Check Out Kenan On Netflix Or Hulu To See Kenan Thompson As A Lone Parent Dealing With His Wife's Death

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Incredibly, Kenan Thompson has been a part of SNL for eighteen years. ) that his background in sitcoms is easy to forget Only if you were a child of the '90s and a Kenan & Kel fan would you recognize him. It's incredible that it's taken this long for him to land another sitcom. It's been a while since we heard anything new about the long-gestating Kenan TV series; did it live up to your expectations, considering how high those expectations were set by Kenan the actor?


In the first scene, Kenan Williams (Kenan Thompson) is roused by an alarm clock, his two young daughters sprawled out on the bed next to him.

The Short Version: Since the death of Kenan's wife Cori (Niccole Thurman) a year ago, Kenan has been going through a lot of emotional and physical turmoil. While his daughters Birdie (Dannah Lane) and Aubrey (Dani Lane) are getting ready for the day and packing their lunches, he frantically tries to sneak out of the house to get to work. He's almost successful until his father-in-law Rick (Don Johnson) mistakes him for an intruder and threatens him with his saxophone.

Since Cori passed away, Rick has been staying with Kenan and his daughters. After the twins finally come to, Kenan tells them that their mom's death means that "no one can replace your deceased parental figure." After reading all of his self-help books, Aubrey is familiar with the term. After a late night of partying, his brother/manager Gary (Chris Redd) picks him up.

The fact that Kenan has been avoiding discussing Cori on his Atlanta morning show, Wake Up With Kenan, is another important detail to keep in mind. Co-host Tami (Taylor Louderman) tries to get Kenan to talk about Cori, and he snaps at her, but his friend and executive producer Mika (Kimrie Lewis) is encouraging him to open up and get personal because that's what morning show viewers want from their hosts. as in I don't want to dwell on the past ”

Both Rick and Gary, the latter of whom constantly interrupts Kenan's private conversations with Mika, believe that he should finally move on with his life and discuss his feelings for Cori. Birdie and Aubrey really want to hear stories about their mom so they don't forget about her. How, then, can Kenan move on from his loss?

Picture by Casey Durkin/NBC

How Many Other TV Shows Will It Bring to Mind? The lack of a laugh track and the show's brisk, semi-improvised pacing make Kenan feel like a strange hybrid, which may be the result of COVID shooting restrictions. The show is staged like a multicamera sitcom like Full House.

Our Take: Kenan has an interesting backstory, with Chris Rock serving as an executive producer on the original pilot and Andy Garcia playing the character's father-in-law. The original pilot's writer, Jackie Clarke, remains an EP, and her Happy Endings boss, David Caspe, takes over as showrunner. And Kenan has the wit and speed of Happy Endings with the polished feel of a family comedy.

As we mentioned up top, the show has a strange atmosphere, but by the middle of the pilot, it starts to find its footing and show its potential. There's the home life and the work life, with the former being slightly more effective in the pilot thanks to the excellent work of the Lane sisters and the ever-enterprising Don Johnson.

Johnson is the show's most valuable player because he establishes early on that Rick isn't your typical son-in-law. Since he was always busy as a musician when Cori was young, he never got to spend much time with her. Now that he has the opportunity to help Kenan out with the girls, he sees it as a good way to make amends. Despite his obvious comedic talent, we always seem to overlook him because, well, he's Don Johnson. Johnson isn't without comedic experience; Nash Bridges had a light tone and ran for years, and he plays well off SNL veterans Thompson and Redd. Rick had some bets down on certain This Is Us plot twists, so we all had a good laugh whenever he was rooting for them.

Also, Thompson's ability to carry his own show was not a concern. Because of his extensive background in the industry, it is generally assumed that he can take the load off of everyone else's shoulders and run the show by himself. He is fortunate to be surrounded by a seasoned cast, however, which allows stories to develop beyond his persona.

Everybody was introduced by the end of the pilot, and we got a sense of the show's overall trajectory. And a few good chuckles were had as well. Not bad for the debut.

Skin and Sexuality: Null

Kenan's final words are to play a blooper reel from the sitcom Grown Ass Little Boy, which is where he and Cori first met. They're only a few years apart in age, but she plays his mother in the play, and the chemistry between them is palpable as she tries to tuck him in. It's strange, that's for sure. As Kenan puts it, "I'm surprised they let us stay on the air."

Fortune Feimster, who plays sports anchor Pam on Kenan's show, is a hidden gem. We like her and wish she had more to do than be so preoccupied with sports that she misses out on everything else.

One of the most pilot-like lines is when Tami says to Kenan and Mika, "We're getting dinked on by Kiki and the Fudge." Kenan has to set her straight: "You mean 'dunked on,'" No, we're not cool, but even we recognize that phrase.

To Stream It Is Our Order Featuring Kenan Thompson as the show's protagonist, "The Last Man on Earth" has all the makings of a heartwarming family comedy. It has some pacing issues, but we were confident that they would be ironed out by the end of the first episode.

Author Joel Keller (@joelkeller) admits that he is a TV addict despite writing about food, entertainment, parenting, and technology. The New York Times, Slate, Salon, and Rolling Stone have all published articles he has written. online at and Fast Company, among other places

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