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April 23, 2014

The King of Queens: China Syndrome, Parts 1 & 2 (series finale)

by Joel Keller, posted May 14th 2007 10:02PM
The King of Queens finale
(S09E12 / S09E13)
Last month, I wrote a post praising The King of Queens for not making their 200th episode into any kind of "special" episode, just doing the same goofy but funny comedy the show has always done. There was no character development, no great revelations, no massive earth-shattering changes, and no story arcs. I expected them to do the same for the finale; just show another day in the life of the Heffernans and fade to black.

We got none of that; in fact, everything I listed above was exactly what we got, not only in this one-hour finale, but the two episodes before that. Drama isn't this show's strong suit, and it made for a finale that was wildly out of character in comparison with the rest of the series.

For those who haven't been keeping up -- and why would you have needed to, given this show's history? -- Carrie moved to Manhattan to the apartment she always wanted (it took ten years for it to become available... damn rent control), but Doug stayed behind in Queens, causing a rift in their marriage. In the meantime, one-time diva Eva St. Claire (played by Lainie Kazan) asks Arthur to marry her, and he moves out of Doug and Carrie's house. While the Heffernans are separated, Spence helps Carrie get situated in her apartment and temporarily falls in love with her in the process (WTF?). Doug and Carrie settle their differences and agree to fly to China and adopt a baby; Doug agrees to get a better job, and Carrie agrees to get rid of the apartment. However, in a fit of jealousy, Spence calls Doug anonymously and tells him that she's still using the apartment.

Why did I go through all this plot summary? Because I just wanted to show you the soapy silliness that was used to set up the finale. It was so unlike how the show always operated, it just made it feel like I was watching a different show than the one that had been on during the previous nine years. In the finale, we see Doug being pissed at Carrie to the point where he gets drunk and stalks around before Arthur's wedding sans pants, Arthur get dumped by Eva because he's not gay, Arthur marrying Spence's mom as a substitute (always good to see real husband-and-wife pair Anne Meara and Jerry Stiller play scenes together. They've always had great chemistry), the Heffernans breaking up and racing to China to see who would adopt the baby, a big speech by Leah Remini, and the Heffernans making up in time to adopt the baby and find out that Carrie's pregnant... on the same day.

Ye gods. That was way too much character development to cram into an hour, and that seems to be a big weakness of many sitcom finales; the writers make so many changes to the characters' lives, they forget to write decent jokes. King's companion show, Everybody Loves Raymond, is a good example of a show that ended the way it began: with a day in the life of the Barones. This is what King should have done. There were less laughs in this episode than there are in a normal King episode, and that's because the laughs would have squeezed out the drama.

There were a few funny moments in the finale, though; Spence and Danny making up, Deacon trying to get Doug's pants on, Kelly listing every moment when Doug let Carrie down, Arthur in gay biker gear, and poor pregnant Holly walking around the wedding pretending that her estranged husband was in the bathroom, and pretty much any scene Lou Ferrigno was in (I always loved the fact that Lou is the Heffernans' neighbor). The funniest line was, as you'd expect, given by Jerry Stiller; when Arthur's about to walk down the aisle with Victoria, the little flower girl keeps asking "Where's my Aunt Eva?" Arthur's response? "She's your Aunt Eva now! Get movin'!"

rating 3In the realm of series finales, this one wasn't awful; Seinfeld's finale pretty much takes the cake as the worst one ever. But the writers would have been better served following the lead of their friends at Raymond, and kept to the spirit of the show. I'll give this one a 3.

(The King of Queens - S09E12/S09E13) How do you rate this episode?
1 - Worst140 (8.5%)
2104 (6.3%)
3132 (8.0%)
4228 (13.8%)
5306 (18.6%)
6226 (13.7%)
7 - Best513 (31.1%)

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43 Comments

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Roxi

This really sucks that its over with, all the really good shows they take off and the gay ones stay.I sure am going to miss watching them before I fall off to sleep.

