King of Queens aired from September 1998 until May 2007 on CBS.
In this working-class comedy beefy Doug Hefferman ( Kevin James) drove a truck for the UPS delivery service in his Queens, New York neighborhood , and Carrie ( Leah Remini), his sexy wife , worked for a fancy Manhattan law firm. Deacon, Spence and Richie( Victor Williams, Patton Oswalt, Larry Romano)were Doug's buddies , with whom he liked to hang out in the basement he had remodeled to look like a sports bar. All was well until Carrie's recently widowed dad Arthur ( Jerry Stiller), who had no desire to live in a retirement home, moved into the basement after accidentally burning down his house, displacing da guys to da garage. As if that wasn't bad enough, Doug also had to put up with Carrie's sexy younger sister, Sara ( Lisa Rieffel), an aspiring actress who moved in with them to save money.She didn't last long, disappearing without explanation , by the end of October. Doug tried to befriend his outspoken father-in-law , but the old man's sarcasm and total lack of tact made him hard to take. Seen occasionally were Doug's incompetent cousin Danny ( played by Kevin James' real-life brother Gary Valentine ) and Mr. Pruzan ( Alex Skuby), Carrie's boss at the law firm.
Early in the 2000-2001 season Doug's kid sister Stephanie ( Ricki Lake), a high school teacher, returned to Queens to recover from a failed romance and showed up occasionally to complain.In February Doug found out that Deacon and his wife Kelly ( Merrin Dungey), were having marital problems-a year later she moved out with their two boys , Kirby( Marshaun Daniel and later Omari Lyles) and Major , and by the start of the 2002-2003 season they were divorced. In the fall of 2001 Arthur's last friend from the senior center moved away and he spent his days sleeping and his nights driving Doug and Carrie crazy. In an effort to keep his nighttime energy level down Doug hired Spence's dog walker, Holly ( Nicole Sullivan), to take Arthur on walks three times a week. Unsuspecting Arthur was under the impression that she was a student who wanted to hear about his experiences during World War 2.
In the fall of 2003 Danny became a regular and moved in with Spence while Deacon and Kelly got back together after being seperated for two years. A year later Carrie lost her job at the law firm when her incompetent boss was fired. Eventually she found work with a real estate company. Early in the 2005-2006 season Holly got engaged to Carl ( Sam McMurray), the wealthy owner of a limousine company, gave up her job walking Arthur and moved into Carl's Manhattan penthouse apartment. When the 2006-2007 season began in December Spence lost his job as a token booth operator for the Transit Authority and spent the rest of the season looking for a new job.
There were a number of characters appearing on The King of Queens with recurring roles, but very infrequent appearances. Among them were Doug's parents , Joe ( Dakin Matthews) and Janet ( Jenny O'Hara); Jimmy ( Jimmy Shubert), one of his fellow drivers at IPS; his neighbor, Lou Ferrigno ( Lou Ferrigno); Deacon's younger son Major( Damani Roberts and later his younger brother Desmond Roberts); and Spence's mother Veronica ( series star Jerry Syiller's wife Anne Meara), who had the hots for Arthur. In the series finale, Arthur married Veronica ( it didn't last) and after Doug and Carrie adopted a chinese baby Carrie had a child of her own.
A Review from Variety
The King of Queens
(Sitcom -- CBS; Monday, Sept. 21;8:30 p.m.)
By RAY RICHMOND
Filmed in Los Angeles by Hanley Prods. in association with Columbia TriStar TV and CBS Prods. Executive producer, Michael J. Weithorn ; producer, Annette Sahakian Davis; director, Pam Fryman; writers, Weithorn, David Litt.
Doug Heffernan - Kevin James
Carrie Heffernan - Leah Remini
Arthur Spooner - Jerry Stiller
Sara Spooner - Lisa Rieffel
Deacon Palmer - Victor Williams
Spence Olchin Patton - Oswalt Richie
Iannucci - Larry Romano
The spirit of Jackie Gleason, if not his talent, lives on. Fat guys with big mouths are back in primetime. There's a portly oaf named Carmine who dominates Fox's "Living in Captivity," and in "The King of Queens" we get "Everybody Loves Raymond" alumnus and stand-up Kevin James playing Doug Heffer-nan, a dese-and-dose couch potato who has probably never seen the inside of a Snackwell's box, much less a can of Diet Coke. If only Doug and his show were funnier.
