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The King of Queens (1998)
One of the most creative sitcoms on TV
When this show first came on the air, I saw it once or twice and thought it was another "fat guy, skinny wife" show that seemed to populate the networks at the time. It was just "okay" upon initial viewings and I didn't watch it again; however, once it went into syndication, I caught several episodes (simply because it was on twice a night), and I'm telling you, the more you watch this show, the funnier it is. Once you see how all of the great supporting characters are connected, this show makes you laugh out loud. Every new episode I watch is more creative than the one before--people who only watch this a couple of times will not notice this. The writing and story lines are much more sophisticated than they appear at first (this is far from "According to Jim"). First of all, Kevin James is hysterical, incredibly charming, and a talented comedic actor, as is the supporting cast. Leah Remini has excellent timing, and Patton Oswalt's Spence is one of the funnier characters on the show. And of course, Jerry Stiller is brilliant as Arthur. I was shocked to read comments that he was the worst part of the show--he's a gigantic part of why this show is so great--his delivery of these ridiculous schemes (rounding out the crazy dad character) are beyond hilarious. And the yelling--the best episode is when they show him as a kid yelling "Lemon Icee!!". That episode, during which Carrie takes him to a therapist in hopes to get him medicated (to make Doug less stressed out), guest star William Hurt decides that Arthur yells because he's never been validated. The latter part of the episode where Doug beats up his childhood self in a therapy session is beyond funny, it's one of the most creative scenes I've seen on a sitcom. I feel the strange need to defend this show, because it is severely underrated--while "Friends" was sometimes amusing, and "Raymond" has some great episodes and characters, they both lacked the creative touch that "King of Queens" has. In an era where most sitcoms have canned jokes and are on the whole mediocre, "King of Queens" continues to push the sitcom envelope and show real comic genius. Critics of this show obviously don't get it--or haven't watched the show enough to give it a chance, because anyone with real comic and creative sensibility has to laugh out loud while watching. It's certainly on par with my other two favorites, "Seinfeld" and "The Office" in its ridiculous tone. It's the Arthurs, Kramers, and Michael Scotts of TV that keep us watching, and laughing out loud.