STUDIO: Sony Pictures
MSRP: $19.99
RATED: Not rated
RUNNING TIME: 274 minutes

The Pitch

The final season of a fat delivery guy and his hot wife going postal on each other.

The Humans

Kevin James, Leah Remini, Jerry Stiller, Victor Williams, Patton Oswalt.

Okay honey, I’m off to screw up for this episode so we can have our makeup sex later…

The Nutshell

IPS delivery truck driver Doug Heffernan (James) and his wife, Carrie (Remini), a secretary in a law firm, are doing their best to live the American dream without killing each other in their house in Queens, NY. Residing with them in their basement is Carrie’s widower father, Arthur Spooner (Stiller), who’s a frequent source of angst and annoyance for them both with his eccentricities. Doug is a guy’s guy who likes to eat a lot, drink a lot, hang out with his buddies and frequently gets into some kind of trouble with Carrie via a hair-brained scheme or lapse in better judgment. While Carrie is an anal retentive control freak with the mouth of a sailor who tries to keep Doug on the straight and narrow. Together they provided laughs for nine seasons.

I thought it was really nice that Remini was willing to fulfill my Sheena fantasy…

The Lowdown

The King of Queens wasn’t a show that I caught regularly during its first-run episodes, but one that I’ve watched quite often in syndication. It’s one of the better sitcoms of the last decade and one of the only ones I could not only consistently tolerate but actually enjoyed. The formula for the show was nothing new, and in fact is quite derivative of many other sitcoms, but what really worked for the show was the casting and rapport of James, Remini and Stiller. James and Remini especially were funny and James’ sheepish reactions as Doug to the predicaments he frequently got himself into and his actual fear of Carrie were a one trick pony, but one that they rode successfully for nine years.

James was eminently likeable in his role and Doug is exactly like you if you’re married or is one of your married buddies that we all have. Just a regular blue collar guy with a penchant for insinuating himself into a funnily lame situation that he has to scam his way out of for fear of Carrie finding out and reading him the riot act. Whereas Remini is that rare blend of hotness, sauciness, sarcasm and volatility that made a bitchy New York housewife fun to watch. Although Stiller was also suitably fun as Arthur, it’s impossible not to note that he essentially carried over his Frank Costanza character from Seinfeld and repackaged him for this role. Arthur isn’t as volatile as Frank, and he’s quite a bit more loopy, but many of the earmarks of Frank can definitely be seen in Arthur. It would almost be like if Michael Richards had been cast as the slightly quirky hipster doofus next door neighbor of the Heffernans. Nevertheless, Arthur is an amusing caricature and source of many punch lines for the show.

A typical reaction when the Mets manage to win a game here and there.

If you’re looking for originality in King Of Queens, you’re wasting your time. The vast majority of the set ups and situations are textbook sitcom shenanigans. Doug is the less responsible, big kid of a husband that is afraid of his wife and Carrie is the dependable one who wears the pants and is generally the “straight man” of the show. Many of the jokes center around Doug’s weight or Carrie’s bitchiness and you’ve seen this kind of dynamic in virtually any sitcom and any lesser show would have been run off the airwaves almost immediately. What makes these trite sitcom premises work episode after episode are James, Remini, Stiller and the writing which, although hardly ever original, is nonetheless usually very witty and plays to the strengths of its actors. James and Remini have a great rapport and they equally play well off of Stiller. Supporting characters Deacon (Williams) and Spence (Oswalt) are also well cast and frequently add a lot of laughs to the show.

"I love you and I want you to be my wife, Carrie. I’ll love you far into the future when the Jets aren’t sucking anymore…"

This was the last season for the show and some of the episodes included “Mama Cast” where Doug invested the Heffernans’ tax return check in an ice cream truck without consulting Carrie. “Moxie Moron” finds Carrie getting upset that one of her workmates gets a promotion that Carrie was up for by “Stealing Carrie’s moxie”. Meanwhile, Doug has to take over the IPS office to disastrous results. “Ruff Goin’” has Doug adopting a dog without consulting Carrie and turning it into a lazier creature than himself.” In “Mild Bunch”, Doug goes stag to his high school reunion while Carrie tries to chill at home with her father. And the series finale, “China Syndrome, Parts 1 and 2") find Doug and Carrie on the verge of divorcing because of problems with their living separately and also problems with a Chinese baby they planned to adopt. While Arthur has to come up with a replacement bride for his upcoming wedding.

Somewhere George Costanza was crying.

The King of Queens is boilerplate sitcom fodder straight – and I mean straight - out of the mold. The only thing that distinguishes it is that it’s a very well-written and well-acted show. Even though you can probably tell how things are going to go five minutes into almost any episode, it doesn’t matter because you know it’s still going to be funny. Unfortunately, there’s only 12 episodes in this final season, but luckily there’s over 200 episodes altogether during the show’s entire run. I’ve enjoyed this show quite a bit and it almost makes me believe that sitcoms in general are still worth watching.

The Package

The show was shot in 1:78:1 anamorphic and looks fine, and the sound is also good in Dolby. But the features? Nada. Would really have liked to hear James and Remini riff on an episode or two, especially the series finale.

Kevin James’ reaction When Jerry Stiller decided to come as Spartacus to the Halloween party.

6.8 out of 10