King of Queens may have come and gone, but Kevin Can Wait is taking its place — or trying to. Leah Remini has joined the cast of the show, reprising her role as star Kevin James' love interest. The CBS sitcom is on its second season, and James is explaining why Erinn Hayes, who played his wife Donna Gable, was killed off the show. The reason why is making our head spin.
"We were literally just running out of ideas," James told the New York Daily News. "The plot of the show didn't have enough drive. If we got through a second season, I wouldn't see us getting through a third one."
Excuse us. James killed off his character's wife because they couldn't think of anything else better to write? That's a little...strange. Kevin Can Wait was full of possibilities for their relationship that didn't involve killing off Donna Gable, like exploring a possible relationship disagreement or divorce, as is so common in marriage these days. Kevin Can Wait had an incredible opportunity to say something really human about how relationships dissolve, but they chose to kill off the wife instead.
Moreover, her death hasn't been addressed on the show, other than in passing. Grief is a deeply powerful emotion that doesn't dissipate within any prescribed amount of time; certainly not within the year that the storyline on the show has sped up to explain her death. Instead, Leah Remini has joined the cast, presumably because her chemistry with Kevin James was so popular on King of Queens.
Last month, Ariana Romero wrote that "obviously, the death of a major character should affect a series in some way. Especially when she’s the main character’s wife — not his girlfriend, his neighbor, or his executive assistant. No, his wife of countless years — and the mother of his three children. We’ve got no such luck here."
Now we know why we don't have that luck. His wife was killed off because the show writers couldn't figure out anything else to write. Perhaps in the future, spousal death isn't treated as a stopgap between seasons, but is used to explore the full range of human emotions.