Humor

Recognizing The King of Queens on its 20th Anniversary!

KoQ publicity photo from official website

The King of Queens starred (from right to left) Kevin James, Leah Remini and Jerry Stiller. It debuted in 1998 and ran for 9 seasons, ending in 2007.

Today is the 20th anniversary of the debut of TV show The King of Queens! It debuted on September 21st, 1998, according to the show’s IMDB page. As a big fan of the show, I just had to make note of it!

For those of you unfamiliar with the show’s basic premise, it focused on character Doug Heffernan, a driver for a delivery company called IPS, which is understood to be alluding to UPS. Doug lives in Queens, New York with his wife Carrie and her father Arthur.  They’re a working-class family reminiscent of a modern-day Honeymooners — except with a father-in-law always present.

I’ve always loved the show and have thought it didn’t get the kind of recognition and acclaim it deserved — and still deserves, in my opinion. I mean, it was popular enough, running for 9 seasons on network TV. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen it mentioned in best-shows lists and TV retrospectives the way shows like Seinfeld and Friends are. Yet I believe it’s right up there in terms of quality; in fact, I like it better than both of those shows.

The dialogue on the show was very realistic, the acting was very natural (especially after the show hit its stride towards the end of season one) and the premises were odd enough to be funny, yet normal enough so viewers could relate.

Take, for instance, this episode in which Doug and Carrie have finally paid off their credit card debt (image and text below courtesy of the show’s official Twitter account):

To celebrate this accomplishment, Doug and Carrie decide that each of them will indulge in a treat for themselves.

Soon after, Doug buys himself a whimsical item — a cheap harmonica. Carrie, on the other hand, comes home with a pricey leather jacket.

Doug flips out, saying their treats were supposed to be reasonable; purchases like hers will only get them back in the hole.

Carrie goes to return the jacket and then realizes she could have waited until the end of the return period, enjoying the jacket for as long as possible before returning it to get her money back — essentially “borrowing” it for free. This discovery leads her into a downward spiral in which she begins buying lots of designer clothing, wearing it, then returning it. It eventually gets out of hand, with her temporary clothing empire filling up an entire room of the house and necessitating the need for a complicated return schedule based on each store’s policies.

To me, that kind of plotline strikes the right balance between being amusingly unique, yet surprisingly understandable — it’s entertaining without requiring a major suspension of disbelief since it’s not too over-the-top.

Then there was the episode where Carrie’s out of town and Doug can’t sleep without her, which sounds sweet, but it turns out he’s not necessarily missing his wife being by his side in bed — he just needs somebody there to be able to sleep.

So what does he do? He manages to entice Carrie’s father to move upstairs to sleep in bed with him (sounds overly creepy if you haven’t seen the show, but it’s actually really funny in an absurd way — if anything, the underlying creepiness is what makes it amusing!):

What I liked most about that part of the episode, when they’re shown waking up together, is how they start laughing. It works for the scene, since it can come off like the characters are so happy with their odd, new arrangement, but I also think the actors were truly laughing during filming — it seemed like their natural reaction to the scene was coming out and wasn’t scripted. I love when real moments like that happen and aren’t cut out!

Another favorite episode of mine, and one which I think is great example of the show’s natural, relatable humor and plotlines, involves an episode called “The Hungry Man.” In this episode, Doug is getting ready to head out to work when his wife Carrie asks him to join her at a work dinner she’s just gotten a call about; the dinner is at her boss’ apartment that night.

At first Doug says no since he’s working a double shift at his job and won’t be off in time, but then decides to surprise her by skipping lunch and working through it in order to make it to the dinner. However, he hadn’t had a chance to eat breakfast that morning, so by the time he gets to her event, he’s starved — only to find out it’s not a dinner after all. Turns out Carrie had found out that day at work it would just be drinks.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Doug asks her in frustration — and hunger.

“I didn’t know you were coming!” Carrie says, and rightly so.

I love this episode because you can see both sides of the situation, like how Carrie can’t be blamed for not telling him there was no dinner — last she knew, he had to work! Yet you can’t help feeling bad for Doug who was trying to do the right thing but is clearly suffering for it. Plus it’s a great representation of one of those days when everything goes wrong!

Here’s a photo from the episode which shows Doug rummaging through Carrie’s boss’ apartment looking for something, anything, to eat during the event — and having very little luck:

Ultimately, if you haven’t seen the show (and I’m always surprised by how many people have never watched it despite it having been on TV for so long in its original run and now in reruns), I recommend you see a few episodes in full to see what I mean about the fun dynamic between the actors and the realness of it all. I feel like the writing and acting didn’t try too hard for the laughs in a forced way, unlike so many other sitcoms that do. Instead, they were earned on the merits of the good writing and excellent delivery.

Also, the storylines weren’t based on lowest-common-denominator humor unlike many other recent shows like How I Met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men; I know those shows have been popular, so I apologize if I offend those of you who may have liked them, but they just never worked for me what with their sexist jokes and slimy characters.

