Dr. Ken, Season 2, Episode 11: “A Park Family Christmas”
Original airdate December 17, 2016.
Against Ken’s advice, Suzy volunteers the Park home for the annual Welltopia holiday party. Molly learns that Pat’s bringing the high-school classmate who’s an admissions director at Stanford, so she stresses out about this party being up to Stanford snuff. Clark has a special gift lined up for his boyfriend Connor. D. K. and Dave volunteer to be Santa and an elf at the library Christmas event.
Can’t you see I’m burning, burning?
This episode is terrible. But I love Christmas. When I was a younger man, I loved Christmas TV episodes, and there’s a Christmas episode of M*A*S*H that’s one of my three favorite episodes of television of all time. There are times–including times of the year–when you turn a blind eye on someone’s faults and celebrate the good stuff, and Dr. Ken has always been a hundred percent well-intentioned and fair of heart. I want to hold it to the highest standards because its success should mean something, but heck. I was the recipient of more than a few charitable grades in my time, and my Asian-ness isn’t even special where I come from.
So thanks to Mrs. Feldman for the B that should have been a C in seventh grade and Mrs. Rediger for coming in on a Saturday so I could turn in my book report on Chaim Potok’s My Name is Asher Lev before your deadline to submit grades in ninth grade. I’d like you both to know that I’ve extended similar grace to my own students and privately invoked your names each time.
Oh doctor, doctor
There are a few moments that had me laughing aloud even on the third viewing, but there are really only two things that matter here, and the first might not even matter at all in light of the second. First, this is an episode about goodwill toward humans, and at this time of year (perhaps especially this year), I don’t care how many times I’ve seen it or heard it, and in this case I don’t even care that the message is vocalized by a young boy in a green elf costume channeling Linus Van Pelt, Kermit the Frog, and Mike Brady all at once.
Second, we have a marriage proposal by one gay man to another on a thirty-minute sitcom on Friday night. I don’t care that it’s done at a party in front of a bunch of people, or that it’s followed by a group rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” around the family piano. Again, there are times when all you need is to celebrate someone’s heart.
Is this love I’m feeeeeeeliiiiiiing?
No rating this week, because this episode’s intentions go beyond whether or not the show is creative, clever, unique, charming, funny, or whatever. メリークリスマス。