A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dr. Ken is a sitcom that showcases the comedy stylings of star Ken Jeong, who once was a doctor but now plays one on TV. The content is mostly fine for tweens, with references to sex (a couple speaks of being horny, and there are references to threesomes) and occasional cursing ("hell," "ass," and "suck"). The show centers on an Asian-American professional whose family is a major factor in his success, but it does perpetuate some stereotypes in the process. If loud, obnoxious humor isn't your style, then this show likely won't win your favor, since it clearly pins its hopes on Jeong's ability to sell his grating character on repeat viewers.
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What's the story?
DR. KEN stars Ken Jeong as the titular character, a long-suffering HMO doctor who's only moderately successful at balancing his work life and his family life. At the office, he's Dr. Ken, notoriously insensitive with patients and staff alike, which causes all sorts of trouble for him with his coworkers and his boss, Pat (Dave Foley). Around home, he's beholden to his therapist wife, Allison (Suzy Nakamura), and mutually responsible for their children, Molly (Krista Marie Yu) and Dave (Albert Tsai).
Is it any good?
There's no gray area in this sitcom's polarizing appeal or lack of appeal, and its success is heavily dependent on viewers' palate for Jeong's cantankerous comedy style. If you like it, then you'll thoroughly enjoy a show that devotes itself to setting up scenarios that showcase Jeong's snarky vibes. If not, you won't make it past his first verbal rebuke of a patient.
Jeong's character is slightly more tolerable in scenes that show him at home, and it's nice to see a series featuring an Asian-American family. As grating as Ken can be, Allison is his patient, forgiving antithesis, and their odd pairing leads to some funny marital woes. It's also intriguing to note that the show is partially autobiographical; Jeong was a practicing physician until he left medicine to pursue acting, which accounts for how well he owns the doctor role even as he pokes fun at the occupation's frustrations.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Jeong's success in this and other roles. Does he show depth as an actor, or is he more of a one-trick pony in his style? Do you think his leaving the medical profession for acting was a good move on his part?
Which stereotypes did you notice in this show? Are they offensive to you, or might they be to other people? Are our sensitivities to stereotypes unrealistically high? Is it ever OK to use them in comedy?
Does this show have an agenda to promote with regard to the health care industry? Is there any grain of truth to the interactions between patients and Dr. Ken?
Themes & Topics
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For kids who love family sitcoms
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