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A well-known CBS sitcom running from 1998 to 2007. It focuses on the life of Doug Heffernan (Kevin James), a fat but jovial IPS driver, and his wife, Carrie Heffernan (Leah Remini), nee Spooner. Most of the time, Doug tries to live a hard-working but relaxed and diet-free life, which is complicated by the zany schemes of Arthur Spooner (Jerry Stiller), Carrie's father, who lives in their basement.
Doug has quite the circle of friends. His best friend is the black family man, Deacon Palmer. Others include Richie Ianucchi, a ladies' man who nicknames Doug as "Moose", Doug's awkward cousin Danny (who is played by Gary Valentine, James' brother in real life), and Spence Olchin, a nerd of sorts who isn't the Butt Monkey of the group so much as the omega wolf. While not part of the circle, another friend is the local dog-walker Holly, who, in spite of her drinking and trouble finding a date, does a good job of putting up with Arthur's weirdness.
Most viewers point out The King of Queens for its prominent case of Ugly Guy, Hot Wife. What makes the show unique, though, is that in addition to Ugly Guy Hot Wife, Doug and Carrie share other attributes that show opposites attracting. For example, Doug is a nice and friendly (albeit not too bright) guy and is quite content with his job as an IPS driver, whereas Carrie sometimes fantasizes about the directions her life could have taken and has a somewhat grayer moral compass. Another example is that Doug is a hard worker, but he likes to play hard as well, whereas Carrie is a card-carrying workaholic.
This show provides examples of:
- Aborted Arc: Doug gets sucked into a Pyramid Scheme by his neighbor but the story ends with no resolution. Doug tries to confront his neighbor only to find he left town and he's never heard from again.
- Adam Westing: Done in one episode by the actual Adam West, whom Spence meets and wants to take to Comic book convention.
- The Alcoholic: Doug's boss, Patrick O'Boyle.
- The Art of Bra Removal: Discussed in one episode where Carrie briefly recounts an encounter with an ex-boyfriend who spent a half-hour trying to undo her bra, only to finally learn her bra opened from the front.
- As Himself: Lou Ferrigno is indeed Lou Ferrigno. And good friends with Adam West.
- Berserk Button: Carrie's defensiveness of her bun hairstyle, and Doug hates being called "Fatty McButterpants".
- Beware the Nice Ones: Don's flipout on the boss.
- Big Applesauce: The show takes place in Queens, and Carrie works in Manhattan.
- Big Fun: Doug is this to a tee.
- Black Best Friend: Deacon
- Bottle Fairy: Holly
- Brother Chuck: Richie suddenly disappears and is replaced by Danny to keep the four friend group intact. Also Sara, see The Poochie, below.
- The Cameo: Ben Stiller has a cameo as Arthur's abusive father in the episode "Shrink Wrap".
- Adam Sandler appears in another episode.
- Catch Phrase: "Shutty"
- Ass, in many variations. "I am ASS." "CARRIE IS ASS." "I'll buy you a boat! The Dumb-as-ass!" "Mother of ASS!" "Ass!"
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Carrie's sister Sara. The script writers admitted they ran out of ideas with what to do with her. As a matter of fact, Sara was so written out of the show that Carrie was turned into an only child.
- Also the Sacksys after their last appearance (although they might have just moved away)
- Closer to Earth: Traded off Depending On The Episode between Doug and Carrie. Doug is foolish and impulsive, but Carrie is somewhat immoral (or at least self serving) and brash, and each have episodes showcasing their flaws - for whichever one is in the wrong in the episode, the other will be Closer to Earth.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Arthur
- Convenient Miscarriage
- Crossover: From time to time, the Heffernans have interacted with the cast of Everybody Loves Raymond
- Gianni from the latter show appeared in one episode as well.
- Diabolus Ex Machina: In her last appearance on the show as a regular, Holly met a nice, normal rich guy who planned to marry her and take her out of the city. When she reappears in the series finale, she's now pregnant and has been dumped by said husband, with nowhere to live.
- Disproportionate Retribution:
Former Waitress: You cost me my job! How am I going to pay my bills?!
- Double Standard Abuse (Female on Male): Carrie is a pretty major version of this and it was implied that Deacon's wife can be pretty abusive as well. Also one ep had Carrie teach a girlfriend of Spence to be verbally abusive to Spence.
