10 Fun Facts About The King of Queens

CBS
CBS

From September 21, 1998 to May 14, 2007, Kevin James played Everyman Doug Heffernan, an International Parcel Service (IPS) delivery driver living in, you guessed it, Queens, New York. For nine seasons, the CBS sitcom was a hit, especially because of Doug’s bickering dynamics with wife Carrie (Leah Remini), his cousin Danny (played by James’s older brother, Gary Valentine), and his live-in father-in-law, Arthur Spooner (Jerry Stiller).

In 1996, Kevin James made his first appearance on Everybody Loves Raymond as a character named Kevin. "When I created The King of Queens in 1997, it wasn’t even for CBS, it was for NBC," co-creator Michael J. Weithorn tells Mental Floss. "David Litt and I created the character of Doug for that pilot. NBC passed on the pilot, then CBS picked it up." A couple of months after The King of Queens debuted, James reappeared on Raymond, this time as Doug Heffernan. And, in a bit of symmetry, between 1998 and 2005 Ray Romano played Ray Barone on four episodes of The King of Queens. For the 10th anniversary of the show’s finale, here are 10 fun facts about the sitcom.

1. THE STUDIO DIDN’T WANT DOUG AND CARRIE TO HAVE KIDS.

    David Bickel, one of the show’s executive producers, told Futon Critic that Sony didn’t like the idea of them having kids. “The studio felt that if you have a big thing happen to the Heffernan family then it kind of dates the old shows as 'pre-baby' and the new shows as 'post-baby' and it kind of hurts syndication a little bit,” he said. “And for us, the thing was always Jerry Stiller is the baby.” During the series finale, Doug and Carrie finally have kids—they fly to China to adopt a girl, and then Carrie finds out she’s pregnant.

    2. PATTON OSWALT STOOD MOTIONLESS ONSCREEN FOR ALMOST THREE MINUTES.

      During the almost three-minute opening of the April 10, 2006, episode, Patton Oswalt’s character, Spence Olchin, can be seen standing motionless in the Heffernans’ living room while everyone else moves around, talks, and celebrates Doug’s 40th birthday. Spence neither moves nor speaks for the duration of the sequence, even when the camera cuts back and forth from the living room to the kitchen. In 2011 Oswalt explained the reason for his bizarre behavior to Jimmy Fallon: “I’ve never worked with a stonier crew than The King of Queens’ writers and producers,” he said. Apparently the writers asked him to stand there just to see how weird it’d look, and to see if anybody would notice.

      3. VICTOR WILLIAMS THINKS PEOPLE LIKED THE SHOW’S “SIMPLICITY.”

        Victor Williams played Doug’s co-worker and friend Deacon Palmer. “It’s the simplicity of regular folks that people respond to—and in such an overwhelming way, it was kind of surprising to me initially,” Williams told Today in 2007. “But then it made sense. There’s a sort of honesty in that simplicity that I’ve really enjoyed and I’m really going to miss."

        4. CARRIE HAD ANOTHER DAD BEFORE JERRY STILLER SIGNED ON.

          Bickel described the show’s pilot as a “hybrid” because actor Jack Carter played Arthur, but when Stiller became available for the role, he replaced Carter. “What they did was when they decided to do it with Jerry, they reshot just the first few scenes with him,” Bickel said. “So I'd be watching the show [with Jerry onscreen] and it was like, ‘Oh, this is great’ and all of a sudden Jack Carter would appear and it was like, ‘What's happening here?’

          “Years later I was in Costco and who’s there buying batteries yelling at his wife but Jack Carter. And I’m thinking our lives would have really would have been so different—both of ours—by this one event.”

          5. KEVIN JAMES THOUGHT HIS UNIFORM WAS TOO SNUG.

            Talking to TV Guide, Kevin James revealed that when he gained weight his IPS uniform hurt his body. “The shorts were tight and they'd cut into my hips,” he said. “I'd feel like writing scenes around it, like, ‘Oh, I don't need a uniform.’ They’d be like, ‘But you’re at work!’ And I’d be like, ‘Whatever. I show up without it!’”

            6. SCIENTOLOGY AFFECTED REMINI’S WORK ON THE SOW.

              In a much publicized move, Remini left the Church of Scientology in 2013, and filmed a docuseries about her traumatizing experiences called Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, which aired on A&E in November 2016. Remini told The Hollywood Reporter the church wanted her to recruit James, her fellow actors, and crew members. “It’s always, ‘Why are you not getting Kevin James in? You’re not setting a good example. You’re not getting the director in.’ There was always pressure to make a Scientologist out of the people you were working with,” she said. She also said the church objected to a joke the show did about Katie Holmes, who was then a part of the church, too.

              7. JERRY STILLER FELT ARTHUR WAS A “NOODGE.”

                In an interview with Emmy TV Legends, Stiller said he created Arthur’s characterizations from his costars. “You live off the people you’re working with,” he said. “I took it from the other actors and how they treated me in terms of the character, and I found out I was a noodge, a person who was a pain in the neck, a bunion on their life. And I carried it out to the best of my ability.”

                Stiller thinks that Carrie and Doug would’ve murdered him if they could. “He rules his daughter and son-in-law by virtue of the fact he’s alive,” Stiller said. “You don’t want to kill him off, but if you would you could. He’s a meshuggah. You don’t exactly know what his background is, whether he’s a union man or a capitalist. Week to week, he just floats. That’s my estimation of who I am.”

