Welcome to a new Sitcom Tuesday! Malcolm In The Middle will commence in September, so during the month of August, I’m excited to set the figurative table by resurrecting entries from this blog’s decade-long run. Here’s how it works: I’ll provide a link to a piece that I first published many seasons back, and then I’ll offer a bit of updated commentary. But, as I always caution, please be gentle; this early article is from a long time ago, and my standards have changed as I’ve changed — I’ve improved as a thinker, a communicator, and a television-watcher.
So, let’s revisit… The Ten Best THE KING OF QUEENS Episodes of Season Five: https://jacksonupperco.com/2019/08/13/the-ten-best-the-king-of-queens-episodes-of-season-five/
The King Of Queens exists in the trend of patriarch-led suburban family sitcoms that Everybody Loves Raymond dominated during this turn-of-the-century. Like Raymond, it’s got strong characters with precise relationships that allow it to rise above all the other mediocre shows that followed in this vein — According To Jim, Still Standing, Yes Dear, etc. (It also has no kids — yay!) It’s never as thoughtfully character-driven as Raymond, as it’s always a little more focused on the gaudy comic idea, but the series starts to learn around Season Two, and begin to more regularly emphasize in Three, that the key to the Doug and Carrie relationship is emphasizing both of their heightened comedic flaws. That is, this isn’t a show just about a ridiculous fat man and his gorgeous wife — it’s a show about two ridiculous people in one ridiculous dynamic. Season Four (2001-2002) is the peak of the series’ storytelling as far as its understanding of the leads (and their rapport) is concerned, but Five (2002-2003) manages to keep this know-how while ratcheting up the comic loglines — and not yet harming our faith in the regulars’ depictions, as the later years will do. Accordingly, I call Seasons Four and Five the series’ best, with the latter’s list — its rundown of best episodes — overall, the strongest. In this regard, I do think The King Of Queens, which premiered in 1998, was at its best in the early ’00s, when it was the second best of these patriarch-led suburban family sitcoms, enlivened by well-drawn characters and fun performances. After 2002-2003, the show essentially declines a little bit every season, to the point where its final year (2006-2007) is near-dreadful, but from the period of, say, 2000-2004 (Three through Six), the series is a contender — largely on the basis of its well-delivered comedy, and while this post-modern cable culture has sought to criticize all of the shows in this subgenre, let it be known that I believe not just Raymond, but also The King Of Queens, is better conceived and more nuanced than most naysayers suggest.
Come back next week for another early ’00s rerun! And stay tuned for a new Wildcard!