Oh, and some random trivia:

The King of Queens featured actress Mary Lynn Rajskub in a minor part from a September 2002 episode in which she plays a woman working at Carrie’s office. Here’s a picture — which, incidentally, shows her perfecting the scowl face she became especially well-known for in her role as Chloe O’Brian on 24.

actress Mary Lynn Rajskub on The King of Queens Sept 2002

Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad fame also made a few appearances on The King of Queens, too. He played an annoying neighbor who lived next door to Doug and Carrie — here’s a photo from a May 2000 episode in which his character, Tim, attempted to sucker Doug into a pyramid scheme selling water filters and their licenses:

actor Bryan Cranston on The King of Queens May 2000

To find out when The King of Queens airs in syndication in your area, visit the show’s official website. You can also purchase the complete DVD or Blu-ray collection here.

Disclaimer: I originally wrote this blog post 4 years ago, on the 16th anniversary of the show’s debut. I remember thinking at the time, hmm, is it weird to post this on a 16th anniversary as opposed to a more commonly-celebrated milestone like 10 or 20 years? But because I love the show so much and was inspired to write about it then, I went with it. Now, though, I decided to re-blog the post and have it reflect that we’ve hit that 20th anniversary mark! I still love this show and maintain that although it was popular, it’s underrated and didn’t get the attention I feel it deserved and deserves. Long live the King (and Queen) of Queens:

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One-Liner Wednesday

“Yell ape for next stop.”

–Sign seen on a New York City bus back in the 90s; it had been altered from its original wording, “Press yellow tape for next stop.” This has always amused me and my only regret is that I saw this before we all had phones with cameras in our pockets! At least I have the memory, though, and I wanted to share it with you…Just try to avoid laughing about it to yourself if it comes to mind next time you’re on a bus, as has happened with me. People will assume things…

This post was created as part of LindaGHill’s One-Liner Wednesday weekly writing prompt. Check it out and consider joining in!

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One-Liner Wednesday: Self-Care

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“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures.”

Irish Proverb

 

* This post was created as part of blogger Linda G. Hill’s One-Liner Wednesday series. I chose to share this quote in the hopes that it’ll help anyone who’s stressed or feeling out of balance. We can all use a friendly reminder to not neglect ourselves or feel guilty for taking some time to regroup. Self-care is a necessity for all of us — and it actually helps us to accomplish what we want and need to do. So, I hope you have a blessed day that includes some humor and adequate rest!

 

 

Area Man Rooting for Both the Mets and the Cubs During NLCS

ARLINGTON, VA —Virginia resident Andy Perreira is reportedly rooting for both the New York Mets and the Chicago Cubs in the National League Championship Series, and experiencing lots of emotional conflict as a result.

“I like the Mets; they’re my second-favorite team, after the Red Sox,” Perreira said when asked why he wants to see the Mets win.

“But I feel sorry for the Cubs and their fans, and I want them to experience the greatness of finally winning a championship like the Red Sox fans did in 2004 when they broke their curse,” he added.

During NLCS game 4 on Wednesday October 21, friends and family witnessed Perreira wearing a Mets T-shirt while discussing feeling depressed as the Mets took the lead.

“It was really contradictory,” said longtime friend Donald Cosby.

Perreira’s wife Anna feels differently. “I love how empathetic he is to both sides,” she said, adding that she and Perreira’s friends will be sure to be there for him during this confusing time.

One-Liner Wednesday: What?!

“This is certainly nice publish, I’m going to shaire the idea for our frinds.”

–comment recently left for me very randomly on an old post of mine, caught by the WordPress spam filter. I appreciate the “compliment,” but WordPress is clearly right about this kind of comment!

Note: this post was created as part of LindaGHill’s One-Liner Wednesday. The criteria is for the one-liner to be funny or motivational. In the past, I’ve usually gone with motivational, but this time I had to go with funny when I saw this as I did a long-overdue purge of pending comments…hope you enjoyed it. I figured many of my fellow bloggers would be able to relate to this kind of amusing“comment!” 🙂

My Two Cents on “Dress Code” Rules During Royal Visit

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In November, it was announced that Prince William and his wife Kate will be visiting the United States, specifically New York City and Washington, D.C., in early December.

The news about this visit also specified that any media professionals covering the royal event need to adhere to a “dress code” set by Buckingham Palace. If they do not, they will not be allowed in to report on the events.

Here are the rules directly from the official website of the British Monarchy:

Attire for journalists covering Royal engagements

Journalists wishing to cover Royal engagements, whether in the United Kingdom or abroad, should comply with the dress code on formal occasions out of respect for the guests of The Queen, or any other member of the Royal Family.

Smart attire for men includes the wearing of a jacket and tie, and for women a trouser or skirt suit. Those wearing jeans or trainers will not be admitted and casually dressed members of the media will be turned away. This also applies to technicians.

