29 July 2004 | vertigo_14
The state of American television: More dimwitted prime-time sitcoms.
The 'King of Queens' is your basic simplistic American sitcom. A few corny jokes here and there, stupid situations, and your typical, formulaic character arrangement.
The show is basically about Doug, (Kevin James) a crude, fat delivery guy who is your typical pretentious chauvinist, a staple of male characters in American sitcoms these days. Ray Romano ('Everybody Loves Raymond') and Hank Hill ('King of the Hill') are similar types. He is the self-indulgent kind of guy who lives according to the assumptions of what a guy is supposed to do.
He shares a house in Queens with annoying and sometimes temperamental wife, Carrie (Leah Remini). She is the typical wife character, similar to the wife on 'Everybody Loves Raymond' (only Carrie is funny), which is not surprising since they're both on CBS. She is the staple of sitcom wives (especially CBS and ABC sitcoms) as the guiding figure who tries to get her impulsive, stupid husband to see the err in his ways. A more sophisticated version of 'Home Improvement.' To be fair, these shows often portray the husband as the idiot and the wife as the all-knowing figure, and as such, the husband comes off funny and the wife just comes off as painstakingly annoying.
The other characters in the show is the terrific Jerry Stiller (who deserves better material), perhaps the more interesting subject of the show, as the father-in-law. He often has some really oddball ideas, some of which tend to get Doug in trouble with his wife.
Then, like all of these sitcoms of it's kind, there are Doug's stupid friends who are so miserably stupid, it's often a pain to watch them. Darhma and Greg had this kind of character on the show, the "man's man" guy who worked with Greg at the law firm. At least Darhma's friend were weird, but they were funny, and not so completely brain dead. Basically, 'King of Queens' makes your male characters to be complete and utter idiots, and the situations aren't so funny as realizing how stupid these people are. And what do you know, they've become pop culture icons? It's no surprise, really.
'King of Queens' is not all that funny. The jokes are pretty stupid. But Doug, as one of those "man's man" types, who have to double check with the book on how men are supposed to behave in order to avoid all appearances of giving in to the woman or worse, probably being accused of being homosexual. And it happens with the slightest, most stupid things, too, like how a person stands, or what kind of things they may stand next too. Shallow characters are pretty much all that invade our sitcoms anymore, and is likely more reflective of American culture overall. Would this, and other shows like it, be so popular if it weren't?
Doug and Carrie, and the relationship with the father-in-law and friends hardly seem normal. Like the characters of 'Everybody Loves Raymond' where none of the family members seem to be able to tolerate one another, it's a wonder why Doug and Carrie would even want to be married to each other. They often seem quite intolerant of each other's habits and so forth, at least before the final credits call.
The jokes are stupid, the characters are formulaic, and the entire show is just ridiculous. American sitcoms (should the networks decide to put money in anything than worthless "reality TV" shows) are in desperate need of good material. King of Queens just ain't cutting it.