This summer, it was announced that Kevin Can Wait would be killing off Kevin (Kevin James)’s wife, Donna (Erinn Hayes), to bring in James’ former King of Queens costar Leah Remini. At the time, CBS said the TV death would be handled “with dignity and respect,” but as fans tuned in to the season two premiere last night, they were angered to see how the show dealt with such a dramatic cast change. (Spoilers ahead.)
At the beginning of the episode, Kevin was upset to find another flyer from Donna’s gym in the mail, since it had been “over a year since she died.” That was it — no mention of how she passed or what had happened since. Then, as his daughter promised to make sure the gym stopped sending mail, Kevin joked, “Don’t throw that out, there’s a coupon for a kung-fu lesson on the bottom.”
Fans were not happy, and called the whole thing lame, lazy, and savage.
Of course, that’s not to say that some people weren’t happy to see Leah Remini back on their TVs.
Later in the episode, when his daughter Kendra was getting married, there was another mention of Donna, as Kevin noted they were “just missing one thing.”
Hayes, who tweeted a sad confirmation on her departure from the show in June, has not reacted to the season two premiere. With many more episodes to come, there is of course a chance Donna’s death could be further explained as the season progresses — especially considering the fans’ reactions.
What did you think of how the show handled Donna’s death? Let us know @BritandCo!
(Photo via Michael Parmelee/CBS via Getty)