THINGS are pretty bleak in the world right now, but spare a second of thought for actress Erinn Hayes this morning.
Last night the devoted and loveable wife she portrayed on US sitcom Kevin Can Wait, which airs locally on Channel 9, was killed off and mourned in less than a minute to make way for what is essentially a King of Queens reboot. Even by TV standards, that's harsh.
Kevin Can Wait was never a bad series. In fact, the sitcom was well received in its first year on air, with many praising or at the very least liking Kevin James and Erinn Hayes' performances and chemistry. It was a perfectly likeable family sitcom. However, the show threw away a lot of the good will it had acquired by announcing that Hayes would be replaced as the show's leading lady in Season 2.
This decision came soon after Kevin Can Wait aired its 'Sting of Queens' episode, a one-off story that reunited James with his King of Queens co-star Leah Remini for a police adventure. For the most part, it was a perfectly fine and fun cameo, but at some point, Kevin's US TV network CBS must have taken the attention the episode received as a cue to completely rearrange its cast. In the months since it was first announced that Remini would be replacing Hayes, it was revealed thatKevin Can Wait would be killing off the sweet wife audiences had spent 24 episodes getting to know. Surely this huge death and show-altering shift deserves a big moment. Perhaps an entire episode dedicated to her funeral or at least a heartfelt speech from the titular Kevin?
CBS saw those reasonable inquiries and said no thank you. The fate of Hayes' Donna Gables was explained away by a piece of junk mail. Spoilers ahead.
In the first episode of Season 2, Kevin finds a letter from his wife's old gym. "Haven't seen you. We miss you," he reads aloud. He then pauses briefly before saying, "You know what? So do I."
His daughter sees his distress and promises to take care of the letter. However, Kevin stops her. You see, there's a coupon on the back for a kung-fu lesson he's interested in. And just like that, the world of Kevin Can Wait has snapped back to sitcom normalcy.
We shouldn't have expected anything better than this. After all, this is the network that killed off Charlie Sheen from Two and a Half Men by literally dropping a piano on his head. Subtlety is not a word that seems to exist when it comes to writing off CBS characters. However, Hayes, whose giant TV crime was not being Leah Remini, deserved so much better than this. And you know what? So did viewers:
Never watching #kevincanwait again. Killing off your wife and mother of your children isn't really that funny. Erinn Hayes was hilarious.— Jack Wunschel (@drummerjack) September 26, 2017
This story originally appeared on Decider and is republished here with permission.
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