Sony // 2004 // 528 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // October 11th, 2006
I will be driving back home to you. Oh, yes. I will.
One of the few successful sitcoms out there, The King of Queens has enjoyed a fairly healthy broadcast run on CBS. Blah blah blah here's the sixth season.
Here we have the story of the Heffernans, Doug (Kevin James, Hitch) and Carrie (Leah Remini), a blue-collared married couple who surround themselves with quirky friends and a wacko father-in-law (Jerry Stiller). Life is a struggle for Doug and Carrie, as they constantly deal with finances and their occasional relationship melees. Thankfully love -- and laughter -- triumphs!
This season finds the Queens crew dealing with Stacy's layoff, a guilt-ridden Thanksgiving, Deacon's reconciled marriage, Doug's arch-enemy from junior high school (Jon Favreau), a botched Honeymoon getaway, Arthur's quest to sucker someone into his Christmas card picture, and Doug's dramatic weight-loss (and Carrie's "mysterious" weight gain).
Three discs, 24 episodes:
* "Doug Less, Part I"
* "Doug Less, Part II"
* "King Pong"
* "Dreading Vows"
* "Nocturnal Omission"
* "Affidavit Justice"
* "Secret Garden"
* "Eggsit Strategy"
* "Thanks, Man"
* "American Idle"
* "Santa Claustrophobia"
* "Dougie Houser"
* "Frigid Heirs"
* "Switch Sitters"
* "Cheap Saks"
* "Damned Yanky"
* "Multiple Plots"
* "Trash Talker"
* "Precedent Nixin"
* "Foe: Pa"
* "Tank Heaven"
* "Alter Ego"
* "Icky Shuffle"
* "Awful Bigamy"
Full disclosure: I pretty much loathe all sitcoms on TV these days. In fact, I think the traditional sitcom is hobbling towards extinction, and not soon enough. I haven't seen any recent three-camera production that can approach gems like Arrested Development, Curb Your Enthusiasm, or The Office. And the only "orthodox" series I can recall really enjoying was Seinfeld, but that's as unorthodox as you'll get.
Okay, that long-winded preface was thrown in there to just say this: King of Queens is probably one of the best traditional sitcoms I've seen recently, meaning, I can tolerate it okay. It's a decent show, I think, that has that intangible charm working for it. Lots of people really dislike it and I can probably see where they're coming from, but of all the half-assed sitcoms that are out there to annoy me, this one offends me the least.
Pretty much all that has to do with Kevin James. I don't know what he's like in real life, but the guy comes across as self-deprecating and just-obnoxious-enough-to-be-funny on the show. If he dialed his "obnoxious meter" just a few degrees up, I think his Doug character would be unbearable, but he's struck the right balance. It also helps that the producers haven't employed an over-enthusiastic laugh track, which I hate with the fire of a hundred suns.
Another bonus: the fine supporting cast assembled around James. Victor Williams as Doug's best friend Deacon is appropriately dry (though the writers pigeon-hole him with too many hacky racial jokes, including a bit from the Thanksgiving episode that was lifted directly from a Chris Rock routine), Patton Oswalt is always hilarious no matter how weak the material is, and Jerry Stiller pretty much reprises his role as Frank Constanza. The only one who didn't do it for me: Leah Remini. It pains me to poo-poo a former Saved by the Bell alum, but that spitfire shtick set sail several seasons back.
Storylines are nicely balanced between rooted-somewhat-in-reality and totally whacked, allowing for some really funny moments. A few of my favorite plotlines from this season: Doug's helplessness in the face of the rules that govern playing "catch," Spence's unrequited love (with guest star Rachel Dratch), Arthur and Doug's overly competitive shuffleboard game, and Doug's discovery of the "two-wife phenomenon." It's not genius comedy, but it is far from unwatchable.
This set from Sony is a content-only presentation. No extras, though at least there are some episode synopses in the accompanying booklet. Try to look the past the desperate-to-be-clever episode titles.
Season Six also finds Remini filling out due to her pregnancy. The producers tried to hide the gestation, but her appearance drastically changes, and no amount of dark, loose-fitting clothes can hid the fact that she was a big bad mama.
No, The King of Queens is not groundbreaking television comedy, but it is straightforward and unpretentious sitcom engineering that doesn't make we want to dropkick the TV.
Onward, your "majesty."
Review content copyright © 2006 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 528 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated