The final season of The King of Queens sends this under-appreciated sitcom out with a bang. The season begins with several strong stand-alone episodes, including ones in which Doug (Kevin James) uses a tax refund to buy an ice cream truck; Carrie (Leah Remini) suspects that their best friends have managed to buy a vacation home by sponging off of her and Doug; Doug, after rescuing a chicken from being killed, becomes a vegetarian; Arthur (Jerry Stiller), eternally resplendent in argyle sweaters, asks Doug and Carrie for the money to get braces; and Adam Sandler (Punch Drunk Love) plays a high school friend of Doug's with a lot of repressed anger. But the season crescendos in a three-episode story that begins with Arthur preparing to get married again while Doug and Carrie's marriage crumbles when Carrie wants to move to an apartment in Manhattan. From there, the Heffernans' worst impulses run comically amok, demonstrating this show's long-standing strengths: The cheerful exploitation of all the character's bad behavior, be it Doug's selfishness, Carrie's envy, or Arthur's raging egomania; snowballing storylines that routinely end in entertaining disaster and humiliation; and the skillfully-honed interplay of the three leads. The supporting cast--including Doug's best friend Deacon (Victor Williams), the emotionally enmeshed roommates Spence (Patton Oswalt) and Danny (Gary Valentine), and needy dog-walker Holly (Nicole Sullivan)--all have their moments, but James, Remini, and Stiller are the show's engine, and it runs like a Maserati. The Complete 9th Season lacks any extras, which is disappointing considering that it's also a short season of only 12 episodes; but the satisfying comic crunch of each episode makes this box set still a must-have for any fan of the show
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