While plenty of males will no doubt feel a kindred connection with a character for whom watching a football game on his own big screen TV is akin to an afternoon in the sack with Jennifer Lopez, and any show with Jerry Stiller lending support can't be all bad, "King of Queens" exists as a collection of trappings in search of a pay-off. It has heart but no teeth, charm without chutzpah.
It's clear that what exec producer Michael Weithorn is going for here is something of a contemporary "Honeymooners." Ralph Kramden drove a bus. Our hero Doug drives a package delivery truck. Both are married to brassy women who take no guff. In "King of Queens," it's Leah Remini as his wife Carrie, who is thin and gorgeous and would probably be way too good for him in real life.
Intermittently amusing pilot, penned by Weithorn and David Litt, finds Doug hanging with the guys (Larry Romano, Victor Williams, Patton Oswalt) in his newly revamped basement done up as a sports bar. They bond over brew and rhetorical banter like, "Would you do Hillary?" Answer: "Of course ya gotta! She's the First Lady!" As if the woman doesn't have enough problems these days.
But their testosterone-spewing nirvana quickly disappears when Leah's recently widowed dad (Stiller, sharp as ever) opts to move into the basement rather than a retirement home after burning down his own house. Then Carrie's sexy, self-centered sister Sara (Lisa Rieffel), who wants to be an actress, also moves in with them to save a few bucks. Quicker than you can say "we wuz robbed," the sports freeloaders are out and Doug is suddenly trapped in a blue-collar "Full House."
Second seg plays up Doug's teddy-bear qualities and mental limitations when he obsesses on his svelte wife's potential to pack on poundage. It better fleshes out the characters -- no pun intended -- but can't match the pilot's sweet silliness. It bodes poorly for a show that tries very hard to make an audience like it, but inevitably sinks under the weight of stock characters and strained interaction.
Too bad, because James has a certain goofy charisma that's appealing, and Rimini herself brings a lot of spunk.
A Review from The New York Times
Television in Review
By RON WERTHEIMER
Published: September 21, 1998
'The King of Queens'
CBS, tonight at 8:30
(Channel 2 in New York)
Jerry Stiller could be funny bellowing excerpts from the telephone book. Too bad he doesn't get material that clever on ''The King of Queens.'' He is saddled with lines like ''I got two words for you: I'm stayin' right here.''
Mr. Stiller, in full Frank Costanza mode, is Arthur, the dotty father-in-law who moves in with not-too-bright Doug Heffernan (Kevin James) and Doug's a-little-too-bright wife, Carrie (Leah Remini). Carrie's kooky sister, Sara (Lisa Rieffel), an unemployed actress, moves in, too, and now Doug and Carrie's comfy little home has become crowded.
The performers are pleasant enough, and Ms. Remini almost gives Carrie some zing. But they can't overcome the stale setup. As for the title, there is no obvious connection to Queens, for which residents of the borough can be thankful. RON WERTHEIMER
A Review from Entertainment Weekly
'King' Of Comedy
Like fellow stand-ups Jerry Seinfeld and Ray Romano before him, The King of Queens' Kevin James ascends to the rank of sitcom royalty by taking an everyguy's-eye view of life.
A- By Bruce Fretts
When The King of Queens was announced as part of CBS' fall lineup, my greatest fear was that it would be an Everybody Loves Raymond rip-off. After all, it starred Kevin James, who had a recurring role on Raymond as one of Ray Romano's pals, and looked to be another sardonic sitcom about a loud-but-loving family living in the greater metropolitan New York area.
Then it was announced that Jerry Stiller would be joining the cast, replacing borscht belter Jack Carter as James' hotheaded father-in-law, and my fear morphed: Now I was afraid that King would be a Seinfeld clone, with Stiller xeroxing his old role as George Costanza's rageaholic father, Frank.
