Series / The King of Queens

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 Big Guy Hot Wife. What makes the show unique, though, is that Doug and Carrie share other attributes that show opposites attracting. For example, Doug is a nice and friendly 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:

  • Acrofatic: Doug's poledance. Especially when compared to Carrie.
    • His raquetball performance against Deacon is also an example and it's implied that he really had no prior experience playing and that it was solely inspired by Doug's desire to get his friend away from his "archnemesis" pushing him into almost Determinator territory.
    • Doug in general is implied to be decently athletic and powerful (consider his job; he probably spends a decent amount of time having to carry around heavy boxes and considering he works in New York, he probably has to deliver things up lots of stairs in walk-up apartments.) One episode has a gag that he used to be extremely well-built and muscular. It seems he's just added a layer of flab over the muscles.
  • Adam Westing: Done in one episode by the actual Adam West, whom Spence meets and wants to take to Comic Book Convention.
    • Lou Ferrigno's recurring appearances as a neighbour contains many references to his time spent playing The Incredible Hulk on US TV.
    • Donny Osmond appears as himself in one episode.
  • The Alcoholic: Doug's boss, Patrick O'Boyle. He mentions he's recovering and hasn't had a drink for eight years, but tells Doug to leave the bottle of Johnnie Walker Black he jokingly told him to bring.
  • Artistic License Cars: When Doug's car starts breaking down, Arthur buys them a "Douchenburger", apparently quite popular in Luxembourg. The actual car is a right hand drive 1970 Mini 850 Mk. III. Luxembourg has no local auto makers (their cars come from the rest of Europe) and is left hand drive. About the only thing done to hide the fact that it's a Mini is the emblem on the hood has been removed.
    • This confuses British viewers, who wonder why an instantly recognisable Mini - with its steering wheel in the intuitively "correct" place - isn't called a Mini. Some viewers are clued up enough to realise a Mini is a sort of classic car in the USA and would be worth good money for its comparative rarity value. Besides, The Italian Job should be well-known enough in the USA for many people to recognise the car?
    • When Doug rear-ends Deacon's car while he, Carrie, Deacon and Kelly are on their way to a dinner (Doug and Deacon are in Doug's Jeep), the taillights are smashed. Except, Doug's Jeep's bumper is level with Deacon's car's bumper and the lights look like they've been smashed with a hammer.
  • As Himself: Lou Ferrigno is indeed Lou Ferrigno. And good friends with Adam West.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The first house Doug and Carrie bought together turned out to be more impractical than awesome as Doug initially thought. The house itself was uncomfortably close to a school, the easy chair that looked like a hand wasn't as comfortable as it looked, the sunken living room was a booby trap, and the dumbwaiter was, well, dumb.
    Doug: (examining the mess left by the faulty dumbwaiter) We're going to need a tiny cleaning lady.
  • Babies Ever After: Doug and Carrie end the show with two children, a daughter adopted from China and a biological son.
  • 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.
    • Spence has a minor freak-out when he thinks Carrie has separated for good from Doug, and he has a chance with her. On his way to pop the question, he witnesses them reconciling. He goes nuts out of jealousy.
  • Big Applesauce: The show takes place in Queens, and Carrie works in Manhattan.
  • Big Fun: Doug is this to a tee.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The episode "Pregnant Pause"
  • Black Best Friend: Deacon
  • 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".
  • Carpet of Virility: Doug and Danny, type II.
  • Catch Phrase: "Shutty"
    • Shaminy!
    • Ass, in many variations. "I am ASS." "CARRIE IS ASS." "I'll buy you a boat! The Dumb-as-ass!" "Mother of ASS!" "Ass!"
    • YUSPA!!!
  • 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.
  • Cloudcuckoo Lander: Arthur. But don't forget a Cuckoolander can also be a Genius Ditz. Carrie is unaccountably annoyed that Arthur blew what would have been her college fund on acquiring the rights to the life story of singer Lou Rawls. But spool on two years past the end of the show: in 2009, Rawls was subject to a biography and a film version of same. Whoever owned the rights could have walked off with a modest seven figure fee...
  • Comically Missing the Point: Spencer and his new girlfriend Denise have dinner with his mom. To break the ice, she tells a story about how Spencer slipped on ice and how red his butt was afterwards. His mom completely missed the point and asks him why she's seen him naked, telling him he was supposed to "save himself". Denise then says the she didn't actually see it, but Spencer told her on the phone while she was in church. His mom then exclaims, "You were on the phone in church?!"
  • Convenient Miscarriage: This happens to Carrie. It's a rare downer in the series and something of a discontinuity.
  • 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.
    • Doug's first appearance was as a member of the Nemo's basketball team playing alongside Ray and Robert Barone in ELR. Their first meeting was later retconned to a chance meeting whilst both were sitting the written part of their drivers' licences.
  • Department of Redundancy Department:
    That's our wedding cake. From our wedding. You know, when we got married.
  • Depending on the Writer: Whether or not Doug, Carrie or Arthur are being giant assholes or not.
