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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The King of Queens - The Complete Second Season
The King of Queens - The Complete Second Season
Columbia/Tri-Star // Unrated // April 20, 2004
List Price: $39.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeffrey Robinson | posted May 10, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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The Second Season

The King of Queens is one of those shows that lacks a strong plotline and doesn't seem to carry much from episode to episode. In other words, you can pretty much watch any episode and not miss anything too important. The real enjoyment from a series like this doesn't come from a long unfolding story that is revealed over the course of the series' lifespan, but rather the excitement that builds from each individual episode. The King of Queens is a plain and simple comedy. While it isn't the most comic show to hit television, it's still a pretty hilarious show.

During the show's first season, the theme of the show was set. The King of Queens is the story about the daily lives of a young married couple, Doug (Kevin James) and Carrie Heffernan (Leah Remini), and Carrie's father Arthur Spooner (Jerry Stiller). This same theme is carried into the second season and as a result, season two feels like an extension of season one. This isn't necessarily bad, but fifty episodes of the same stuff can be a bit too much. In season two (like season one), each episode pretty much focuses upon Doug and/or Carrie getting in some kind of dilemma and Arthur doing something totally obscure. The result of the Heffernan's dilemma and Arthur as an oddity make for some great comedy.

The storyline of each episode on its own isn't truly funny. For example, in the first episode of season two, "Queasy Rider", Doug is thinking about buying a motorcycle, but Carrie seems to have already made Doug's decision. In this episode, we take a look at the couple feuding and brooding. There's also a little side quest, as Arthur gets a job at a fast food restaurant. On their own merit, these situations aren't very funny. However, the characters of James and Stiller are extremely hilarious. It's the cast that can take some rather dry situations in life and turn them into comedy. James is just a funny guy a general. Originally a stand-up comic, he does a wonderful job to bring a comical personality in front of the camera. Stiller is also very funny and is well-known for his role as Frank Costanza in Seinfeld. Stiller seems to take the same odd and loud personality that was Frank Costanza into his role as Arthur Spooner. This sets up Stiller's character for some fairly amusing opportunities. The last of the main characters isn't a comical genius. While Remini as Carrie has a few good lines, she pales in comparison to the droll of James and Stiller. Remini's character seems to have a serious personality. This in contrast to the characters of James and Stiller make their interactions worth a few laughs.

While there are episodes that aren't entirely funny by themselves, there are a few episodes that scream funny. In "Assaulted Nuts", Doug has an accident at work, where he puts a staple in the wrong place. This is one of those situations that are funny, unless of course, it happened to you. Another hysterical episode, "Party Favor", features a rather poorly planned and executed bachelor party. When Doug gets bullied into throwing his cousin a bachelor party, Carrie gets a little jealous at Doug's decisions for a stripper and seems to take over. It's all downhill from there.

In addition to the comedy of the show being mainly attributed to James and Stiller, the supporting and guest stars make a fair contribution. Introduced in the first season, Deacon Palmer (Victor Williams), Spence Olchin (Patton Oswalt), and Richie Lannucci (Larry Romano) return as reoccurring characters in season two as the good friends of Doug Heffernan. Each adds a slightly different personality to the show. Deacon is probably Doug's best friend. He's not the funniest guy in the world, but he tends to bring an interesting mix to Doug's character. Since the two are such great friends, naturally, they spend a lot of time together. It's in these situations that Doug and Carrie end up in some hilarious situations. Spence, a man who is way past his twenties, still lives with his mother. He's not the coolest guy in the world and his nerdy antics bring a few laughs to the fore. Richie is sort of like the Joey Tribbiani of Friends. He's a babe magnet and not really the smartest guy on the block. The humor from this character comes from the fairly stupid and obvious points of life.

An enjoyable episode that depicts the supporting cast and their interactions with Heffernans is in "Sparing Carrie". In this episode, Doug is pressured by his friends to drop Carrie from the bowling team. While Deacon, Spence, and Richie do not add a whole lot to the episode, they get in a few good lines. This episode wouldn't have been very much without these three. It's a great example episode of how Doug's friends can really bring out the best in him. Besides the reoccurring supporting case, one of my favorite parts about this show are the joint episodes with the cast of Everybody Loves Raymond. Similar to the first season, Ray Barone and his wife join up with the Heffernans in "Dire Strayts". This is a great episode that puts two great comedians side-by-side. I was a little disappointed that there was only one joint episode in this season, as season one had two episodes.

Initially, with the first season, I was truly amazed and I couldn't stop laughing. However, after watching the first and second season back to back, my impressions have slightly changed. The show isn't as good as I originally thought, though it's still much better than several shows out there. The repetitive nature of the show can get a little old. While I was very impressed with the ways that both James and Stiller handled their characters, they didn't seem to bring very much in terms of new content. For instance, Stiller's raving lunacy that makes his character funny can get annoying after a while. Overall, The King of Queens is a good show and while it's not great, it deserves a spot in your collection.

The DVD

Video:
The second season of The King of Queens is presented in 1.33:1 ratio full frame color. Similar to the first season release, twenty-five episodes have been crammed onto two dual-layered DVDs and one single-layered DVD, with the first two discs each containing ten episodes and the third disc with five. At a first glance, this may cause some concern in terms of quality, as the necessary level of compression to fit this much data can cause problems. However, the picture quality does not suffer greatly. It has been remastered and looks as good as decent gets. There are noticeable traces of grain and slight color defects that are a result of the compression. However, the troublesome issues are not dire. The picture looks sharper than its broadcast/cable television brethren. Overall, you shouldn't be disappointed, but you definitely won't be impressed.

Sound:
This DVD release is complimented with an English Dolby Digital Stereo sound audio track. The audio sounds very crisp and clean, but it is very flat. Of course, there isn't a huge demand for a large dynamic audio track. The main focus is dialogue and not sound effects. In addition, following a common practice, the audio track includes a laughter track during the "comical" peaks. After a while, hopefully you will be able to ignore it. It's mildly annoying, but a feature of a good number of sitcoms. This release is also does not contain any subtitle options, but is closed caption enabled.

Extras:
The extras are fairly light in this release, a single commentary and a featurette. The audio commentary is provided for the episode "Net Prophets" and features Kevin James and creator/executive producer Michael Weithorn. The other extra is a 12 minute featurette, entitled "A Day in the Life of An International Superstar Kevin James". This featurette is comprised of clips that include behind the scenes with James in a few different situations. It's not the most interesting 12 minutes, but it does contain a few laughs. Well, if that doesn't sway you, there's one more extra special feature! Trailers! Obviously, they're not much help for the extras department. These limited special features aren't extremely impressive and offer little entertainment. Most likely they won't be an influence in your decision to purchase The King of Queens: The Complete Second Season. You'll have to rely upon the comic genius of the cast.

Final Thoughts:
Any fan of The King of Queens will be more than happy with the second season release, in terms of content and not special features. Personally, I've become a fan of the show. I really enjoyed season two, but there were a few episodes that just didn't sit right. This was simply due to the show's lack of growth from season to season. The content seemed to be very similar from episode to episode. This lack of variety becomes tiresome after a while. The bottom line is that if you've ever enjoyed an episode of the King of Queens, you'll get a kick out of season two. In contrast, if you've never enjoyed the series, it's probably in your best interests to skip season two. Well, if you fall into the former and not the latter, The King of Queens: The Complete Second Season easily deserves a recommendation.

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