A dark comedic take on blue-collar therapy is receiving critical acclaim for the new pilot series Kensington, created by Michael Marc Friedman and Matt Ferrucci.
“Kensington is a comedy, but it’s grounded in the integrity, pride, and brutal honesty that symbolizes Philadelphia’s working class,” said director Ferrucci. The story centers around an uptown therapist Doug Harper, played by Mather Zickel (I Love You Man, Balls of Fury), who begrudgingly relocates to Philadelphia because of his wife’s promotion. He moves his practice to the crime riddled, blue-collar neighborhood of Kensington.
Despite his best intentions, he is not well received by the working class residents in Kensington. Friedman, a Philadelphia native, explains the culture divide between the character of Doug Harper and his new neighbors, “as far as therapy is concerned, they think of therapy as something that is strictly reserved for rich people who have nothing better to do with their money.”
The pilot episode makes a bold and welcome choice, talking openly about sexual issues and the need for therapy. This choice is something that immediately makes the show stand out as something new, fresh and different as often these are considered taboo subjects for the television world.
Despite its willingness to speak about the taboo, Kensington has a light-hearted way of addressing therapy, anxiety, and sexuality, making what may seem scary into something much more manageable and acceptable to discuss. The choice to address the serious conversation in a humorous way will hopefully make future audiences more receptive to the deeper message that the show will undoubtedly attempt to convey across the screen.
The pilot episode follows Doug Harper’s fish-out of water journey with his new client Bobby, played by Michael Marc Friedman (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, NCIS) and his wife Berta, played by Kim Director (HBO’s The Deuce) as they deal with their marital issues. The series intends to follow Dr. Harper as he tries to make the best of his new surroundings and navigate his way through the eccentric cast of characters that are seemingly trying to push him out. Ultimately, he must decide if he’s willing to stick it out in Kensington or if it’s time to go.
While the series is meant to primarily focus on Doug’s work with his new clients Bobby and Berta, it is clear that a revolving door of additional clients and hometown personalities are there to add humor and levity to the show. In making the show much more relatable to the everyday viewer, Kensington presents characters viewers would recognize from their hometown, giving the show a much more engaging outlook done only by someone with first-hand experience.
This is the second project Ferrucci and Friedman have teamed up for. Their last project Companion won multiple awards on the festival circuit. In this latest collaboration, Ferrucci serves as the director and producer of the series while Friedman created, wrote and stars in the project.
The pilot episode recently won Best TV Pilot at the prestigious SOHO International Film Festival in New York. It has screened at the Beverly Hills Film Festival, Newport Beach Film Festival and last month at the famed television festival SeriesFest: Season 5 in Denver.
Fans will most likely not have to wait long to be able to see this impressive show, as it has been submitted to HollyShorts Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival as well as Raindance Film Festival located in London.
“To be able to independently create a show and have it recognized like this is incredibly gratifying,” said Ferrucci. “We can’t wait to make more and have people see this show.”