- However, it should be noted that unlike Everybody Loves Raymond with Raymond and Debra, Doug was always portrayed as equally strongwilled and just as often meant to be "right" in the plot as Carrie.
- He's also acknowledged by other characters as having the patience of a saint for dealing with Carrie for so long
- Just saw an episode where Carrie stabbed Doug in the butt with a fork.
- Downer Ending: The episode "Pregnant Pause"
- Dude Not Ironic: In one episode, Doug calls something ironic and Arthur insists that that's not what irony is. At the end of the episode, Arthur wakes Doug up in the middle of the night claiming he looked up ironic in the dictionary, and admits he was wrong: he thought "ironic" meant "made entirely of iron".
- Dumb Is Good
- Eye Scream: When Spencer explains how laser eye surgery worked, Deacon was experiencing this.
Deacon: I don't want to hear about an... eye flap, damn!
- Fictional Counterpart: IPS is simply UPS with one letter changed.
- Five-Man Band:
- Flanderization: Carrie's unsophisticated speech in some episodes.
- Forgot About His Powers: Happens A LOT.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Doug is phlegmatic, Carrie is choleric, Arthur is sanguine, Deacon is melancholic.
- You could use this with secondary characters as well: O'Boyle is choleric, Spence is melancholic, Danny is sanguine, Richie is phlegmatic, Holly is supine.
- Gentle Giant: Lou Ferrigno (yes, the Lou Ferrigno), Doug and Carrie's neighbor
- Giftedly Bad: Carrie at pole dance
- Gosh Dang It to Heck: Doug often says "Son of a mother!"
- Heterosexual Life Partners: Despite the fact that they sleep with their beds pushed together, have tried to buy a house together, have a shared checking account, speak of themselves as a couple, argue and break up like they're married (and have in fact gotten married), and have all but given up on finding dates other than each other, Spence and Danny are straight.
- Doug and Deacon also count.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Bree Van de Kamp lived next door to the Heffernans for a while.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Nick Bakay, who voiced Salem was a writer for the show and also did several uncredited voice-overs in many episodes. (He began to appear onscreen in later episodes).
- Jerkass/Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Carrie, Depending on the Writer.
- Kafka Komedy
- Kavorka Man: The other Doug Heffernan.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Anytime Doug or Carrie (or both) set up a scheme, it would always be foiled by some reason. "Patrons Ain't" & "Buy Curious" are good examples for both of them, with several of Doug's schemes to improve Carrie while he did nothing (such as in "Lush Life", "Gym Neighbors" & "Deconstucting Carrie") always came back to bite him in the ass.
- Letting Her Hair Down: Carrie plays with this trope in one episode
- Also, we, the audience are supposed to believe that Carrie is undesirable to any man when she puts her hair up. The gorgeous Leah Remini? Riiight.
- Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Holly and Carrie.
- Like an Old Married Couple: Spence and Danny.
- The Load: Arthur... that is all.
- Magic 8-Ball: The Mentalo toy from Doug's childhood (as well as its knockoff, Mental-Man) is a variant.
- Meddling Parents: Doug's parents and Spence's mother.
- Mistaken for Gay: Danny and Spence.
- New Neighbors As the Plot Demands: With the exception of Lou Ferrigno and the Sacksys (who only appeared in three episodes) the other side neighbors changed frequently.
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: The Palmers in the episode "Present Tense"
- Only Sane Man: Deacon; he is the only main or recurring character that doesn't have many major personality flaws, is often exasperated by his friends idiotic schemes, is the first one to point out when someone goes too far in any given situation and is generally the most well adjusted person on the show.
- The Other Darrin: Deacon's son, Kirby Palmer, was played by three separate children over the course of the show.
- The same goes for Deacon's younger son, Major, who was also played by three children.
- To be fair, though, this is the only way a show not structured as Real Time can continue to show young children.
- Also, when Spence's mom Veronica first appeared in "S'Aint Valentines", she was played by Twin Peaks star Grace Zabriske (as Anne Meara was playing another role in that episode). By her next appearance, Meara had taken on the role and would play it for the rest of the series run.
