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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The King of Queens - The Complete First Season
The King of Queens - The Complete First Season
Columbia/Tri-Star // Unrated // November 18, 2003
List Price: $39.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeffrey Robinson | posted December 7, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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Highly Recommended
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The Movie

Studio: Columbia Tri-star

Television Premiere Date: September 21, 1998

DVD Release Date: November 18, 2003

Run Time: 622 Minutes

MPAA: Not Rated

Kevin James as Doug Heffernan
Leah Remini as Carrie Heffernan
Jerry Stiller as Arthur Spooner
Lisa Rieffel as Sara Spooner
Patton Oswalt as Spence Olchin
Victor Williams as Deacon Palmer
Merrin Dungey as Kelly Palmer
Larry Romano as Richie Lannucci

The Story:
Doug Heffernan (Kevin James) has the perfect life. He has a job he loves working as a delivery man for IPS. He's married to a beautiful woman, Carrie (Leah Remini). They have a nice home in Queens, New York. Just recently Doug finally got one of his biggest desires, a 70-inch television for his "safe place," the basement. Now he and his friends Spence (Patton Oswalt), Deacon (Victor Williams), and Richie (Larry Romano) can enjoy sports as it was meant to be, watching it on an oversized television set! What could go wrong for the King of Queens?

Arthur Spooner (Jerry Stiller) is the father of Carrie and father-in-law to Doug. Just recently Arthur's third wife passed away. Fortunately Arthur isn't completely alone, as his other daughter Sara (Lisa Rieffel), an aspiring self involved actress, has been living at home with Arthur. Unfortunately Arthur accidentally burns down his own home when he tries to cook his dinner. Arthur and Sara are left with no place to go. Carrie and Sara decide that the best solution is to put Arthur in a retirement home. But Carrie feels guilty and decides that she should take him in.

Unfortunately for Doug the only place to put Arthur is in the basement. The King of Queens is going to give up his "safe place" so Arthur can have his own room. So now what's the king supposed to do? Is his life going to be much different? Can Doug stand living with the eccentric father-in-law? Where will Doug, Deacon, Spence, and Richie watch TV, play foosball, drink beer? Watch season 1 unfold as various personalities intermix together to produce a hilarious television comedy.

Synopsis from DVD:
"Three's definitely a crowd for parcel post deliveryman Doug Heffernan (Kevin James), whose newly widowed father-in-law, Arthur (Jerry Stiller), has moved in with him and his wife, Carrie (Leah Remini). Doug's no longer the king of his domain--the renovated basement that houses his beloved super sized TV set--let along the king of Queens, where he lives. Can they all just get along?"

Episode List:

Season 1, Episode 1: Pilot
Original Airdate: September 21, 1998

IPS deliveryman Doug is king of his domain with a converted basement paradise that houses his brand new prized possession, a 70-inch television, given to him by his loving wife Carrie. Life has suddenly become very, very good for Doug, who becomes the envy of his sports-watching buddies. But bliss is brief when Carrie persuades him to let her recently widowed father, Arthur, move into Doug's "cave" rather than go to a retirement home. To add insult to injury, Sara, Carrie's ne'er-do-well sister, sets up camp in Doug's bathroom. Plus, the big screen TV is half blocked by the bed after it's moved to the couple's tiny bedroom.

Season 1, Episode 2: Head First
Original Airdate: October 26, 1998
Doug reluctantly invites lonely Arthur to join him and his buddies for a Friday night of beer and pool at their regular hangout. Although the evening comes to a crashing halt when Arthur picks a barroom fight, it blossoms into a huge success after Carrie shows her appreciation to Doug behind closed doors. Guided by his libido and the desire to repeat the loving thank-you, Doug becomes host and social director to Arthur, who characteristically takes over guys'-night-out and unwittingly destroys Doug's male-bonding refuge.

Season 1, Episode 3: Fat City
Original Airdate: September 28, 1998
During a tour of one of Arthur's randomly chronicled photo albums, Doug sees a photo of Carrie's heavyset mother, Sophia. Arthur's off-hand observation that all of the women in Sophia's family fatten up as they age sends Doug into a complete panic. Despite the advice of coworker Deacon, Doug hints to Carrie that she could afford to lose a few pounds. Only when the brutal aftermath of the "meaningless" suggestion settles in and Carrie's sister gives him a dose of his own medicine, does Doug begin to understand what he has done.

