Even at a young age, I found the face of actor and comedian Kevin James strangely comforting. On weekdays, my mother and I watched reruns of the CBS show King of queens together as part of our primetime network programming. It was also one of the few adult sitcoms Reba– that she thought it was appropriate for me to watch it, with outrageous humor but not too crude or profane.
Part of me believes that my mother is secretly in a relationship with Carrie, the more competent and outspoken wife of the main protagonist Doug Heffernan (James), played perfectly by Leah Remini. However, my mother was much more vocal about how much she loved James, his affable nature and his talent for physical comedy. Together with Cliff Huxtable (Shot) and Laura Ingalls’ hot dad, he was a top-notch TV husband in our household, even if he was a downright angry spouse on screen.
It seems the internet has come to appreciate James’s likeness too – or perhaps always has. If you check Twitter (now called X) right now, you can see this Adult Actors in a number of Kevin Hart style Reaction memes that will have everyone reminiscing about his massively consumed but generally underrated CBS show, conveniently marking the series’ 25th anniversary.
Accordingly Know your meme, the phenomenon apparently began on September 21, when user @ChampagneAnyone posted a promotional photo of James as Doug, with an innocent grin on his face and a shrug at the camera. It’s a look that says, “I ate too many Oreos out of the cookie jar” or “I forgot to take out the trash” – both typical behaviors of his deeply irresponsible but somehow still likable sitcom character.
Ridiculous promotional photos from James’ time as a CBS star have also been unearthed online, including one that features him emerge from a sewer And Photo shoots with his TV wife Remini. Some even made it Fan cams for Hollywood’s regular comedian and one-time movie star. All of these memes seem to highlight an unspoken appreciation for it Paul Blart: Mall Cop Actor who made a name for himself as the poor man’s Adam Sandler.
Although I can’t defend a film like this Zoo keeper or the more regrettable I now declare you Chuck and LarryI’ve always thought James got a strangely bad reputation. His negative reception as an artist has always reminded me of the kind of classist and fatphobic ridicule Guy Fieri endured in the mid-2000s before he became a popular internet icon – and later outed as an obvious right-winger. (Knock on wood, no video of James befriending Donald Trump has surfaced.)
Most of the recent backlash against James seems to stem from his star appeal King of queens. Along with early acts programs like According to Jim And Still standing, the show continued the sitcom trend of sloppy, lazy husbands who had miraculously acquired hot wives and made their lives miserable through their ineptitude. (Although there’s a lot of fatphobia in this review.) This trope has been used in shows such as: B. mocked In Amy SchumerLouieand especially the AMC metaseries Kevin can fuck himself, whose premise is a direct reference to James’ alleged problem.
As a Kevin James defender, I still couldn’t bring myself to binge the Annie Murphy-hosted show out of spite. (It also just looked like a white feminist thinkpiece!) The two-season series was famously inspired through an infamous casting decision on James’ CBS show in 2016 Kevin can wait while mocking the sitcom stereotype he embodied King of queens.
James and the rest of the show’s producers expressed themselves quite controversially, killed his character’s wife, Donna (Erinn Hayes) and previously recruited Remini as the series’ female lead in the second season Kevin can wait was Cancelled. This not-great but largely inconsequential story caused a stir amid the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements in Hollywood and painted James in a misogynistic light. However, I would argue that it was actually a feminist act when the comedian gave Remini a major acting role during her crusade against the Church of Scientology.
In addition, the occasional misinterpretation of King of queensThe central relationship is a bit tiresome. Anyone who has watched the series knows that Doug and Carrie’s marriage was more complicated than the annoying “husband-passive-wife” dynamic, since they were both people with funny flaws – and Carrie barely tolerated Doug’s immaturity.
Yes, Carrie gets more and more bitchy as the series goes on. A superficial reading of her arc would classify this as a sexist decision by the writers, which included James. However, one could just as easily interpret their behavior as the result of an unsatisfactory marriage and the couple’s financial immobility as a working-class household. Her anger never seemed unjustified. At least everything was very realistic!
In 2023, everyone seems to have a much easier time expressing their love for the show and the idiot in it. Is one meme enough to spark a Kevin James renaissance? Who knows? I definitely thought that his series of dramatic short Films posting on his YouTube channel a few years ago would earn him the level of virality he is receiving now. However, if a casual photo of James shrugging in a flannel shirt is enough to win over social media, then I’ll take it.