman rather than just a daughter or big sister.  Of course the grownups at Welltopia respond well to her: she’s smart, inquisitive, and confident.

dr_ken_s02e07-6What I love most about this week’s stories is that there’s every reason to believe these kids have been reared by these parents.  If nothing else, Ken and Allison have raised their kids to use their heads and to be resilient.  I’m not dumb enough to expect real-world parents to take lessons from television characters, but it can’t hurt that Allison and Ken model a kind of parenting that encourages their children to take chances, to pursue interests, to be comfortable with themselves, and to be prepared for failure while not fleeing from it.

I’ve said this in my reviews of Fresh Off the Boat when Ken Jeong has guest-starred: he’s a generous and strong supporting actor, leaving all kinds of room for his fellow actors.  They succeed largely because he succeeds.

Props to the writers for trusting the actors and their own writing.  They let their well-developed central characters take supporting parts while Dave and Molly get the rare all-to-themselves episode.

She’ll be turning cartwheels in no time.
Maybe I’m just in the need for a laugh wherever I can get one, or maybe the writers found something different to tap into this week.  Whatever it is, it works, and I like it.  4 x-rays out of 5.

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About Mitchell K. Dwyer

@scrivener likes movies.
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