Dr. Ken

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Dr. Ken TV Poster Image
So-so sitcom styles itself after star's exaggerated comedy.

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show centers on an Asian-American family with two parents who are raising great kids and balancing professional careers. That said, it also pokes fun at the state of the health care industry (Dr. Ken's practice is a catch-all HMO that's the brunt of many jokes) and the quirky people who run it. Some stereotyping about Asian culture and homosexuals. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Ken tries to be everything for everyone in his life, but his personality makes it hard to do so. He's whiny, abrupt, and selfish, and when he learns a lesson and changes his behavior, it isn't for long. Those around him feel put-upon as a result, but it never seems to affect their relationships with him. 

Violence
Sex

Sex is a conversation point, not a physical feature of the show. There's talk of being horny, quips about prostitution, and mention of a "doubles threesome," for instance. It's hinted that a main character might be gay; two men kiss.

Language

"Ass," "hell," and "suck."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink wine with dinner and to relax.

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. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bypuper15 October 11, 2015

Same as all the other crap on tv.

I'm going to say one thing, Ken Jeong CAN be funny. I liked him in community, and I think he is funny. But he cannot carry a show on his own. The reason he... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byMaya16 November 7, 2015

Funny sitcom with a doctor as a main character

This tv show is the funniest new TV show that premiered in 2015. I knew never that a show with the main character as a doctor can be so funny.
Teen, 16 years old Written byEverybody'sLaughing February 1, 2017

Amazing

Dr. Ken is the greatest most amazing show there is. It is full of humor that is mostly child appropriate. I believe that age 13+ can watch it without a parent d... Continue reading

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?  

TV details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love family sitcoms

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