  • 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: A waitress is constantly seeking advice from Arthur. He gets fulfillment from this, until finding out from a dimwitted co-worker that she only does so to follow the opposite of what he suggests. Following this he deliberately sets her up to follow bad advice (or ignore good advice). Whether or not he intended for this to get her fired and potentially bankrupt, he seems to find her outcome perfectly just in his gloating.
    Former Waitress: You cost me my job! How am I going to pay my bills?!
    Arthur: And you hurt my feelings, so now we're even!
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • 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!
  • Fat Slob: the flipside of Big Fun. Doug teeters dangerously on the brink and steps over it several times, usually pulled back to acceptability by Carrie delivering an ultimatum or otherwise intervening.
  • Fictional Counterpart: IPS is simply UPS with one letter changed.
  • Flanderization: Carrie's unsophisticated speech in some episodes.
    • Also Doug's intelligence, most notable in one episode where he forgets a persons name after it was just mentioned less then a minute ago.
  • Fleeting Passionate Hobbies: A psychologist unwisely advocates Carrie and Doug giving Arthur what he wants as a sort of aversion therapy, in the hope that the continual demanding will burn itself out. Arthur then ploughs through a dozen or so expensive hobbies in the space of a month, beginning each in a state of high enthusiasm that inevitably burns itself out when the novelty is gone.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Doug (phlegmatic), Carrie (choleric), Arthur (sanguine), and Deacon (melancholic).
    • You could use this with secondary characters as well: O'Boyle (choleric), Spence (melancholic), Danny (sanguine), Richie (phlegmatic), and Holly (supine).
  • Gentle Giant: Lou Ferrigno (yes, the Lou Ferrigno), Doug and Carrie's neighbor
  • Giftedly Bad: Carrie at pole dance
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: When buying a new car, Doug plays Good Cop while Carrie plays Bad Cop to get a better deal. Doug gushes over the car while Carrie says "I wanna take a sledgehammer to this piece of crap!"
    Doug: You're supposed to be Bad Cop, not... Gestapo!
  • Goshdang It To Heck: Doug often says "Son of a mother!"
  • Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: In flashbacks, Doug is shown to have a mullet and/or a mustache.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Carrie. Whenever she explodes, Doug is invariably at Ground Zero.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Holly. Who frequently ends up in bad places the next day.
  • 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.
  • Irony: In an episode, Arthur gets in an argument with Doug about whether a situation was ironic. The story was that Doug had to scan a box, but the scanner was broken. When he opened it, it turned out that the box was full of new scanners. The kicker came in the end sequence where Arthur wakes Doug up in the middle of the night to say: 'I was checking the dictionary and it turns out you were right. That situation was ironic. I thought "ironic" meant "Made up entirely of iron."' Doug merely replies "Good night, Arthur."
  • Jerkass/Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Carrie, Depending on the Writer.
    • A case of "like father, like daughter," since this also applies to Arthur.
  • Kafka Komedy
  • Kavorka Man: The other Doug Heffernan. Who turns out to be deliberately exploiting his women by giving them our Doug Heffernan's phone number. When Doug tracks him down, he turns out to be a man who would look like the Clark Kent to Woody Allen's superman.
  • 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 the "Bun Dummy" 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.
  • Lingerie Scene: Carrie moves from bathroom to bedroom in her underwear - only to find her father lying on the bed. She screams at him to get out, but he shrugs and remarks there's nothing there he hasn't seen before.
  • The Load: Arthur contributes nothing to the household and in fact has cost the Heffernans significant amounts of money (Started fires, sold their furniture when they are away...etc.) and stress (goes through personal belongings, keeps them awake at night when moved across the hall, constantly yelling and trying to force his rules on them...etc). Whenever he comes across some money like bingo winnings, he doesn't even think to offer Doug and Carrie any of it for something such as new appliances they all use and has to be more or less told to give it to them. Doug wants him out of the house for these reasons but Carrie defends Arthur, claiming he isn't that bad (which is odd, as it has been firmly established that Arthur was a terrible father).
  • Magic 8 Ball: The Mentalo toy from Doug's childhood (as well as its knockoff, Mental-Man) is a variant.
  • Man Child: Spence is the most obvious example but Doug, Danny and even Arthur fit as well. Deacon could also be described as this on certain occasions. For example, in the episode "Mentalo Case", when Doug wants to buy a toy that he always wanted as a child, Deacon goes behind Doug's back and purchases it for himself.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Doug is frequently forced to be this in order to get what he wants from the domineering Carrie. Examples include Doug talking Arthur into wanting whatever Doug wants to eat and forming fake work calls to guilt the wife into letting the husband get his way.
  • Meddling Parents: Doug's parents and Spence's mother.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Danny and Spence.
    • Lampshaded when Spence and Danny actually get married in order to receive a free television from a timeshare company, then are comically outraged when they won't give the timeshare to a same-sex couple. (They were divorced by the next episode.)