- Pottery Barn Poor: The Heffernins consist of a UPS IPS truck driver, a secretary and an old retired man who never worked a job for more than a month at a time. Despite this, aside from their rather spacious home, in a neighborhood decent enough for Lou Ferrigno, they also have ongoing plots revolving around Doug's widescreen plasma tv and home cinema system and the den devoted to it.
- Delivery men and legal secretaries (especially ones employed at large law firms like Carrie) make more money than you'd think.
- Pointy-Haired Boss: Doug's boss, Patrick O'Boyle, is revealed to be a weirdo at times.
- As is Carrie's boss, Doug Pruzan.
- Put on a Bus: Kelly for a few seasons, supposedly due to an edict from ABC, who didn't want Merrin Dungey appearing on other shows while she was on Alias . After her character or rather, her character's doppelganger was killed off, she returned to the show for the rest of its' run.
- Pygmalion Plot: Spence helping Carrie to improve her pronounciation. When she succeeds, he says "you are so beautiful..."
- Pygmalion Snapback: The episode "Jung Frankenstein"
- Retcon: When Pruzan first appeared, he was just a pathetic co-worker of Carrie's. Later, he was made into her boss (indeed, several episodes, including "Cello Goodbye" showed her with different bosses).
- Retool: The title, now solely a pun based off of where the characters live, used to have a bit of a double-meaning, since Carrie's sister Sara was initially a big part of the cast, making plural "Queens".
- Scary Shiny Glasses: Danny was trying to win a poker party with them.
- Series Continuity Error: In one early episode, Arthur mocked Doug for going to church, making in analogous to the Easter Bunny, but in later episodes, he prays to God and is even afraid of going to hell.
- Sliding Scale of Silliness Versus Seriousness: The show often jumped between both ends of the scale, sometimes in the same episode; case in point, "Foe: Pa." Sure, it wasn't officially a Very Special Episode, but it certainly felt like one.
- Snowed In: The episode "Ice Cubed".
- Spiritual Successor: To The Honeymooners.
- Spoof Aesop
- Standardized Sitcom Housing
- Sweet and Sour Grapes
- The Thing That Would Not Leave: Arthur
- This Loser Is You: Doug is shown to be dumb, has extreme aversion to reading and watches way too much TV. He also makes fart noises whenever anyone tries to say something intellectual, and avoids places like art museums and artistic movies in favor of summer blockbuster movies and sports events. At the same time, he is shown to be very nice natured, kind-hearted and caring making the audience connect with his character.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Duh.
- This is a more believable version than you usually see. Doug used to be stocky rather than just fat, and Carrie is enough of a bitch to counterbalance her looks.
- Unwanted Gift Plot: Doug and Carrie receive a hideous painting of them for their anniversary from Deacon and Kelly. They pretend to love it but secretly try to get rid of it. It turns out Deacon and Kelly intentionally gave them a horrible present so they would be allowed to get rid of an unwanted gift Doug and Carrie had given them.
- Westminster Chimes: The doorbell of Doug and Carrie's annoying neighbors, the Sackskys.
- You Get What You Pay For: Doug decides to give Carrie eye surgery for her birthday so that she no longer needs glasses. However, she ends up going through a much longer than usual adjusting period almost completely blind. Turns out that Doug decided to not go to the surgeon Carrie's boss recommended but another one due to the fact that the latter had coupons. Carrie is understandably upset and forces Doug to take her to the other one.
- You Look Familiar: Leah Remini's real life husband, Angelo Pagan, guest starred six times as five different characters on the show.
- Also, Kevin Jame's real life wife, Steffiana De La Cruz, guest starred five times as five different characters.
- The king (no pun intended) of this was Mookie Barker, who guest starred in many episodes, almost always as a different character.
- Chris Elliott played "F Moniyhan" a customer of Doug's in one episode and as a wacky exterminator several seasons later.
- Your Favorite: Doug's favorite topping for hotdogs - mayonnaise.
- You Say Tomato: Doug once got into an argument with Arthur when he asked for the "catsup" (which is an acceptable variation of "ketchup", just not to Doug). Of course, Doug is one to talk, considering the way he talks: "Sanitasheeown." "I'm the 'onioniown' guy!"
- her leaving Malcolm in the Middle as Stevie's mom is supposedly also due to this