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Mandatory Credit: Photo by Buchan/Variety/REX/Shutterstock (5827137f) Kevin James CBS 'Kevin Can Wait' Panel at the TCA Summer Press Tour, Day 14, Los Angeles, USA - 10 Aug 2016
Photo by Buchan/Variety/REX/Shutterstock 
Kevin James
CBS ‘Kevin Can Wait’ Panel at the TCA Summer Press Tour, Day 14, Los Angeles, USA – 10 Aug 2016

Kevin Can Wait on CBS

“When we set about trying to come up with a new idea, we definitely wanted to have some familiar notes in this show that the “King of Queens” audience would feel comfortable with and enjoy.” Rock Reuben

By Valerie Milano

Beverly Hills, CA (The Hollywood Times) 9/21/16 – The King of Queens is dead. So CBS thought transplanting that show’s star (Kevin James) into another series as a retired ‘cop gone mild’ would be money in the bank. I don’t think so. Every worn out, family sit-com contrivance is hurled at the wall in a desperate attempt to will this pile of comedic compost into a breakout hit.

Kevin is a wise-cracking ex-cop with a heart of gold; whose gluttony and alcoholism are presented as endearing social quirks. Erinn Hayes plays wife Donna, the beauty to Kevin’s beast. She’s a looker who clearly could have done better, but maintains her good humor as she tolerates Kevin’s arrested development and downward trajectory into heart disease and obesity. Kevin Can Wait panders to a Middle America viewership tired of Arugula diets, Michael Moore and hard news. Why CBS positioned the brainy and nuanced The Big Band Theory as lead-in remains a mystery.

Kevin James Dishes On Kevin Can Wait At 2016 CBS TCAs
Kevin James Dishes On Kevin Can Wait At 2016 CBS TCAs

Plot construction is strictly by the numbers. Kevin has a gaggle of retired buddies who sit around extolling the virtues of beer, sports and…beer. We have daughter Kendra (Taylor Spreitler) returning from college to live at home. Of course she has a boyfriend in tow. In this case, a nerdy cyber-genius obsessed with study and success. Of course he’s skinny, unkempt and wears glasses. He is also an object of derision from his future father-in law Kevin, because…you know, smart people can’t be hip or good-looking in the Trump infected universe we now inhabit.

Don’t blame the actors, Kevin James and Erinn Hayes are old pros who deliver their assigned buckets of tripe seamlessly. Blame the CBS honchos who – no doubt – felt they had their finger on the pulse of the anti-intellectual Cheetos and Ding Dong demo when they optimistically ordered 13 episodes of this arch and unfunny rehash of sitcoms past.

The lowest point comes when Kevin’s buddies present him with a retirement cake that reenacts his first homicide investigation. The cake toppers are cops surrounding a corpse face down and decapitated. And, just in case you didn’t get it the first time, the writers double down by having Donna try to re-attach the head, to which Kevin whines, “Don’t, It’s supposed to be like that”. Get it.., somebody was brutally murdered and dismembered and they put it on a cake. There’s a big difference between dark comedy and dumb-foolery.

David Giesbrecht / CBS Kevin James of 'Kevin Can Wait'
David Giesbrecht / CBS
Kevin James of ‘Kevin Can Wait’

Kevin Can Wait – coming soon to a Blu-Ray markdown bin near you…Hopefully, very soon.

THT, TCA and others recently had the opportunity to speak with executive producer Rock Reuben, star executive producer Kevin James and star Erinn Hayes.

Kevin James talked about the backstory behind Kevin Can Wait:

“Rock and I grew up with a lot of guys on Long Island who were and are police officers.  And they kind of go all into the academy together, and they retire 20 years ‑‑ they put their time in together, and 20 years later they were done.  And retirement, you usually think, I guess, a little older or something.  These guys are in their 40s, and they’re home, and they had this dream of what they’re going to do together every day, and “We’ll do this.  We’ll race go‑carts.  We’ll go to Mets games and things like that and also spend time with the family.”  But it doesn’t go that way.  Life doesn’t go as you plan it, and that’s what makes it so much fun that we have all these characters to interact with.  And I like it because I’ve never ‑‑ like Rock said, I never played a dad, you know, in a sitcom before.  So it’s going to be a lot of fun to deal with kids and deal with problems of the day, and I’m looking forward to it.”

Jerrod Carmichael
Jerrod Carmichael

Kevin James talked about the similarities between the new show and King of Queens:

KEVIN JAMES:  “You always kind of want to do something different, yet the same.  And it’s a constant battle in my career to say, “I don’t want to do the same thing again” or this or that.  So you say you want to do something different, but automatically you lose half your audience, the people that enjoyed that, what you were doing, and so you do more of that.  So the trick is ‑‑ I think we’ve done it really well ‑‑ is to kind of do a blend of both.”