Well, my greatest fears have been realized -- and I couldn't be happier. King has turned out to be a near-perfect synthesis of Seinfeld and Raymond, recombining many of the best elements of each show into something wholly, delightfully new.
Let's start with the star, who plays Doug Heffernan, a delivery-service driver who shares a house with his aspiring-paralegal wife, Carrie (Fired Up's Leah Remini), as well as her aforementioned dad. With his burly, teddy-bear build and Pillsbury Doughboy face, James doesn't physically resemble Seinfeld or Romano. But like those two fellow stand-up vets, James has an unmistakably original delivery; he'll take a line and twist it, sometimes deliberately mispronouncing words for comic effect. And despite his physique, he's not a larger-than-life character. Rather, he seems like a guy you could hang out with -- just like Ray and Jerry. In fact, Doug and Ray recently met up in a superb crossover episode and immediately hit it off. (In his first Raymond incarnation, James played a different character.)
Remini is reminiscent of Raymond's wife, Debra Barone (the peerless Patricia Heaton), in the sense that she can match her costar laugh for laugh. There's one key difference between the characters, however: Carrie actually seems to like her husband -- even to the point of wanting to have sex with him. The fact that the Heffernans don't have any children yet, while the Barones have three tots, could account for Carrie's less irritable temperament.
Besides, when it comes to irritability, nobody can top Stiller. His Arthur Spooner suggests both Frank Costanza and Raymond's Frank Barone (the explosively funny Peter Boyle) in his ability to fly off the handle at the slightest provocation -- like when a party guest gobbles down the last three deviled eggs. Yet Stiller has turned Arthur into a multilayered individual. He has a streak of old-fashioned formality (after his egg tantrum, he apologizes, ''Please excuse my outburst -- when it comes to buffet items, I can be a bit of a beast''). Stiller has also invested the lonely widower Arthur with a genuine pathos and a healthy libido that isn't played for sniggering laughs -- a rarity for a small-screen senior citizen.
King has shown a Seinfeldian willingness to toy with sitcom conventions. One recent episode, set entirely in a supermarket on the day before Thanksgiving, was a worthy successor to Seinfeld's single-setting masterpiece, ''The Chinese Restaurant.'' King's crack writers, supervised by exec producer Michael J. Weithorn (Ned and Stacey), similarly share Seinfeld's and Raymond's penchants for precisely phrased punchlines: When Carrie sees Doug watching a lumberjack competition on TV, she smartly remarks, ''You do realize we have a limited time on this earth, don'tcha?''
The only quality of Raymond and Seinfeld that King so far lacks is a tightly focused ensemble. Those shows centered on four or five key characters, with plots generously spread among them. King has an outstanding quartet in James, Remini, Stiller, and Patton Oswalt as Doug's endearingly geeky friend, Spence. Sadly, his two other buds, Richie (Larry Romano, no relation to Ray) and Deacon (Victor Williams), and Carrie's sister, Sara (Lisa Rieffel), have yet to display more than one dimension.
Yet King triumphs over this flaw by grounding its comedy in a Raymond-esque reality. Believability is never sacrificed for a cheap gag. Doug Heffernan is an enormously relatable comedic character, the kind of guy who can open up the fridge and joyously declare, ''Cold pigs in blankets -- life is good again!'' No wonder James, who recently hosted CBS' Funny Flubs & Screw-ups special as well as coanchoring its Thanksgiving Day parade coverage, has joined Romano as a poster boy for the new male-appeal, NFL-fueled Eye network.
Seinfeld lost its footing when it abandoned its original mission to deconstruct the niggling details of everyday life (i.e., Nothing) and turned surreal. Right now, The King of Queens has both feet firmly planted on solid comic ground. Long may he reign. A-
CBS The King of Queens 8:30-9 pm MONDAYS
An Article from Entertainment Weekly
Published on September 7, 2001
Long Live The king
THE KING OF QUEENS just might be the second funniest show on television, so will this be the season CBS' unsung hero finally steps out of Everybody Loves Raymond's shadow?
By Lynette Rice
The King of Queens
CBS, 8-8:30 p.m.