Season 1, Episode 4: Richie's Song
Original Airdate: October 12, 1998
During a painful double-date with Richie and his self-absorbed wife, Marie, Carrie reluctantly tells Doug that Marie's doting ways belie her wandering tendencies. After trying to confront his friend numerous times with the truth, Doug comes to realize that it's much easier knowing precious little about your buddies – more than knowing where they hide the remote gets just too sticky. Meanwhile, Arthur is hell-bent on collecting a refund for a deodorant that doesn't exactly keep its promise of "a meadow after a fresh morning rain."

Season 1, Episode 5: Cello, Goodbye
Original Airdate: October 5, 1998
Carrie's on the fast track at her new job in a Manhattan law firm. But the trappings of success – late nights at the office, free concert tickets and being surrounded by bright, dynamic people – make Doug wonder why she ever ended up with a guy like him. While painfully succumbing to boredom at a cello concert, he discovers that, despite his lowbrow tendencies, Carrie never has and never will feel she "settled" by marrying him.

Season 1, Episode 6: Paternal Affairs
Original Airdate: October 19, 1998
Doug's Aunt Sheila arrives at an anniversary party for Doug and Carrie, announcing her recent separation from Doug's Uncle Hank. Arthur is instantly smitten with Sheila and asks Doug's permission to "woo" her. To Doug's horror, Arthur's so successful that Aunt Sheila spends a string of romantic nights with Arthur under her nephew's roof. While completely against the tryst, Doug feels bad for Arthur when things don't pan out as he hopes. Meanwhile, Spence's obsession with Sara has come to an all-time photographic low.

Season 1, Episode 7: The Rock
Original Airdate: November 2, 1998
When Carrie's engagement ring is appraised at a handsome sum, she and Doug give into temptation, sell the bauble and buy a hot tub and satellite dish. The unexpected guilt causes them to re-enact the day of their engagement, reminding them how special their love – not a ring – is.

Season 1, Episode 8: Road Rayge
Original Airdate: November 16, 1998

Doug meets local celebrity Ray Barone at the DMV. Impressed with the famous sportswriter, Doug helps him with some answers on the driving test – and gets caught. After Doug temporarily loses his license, Ray tries to make it up to him. Unfortunately, every nice thing that Ray does turns into another nightmare for Doug.

Season 1, Episode 9: Educating Doug
Original Airdate: November 9, 1998
Concerned that they're getting dumber as a couple, Carrie enrolls she and Doug in an adult education class, hoping it will spark an interest in reading. Once in the classroom, Doug reverts to sophomoric pranks – acting out in class and wrestling Spence for his homework. While Carrie finds his earnest but failed attempt at reading Jane Eyre endearing, she concedes that the word jumble, not Victorian Literature, may be a better place to start.

Season 1, Episode 10: Supermarket Story
Original Airdate: November 23, 1998
The day before Thanksgiving, Carrie, Doug and Arthur plan a quick trip to the supermarket to pick up a few frozen dinners, but the place is an absolute madhouse. After being railroaded into making a home-cooked meal by her dad, Carrie stalks a Martha Stewart-type, hoping to learn how to shop and cook for ten. Meanwhile, Doug runs into a guy that he can't place, but who remembers Doug and a fight the two must have had in the past.

Season 1, Episode 11: Fixer Upper
Original Airdate: December 21, 1998
Despite Doug's protests, Carrie fixes Spence up with Jenny, a nebbish woman from her office. After Spence has an embarrassing allergic reaction, the pair manages to conquer their nervousness to begin a sweet courtship. At Doug's urging, Spence invites Jenny to the Heffernan garage, a.k.a. "The Love Zone," to end his 31-year bout of celibacy – a premature move which threatens the natural progression of their romance

Season 1, Episode 12: Crappy Birthday
Original Airdate: February 1, 1999
Depressed about turning 30, Carrie asks Doug to ignore her birthday. Doug goes along with it, as he would rather watch a huge pay-per-view ultimate fighting tournament on TV. However, guilt overcomes him and he vows to show Carrie a spectacular night. Doug's last-minute arrangements all fail, and he confesses his folly to Carrie, who doesn't care, because she's just happy to know he still thinks of her as his young, successful and sexy wife.

