The early 2000s sitcom The King of Queens is an amazing family comedy. It follows the lives of a working-class couple, Doug and Carrie, as well as her father Arthur, who lives in the basement. Reruns can be usually caught at any hour of the night, and the episodes are still hilarious more than 10 years after the show ended.
The show’s best episodes are surprisingly evenly spread out—an episode from almost every season makes this list, while season four has 3 of the most highly ranked episodes. Season seven was apparently pretty middling though; no episodes from season seven make this list. Without further ado: The ten best episodes of The King of Queens, according to IMDb fans.
10 Steve Moscow (8.3/10)
In an ongoing problem that highlights the pitfalls of homeownership and suburban life, Carrie and Doug are dealing with a mold problem in the house. First of all, it’s amazing that the show manages to make mold take center stage in more than one episode and still have it be funny. Best of all is the couple’s way of solving the problem: They hire Russian workers to do repair work. However, the workers don’t have the work ethic the couple is expecting and it leads to conflict.
Fans love Doug's argument with the repair worker about communism. Since the show highlights a classic working-class couple, this is a great use of the show’s strengths.
9 Life Sentence (8.3/10)
This November 2001 episode had to walk a tight rope line: 9/11 had just happened and the United States was still reeling from it. Rom-coms like The King of Queens had to be funny and distracting without being too blithe. This episode manages to successfully navigate that mood.
Carrie starts thinking about life insurance plans, leaving Doug to worry that she might die and leave him to care for Arthur by himself. Doug installs a camera in the basement so that he can check on Arthur. But suddenly, his friends can’t stop watching Arthur’s mundane activities on television. So meta, so funny.
8 Lush Life (8.4/10)
One of the on-going (but aging poorly) jokes in The King of Queens is that Carrie can be really abrasive. She often criticizes Doug—usually she means well, but her words hurt. But when Carries starts joining a coworker for happy hour in “Lush Life,” the dynamic between her and Doug suddenly changes. A tipsy Carrie is a nice Carrie.
When Carrie and her colleague argue and she starts returning home sober again, Doug and Arthur conspire to keep her just a little tipsy so that their lives are a little easier. Of course, when she finds out what they’ve been doing, she’s angrier than ever.
7 Supermarket Story (8.4/10)
Many comedies struggle with season one while they build up characters and backstories. Not so with The King of Queens. With so many episodes rated 8.0 or higher, the first season may be one of the highest-rated over-all seasons of the show.
Going into Thanksgiving, Doug thinks that they’re going to have a relaxing holiday filled with only the three big f’s: food, football, and…making love. But when Arthur demands a traditional Thanksgiving meal made completely from scratch, the family has to go to the supermarket on the day before Thanksgiving. There they meet a man Doug has never met before, but who knows everything about him. In the end, the family learns the true meaning of Thanksgiving.
6 China Syndrome, Parts 1 & 2 (8.4/10)
In a surprise at the end of the series, Doug and Carrie suddenly decide to adopt a child to “complete” their family. They choose to adopt a child from China, but just as Carrie finds out that the baby is ready for them to pick up, Doug decides he wants a divorce. Carrie has been keeping an apartment in the city, and Doug’s unhappy she won’t give it up. Meanwhile, Arthur has to find a replacement for his wedding.
As a series finale, this was a fitting send-off for the series. It ends with everyone in the family in a good place, with a clear projection for their futures.
5 G’Night Stalker (8.5/10)
Carrie takes Doug to a karaoke bar and encourages him to sing, not knowing what havoc it will wreak. A woman becomes a fan of Doug’s and begins emailing him very flattering emails which go straight to his head. When Carrie finds out, she puts a block on the email. It’s only when Doug turns the block back off that they discover the bigger problem: the fan has become an outright stalker, and the emails are turning insulting and threatening.
Fans of the episode love that this is a classic set up for show’s main couple, as well as the fact that it puts an interesting twist on a problem that normally women are forced to deal with.
4 Assaulted Nuts (8.5/10)
One of the reliably good jokes in The King of Queens is Doug messing around with something he shouldn’t be and doing some damage. In this iteration of that, Doug is messing around with a stapler gun at work and ends up shooting himself with it in, ahem, a “private” place. Unfortunately, he has to sit through a loan interview for Carrie and does it in excruciating pain. Eventually, Deacon drives him to the hospital and he gets the treatment he needs.
This episode will make you cringe in sympathy pain while also laughing out loud at the ridiculous situation Doug finds himself in. Season two is when the show really hit its stride, and “Assaulted Nuts” is a perfect example of that.
3 Shrink Wrap (8.5/10)
As mentioned in the season four episode recap “Lush Life,” one of the ongoing gags of the show is how the abrasive personalities of Carrie and Arthur brush up against Doug’s self-serving attitude. In the season’s finale, the difficult personalities take center stage when Doug gets frustrated and sends Arthur to a therapist. In their quest to find out why Arthur is so prone to yelling, they find out that his father was a difficult man. He treated Carrie the same way, molding her own acerbic responses when she’s upset.
This is a really smart episode that tackles therapy and the cycles of parent-child relationships in a really empathetic way. Of course, it wouldn’t be The King of Queens if it didn’t manage to be funny. Ben Stiller’s appearance is perfectly in key to make even this difficult subject a laugh.
2 Awful Bigamy (8.7/10)
The season six finale is a great example of what makes The King of Queens a great sitcom. Holly has been kicked out of her apartment and Arthur takes her in, letting her stay in the basement with him. Doug isn’t fond of having her around until he realizes the benefits of having two women in the house. Holly laughs at his jokes and makes him plenty of food, while Carries loves him and has sex with him: the dream, according to Doug.
Doug’s attempt to have it all always leaves fans of the show laughing. He can be relied on to act somewhat selfishly and be hilarious while doing it.
1 Strike Out (8.8/10)
Here we are: the highest-rated episode of the show. It’s got everything that makes The King of Queens so perfect: Carrie and her best friend Kelly getting frustrated with their husbands; Arthur being cranky; Doug and Deacon feeling out of their element; and a well-intentioned plan that backfires spectacularly.
During a three-week-long IPS strike, Doug and Deacon are driving their wives crazy. Carrie and Kelly get tired of them lying around the house, and so they pair the husbands up with Arthur, forcing them to spend the day together. They think it will at least keep them busy, but instead the three men end up causing havoc when they become utter delinquents.