Starts September 17
The emotional finale of The King Of Queens last May -- in which Carrie suffers a miscarriage after an unexpected pregnancy -- was a painful experience for stars Kevin James and Leah Remini. For the first time in the sitcom's three-year history, James and Remini felt they were actually required to act. ''If Kevin is really prepared for a scene, I make fun of him, and vice versa,'' says Remini. ''So people don't know what we sacrificed to do that. When I decided to cry in that moment, I thought Kevin was really going to bust my balls.'' James actually managed to dig deep and shed a few tears of his own -- but only after employing a very un-Strasbergian technique. ''I just really concentrated, squeezed my butt cheeks, and I started to cry,'' says the comic. ''That's my method, squeezing my a--. I should open a school.''
That's not a bad idea, actually; other networks could learn a lesson from James on how to make a lasting family comedy. Once misunderstood as the lukewarm stepchild of CBS' Ray Romano hit Everybody Loves Raymond (James' career on CBS began with guest spots opposite Romano, a longtime buddy from the comedy circuit) King of Queens has finally earned a throne of its own on Monday nights, winning its 8 p.m. time slot last season in all key demographics.
''It's enduring because it's endearing,'' says Kelly Kahl, CBS' head of scheduling. ''These characters are real to people.'' Adds James, ''There's nothing really shiny about this show. It's normal, just like how The Honeymooners was a basic show. They had a crappy apartment with a crappy little icebox. The comedy came from the characters and the relationships. With all the reality TV going on and game shows and this and that, it's nice to have a show that's still making it, and that's very down the middle.''
Perhaps the normality lies in the fact that little has changed since King's launch in fall 1998. Save a few early, awkward appearances by Carrie's sister, Sara (''She's like Chuck with the basketball on Happy Days,'' says James. After a while, ''you just didn't see Chuck anymore''), the ensemble remains intact, as does the premise: Doug's a delivery man who's almost as mad for beer and eats as he is for Carrie, his brassy secretary wife with press-on nails.
''We actually just re-watched the pilot and while they look different and the tone is slightly different, you really see them as a couple,'' admits scribe Josh Goldsmith, who, together with partner Cathy Yuspa, will run King of Queens this season. ''There was some spark that was partially the writing and partially the actors coming together. They've got this life together, and people bought it.''
The key, of course, is getting viewers to keep buying it. While the show occasionally strays from the living room -- like last season's gut-busting episode in which an unemployed Doug teamed up with pal Deacon (Victor Williams) and pop-in-law Arthur (Jerry Stiller) to harass townsfolk in a frenzy of juvenile delinquent behavior -- James believes the best stories focus on the Heffernan marriage. That's why the second episode of season 4 will feature a birthday celebration for Carrie, who receives a shortsighted gift from Doug. ''He always gets Carrie horrible birthday gifts, so this year he wants to get her the best gift in history -- laser eye surgery,'' says Goldsmith. ''But it ends up blinding her.'' There's also a wedding-day flashback in the works, and a true test of Doug's devotion to his honey, when the oxygen masks come down during a false airplane emergency. Says James: ''I put mine on and act like I've never seen her before.''
Doug and Carrie, meanwhile, start to wish the perpetually bombastic Arthur (Stiller), who lives in their basement, were a little more out of sight. Worried the old guy is not leaving the house enough, the couple hires a dog walker to do the job for them. Says James of the scene-stealing Stiller: ''I've never seen anybody work harder on material and make it his own. He'll nail it, but he'll want to do it again. He's amazing.'' Ricki Lake will be back as Doug's lovelorn sister, Stephanie, as will James' real-life brother, Gary Valentine (who adopted a stage surname), returning as cousin Danny, who ultimately moves in with Doug's loser pal Spence (Patton Oswalt). And expect more unexpected visits from the Hulk, a.k.a. Lou Ferrigno, who plays himself as the Heffernans' next-door neighbor. ''We keep his role small,'' says James. ''It's just a little flavor in the background to make you laugh.''