    • In one episode, Spence and Danny go to their high school reunion and try to pick up women to take home. Spence thinks he has succeeded in picking up a woman, until Danny informs him that that woman is a lesbian and thinks he's a woman too. Danny also succeeds in getting a date, that is, the captain of the football team.
    At least my rainbow ends with a vagina!
    • In the episode "Mammary Lane", Spence's Ti Vo thinks he's gay.
    • Also, several episodes revolved around Deacon thinking his son Kirby was gay and attempting to prevent it. ("Ticker Treat", "Kirbed Enthusiasm")
  • Mistaken for Racist: In "Buy Curious," Doug and Carrie attempt to sell a crappy house by covering up the flaws and sell it off to a black couple like it's fine. When Doug and Carrie find out that the couple is having a baby, they try to talk them out of buying it and the couple think they're just trying to keep them from buying it because they're black.
  • 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"
  • Noodle Incident: Played with in one episode that show's exactly what transpires and then has Doug pose a question that to a party not in the know is definitely one of these.
    Doug: Well maybe losing your gynecologist is a good lesson for you. Maybe next time you want to do something nice for Danny you'll think, "Last time I did this I lost my gyneologist."
  • Not Really a Birth Scene: : Happens to Doug when doctors have to remove a large staple from one of his testicles. We even get to see poor Doug's legs up in stirrups and his wife holding his hand while he screams.
  • 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 Poochie: Sara. At the beginning of the series, Carrie was meant to be the serious character of the two, while Sara was meant to be nothing more than a mooching bimbo. They quickly ran out of things to go for a character like Sara, so eventually they wrote her entire existance out of the show.
  • Plucky Office Girl; Carrie's position at the legal firm she works for.
  • Pottery Barn Poor: The Heffernins consist of an 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 note . After her character or rather, her character's doppelganger was killed off, she returned to the show for the rest of its run.
    • Richie, Doug's close friend and former roommate, was written out in season 3 after Larry Romano left the show to star in Kristin.
  • Pygmalion Plot: Spence helping Carrie to improve her pronounciation. When she succeeds, he says "you are so beautiful..."
  • Pygmalion Snap Back: The episode "Jung Frankenstein"
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: In several episodes, Carrie is discussing the cosmetic surgery she wants to have with Doug. In one episode she is seen going ahead with corrective eye surgery. It has been rumoured that Leah Remini has, in Real Life, actually had a cosmetic helping hand to preserve her captivating beauty as she got older. Several times and to several bodily areas. Is it possible that Carrie the character wanting surgery is an In-Universe device, to explain visible changes in the actress Leah Remini from one season to the next? Carrie has drawn attention to her desire for cosmetic nicks and tucks to her calves and bosom, and these have seemingly come out of nowhere...
  • 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).
    • In the episode where Arthur temporarily moves out into an apartment he can't afford, Doug compliments his piano playing abilities. In a later episode he tries getting some fast money by "teaching" children how to do just that but is completely incapable of doing so. Interestingly, amongst the main characters there doesn't appear to be a single person who can actually play the piano, yet there it is smack dab in the middle of the Heffernan's living room.
    • Doug and Carrie's story of how they met, Carrie's childhood, and several other plotlines.
  • Re Tool: 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."
  • Right Behind Me: On the episode titled "Eggsit Strategy", this trope is satirized. Carrie is talking to her coworkers about her boss, Mr. Kaplan, in an unflattering way. When her coworkers have blank looks on their faces, she is worried that her boss is standing right behind her, but he isn't.
  • 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 it analogous to the Easter Bunny, but in later episodes, he prays to God and is even afraid of going to hell.
    • Well it's possible he's a theist but not into organized religion, or has a love-hate relationship with the "man upstairs."
    • It's also implied that he was part of the Socialist Workers Party in the 1940s, and may still be a Marxist, given his argument with a Russian handyman over the Soviet Union being a "worker's paradise." If so, being an atheist would make sense, but Arthur may not be able to shed his religious upbringing completely (he's shown to be a former choir boy in one episode).
  • Shoo Out the New Guy: Richie was a part of the quartet of friends as well as a major character for the first three seasons. Suddenly, though, the character was just dropped.
  • 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.
  • Story Arc: Strike One-Strike Too-Strike Out.
  • 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 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.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Both Doug and Carrie. Doug has some selfish moments in early seasons, but is generally a Nice Guy. He becomes a lot more self-centered and prone to Jerkassery in later seasons. Carrie actually started out as probably one of the most well-adjusted and nicest characters you'll see in an American Sitcom, but in later seasons she's a Jerk with a Heart of Gold at best.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Doug's favorite topping for hotdogs - mayonnaise.
  • 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.
    • Subverted by the fact that Doug is not ugly, and is never referred to as such in-universe (except by Carrie when she is mad at him). He's just fat.
      • In fact it's heavily implied that Doug could rather easily find another woman if necessary despite his weight, but it's outright stated that Doug is possibly one of the few people alive who are kind and patient enough to put up with Carrie's personality.
  • 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 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!"

Alternative Title(s): The King Of Queens