Back in August, CBS announced that Kevin Can Wait star, Erinn Hayes, would be killed off and Kevin James’s former King of Queens co-star, Leah Remini, would be stepping in as a series regular. Fans of the show were dumbfounded by the news, but CBS president Kelly Kahl made a statement to Entertainment Weekly assuring audiences that the transition would be handled with “respect and dignity”.
Fans gave CBS the benefit of the doubt and eagerly awaited the #KevinCanWait Season 2 premiere. However, when the episode finally aired they were shocked at how badly the show handled Kevin’s wife’s death.
'Kevin Can Wait' Totally Mishandles The Death Of A Major Character
The Season 2 premiere promised fans that #ErinnHayes' character’s death would be handled well, but in actuality, it just served as a punch line for a terrible joke.
The episode picks up a year after the events of the first season and we join Kevin in the kitchen going through some old mail. Kevin stumbles across a letter from his late wife’s gym, where they say that they miss her. Kevin and his daughter quickly lament how they miss her, too, then they move on from the subject with a poorly timed joke about a coupon for kung-fu lessons.
That is the “respectful and dignified” way Kevin Can Wait handled the death of the main character’s wife. #CBS basically leaped over the death of Donna with little concern, much like the Itchy & Scratchy show killed Poochie on The Simpsons. There was no explanation of how she died, how the family has coped, or anything of value, just a short shout-out and they moved on – and the fans were livid.
Fans React To The Way 'Kevin Can Wait' Handled Donna's Death
At first, fans of Kevin Can Wait were incredulous to how the show handled Donna’s death, but their feelings quickly turned to outrage. In response, tons of fans took to Twitter to air the grievances and let CBS know that this was unacceptable:
Social media was bombarded with upset fans, but some took a moment to share their love for Erinn Hayes and how much she is missed in Kevin Can Wait Season 2:
With Kevin Can Wait and CBS stepping over Erinn Hayes and subbing in #LeahRemini, they seem to have alienated a lot of their fans. Sure, there is no easy way to handle the death of a character, but they could have at least given an explanation or maybe shown the family grieving in the slightest.
It’s still possible that the show could delve deeper into what happened to Donna in forthcoming episodes, but that was definitely something that should have been handled off the bat. Maybe Kevin Can Wait fans will hang in there and continue to tune in every week, but for now, the #KevinJames vehicle seems to have transitioned into King of Queens 2.
Sound off! Do you think Kevin Can Wait mishandled Donna's death? Let your voice be heard in the comment section below.