Amid all the domestic minutiae, though, the weightier issue of children is going to be reborn, as viewers will watch how Carrie handles the possibility of becoming a mother. ''Is she ready?'' says Goldsmith. ''I think it's a fun thing to play because Leah plays agitated so well.'' Perhaps that's because she has so much personal experience to draw from, courtesy of her wiseacre costar. ''Kevin is one of those people who annoys you, and you don't want to laugh. There's no way I can keep a straight face, even when I'm mad at him,'' says Remini of James' on-set antics. ''I may swear to God that I'll never talk to him again: 'From now on, you can talk to my manager,' I'll say. And then five seconds later he'll look at me and say something and I'll just start laughing, every friggin' time.'' James' only complaint about Remini? Her season 2 weight loss -- the result of a stepped-up exercise plan. ''It makes the gap between us that much more,'' he frets. ''Like slow down, you're killing me. People are going to think I'll crush you.''
But James gets serious when talking about the show's humble beginnings. He knows that part of its survival is due to King's close proximity to Raymond on Mondays -- something that even James doesn't want changed anytime soon. ''I would fear going to Wednesdays at 8 or some other place,'' he admits. If that means more references to his show surviving in the shadow of Ray Romano, so be it. ''It's like I'm kind of the younger brother. But there are worse bigger brothers you can have,'' says James. ''He's changed CBS and in doing so, it's helped me tremendously.... I can't compare TV ratings with him -- but I can lift him with one arm.''
An Article from USA TODAY
Published on May 10, 2002
'King of Queens' actor doesn't stop for asthma
By Mike Falcon, Spotlight Health
With medical adviser Stephen A. Shoop, M.D.
Gary Valentine can laugh at asthma now. But when the comedic actor/writer was growing up with his brother — King of Queens star Kevin James — it was anything but funny.
"When Kevin and I wrestled as kids I would find myself in the corner of the room, wheezing," says Valentine. "So he always won."
But he found ways to compensate, at least occasionally. "Unlike my brother, I couldn't keep up with the ice cream truck," says Valentine, "so I sprinkled glass in front of the tires."
Asthma hasn't slowed Valentine recently, because of "three or four inhalers" that provide him relief. In addition to writing for King of Queens, Valentine plays the recurring role of Danny in the hit series and performs virtually non-stop at comedy clubs across the country.
"The key in controlling my asthma is pretty simple," says Valentine. "I have a good professional diagnosis, and I follow my doctor's instructions closely. You need to acknowledge both."
New medications and better awareness and diagnosis of asthma have made asthma better controlled than ever. That's good news for the approximately 17 million Americans who have asthma. But about a half-million of these individuals wound up making unscheduled visits to the emergency room last year. And according to the American Lung Association, asthma attacks claimed more than 5,400 lives in 2001.
In contrast to many other diseases, asthma prevalence in the USA has increased 58.6% between 1982 and 1996. With this breathtaking fact clearly in mind, May has been designated National Asthma and Allergy Awareness month.
Asthma is an inflammatory disorder that causes bronchial airways to uncontrollably tighten, constrict, and spasm. The inflamed bronchial tubes become even more irritated and the bronchi excrete excess mucus, making breathing even more difficult.
• Tightness of the chest
• Shortness of breath
Like many people with asthma, Valentine's bouts with the illness began when he was a toddler. An estimated 36% of Americans with asthma are under 18. Many have parents with the disease, signaling a possible genetic predisposition.
"My dad passed on asthma to me," says Valentine. "It's kind of ironic because he outgrew it at 13."
Catching his breath
As lungs and airways increase in size, many children outgrow their breathing difficulties — often in adolescence. But others, like Valentine, do not. They have to learn to manage the disorder.
"It's a learning process," says Valentine, "particularly when you're a child, because kids run around all the time no matter what. I played baseball without much problem, but ice hockey was terrible. I was rushed to the hospital a few times."
Not any more.
"Asthma doesn't affect me, even though I have it," says Valentine. "It can seem like it wants to act up a little if I'm nervous before going on stage, but that's natural to many performers. If I think it's going to be a problem, I just reach for my inhaler." Fast-acting albuterol inhalers are often referred to as "rescue inhalers" by those with asthma.
