The King of Queens: China Syndrome, Parts 1 & 2 (series 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.
In 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.
|1 - Worst||140 (8.5%)|
|7 - Best||513 (31.1%)|