I have some thoughts on this.

Let’s start with the “technicians” part.

How can even the technicians be required to follow these guidelines?  They stand on their feet most of the day and have to handle bulky cameras and other heavy equipment; would sneakers (aka trainers) really be that big of a deal? Especially if they’re the kind of conservative sneakers that are more like shoes, and are in good condition, as opposed to bright neon ones or ratty old gym sneakers? Would that really just ruin the event?

Secondly, and possibly even more importantly, how can people be required to adhere to these rules not only in the UK, but abroad?

That would be like me going to a party at someone else’s house but telling the host what I think they should wear. All the manners books in the world would tell me that I was being rude if I did that; if I’m not the host, I don’t get to dictate things like that. So how come that basic etiquette doesn’t apply here?

To be clear, I do understand the merits of dressing your best on the job, especially for a noteworthy event like this. I also agree with showing basic respect; I’m not saying it would be right to roll up in ripped sweatpants and a stained shirt, whether you’re interacting with royals or anyone else.

I can even understand media outlets telling their staff members to dress their best, so that their companies are represented well in front of such famous public figures.

I get all that.

But there’s something about Buckingham Palace mandating this dress code that bothers me. It seems so out of line. The technician clause seems especially unnecessary and uppity to me; I think that’s what set me off, actually.

For the record, I don’t even dislike Prince William or Kate; I’m not a follower of royal events either. This just stood out to me as not right as soon as I heard it.

In fact, the adverse side of me wants to see someone manage to violate this dress code.

I have fun picturing someone coming in seemingly appropriately dressed, being cleared to enter, and then somehow being able to quickly take off that proper outer layer of clothes — only to reveal jeans and a simple shirt underneath.

The horror!

This topic came up when I was speaking with family over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and it turned out it’s not just me who found this dress code to be a bit much. In fact, my mother thought it would be interesting to see what would happen if a well-known person or dignitary of some sort were to show up and – gasp! – be in violation of the dress code.

Let’s say it was President Obama, but he had jeans and a blazer on. Wouldn’t he have to be let in anyway?

That concept made me laugh as soon as she said it! She’s so right; it would have to involve a high-standing figure for this scenario to play out this way. And I would love it if someone too prominent to turn away did something like this, just to mess with the royals…although most public figures wouldn’t want to do that. Still, it’s fun to think about…and that’s my two cents on the royals and their “dress code” on our turf!

Note: This post was written as part of LindaGHill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday. This week’s prompt was: “‘sense/scents/cents,’ with a bonus word this week – ‘sent.’ Choose one, use them all or simply write whatever comes to mind- it’s up to you!” I went with sharing my two cents on this recent news story that we were just discussing over the holiday weekend!

Area Family Disqualified from Family Feud for Feuding

By SOME KERNELS OF TRUTH Oct. 20, 2014

LONG BEACH, CA — The Garcia family from Long Beach, California has been disqualified from long-running game show Family Feud due to excessive feuding between relatives.

The disqualification occurred during an in-person audition for the show on Saturday, October 18 in Los Angeles. Members of the Garcia family say they were not given a fair chance.

“All that happened was a few of us disagreed over the answers we wanted to give to the question, and the show’s staff cut us off right away and thanked us for coming, but said we would not be appearing on the show. I demanded to know why the hell not, but they wouldn’t tell me,” said Ronald Garcia, 42.

Fellow auditioning relative Evelyn Garcia, 38, said she feels that the disqualification is likely due to her brother-in-law Robert. “I blame Bobby. We had to name a gift wives would love to receive from their husbands and when it was his turn, he said home appliances. My sister hates when he gives her stuff like that, and he knows it. So I told him off right then, hoping he could give a better answer instead, but he refused. That’s when I noticed the show’s staff looking at us with weird looks on their faces,” she said.

Robert Garcia, 39, disagrees, saying he was not at fault. “I told Evelyn to shut up, that she didn’t know what she was talking about and should mind her business with our marriage and my answer to the damn question. If anything, I blame our disqualification on my wife, who started crying when I said that, as usual,” he said.

A member of the show’s casting team, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Garcia family’s fighting was too intense for the daytime show’s upbeat environment. “We’re looking for fun families who get along well with each other, and this family wasn’t that. They were just too heated and it distracted from the gameplay itself. They’d be a better match for an intervention type of show. I know our show is called Family Feud, but that’s supposed to refer to an entertaining battle between two families competing against each other on the show. We’re not looking to showcase actual feuding within families.”

The Garcia family plans to audition for other game shows in the near future on an individual basis, but cannot agree on which ones.

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Note: This is another “fake” news story I was inspired to write after recently hearing a true story about a family not being picked for the show a few years back. So, then I ran with the idea and let my imagination have some fun with it; I’ve been getting a kick out of writing these! You can read others I’ve written, here, here, and here. 🙂