The Good

The Bad

I had seen a handful of episodes of The King of Queens before Movieweb dropped (literally) The King of Queens - Season Four at my doorstep. First off, what’s not to like about a main character that works for a knockoff UPS company, has a good looking, sassy wife and Jerry Stiller for a father-in-law? I guess what bothers me is the Kevin James of right now. The guy who has slimmed down. Yes, I know that he is still the same person, but what is it with TV’s fascination with weight? Who says that America doesn’t want to see people who are out of shape? It seems to me that cultural ideas about this have constantly been upended. That many of the big shows on TV (The Soprano’s is the first one that comes to mind) have featured actors and actresses who weren’t that pleasing to look at. Yet, that is exactly why we fell in love with them because we saw ourselves on that TV screen. On the flip side, you have a show like Friends, which is a very big show and also happens to showcase beautiful people. So basically, I am just wondering why it is that people always fight being who they are? I am sure that Kevin James wanted to lose weight, and chances are he probably feels better for it. I just think that a big reason for why he is so popular is because of his natural look.

The King of Queens - Season Four is classic, easy to watch TV. It is one of those sitcoms that you can just throw into your DVD player and settle right in. This show is so well done, that the uninitiated can come in at various points in any episode and find themselves sucked into the action. The dialogue is strong, the characterizations solid, but at the end of the day I think it all comes down to the fact that we genuinely like these people. We want them to succeed and when they don’t we don’t feel bad that we’re laughing at them. Some of my favorite episodes are “Mean Streak” in which Doug (Kevin James) is about to hit a company record at IPS and the other employees are “boohooing” his achievement. I think the “No Orleans” episode is really well done because it deals head-on with one of the most interesting relationships we have... our in-laws. I personally related very heavily to the “Eddie Money’ episode mainly because it dealt with my favorite sport, boxing.

This box set is filled with 25 episodes which at the end of the day comes out to being about 559 minutes. The shows all move at a nice pace and seem to seamlessly flow from one episode to another. This is TV at it’s finest.

Features

There are no extras with this DVD box set.

Video

1.33:1 Full Screen. Standardly lit and with even more standard camera angles, I found that that The King of Queens - Season Four looked exactly how I have come to expect TV shows to look. I think that sitcoms for the most part need to be easy viewing experiences. They can’t be too hard on viewers or presented in such a way that people have a hard time watching them. With the goal of having 3 jokes per page, it would seem that there needs to be as little between the jokes and the laughs as humanly possible. This show has no problem in that department. In fact these actors are so “burned” into their characters, that I really think that it’s during DVD’s like this Fourth Season that The King of Queens (and many sitcoms in general), really start to hit their stride. There is a shorthand of sorts between all the players and it comes out in how they perform. They have spent so much time together that it really is as if they are a family.

Audio

Dolby Digital Mastered in High Definition. Again, with a sound design made to accentuate the dialogue, it would seem that the main idea behind the recording of this show would be to have the actors be heard as clearly as possible. This is certainly the case here. I didn’t have any problems hearing anything these characters said and furthermore I didn’t even need the volume up that loud. In fact, with the quick responses and fast pitter patter that pervades this show, I am amazed at how the simple recording techniques are able to pick up everything that these characters are saying. I don’t think these actors have small microphones on them but I might be wrong. Whatever the case, sitcoms like The King of Queens - Season Four while very easy to watch and digest are not this way because the humor is made for the lowest common denominator. Sure, this humor isn’t that cutting edge, but the relationships between the characters and especially their interactions are so well written that in the end I think this why this show was successful. It illuminated thoughts and ideas that it seems most sitcoms might rather avoid, and it did it through humor so it was effective on many different levels.

Package

The cover features Kevin James, Leah Remini and Jerry Stiller in the foreground, with the suburbs of Queens behind them. Having lived 3 years of my life in this part of the country (from 1 to 4), I have a little soft spot for this area, but if pressed I am certainly a California native. The back features another picture of this trio, surrounded by papers, chess pieces, pizza and anything else to help this box cover give off a “lived in” look. There is also a tiny description of this show (nothing that will really surprise people that follow it) and some tech specs. The DVDs fold out in a cover that continues the Queens “lived in” motif. There are pictures of all the characters emblazoned on the DVDs, as well remote controls, potato chips, messages from Doug to Carrie (Leah Remini), etc. This box set even comes with a listing of all the shows on the DVD and also includes tiny descriptions of these shows. All in all, this packaging keeps very much in the spirit of this show.

Final Word

The King of Queens - Season Four is solidly done piece of TV. There is nothing too special or ground breaking about it, it’s just one of those shows that you get used to. It’s comfortable and it’s something that as a viewer we like to have on. We like to hear the familiar voices and cadences of the actors. It basically gives us something that we have come to expect from TV. Familiarity. Some people may not go for this, others might always be looking to shake things up, but in this day and age of “here today, gone tomorrow” TV, I honestly think that The King of Queens is an institution. Regardless of when it’s on, this show is here to stay.

The King of Queens was released .