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October 23, 2014

The King of Queens' 200th episode same as the other 199... is that so bad?

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 10th 2007 2:20PM
The King of QueensBelieve it or not, The King of Queens aired its 200th episode last night. They didn't do anything special to celebrate it. No guest stars, no plot twists, no revelations; Kevin James and company just did the same thing they've been doing since 1998, which is put on a funny show that will never be compared to The Office, but it won't be compared to According to Jim, either.

The plots? Doug and Carrie wonder how Deacon and Kelly can afford a vacation home when they can't, and do their best to try to find out. Also, Arthur coaches Spence in the art of finding a new job, then swoops in and steals a position Spence was looking to get. Nothing different than we haven't seen before, and the humor was the same: some laugh-out-loud moments, a few chuckle-worthy moments, mostly generated by the actors' timing and skill rather than the script itself.

A sitcom reaching 200 episodes doesn't happen often; I read an AP article yesterday that King only the seventh sitcom to reach that mark since 1990 (the other seven are Cheers, Frasier, Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond, That '70s Show and Home Improvement... I guess cartoons like The Simpsons and King of the Hill don't count). But, given the high profile of most of the other members of the "200 Club" , it's remarkable how King has reached this milestone despite almost zero publicity, little critical buzz, and multiple shifts around the CBS schedule.

But when you look closely, you understand the reasons for its staying power: quality comedic actors and decent writing. Think about it: would Patton Oswalt be everyone's favorite alt-comedian if he didn't get his start as the pathetic Spence? Leah Remini, while being very easy on the eyes, was also a pretty experienced sitcom actor before she got the role of Carrie (remember that Who's the Boss? spin-off Living Dolls? Ok, not the best example...). Kevin James actually was a better actor off the bat than Ray Romano was on Raymond. And, of course, we all know Jerry Stiller's comic pedigree.

And, despite the fact that this show started the "fat husband/hot wife" era of comedy, the show's writing was better than most of the ones in that genre. Why? Because for every goofy laugh-baiting line (Carrie: "What are you going to do with a canoe in Queens?" Doug: "What couldn't I do with a canoe in Queens?") there was a lot of humor that came from how well we knew the characters. For instance, I always found the dynamic between Spence and Danny to be funny because they act like an old married couple instead of straight male roommates. Also, Carrie hiring dogwalker Holly to walk her father Arthur every day is something that I've never seen in any other sitcom.

I think the best episodes of the show always involved the "friendship" between the Heffernans and the Palmers. In a single episode, Doug and Carrie have a tendency to show how they can simultaneously be best friends and bitter enemies with Deacon and Kelly. It's amazing how cruel the couples can be to each other right after enjoying a fun dinner together or a weekend trip with each other. Is it realistic? Probably not; friends who are that vindictive to each other don't stay friends long. But seeing the one-upsmanship they go through to get the upper hand is always entertaining (my favorite was when the Palmers got Doug and Carrie a very ugly portrait of them as revenge for the Heffernans getting them a racially inappropriate sculpture).

Will I miss King when it goes off the air for good at the end of this season? Probably not; it was never appointment TV for me, and the show runs often enough in reruns that I can drop in on it whenever I want. But King proved that, like Raymond, Old Christine, and Two and a Half Men, a multi-camera sitcom can still be viable if written and acted well. TV wouldn't be TV without the "old-fashioned" sitcom still on the air, and I hope that CBS finds another good one of that style to take King's place. And, no, I'm not referring to Rules of Engagement...

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Bash

I hope Spence will learn someday not to trust Arthur :-)

"Do we tell them about the botched boob-job?"

I loved how Decon shuddered when he turned away :-)

KoQ IS a funny show and yes I was pretty annoyed that Leah Remini got _that_ fat but now she's normal again and as long as she does not bother other people with that "my faith is the only one that can help you get away from addictions" crap like Tom Cruise does it, she can believe whatever the heck she wants to. In the end, all those groups are nothing else than rotary clubs to meet people to get jobs. In my hometown it's the voluntary fire-department and I don't like those fat drinking firemen-bastards either ;-)

April 11 2007 at 11:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brian

First of all, enough with the fat guy/hot wife criticism. At best it's nonsensical. At worst, it's unoriginal. Besides, tell it to Jackie Gleason. He was something of a success in his day, I hear.

As to The Office comparison, it's no Office (my favorite show). Then again, even Steve Carell will tell you there's no one at Dunder-Mifflin as funny or with one-tenth the comedic resume of Jerry Stiller. He's one of the greats, and he has made Queens more than just the formulaic sit-com it could have been. And Kevin James is just a funny guy.

No one should be surprised they've reached the 200-episode mark.

April 10 2007 at 8:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Borat

It is a good show. One of those "safe" shows...you can always rely on it to provide a few laughs. I loved the character of "Arthur".

April 10 2007 at 7:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bgdc

Rayman?

April 10 2007 at 5:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David

I don't hate the show, I hate fat sitcoms good wives shows. Plus I think this should have ended a few seasons ago.

And is King of Queens considered an Everyone Loves Rayman spinoff because he was on the show before.

April 10 2007 at 4:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joel Keller

Ah, but now Leah is hot again. Maybe her thetan levels have gone up in the last year or so. Or she just starved off the baby weight. Not sure.

April 10 2007 at 4:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bgdc

Once upon a time there was a reason to watch King of Queens. Then Leah packed on so many pounds you could believe she'd be married to Kevin James.

April 10 2007 at 4:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
matriculated

I've only caught onto King of Queens when it was released into reruns (hardto avoid it when it's on multiple times a day). But I was surprised at how funny it could be at times - sure it's not brilliant but it does have it moments. I loved the one opening to an episode where Doug strong armed Carrie's Dad into saying ketchup properly (not catsup) by squeezing the entire bottle onto his hamburger.

April 10 2007 at 4:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
pablo

Ok, here's someone who loves King of Queens. I really enjoy everything good about the show, as written in this post. I haven't kept up with it as much in the last few years because of my schedule, but I remember it being compared to 'The Honeymooners' more than once. It's not flashy, it's not edgy, it's just funny. It seems to have fewer gimmicks and just lets the actors be funny. It works for me. (BTW, I might say similar things about Wings, so that might explain why I disagree with Scott)

April 10 2007 at 4:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tyt

I like The King of Queens. I think it's a great show and my wife and I watch at least one episode each night. You can catch about 5 episodes a day if you want. Great acting, funny stories and good characters. I agree that I won't really miss it when it's gone and I never really hang onto each episode, but it's a funny show and hopefully each of the actors will move on to other shows.

April 10 2007 at 3:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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