Sony // 2000 // 557 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Bill Treadway (Retired) // August 4th, 2004
The King is back! Funnier. Feistier. And more lovable than ever.
The second season of The King of Queens features the further adventures of Doug Heffernan (Kevin James), the likable IPS delivery man who resides in Queens. With his wife Carrie (Leah Remini, Saved by the Bell, Who's the Boss?) and father-in-law Arthur Spooner (Jerry Stiller, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, Seinfeld), Doug discovers that life has its share of ups and downs as the King of Queens.
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed The King of Queens when I was given the first season to review. I had never seen an episode during the initial run. If you know me at all, you know that I usually have Turner Classic Movies, the WWE, or the Independent Film Channel on most nights. After popping the first disc into my player, I became a fan of the show. I now catch it during syndication as well as watching the first-run episodes on CBS.
What makes the program so appealing is Kevin James's Everyman persona. You can relate to the dilemmas Doug Heffernan finds himself in each and every week. This is a hard-working man who does the same things you and I often do. Many sitcoms die because they feature protagonists whom the audience cannot relate to. The King of Queens works because every situation is completely plausible, no matter how ridiculous it seems at first. The ensemble of James, Leah Remini, and Jerry Stiller works so well together. Each actor has been perfectly cast in an ideal role. They all have individual chemistry, and that helps sell the comedy as well as the snippets of drama that appear periodically.
Trivia fans will want to take note of this tidbit. James makes a reference to Cactus Jack in the episode "Soft Touch." James attended Ward Melville High School with Mick Foley (a.k.a. Cactus Jack). They were both on the wrestling team, as a matter of fact. I wonder how many of their former classmates think about that today.
Twenty-five episodes from the second season have been compiled onto three discs. I have rated the episodes on a scale of zero to five stars:
* "Queasy Rider"
Doug purchases a motorcycle over Carrie's objections.
* "Female Problems"
Carrie's best friend makes Doug insanely jealous.
* "Assaulted Nuts"
Doug manages to staple his testicles to his legs when he plays with his staple gun at work.
* "Parent Trapped"
Doug and Carrie are asked to be Kirby's godparents, which causes turmoil.
* "Dire Strayts"
A chilly evening is in the cards when the Barones (from Everybody Loves Raymond) visit the Heffernans.
* "Doug Out"
Doug invites Arthur to the Mets game but gets into big trouble when Arthur wants a fly ball.
* "Tube Stakes"
Doug's huge television set is stolen after Carrie leaves the garage door open overnight.
* "Get Away"
Doug and Carrie's vacation is spoiled by the constant strains of Marvin Gaye streaming from Deacon and Kelly's room.
* "Roamin' Holiday"
Thanksgiving equals havoc at the Heffernans' home.
* "I, Candy"
Doug's ego inflates after a pretty waitress looks him over.
* "Sparing Carrie"
Doug must cut Carrie from his bowling team if he wants to retain Coopers' sponsorship.
* "Net Prophets"
Doug and Carrie decide to invest his Christmas bonus in the stock market.
* "Block Buster"
Doug's reunion with his old football team reopens old wounds.
* "Frozen Pop"
Arthur sleeps in Carrie's office after his basement room becomes too cold.
* "Party Favor"
Doug's plans for a bachelor party for his cousin Danny are curtailed by Carrie.
* "Fair Game"
Doug is mortified after discovering that Carrie is a cheater during Game Night.
* "The Shmenkmans"
The Heffernans discover that introducing their new friends to Deacon and Kelly may have been a big mistake.
* "Meet Byproduct"
Travel back to the night on which Doug met Carrie.
* "Wild Cards"
Deacon convinces Doug to go to Atlantic City for the night.
* "Surprise Artie"
Carrie begs Doug to keep Arthur out of the house so that she can set up his surprise birthday party.
* "Big Dougie"
Doug becomes a Big Brother after Deacon does.
* "Soft Touch"
Doug is suckered into a pyramid scheme by his neighbor Tim (Bryan Cranston, Malcolm in the Middle, Brooklyn South).
* "Restaurant Row"
Doug is banned from his favorite Italian restaurant after Carrie insults the headwaiter.
* "The Whine Country"
Doug and Carrie argue over where to spend their vacation.
* "Flower Power"
Carrie attempts to ignite new sparks in her marriage with Doug.
Columbia did really fine work with the first season of The King of Queens. I mention that only to emphasize my disappointment with the video transfer of the second season. The image is still fairly good, especially when compared to the prints used for syndication. However, the grain is often a tad too strong for my taste. Considering that this is a fairly recent television series shot on 35mm film with Panavision cameras, it shouldn't look this grainy and sterile. Even the colors could be brighter than they are. At least edge enhancement is nil and there are no blemishes in the print other than the grain.
Audio is a decent Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround stereo mix. It doesn't sound quite as sharp as the first season, but it is more than acceptable. The dialogue is easily understood, and the music sounds fresh enough to satisfy the pickiest viewer.
Columbia offers a few extras for the most committed of fans. First is a commentary track by Kevin James and series creator Michael Weithorn. As was the case with their previous track, the participants are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the program. Plus their banter is a whole lot of fun to listen to. A brief (15-minute) featurette titled "Kevin James: The Life of an International Superstar" gives us a glimpse into the life of James and a good idea of what he is really like: a nice guy. Other than some trailers for other Columbia Tristar box sets, there's not much else. It would have been nice to have two episodes from the third season, since the first box set offered a tantalizing preview of the next one. The practice serves as an appetizer and should be continued.
Columbia has set the retail price for the second season of The King of Queens at $39.99. That is a more than fair price for three discs filled with hilarious episodes of an unsung sitcom that deserves more attention. The commentary track and featurette also add to the value. Do me a favor and bring The King of Queens into your castle.
Review content copyright © 2004 Bill Treadway; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 557 Minutes
Release Year: 2000
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Commentary by Actor Kevin James and Creator Michael Weithorn
* "Kevin James: The Life of an International Superstar" Featurette
* Previews of Other Columbia Box Sets
* Official Site