As I wrote previously, I tuned into King of Queens for Jerry Stiller (after his stellar performance on Seinfeld), but stayed for Kevin James' performance as the lovable big kid Doug Heffernan and Leah Remini's straight talking no nonsense wife with a mouth which could curse like a sailor. The first season did feel a little rough at times, it was still looking for it's groove, but there were enough good moments that I decided to splash out (if you can call the small amount I paid 'splashing out' and not simply 'flicking water about like a limp-wristed desert Bedouin') on the second season.
In the interests of disclosure I think I should say upfront that the second season does show growth and settling over the first season. It's definitely matured a great deal after a few early hiccups in the first season and it's here it begins to really have some fun with its format. There are some really great episodes in this season; crude physical comedy arrives in abundance for the episode "Assaulted Nuts" where Doug staples his nut-bag while showing off at work, and I ain't talking about the one he keeps his peanuts in.
There's also "Net Prophets" (an episode title with more puns than I can count) an investment of Doug's Christmas bonus results in a roller coaster ride, but if I'm honest you can say "Seinfeld did it first" on this one. Regardless, it's still another classic episode. And "Meet By-Product" is a great little flashback episode which tells the story of how the Heffernans first met, as it's set in the 80s the outfits and haircuts are quite brilliant - I'm sure you remember the fashions of the 80s, how could you forget them? And if you weren't born in the 80s go google some 80s fashion up, seriously. Do it now.
That wonderful trip down the spandex clad decade aside the second season of King of Queens is a great affair in the traditional sitcom style. Kevin and Leah both grow into their roles tremendously and Jerry also manages to distance his performance away from his 'Frank Costanza' persona - if you recall I previously noted that it was hard to tell the difference between Arthur and Frank, I can now happily report that they are quite different personalities, Arthur is a lot crazier and possibly funnier.
But it's not just the main cast who put in their oars and row out some great acting (what the heck does that mean?) Victor Williams continues to be fantastic as Deacon and Patton Oswalt gets some real growth as Spence. Gary Valentine (Kevin's real life brother) is introduced as Danny, Doug's cousin - a man who is quite lovely, but inexplicably despised by Doug and Larry Romano remains brilliant as Richie - unfortunately this is his last full season in the show, he is quietly written out in the third season and barely appears. But more on that in the (eventual) third season review.
There's not a lot to talk about on the packaging front, it's a pretty basic and simple set, consisting of a cardboard dust cover which contains one of the 'plastic page' DVD books which house the four discs. The art on the cover is a little surreal if I'm honest. Look at that image leering at us from the top of this post, funny family or sinister cabal of neighbourhood cannibals with a living pet signpost? I'm sure it's supposed to be lovable and 'wacky' but something just seems unsettling about it. Most of the photographs inside are a bit less creepy.
There are no extras to speak of. This is no frills.
Overall, the second season is an improvement over the first, and while it's not as good as some of the later seasons it is a great season in it's own right. The show still hasn't found it's groove at this point, but it's close to being there and the comedy is so funny that you'll find yourself laughing and having a great time. It's certainly become a sitcom I've come to love watching.
Aspect Ratio: Full Frame
Languages: English, French
Run time: 531 mins
Subtitles: English, English HOH, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Norwegian, Swedish