Season 1, Episode 13: Noel Cowards
Original Airdate: December 14, 1998
Doug and Carrie decide their clunker is ready for retirement and start looking for a new car. Doug falls in love with a vehicle beyond their means, and despite his haggling skills, they leave the dealership empty handed. Meanwhile, Arthur presents Doug and Carrie with any early Christmas gift, a Douche Berger, a small European roadster better suited for the circus than Queens. Carrie and Doug hate the car but don't want to insult Arthur. Fortunately, they are able to unload the car on a friend in need and, gift-wrap the situation for Arthur as a gesture in the true spirit of Christmas.

Season 1, Episode 14: Best Man
Original Airdate: January 11, 1999

Carrie has been pressuring Doug for weeks to attend the wedding of her childhood friend, Todd. Doug has zero interest in going, especially when Deacon reveals that Todd and Carrie were much more than "just friends." Shocked, he sulks through the ceremony, and Carrie realizes her secret is out. Carrie makes amends with Doug with an inevitably awkward and public explanation. Meanwhile, Arthur, who was plagued by the fact that he ordered the fish plate for his reception dinner eight weeks ago, works the crowd to trade for a nice, big, juicy steak.

Season 1, Episode 15: Dog Days
Original Airdate: January 18, 1999
Doug and Carrie's new freshly-starched neighbors appear to have only one flaw – a noisy nocturnal dog named Stanley. Closer inspection reveals deeper wrinkles as the Heffernans learn keeping the hound quiet is only one of their neighbor's many personal problems. Doug, who understands the dog just needs a little attention, secretly begins walking the dog. Carrie is angry with Doug for not being tougher with the neighbors, but after a final dysfunctional confrontation about the barking, the Heffernans conclude Stanley is better off with them. Meanwhile, Arthur is certain Charles Schultz is using his likeness as inspiration for Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts© gang.

Season 1, Episode 16: Hungry Man
Original Airdate: April 5, 1999
Doug doesn't really want to meet Carrie at an important client party does everything in his power to shave time – including skipping lunch, snacks and dinner - off his double shift to surprise Carrie at the event. Doug changes into his borrowed suit in the building's elevator, which unbeknownst to him is private, and greets guests in his underwear when the doors open directly into the reception. Doug manages to charm Carrie and the clients, but his shameless search for a morsel of food at the drinks only affair leaves a lasting impression - two raw eggs, a pickled carrot, sake, ten-odd breath mints and a cigar on the elevator carpet.

Season 1, Episode 17: Court Date
Original Airdate: February 15, 1999
Carrie has just been issued her fourth traffic ticket this year. And her status as a persistent violator will double the Heffernan's insurance rates. When the officer, Jeffrey, calls and asks Carrie to dinner, Doug encourages Carrie to accept the date to get out of the ticket. Reluctantly, Carrie agrees to the fake date and the set up, but Jeffrey laughs off the idea that she is there simply to clear her record. While Carrie is on the phone playing hard to get, Arthur, who thinks she is having an affair, interrupts the conversation, blurting out that Carrie is married and ruining any chance Doug and Carrie might have had that the officer would not show in court the next day.

Season 1, Episode 18: S'Ain't Valentine's
Original Airdate: February 8, 1999
Doug and Carrie have big plans for Valentine's Day – a romantic dinner and the house to themselves - but Cupid's arrow has a few diversions planned. Doug tempts Carrie with reservations at a favorite restaurant, but first he must meet the guys for a birthday drink with Spence. However, Spence's mother corrals the guys for a surprise Birthday/Valentine's party, and Doug is trapped for the night. Arthur, whom Carrie had forced to attend the Senior Citizen's Dance at the Community Center, meets his Cinderella but leaves without her when the magical spell is broken.

Season 1, Episode 19: White Collar
Original Airdate: February 22, 1999
When Doug and Deacon's IPS shift supervisor takes ill, Doug is temporarily promoted to the position. Deacon stars snubbing his friend, upset that he wasn't chosen as the fill-in guy and suspicious that race was involved in making the decision. While Deacon's distance bothers Doug, what's more frightening is the possibility that he may be stuck behind a desk shuffling papers indefinitely. Carrie tries to be supportive but doesn't know whether to encourage him to be more ambitious, or stay at the level where he's happy. Meanwhile, Arthur's convinced that Doug has become just another unfeeling corporate lackey.

