‘Dr. Ken’ Episode Review: “Ken’s Professor”

Dr. Ken, Season 2, Episode 19: “Ken’s Professor”
Original airdate March 10, 2017.

Operator, Well Could You Help Me Place This Call?

Ken’s attending physician from his residency, who was always really tough on Ken, comes in for an examination and picks up right where he left off all those years ago.  Damona and Pat address last episode’s impulsive kiss, and agree they should take things slowly–non-physically–and see if there’s potential for renewing their romantic relationship.  Allison has a new assistant who can’t stop talking.  Dave gets a D on a Moby-Dick paper and is forced by Allison to rewrite it even though Dave’s pretty sure the teacher has it in for him.

I Can’t Read the Number that You Just Gave Me

The main story is a good idea, and it could have worked really well.  A lot of us, no matter where we are in our careers, can be intimidated by a former mentor, and it can cause regression to our much younger, much greener personae.  Ken’s childlike anxieties and youthful exuberance set him up nicely for this, but the directing decision to have the mentor be this much of a hardass is misguided.  This doctor is exaggerated beyond believability.

Imagine how much funnier–and more challenging for the actors–this might have been if it were a combination of some amount of sternness by the patient and some amount of imagined persecution by Ken.  Especially since in real life, if the patient’s speech at the end of the episode is to be believed, the doctor-as-patient would most likely have had no reason to be abusive in this situation.  Throw in a little bit of unadmitted nervousness by the patient, and there could have been some nice emotional payoff at the end, with both men, professional equals, shaking hands at the end without the summative “and-here’s-what-we-all-learned-this-week” dialogue.

Smaller gripe: We never get resolution on the Dave story, which doesn’t really matter because it feels like a throw-in anyway.

She’s Living in L.A. with My Best Old Ex-Friend Ray

The Pat-Damona interactions are slightly dumb, but there’s good stuff beneath them, and it’s interesting that they’re only now having conversations about whether or not they have the stuff for a real relationship.  It always was a weird, passionate, sex-first attraction, so the tension works, and I like the where-is-this-going conversation in the supply closet.  And thank goodness Damona is probably dumping Eric, because I never liked that relationship.

It doesn’t please me to say the show is much better without D. K.  It’s true, though.  Even though it leaves Dave and Molly on the fringes of most episodes, the young actors handle it well and the show is a lot more enjoyable.  That’s two or three straight episodes without him and it’s a noticeable improvement.

Allison’s assistant is played by Sarah Baker, whom I adore.  She was in that great “So Did the Fat Lady” episode of Louie, and she played Gator Carol in that Fresh Off the Boat episode where the Huangs go to the franchisee convention in the Season 2 premiere.

A Guy She Said She Knew Well but Sometimes Hated

Funny.  Not funny.  Interesting.  Boring.  Cartoony.  Thoughtful.  You know where this is going.  2.5 trips to the supply closet out of 5.

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About Mitchell K. Dwyer

@scrivener likes movies.
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