‘Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.’ Boss Teases What Could Be Next in a Season 2
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. Season 1 finale “Aloha – The Goodbye One.”]
In the Doogie Kamealoha M.D. season finale, Lahela almost goes with her boyfriend, Walter (Alex Aiono), to Australia to be a medic on his surf tour, but then decides to stay in Hawai’i. Meanwhile, the Chief of Staff at the hospital is chosen, and it’s Lahela’s mother, Clara (Kathleen Rose Perkins)!
So what could be next if the series is renewed for Season 2? Executive producer Kourtney Kang gives TV Insider a few hints.
This last episode feels like it could serve as a season or series finale.
Kourtney Kang: We hope to do many more seasons, and this was in hopes of setting us up for that. But I think what you’re responding to as well is we wanted to tie the first season up in a bow. To us, it’s really been about Lahela’s independence and her as a young woman figuring out who she is. My hope is that it’s a relatable struggle, even for the adults watching, because we’re all trying to manage our time and our relationships and work life and figuring those things out. The season started with her mad that Mom won’t give her the car and then it ends with her really stepping into her own independence and really figuring out who she is.
What new challenges will Lahela face going forward?
Like all of us, once we think we have it figured out, we realize how much we have to learn. That’s definitely going to be the case for Lahela. She’s been through so much this year — her first relationship, working with Mom — and now she thinks she has it all figured out. Season 2 will be an opportunity to really show her how much more there is for her to learn and how much more complicated life and friendship and romance can really get.
And now her mom is chief of staff.
Now her mom is not just boss, she’s super boss. That has been a really fun relationship to write — that her mom is her boss, but also that at the center of our show are these two really smart women who are really good at what they do and who are scientists. I’m a mom, I have three girls, and I love that the spirit of the show is very much them never apologizing for all of their ambition or all of their smarts. It bonds them together and it’s also what a lot of time leads to their disagreements. Kathleen and Peyton bring those characters to life in such a great way and have such a great rapport with each other.
What kind of chief of staff is Clara going to be?
It’s a little bit going to be a story of be careful what you wish for. There’s all of these problems at the hospital that she’s looking to solve. And then when she gets into this role, she’s going to see it’s not as easy as she maybe thought it was. Especially when you’re a mom, ambition is so tricky because sometimes it comes at such a cost. There’s such sacrifices you have to make as a mom, your time is so valuable and what you’re doing needs to be equally important. I’m a working mom myself, our writing staff is mostly working moms, and so we have a lot of conversations and a lot of thoughts that we’re really excited to put into this Season 2 tackling what happens when Mom does get the big promotion. … When you’re in charge sometimes, there’s some politics involved and so that’s going to be something tricky for her to navigate.
Will we see more of Benny’s [Jason Scott Lee] family?
Benny and his family is very much inspired by my own family. The patriarch of my family is a gentleman named Uncle John who really does have a washing machine that he would use to tenderize octopus. One of the things that I’m really excited about potential Season 2 is there are so many great stories that have Hawai’i more central. We would love to tell more of those stories and really delving into what it’s really like to be a family in Hawai’i and exploring that. Oftentimes there are shows set in Hawai’i that I call the postcard version, which is it’s just a beautiful backdrop and every shot looks like a postcard because Hawai’i is so picture perfect. But our show has the unique opportunity to delve into the people who really live there and the local culture.
We were able to do it a little bit in small ways in Season 1. One of the things that was really fun for me is in the pilot, Walter brings Benny spam so Benny can make spam musubi, which is basically sushi, but with spam. Early on, there was a question, is anybody going to know what spam musubi is? Because you want to make sure the show is enjoyable to everyone, but it was also an opportunity to be specific in who these people really are, and I think that’s what leads to better storytelling. As we were doing it, I was saying, there is a small percentage of people who for the first time will hear spam musubi on TV and it will be the first time the world sees them and knows they’re there.
How hard is it going to be for these two teenagers to have a long-distance relationship?
I know! It’s going to be so hard, but I feel like every teenager goes through that. There’s always that, “Oh, but we’re different. We’ll make it work.” Alex is such an amazing actor and brings so much to that role. We laugh in the room a little bit, that Walter is the dream high school teenage boyfriend that we all wish we had. He’s handsome, he’s caring, he’s generous. He cares about Lahela’s family. He’s just amazing. And she is an amazing person. She’s a 16-year-old doctor. What I love about Walter is he feels worthy of her.
Because Doogie Howser is a TV show in this world, what does that mean for potentially seeing the original Doogie going forward?
We hope to get Neil [Patrick Harris] to come out Season 2 and play. He has been so supportive of the show and so kind. We tried to get him to come out Season 1 — he and his family are in New York and it was during the pandemic, and Neil always has 800 of the most interesting things going on at any given moment, so he wasn’t able to swing it for Season 1. When the idea of what could we do with Neil comes up in the writer’s room, it is one of the most exciting topics for everyone to pitch on. We have a lot of ideas and we’re hopeful that we can lure him and his family out to Hawai’i for Season 2.
Can you share anything about those ideas?
[Laughs] I’m going to keep them under wraps.
Kai [Matthew Sato] and Steph [Emma Meisel] haven’t really talked about that kiss…
That relationship has been so fun to watch bloom. Matthew and Emma have such a great chemistry together. We’re really excited for all the places that relationship can go and seeing the conflict that comes from your best friend and your brother sort of having a relationship on their own and what that means for Lahela.
Dr. Lee [Ronny Chieng] was a fun sort of antagonist for both Lahela and Clara. Will that change?
He will still be an antagonist to them, but as we started to see by the end of the season, he has some heart to him too. It’s almost like a sibling relationship: They drive each other crazy, but at the end of the day, it’s like, what can you do? And Ronny Chieng is so funny and he has been such a delight to write for.
We’re so lucky that we got him to come play our Dr. Lee and all of our players at the hospital — Jeffrey [Bowyer-Chapman] and Mapuana [Makia] are such wonderful actors. And so we really are excited about Season 2, leaning more into those characters and the world of the hospital, and delving more into that.
Speaking of, we got little bits about Noelani and Charles this season, and I love their relationships with Lahela. So are we going to see them outside of the hospital more?
Yes. We’re hoping to get them out of the hospital and more into the world. We had a little bit of that in the final episode, when they showed up at the family potluck at Uncle’s ranch, but we’re excited to get more of that crossover into it because those two actors are so funny and Mapu and Jeffrey have such a great real-life friendship that you can feel onscreen. I said, from the beginning, they set the tone for the whole thing. The way they treat Lahela at work, you can tell they respect her and they seem respectable. And you get what it would feel like if this really impressive 16-year-old really was at work.
When we were making the show, one of the most important things was when she walks in and says she’s a 16-year-old doctor, you have to believe her. The whole show hinges on that because if that feels fake, the hospital doesn’t feel real, you lose the audience. Jeffrey and Mapu are so key to setting that tone and how they look at her, how they treat her, the audience takes their cues from that. I can’t wait to get more into their personal lives next season. This season, we’ve only heard a few snippets, but next season we are definitely getting more into their love lives.
Doogie Kamealoha, M.D., Season 1, Streaming Now, Disney+