Make An Appointment with Dr Sung Park
If you want to win me over with a new show there is really only one way to do it. It is not going to be done with bad language or nudity, sorry HBO. It won't be with torn from the headlines ideas, sorry Showtime. It won't be copying an already successful idea, sorry NBC, CBS, ABC. And it sure as hell won't be with showing me that a high school brat can sing, there goes FOX. Nope, for me it always comes down to characters. We are living in a time where concept is king. Everyone is still chasing the ghost of John Locke. They all want to create the next great idea. Lost was a success because of the characters. David E Kelley is the master of taking a very familiar genre, Law, Hospital, Schools and he fills them with great characters. Dr. Sung Park on TNT's Monday Mornings is another great character from the writer who brought us Denny Crane (Boston Legal), John "The Biscuit" Cage (Ally McBeal) and Douglas Brackman (LA Law.) Dr. Park is of Asian descent and his accent is thick and hard to understand. Having a Dr who can't clearly express their thoughts is nerve wracking for a patient. If you are trying to decide if you should have a life saving operation, you want to be able to communicate openly with the surgeon handling the operation. This in itself would be a great character. But it goes deeper. In this weeks episode, Forks Over Knives, we saw a scene with his wife and children. I wanted him to speak his native language with his family. He didn't. He spoke English to his wife and his wife spoke understandable English to him. At first I was disappointed. To me, it makes sense that if he can't speak properly to his patients, it is because English is not his native language. If he spoke in a foreign tongue at home with his loved ones, that makes the concept even better. I know there is no way TNT would make its viewers read television. With David E coming from network for the last 30 years, no way is he even going to consider making us read a major character. But I saw plenty of story that could be told from his refusal to join a culture that sues the doctors that save them.
After a day or two, I started to rethink this. I think that the language barrier is a front. I think it isn't that he is unable to express himself; he just doesn't want to take the time. He is right. His methods are perfect. Do the operation. Or as he says, "Not do - DEAD." It is beneath him to communicate longer than two words with not just his patients, but his co-workers as well. I have not searched the net to see if people are already saying this is racist. I feel this is the perfect way to show the condescending nature of the health profession. What better way to show a god complex than a character that can barely cobble two words together to communicate with a lower being. I think we will see that in the long run it is his lack of patience with his patients that makes him communicate like he does. I have seen what David E can do with a character. I really see big things coming with him and I can't wait. I have really been pleased with the shows I have been watching in 2013. As long as talented writers keep bringing me new interesting characters, I will keep all of my appointments. Read my Review of the Pilot of Monday Mornings and Why I love the show
Read my Blog about David E Kelley.