Doug Coutts’ TV Preview: Dr. Ken

DR. KEN | TV2, 7.30 Wednesday


By Doug Coutts

There have been many great sitcoms produced in America: Newhart, Barney Miller, Cheers, Seinfeld to name a few.  

Equally, there’s been a lot of dreck put out – Joanie Loves Chachi (a spinoff from Happy Days, itself appallingly weak and guffaw-free), most of those reversioned-for-the-US British sitcoms like The Ropers or Sandford and Son, anything with a butler or a nanny playing the lead role, a talking horse or car … and now Dr. Ken.

Dr. Ken is awful.  Ken Jeong not only plays Dr Ken Park, but he’s also one of the executive producers. He’s credited as a co-creator and had a hand in the first episode.

So it’s fair to say it’s his fault. It’s derivative, it’s not funny, even the laugh machine sounds embarrassed to be there. (No live audience was indelibly scarred in the making of this programme.)

It’s hard to think of a lead character so relentlessly horrible, and that includes anything on the History Channel. 

The supporting cast struggles with a script and staging reminiscent of the ’70s – like One Day at a Time when that was on its last legs. 

If you watch it and get past the first commercial break, you’re made of sterner stuff than me.

What other critics said:

“As a startlingly one-dimensional character in an even more startlingly flat situation comedy, Dr Ken manages to be super-irritating and not at all interesting.” — Los Angeles Times.

“The show is deadly, and Jeong, who did nice work in Community and those Hangover movies, is wooden and completely lacking in credibility … There isn’t a funny line in the entire first episode.” — San Francisco Chronicle.

“What makes Dr. Ken such a cringefest is the disconnect between Mr Jeong’s florid persona — pitched at the edge of desperation — and everything else on screen, which stays within the boundaries of a network family series.” — New York Times.

Doug Coutts has had a career in and around television for close to 40 years. He spent 13 years as a floor manager at Avalon Studios before going freelance and never earning as much again. His writing has spanned TV genres — from Shortland Street dialoguery and quiz shows to documentaries and comedy — while a lengthy stint as TV reviewer in the Auckland Star earned him two mentions in Metro magazine’s Hot List and an angry letter from Jon Gadsby. You can read more of Doug (the satirist) at:


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One Response to “Doug Coutts’ TV Preview: Dr. Ken”

  1. Chang! He’s finally given up on Greendale and is taking over the hospitals instead. I’d rather watch re-runs of Community any day.

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