Valentine's own anti-asthma program is virtually a model for adults with the disorder. It includes:
• Medical checkup — "If you have that shortness or breath or wheezing, you should see a doctor anyway," says Valentine. "But for people with asthma it's a must because there are so many treatment possibilities. You may have a very easily treated allergy."
• Avoid allergens — Some people with asthma have very strong reactions to allergens, substances that can trigger an asthma attack. According to the American Medical Association, some of the most common include:
Mold or yeast spores.
Animal hair and saliva.
Cockroach particulate and fecal matter.
Others are aspirin, some other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and metabisulfite — a common food and beverage preservative.
• Watch the triggers — Other "natural" triggers include respiratory infections, exercise, weather changes and psychological stimuli, particularly those associated with crying, screaming or hard laughing. Smoke and any fuel that burns are major offenders. One recent study has identified smog as a culprit in actually causing asthma. "Basically, if it's something that hangs in the air and you can see it, I try and avoid it," says Valentine.
• Stay true to treatment — Valentine golfs outdoors, exercises regularly, and lives in the heart of Los Angeles' smog belt. "The reasons asthma doesn't affect my work or play is that I had accurate diagnostics and follow treatment regimens closely," says Valentine. "It's when someone thinks they're fine and that they don't need help that they usually get in trouble."
"That's definitely a concern," says Dr. Joseph Corsello, medical director of National Jewish Medical and Research Center's (NJMRC) Disease Management Programs in Denver. "Ideally, you would take just one tablet a day and that would prevent episodes."
Trying out new material
But people with more than mild, intermittent asthma often have to take three or four pills or multiple inhalers to control inflammation. They also have to carry a broncho-dilating inhaler for emergency use. Corsello says the dilemma is that while tablets can be more effective and long-lasting in treating asthma, they are slower acting and have more side effects.
Consequently, inhaled corticosteroids and inhaled bronchial dilators are standard issue. But inhalers have drawbacks too. They can become ineffective if used too often — or unavailable if forgotten at home. "It's definitely an inducement to keep your memory sharp," says Valentine.
New research and evolving medications may make it all easier.
• Anti IgE — This works against allergy antibodies in preventing an asthmatic reaction. It may have widespread use in children with asthma, where allergens usually play a role.
• Anti-leukotrienes — Leukotrienes are small molecules released by cells in the lung that lead to inflammation. New research is aimed at developing leukotriene agonists that behave like a leukotriene and bind to the leukotriene receptor sites on cells, blocking the process of inflammation.
• Compound approaches — Not all new hope is wrapped up in clinical trials or early research. Advair Diskus is a combination of the anti-inflammatory fluticasone (Flovent) and the bronchial dilator salmeterol (Serevent). "It appears that when a combination of these two is administered in the same spray the benefits may be slightly better than from two different inhalers," says Corsello.
"Whatever it takes" says Valentine, "is exactly what I'm going to do. I live an active full life and I love to laugh."
Without having to catch his breath.
An Article from USA TODAY
Published on November 11, 2005
Ray Romano guest starring on 'King of Queens'
LOS ANGELES (AP) — CBS' Everybody Loves Raymond is gone but Ray Barone lives on.
Romano last visited buddy Kevin James on King of Queens five years ago. This time, they'll enjoy a boy's night out.
Ray Romano will reprise the role on The King of Queens in an episode airing Monday, Nov. 28, CBS said Thursday.
It's been five years since Romano has appeared on the sitcom, which stars his longtime friend, Kevin James, the network said. In the show, Ray and Doug (James) decide to go out on the town when Doug's wife is away on a trip.
Everybody Loves Raymond, in which Romano played a sportswriter and family man, ended its nine-season run last May.
A Review on the 200th episode from Variety
April 9, 2007
The King of Queens
(Series -- CBS, Mon. April 9, 9:30 p.m.)
By BRIAN LOWRY
Taped in Los Angeles by Hanley Prods. and CBS Prods. in association with Sony Pictures Television. Executive producers, Tony Sheehan, Kevin James, David Bickel, Ilana Wernick, Chris Downey, Rock Reuben, Jeff Sussman; director, Rob Schiller.