                8. JAMES AND REMINI ARGUED IN REAL LIFE, TOO.

                  While appearing on Oprah, Remini admitted that she and James fought on set, because they cared about each other. “There were times Kevin and I would argue about something stupid, and we had to kiss but we’d make no eye contact,” she said. “But that’s because we loved each other. If you don’t care about somebody, you don’t even bother to fight with them. When you tell somebody to go f’ themselves, and they don’t turn around and fight with you, then you know there’s a problem."

                  9. LOU FERRIGNO FINALLY GOT TO SPEAK.

                    On the show, the former Incredible Hulk plays a version of himself as the Heffernan’s next door neighbor. Ferrigno said the producers saw him in a movie called The Godson and cast him. “I did the one episode and it was so well-received they said, 'We want to give you a recurring role,'” Ferrigno said. He ended up appearing in 18 episodes, beginning in 2000. He liked the opportunity to tackle comedy—and to finally speak dialogue instead of just grunting.

                    “I knew at the time I was typecast,” Ferrigno said about his Hulk character. “They said, ‘Maybe Lou Ferrigno can’t speak.’ So I changed all that. I went to the theater and then eventually I did The King of Queens.”

                    10.  JAMES AND REMINI RECENTLY REUNITED ON KEVIN CAN WAIT.

                      Kevin Can Wait, another CBS Kevin James-starring sitcom, debuted during the fall 2016 season. This time, instead of playing a delivery man, James plays a retired cop. During the May 2017 season finale, Leah Remini appeared as Vanessa, the former police partner of James's character. In the two-part episode, “Sting of Queens,” they go undercover and pretend to be a married couple.

                      “They’re literally Doug and Carrie, as cops,” Remini told USA Today. James didn’t want her role to be meta. “We’re not going, ‘Hey, can you Carrie this for me? I really Doug myself out of a hole this time, didn’t I?’” he also said to USA Today. “It’s a weird thing to bring someone in. I chose to not make her Carrie or say he was having a dream. I just wanted to make it realistic and not break that fourth wall.”

                      James told the New York Post that the reunion was like old times. “I felt like it was 10 years earlier; it felt so similar to those days [on The King of Queens]. It’s like we never stopped and just picked up where we left off.”

                      Breaking Bad Movie's Title, Release Date, and Plot Details Revealed

                      Frank Ockenfels, AMC
                      Frank Ockenfels, AMC

                      While Better Call Saul has been a wonderful way to stave off Breaking Bad withdrawals, fans have been waiting months to get more details on the Breaking Bad movie that was announced earlier this year. And it has finally arrived. Netflix has just announced that the movie, titled El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, will drop on October 11, 2019.

                      According to the official synopsis, the film will "reunite" fans with Aaron Paul's Jesse Pinkman following the events of the series' highly acclaimed finale:

                      "In the wake of his dramatic escape from captivity, Jesse must come to terms with his past in order to forge some kind of future. This gripping thriller is written and directed by Vince Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad."

                      According to Variety, "It is unclear whether Bryan Cranston, who played main character Walter White in the series, will appear in the film. Cranston has previously confirmed that the film was happening but would not say whether or not he would be involved."

                      While Cranston's involvement may be unknown, based on the newly released trailer, it's clear that Charles Baker will be reprising his role as Skinny Pete. (We can only hope that this means Badger will be along for the ride, too.)

                      Though Breaking Bad aired on AMC, partnering with Netflix makes sense for the film, as the streaming network owns the rights to the series (which remains a popular binge-watch). And Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan has credited Netflix with being a key reason for the show’s ultimate ratings success.

                      While accepting the show’s first Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series in 2013 (it won again the following year), Gilligan took a moment to acknowledge the integral role Netflix played in helping Breaking Bad find its audience.

                      “I think Netflix kept us on the air,” Gilligan said. “Not only are we standing up here, I don’t think our show would have even lasted beyond season 2 … It’s a new era in television, and we’ve been very fortunate to reap the benefits.”

                      This Damn Fine Twin Peaks Box Set Is the Only One Fans Will Ever Need

                      Amazon
                      Amazon

                      Fans of David Lynch’s three-season drama Twin Peaks know there’s quite a lot to excavate. The series, which ran from 1990 to 1991 on ABC and returned for a one-season engagement on Showtime in 2017, has been a perpetual source of ambiguity, red herrings, and the downright inexplicable.

                      Now there’s a centralized hub of all things Peaks to dwell on. Twin Peaks: From Z to A is a Blu-ray box set containing all episodes of the original series; 1992’s feature film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me; 2017's Twin Peaks: The Return; an international version of the 1990 pilot with additional footage; as well as an abundance of new and archival material totaling 20 hours in length.

                      The box for the 'Twin Peaks: From Z to A' Blu-ray DVD set is pictured
                      Amazon

                      Inside the package, which is illustrated with the Douglas firs that are part of the show’s iconography, are mini-figures of Special Agent Dale Cooper and Laura Palmer, played in the show by Kyle MacLachlan and Sheryl Lee, respectively. The box acts as a diorama of sorts and opens to reveal the Red Room, a location where many of the show’s most surreal moments took place. A series of three-by-five index cards provide backdrops of key scenes. The only thing the set doesn’t have is Lynch’s hand-drawn map of the show’s Washington location, but you can find that here.

                      The set is limited to 25,000 copies. It retails for $139.99 on Amazon and is due for release on December 10.

                      [h/t Newsweek]

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