Plot: What’s it about?
Doug Heffernan (Kevin James) has just come home from work to discover his wife Carrie (Leah Remini) has arranged to have a big screen television delivered. Doug knew it was en route, but was thrilled to find out it came a few days ahead of schedule. With the television in place, his basement is now the coolest place in town. Doug has taken an immense amount of care to make this his own little slice of paradise, a plan which has now come to fruition. Now he has a beautiful wife, some great friends, and the perfect place to unwind after work. In other words, Doug has reached the place where few married men even dream about. But as with all things, nothing lasts forever and soon enough, Doug’s paradise is threatened. Carrie’s father Arthur (Jerry Stiller) has just lost his latest wife. Soon after the funeral, he burns down his house with a faulty hot plate, leaving him out on the streets. Carrie considers a retirement home, but soon breaks down and asks Doug to let Arthur move in. Doug knows the only place for Arthur is the basement, which means his just finished paradise would be torn asunder. But he agrees to give up his perfect place in the world, to make his wife happy and give Arthur a place to reside. Can this oddball household work out, or has Doug sacrificed his nirvana in vain?
I am not one to sit down and watch sitcoms, as I haven’t seen many that tickled my fancy, at least not in recent years. As The King of Queens is a spin off of sorts from Everybody Loves Raymond, I balked at giving it a chance. I can’t stand Ray Romano’s series, so I assumed this one would be just as dismal and recycled. Columbia’s release of the first season got me interested, but this third season is just as good, if not better. On the surface, this is just another married couple sitcom, though the lack of children is most welcome. I admit, most of the situations are sitcom staples, but the writers manage to put in some nice twists, just enough to keep it fresh. The cast is great also, with Kevin James in a natural role and Leah Remini (Old School) as his wife, though of course, its hard to believe such a hottie would settle for such a lardass. The show also features an assortment of married friends, single friends, and even a divorced friend, but this series belongs to the insane antics of Jerry Stiller, no doubt about it. His offbeat presence makes this show work, especially when he interacts with James for extended sequences. I had a great time with The King of Queens, so for new fans or established ones, this release is well recommended.
Video: How does it look?
The episodes are presented in full frame, as intended. The images look crystal clear and quite stunning at times, so this is some impressive work. I’ve caught some reruns after I started this set and without question, the episodes in this collection put the televised versions to shame. The prints have no debris or grain to mention, which allows for a very crisp, razor sharp visual presence, so fans will be quite pleased. The show’s bright colors stand out and look terrific here, with no evidence of smears or other problems. The contrast balance is smooth and well executed also, which means black levels look excellent and no detail loss is to be seen. Not much else I can say in this section, as these episodes just look terrific.
Audio: How does it sound?
This is a situation comedy, so the audio has no real duties outside of the show’s main element, dialogue. So the theme music sounds good and the basic sound effects come through, but the sole spotlight here shines down on the vocals. From Doug’s outlandish tantrums to Carrie’s sharp barbs to Arthur’s rants, all the vocal work is in excellent form here. The whispers even sound clear as a bell in this release, so you won’t miss a single one-liner. I was let down to see no subtitles, as Columbia usually provides a wealth of subtitle options.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release includes no bonus materials.