Doug Heffernan - Kevin James
Carrie Heffernan - Leah Remini
Arthur Spooner - Jerry Stiller
Deacon Palmer - Victor Williams
Spence Olchin - Patton Oswalt
Kelly Palmer - Merrin Dungey
The fact that an average comedy like "The King of Queens" is reaching the 200-episodes milestone serves as a testament both to the importance of solid characters in sustaining a sitcom and the dearth of durable half-hours over the show's workmanlike run. On the home stretch of its ninth and final season, this genial series is seldom laugh-out-loud funny, but Kevin James and Leah Remini remain the most likable and real among TV's trademark fat-guy-plus-hot-wife couplings.
There's certainly nothing special about episode No. 200, with Doug (James) and Carrie (Remini) having a minor fit when they discover his friend and co-worker Deacon (Victor Williams) and wife Kelly (Merrin Dungey) have bought a vacation home. How can they have done that on a similar income, unless they've been squirreling away cash by letting Doug and Carrie pick up dinner checks?
The "B" plot is even less fresh, as Carrie's dad Arthur (Jerry Stiller, who somehow appears to have grown younger over the nine years) endeavors to help the hapless Spence (Patton Oswalt) find a new job. This produces several cheap homoerotic gags, the less said about the better.
Like his pal Ray Romano, James is a talented stand-up with just enough acting chops to pull off his roly-poly, blue-collar character, the frequent butt (a la "The Honeymooners") of weight and eating jokes. Still, having failed to keep up with the series regularly, it's amazing how little has changed since the pilot, other than the ups and downs of the central couple's physiques over that period.
"King" isn't exactly sitcom royalty on the order of "Everybody Loves Raymond," but it has been a reliable component of CBS' Monday lineup and returns there for its remaining seven episodes, an arc that will conclude during the May sweeps.
Take it as a sign of the times, then, that the exit of even a middling comedy with proven appeal is cause for lamentation, if only because that's one less proven half-hour amid an audience-challenged roster of jesters struggling just to stay on the air, much less mount the ratings throne.
An Article from USA TODAY
Published on April 9, 2007
Kevin James proud to be on 'simple show'
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kevin James, who stars on "The King of Queens," credits the success of the long-running sitcom to staying under the radar.
"It may have worked for us because people kinda left us alone," the 41-year-old actor said in a recent conference call. "You know, when they tapped us on the shoulder and we looked up, it was nine years later. We never really were that shiny show, but we're a simple show -- and that's something that I'm proud of."
The 200th episode of the blue-collar comedy, which stars James as deliveryman Doug Heffernan and Leah Remini as his secretary-wife, Carrie, was to air Monday night on CBS Corp.'s CBS network. The series ends next month.
"It didn't really hit me until shooting the last episode, I gotta be honest," James said. "It was a nice milestone, the 200th episode, but it doesn't really affect you until you realize that you're not going to be seeing these people on a regular basis."
James said the series, which shows the Heffernans as they cope with life in the New York City borough of Queens, is relatable.
"We just had a magical combination in the way that we had everybody in the right place at the right time," James said. "It was a simple story, and for some reason, people identified with it."
Producers opted against any special anniversary theme for the 200th episode. The Heffernans find out how their best friends can afford a vacation home when they can't.
An Article from The New York Daily News
'King of Queens' finale
BY DAVID BIANCULLI
DAILY NEWS TELEVISION CRITIC
Monday, May 14th 2007, 4:00 AM
The King of Queens
Tomight at 9, CBS
"The King of Queens" ends its nine-season run tonight and it's going out in a way the network probably never imagined: on top.
Two weeks ago, "King of Queens" was the most-viewed show in its time slot. More than NBC's hot new "Heroes." More than the nearing-the-end cycle for the Fox drama "24."
Even more than that, the Kevin James comedy was the most popular sitcom on TV - not only for the hour, and the night, but for the entire week, edging out "Two and a Half Men."
Yet these last episodes of "King of Queens" were held on the shelf at CBS for a long time, and added at midseason as an afterthought rather than a secret weapon.