Season 1, Episode 20: Rayny Day
Original Airdate: March 1, 1999

When Ray Romano calls and asks Doug if he wants to play golf at his private club, Doug cancels on his friend Richie-- who he was going to spend the day with in order to comfort him after his divorce. But when a huge thunderstorm lets loose, Doug's day of golf turns into a fiasco, and he high-tails it back to his garage to Richie. Meanwhile, Ray's mother, Marie, arrives at the Heffernan's early to pick Ray up and gives Carrie a lesson in cleaning – which Carrie milks for all it's worth.

Season 1, Episode 21: Train Wreck
Original Airdate: March 15, 1999
Doug gets a new trainee at work, and much to his surprise, she's blond and beautiful. He is reluctant to tell Carrie about his new protégé, for fear she'll be jealous. But, when Carrie shows up at the IPS office unexpectedly, she is unfazed by the discovery that Doug's trainee is an attractive woman. Carrie assures Doug that he's a nice guy and that she's not worried about his straying, which delivers a crushing blow to Doug's ego. Meanwhile, Arthur feels he's been scammed, because the headstone he bought for himself years ago is partially engraved and does not provide for him to live past 1999.

Season 1, Episode 22: Where's Poppa?
Original Airdate: May 3, 1999

Doug and Carrie pine for the privacy they used to have before Arthur moved in. In a desperate attempt to reclaim a little spontaneity and romance, they plot to send Arthur away for a weekend. Doug contacts his cousin Danny, who is surprisingly happy to let Arthur help out at his pizza parlor for the weekend. When Danny hears from Arthur all the compliments that Doug has paid him Danny is overcome with joy. But, the joy is short-lived when Danny realizes that it was Doug who gave him an awful nick-name when they were kids.

Season 1, Episode 23: Time Share
Original Airdate: April 26, 1999
Doug and Carrie have done everything they can to avoid their annoying neighbors, Tim and Dorothy Sacksky. But when the couple separates, they graciously offer their week at a Hamptons time share to the Heffernans, so that it won't go unused. Until they get their hands on the keys to the cottage, Doug and Carrie feel obligated to console the unhappy couple. Doug goes skeet-shooting with Tim, while Carrie asks Richie to sweet talk a depressed Dorothy. But after Richie goes too far, Doug and Carrie fear that their free vacation is slipping away. Meanwhile, Arthur seeks answers from an ointment company after developing a nasty rash.

Season 1, Episode 24: Maybe Baby
Original Airdate: May 17, 1999
A rollicking visit with Deacon's three-year-old reminds Doug how much he loves kids, and prompts a conversation with Carrie about starting a family. Though Carrie has never warmed to the idea, she is finally starting to consider the possibility of having a baby, but she's also concerned that motherhood will stifle her career. Doug's enthusiasm is tempered slightly when he considers the reality of being a parent. It is only during a romantic tryst that Dough and Carrie actually come down to deciding whether to get pregnant or not.

Season 1, Episode 25: Art House
Original Airdate: May 10, 1999
It's the last straw for Doug when Arthur asks, and somehow manages, to have Doug use his delivery truck to move an armoire. Doug, completely fed up with Arthur living in his house, finally loses it and the two have a huge fight. As a result, Arthur moves out and into his own apartment. Carrie believes that her father can't take care of himself. But a visit to his house-warming party proves them wrong – or so they think. As it turns out, Arthur is soon back asking for rent money, and no sooner is he moving his stuff back into the basement.


Spoken Languages: English

Non-Spoken Languages: None, Closed-Caption enabled

Mechanics: The DVD menus are very simple, plain, and easy to navigate. The King of Queens Season 1 is comprised of 25 episodes and it is presented on three DVD's. There are 11 episodes on discs one and two. Disc three contains the three episodes and the extras.

The video was presented in 1.33:1 ratio Full Frame color. I was surprised by the picture quality. The first two discs contained a total of 11 episodes each! Each episode averages about 23 minutes. So that gives us about 4 hours and 15 minutes per disc! Now that screams a lot of video compression, which results in a poor picture. However it wasn't a problem at all. The picture quality wasn't flawless either as it had a slight blocky/grainy touch. But it was definitely good.

