A broadcast comedy series has been the target of a torrent of criticism for its handling of the death of a major character. The controversy is raging today over Monday’s season two premiere of CBS’s “Kevin Can Wait” — and if you haven’t watched it yet, consider this your SPOILER ALERT.
The Kevin James-led sitcom killed off Donna, played by Erinn Hayes, clearing the way for Leah Remini — who starred opposite James for nine seasons on “The King of Queens,” to move into a regular role on the show. But viewers were upset by the lighthearted manner in which the show treated the death of the character.
EW.com notes that CBS President Kelly Kahl had talked about the show’s plans back in June, promising that Donna’s death would be “treated with dignity and respect.”
“Well, how it was handled was in 20 seconds with a postcard from Donna’s gym and a kung-fu joke,” EW.com reports. “There was no explanation or insight into her demise, only that it had been over a year since she died. On Twitter, many fans expressed outrage about how quickly the death of the show’s female lead was glossed over.”
A few examples from the tweets:
“Wow. Really. #KevinCanWait just casually mentions his wife ‘died over a year ago’. Just to bring Leah Remini back. Sad and distasteful.”
“CBS did the wife from Kevin Can Wait so dirty for no reason.”
“Killing off your wife and mother of your children isn’t really that funny.”
“Wow they just kill her off like it’s nothing.”
“CBS has made a mistake. We miss Erinn Hayes.”
“Well #KevinCanWait you really screwed up that season premiere. #awful”