Created by David Lit & Michael J. Weithorn
Starring Kevin James, Leah Remini, Jerry Stiller
- All twenty-five first season episodes
- Two bonus episodes
- Running audio commentary on the pilot episode by actor James and creator/executive producer Weithorn
- Featurette: “Just Having Fun”
- Laughs Montage
Released by Columbia Tristar
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format.
My Advice: Hardcore fans should own it; the rest of us shouldn’t pay any money to see it.
Doug and Carrie Heffernan (James and Remini) are a normal couple living in Queens: Doug is a driver for International Parcel Service and Carrie is a legal secretary. They are very much in love and lead remarkably ordinary lives until Carrie’s eccentric father, Arthur Spooner (Stiller), accidentally burns his house down and comes to live with them. His presence in the household adds stress and hilarity to their otherwise commonplace existences.
Like Doug and Carrie, there is nothing extraordinary about this show. It’s your standard sitcom setup, with enough jokes and small dramas to be laughed at and resolved in a half-hour. It tries to be a show of blue collar-based comedy with the net thrown wide as to what the various subplots could be. While it doesn’t repeat itself (often), I found the jokes to be a bit forced, and the comic timing was just plain off at times. This was particularly evident in the pilot episode, and while the subsequent ones do get better, it was never enough to really hold my interest. James and Remini are okay, but not outstanding in any way. Jerry Stiller, while funny, is given much less to do than I would have liked to see. If you thought you would be happy seeing him do something besides plastic wrap commercials, don’t get your hopes up too high.
If you’re a fan of the show, however, you will enjoy the features, which are more than you sometimes get with a television series. The pilot commentary consists of a lot of James and Weithorn critiquing the episode and Remini’s makeup, though they do manage to sneak in some background about how the show got created and ended up where it is. The featurette was your standard behind-the-scenes glimpse, containing mini-interviews with cast and creators. The laughs montage, however, seemed long and slapped together rather haphazardly–and if you’ve watched the episodes, you’ve already been there. The two bonus episodes, “Assaulted Nuts” and “Better Camera,” make for a nice addition.
All of these features are impressive if you’re a fan of the show to begin with. If you’re not, they won’t do anything to convince you otherwise. Fans of the show will want to snag this because of the features, but those of us who aren’t true believers should check out some episodes on TV first (for free) before they go plonk down any coin for this, either renting or buying.