The audio was presented in English Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround. I had no issues with the sound quality. It was quite good, clear, crisp, and concise.

There are no subtitles presented with this feature. I was very disappointed by this. I had to use the closed-caption feature on my television. I personally do not like using closed-caption, because when you pause it takes a few second to start up again... and the lettering in closed caption has a black background which covers a very small portion of the picture. Note that I take partial points away from both the Video and Sound ratings for not have subtitles.

Bonus Episode: Season 2, Episode 3: Assaulted Nuts
Original Airdate: October 4, 1999
Carrie, looking to build a home office, asks Doug to meet her at the bank to secure a loan. Doug, claiming he's too busy at work, agrees to meet Carrie only during his lunch hour. Meanwhile, Doug, goofing off at work, accidentally shoots a staple into his groin. Deacon takes Doug to the hospital but Doug leaves the emergency room to meet Carrie before he can be seen by a doctor. Doug, in obvious pain, tells Carrie what happened and apologizes for the way he's been acting. Carrie wants to take Doug to the hospital right way but he insists on securing the loan first. Once at the hospital Doug, in a scene reminiscent of child birth, Doug finally has the staple removed.

Bonus Episode: Season 3, Episode 11: Better Camera
Original Airdate: December 11, 2000
Doug buys Carrie a camera for Christmas but then is shamed by the better camera that her boss gives her. Doug insists that she use the camera she likes best and so she keeps the trendy one giving to her by her boss and re-gifts Doug's to Kelly all would be fine, except that Deacon also bought Kelly a camera and it was far cheaper than Doug's. And so, when Kelly gets Carrie's gift the truth comes out about how much Deacon spent and Kelly is now the one insulted.

Pilot Commentary : Commentary for the Pilot, the first episode with Kevin James, executive producer Michael Weithorn

Just Havin' Fun: 27 minute feature regarding the cast's impressions of season 1

Laughs Montage: short five minute compilation of various funny portions of season 1

Final Thoughts:
During this past summer I opted not to work so I could focus in school and finish off my last four elective courses. While I thought it may have been difficult time consuming task, it wasn't. I was pretty much bored all day, seven days a week. So naturally I turned to my friend the television. I ended up in a five-days-a-week routine, Tool Time from 5PM to 6PM, Frasier from 6PM to 7PM, and That 70's Show from 7PM to 8PM. However when summer ended and Fall quarter began I found I had a lot less free time. I rarely got around to watching my favorite three hour block of comedy television. Then a month or so ago I sat down to watch an hour of Frasier. To my dismay and surprise Frasier was now on from 4PM to 5PM. In Frasier's old time slot was this show called The King of Queens. Well I decided to sit through an episode or two of this show. Not too surprising, but I really liked it.

The point is I just wanted to get across my experience with this show. While The King of Queens is in its sixth season, I'd never seen an episode prior to a month or so ago. Likewise I can't say that I've seen enough episodes to constitute as a full season's worth, I've probably seen four or five episodes. I was really happy to be able to sit through the entire first season. I pretty much laughed the entire time. I was especially happy with the few episodes that crossed over with the cast of Everybody Loves Raymond. Adding Ray Romano as Ray Barone, Brad Garrett as Robert Barone, and others from Everybody Loves Raymond as guest stars in The King of Queens provided a good avenue for humor.

While I was very pleased with the content of this title, there were some problems I had with it. Jerry Stiller's role as Arthur Spooner was played very strongly. The role is very similar to his role as Frank Costanza in Seinfeld. Stiller's character is just so loud, obnoxious, annoying, etc. that after a while he's just not too terribly funny, but loud, obnoxious, and annoying. However he is an integral portion of the show and he does have some funny parts, but all and all I just don't care much for his character. With that said I have no other big complaints. Except I was really unhappy that this feature did not have subtitles, which I think is a very important feature for any DVD.

Wrapping it up, at an M.S.R.P. of $39.99 you can't go wrong. There is tons of joy, excitement, and laughs for everybody in this three disc title. I really enjoyed it and I think you will too.

*Please note the episode descriptions come directly from the Sony Pictures: King of Queens website.

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