No matter. The show at least gets to go out with its head held high, with a go-for-broke, hour-long finale that swings for the fences with comedy and drama.
In terms of the former, Arthur (Jerry Stiller) endures some very unusual wedding-day glitches. Drama-wise, Doug (James) and Carrie (Leah Remini) threaten to split up after a particularly heated argument.
Will the Heffernans break up to end the series? All I'll say is, that's no way to end a sitcom.
A much nicer way to end a sitcom is the way "King of Queens" actually does ride into the sunset, by presenting an extended montage of clips from throughout the show's history. Music plays as they're presented, so we don't hear any dialogue - but we don't need any. Image after image is a reminder of an impressively physical sight-gag stunt, or a tender or funny moment.
The finale also makes room for some of the show's recurring guest stars, including Anne Meara, Nicole Sullivan and, portraying himself as usual, Lou Ferrigno. There are no cameos by any "Everybody Loves Raymond" stars ("King of Queens" is a sister series, of sorts, and most "Raymond" stars appeared on "Queens" as guest stars), but there don't need to be.
The point of the episode seems to be that "King of Queens" doesn't need anything extra-special to say goodbye, or to succeed on its own terms. It's an argument the ratings appear to bear out, down to - and, most likely, including - tonight's very end.
An Article from the OC Register
By DAVE MASON
It's time for the final war of words, the biggest moment of truth and the Incredible Hulk on "The King of Queens."
The CBS comedy has had some of the best dramatic moments on TV as it fearlessly depicts the ups and downs of marriage. During the series finale at 9 tonight, Doug and Carrie Heffernan (Kevin James and Leah Remini) are trying to put their marriage back together. Their hopes seem to depend on whether they can adopt a baby in China, but as the episode shows, that baby might not be enough.
Viewers won't know whether their marriage is safe until the final minutes, and the ending involves a surprise.
The episode brilliantly blends drama and comedy with some well-written conversations and hilarious scenes. Not to be missed is some wrestling involving Doug.
The entire cast gets some time to shine. Victor Williams, for example, stands out as Deacon Palmer as he tries to counsel the troubled Doug.
And the Incredible Hulk shows up! Lou Ferrigno, who played the big, bad, green guy in the 1970s series starring Bill Bixby, has played himself on the show, and he has some fun moments.
Most of all, the finale wraps up the question of what marriage means to Doug and Carrie.
Other TV sitcoms have considered their characters' future. "Will & Grace" did a fine job by jumping decades ahead in the final episode. "Frasier" ended with a question about whether Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) chose his new love or his new job.
So it' not surprising that the finale for "The King" deals with the Heffernans' marriage, as well as a secondary story about Arthur Spooner's (Jerry Stiller) wedding to Ava St. Clair (Lainie Kazan). Arthur, Carrie's father, has been living in the Heffernans' basement.
Much of the show's success is because of the chemistry between stars James and Remini.
Several years ago they told me that, off-camera, they're good friends who are completely honest with each other.
The striking part of that interview, which took place near the sets in a Sony Studios sound stage in Culver City, was how James and Remini would finish each other's comments. They sounded and acted like a married couple, and that genuineness is why "The King" has lasted nine seasons.
The stars have had the help of a great supporting cast. Stiller made Arthur hilarious but distinct from his previous character, George's dad on "Seinfeld."
James and Remini said Stiller would surprise them by adding a twist to a scene during the filming before a studio audience. The cast and the audience loved it.
Stiller, who has a long history on stage and TV and is the father of movie star Ben Stiller, remains one of the best comics on TV. He can be funny by being angry and flustered or by being low-key.
He shows his range in Monday's finale, and a special treat is seeing Stiller perform with his real-life wife, Anne Meara, who plays Veronica. They have performed together ever since they first met. It would be great if they ended up on another sitcom.
It's sad to see "The King of Queens" leave the air. But unlike "7th Heaven" and "Gilmore Girls," both which are ending after running out of good stories, "The King of Queens" is leaving while it's still worthy of its crown. And it'll live indefinitely in syndicated reruns.
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