June 13 2007 at 10:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tabbycat

King of Queens was one of the best television sitcoms of all time - with an amazing, talented cast. I am terribly sad to see it end. I thought the finale was very good - I loved that Arthur ended up marrying Veronica! The baby thing was overkill, however. The fact that Doug and Carrie were not parents was part of the show's charm. Someone commented earlier regarding an inconsistency in the storyline about Carrie's mother - this type of contradiction was par for the course on KOQ.
The continuity in this series was almost non-existent. My fiance and I found it amusing to try and catch all of the discrepancies.

Another great aspect of the show, was the appearance of the cast's family members. Not only Jerry Stiller's wife, Ann Meara, but also their daughter (waitress at the coffee shop) as well as Ben Stiller, who played Arthur's father in a flashback scene. Leah Remini's husband appeared in three episodes, each time as a different character. Carrie's nail lady, Sue was played by Kevin James' wife. And of course, he and Gary Valentine are brothers.

I share Rob's sentiment: It does feel like a good friend has left forever. King of Queens,
you will truly be missed.

May 26 2007 at 11:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Angela

I was (and still am) a huge fan for KoQ. I will definately miss it. I admire Carrie's no-nonsense attitude so much my husband says I am beginning to act more and more like her.

Unfortunately my stupid DVR didnt record the second part of the finale so I can't judge how well I liked or didn't like the last show.

It seems it would be difficult to make a bad episode of KoQ. My true thoughts are no one is ever satisfied with the series finale of a good show because you just don't want it to end. I didn't want Raymond, Friends, Will and Grace and few others to end so I doubt that any finale would have received my blessing.

Thanks for the opportunity to express myself. Now that I've got this off my chest I can begin the grieving process...lol!

May 22 2007 at 12:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Christie

The song is "Milk & Honey" by Million Billion.

May 16 2007 at 11:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cheri

I also would like to know if anyone knows the name/artist who sang the song at the end during the slideshow? The lyrics said something about, "Are you down for the ride". I have tried to search this on the web, but can't find it.

May 16 2007 at 12:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sandra

We love every character in the show! THeir expressions are now part of our dialogue. CLASSIC in every way!
Thank heaven for reruns . I think we've seen every episode so many times we can recite alot of them by heart.Thanks for a great show!

May 16 2007 at 10:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Elaine

We have no idea what to watch now that KoQ is over. The Sopranos are ending too, and we really have no idea what is even worth watching anymore besides According to Jim (one of the last two remaining working class couple/family shows left, along with George Lopez).
KoQ sort of lost me when they kept switching the night it was on, I wonder if the ratings went down because of this, hence the canceling of the show? We'll miss you Dougie and Carrie and Arthur!

May 16 2007 at 9:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Matthew B

Well I watched the finale of K 0f Q and was very disappointed. Why you ask, well it deals with the adoption. I know this is "only" tv but, my wife and I are in the 17 month of our adoption process from China. K of Q could not have been any further off base with there portrayal of the process. Currently the wait time from signing the contract to receiving the child is running 2 to 2 and 1/2 years. A couple who is separated has a snowballs chance in hell to be approved and you would be lucky to get a child under 10 months old, not 4 days old as was in the show.

I know its only TV but the protrayal should have been a bit more realalistic.

May 16 2007 at 7:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
anthony

One of my favorite shows and sad to see it go. You don't see shows go on for this long anymore because it's just too hard to keep a successful team together. The stars become movie stars, the writers move to other projects, and everyone wants more money. It will live forever in reruns and I think it belongs up there with some of the great sitcoms of our time...

May 15 2007 at 10:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
robert davis

Kevin James is the greatest comic since the 40's. He has everything on the ball. funny, has the greatest smile he usus his eyes to make a feeling. He is fast and quick with his responses. I tryly miss the episodes. I watch everynight the replays. I had seen them over and over and still enjoy them. He should make a comeback on king of queens. He's the best.

May 15 2007 at 10:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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