Kevin Can Wait does not want to tell us how Donna died. The second episode of the new season of the Kevin James sitcom, “Business Unusual,” provided no further clues to the death of Erinn Hayes’ character, Donna Gable. Hayes was unceremoniously fired from Kevin Can Wait over the summer as James’ longtime King of Queens co-star, Leah Remini, was added as a permanent cast member after a successful two-episode guest stint last season.
The Kevin Can Wait death mystery is not being unraveled in a This Is Us kind of way. In fact, Kevin Can Wait fans may never learn the full story behind the death of the Gable matriarch. Producer Rock Reuben told TV Guide Donna’s cause of death would be revealed only if “it becomes necessary for a story.”
“The show is about moving forward,” he said.
During last week’s Kevin Can Wait premiere, Donna’s mysterious death was briefly addressed in a segment about a gym membership. Fans found out Hayes’ character died when Kevin Gable (James) received a “we miss you card” from her gym. He then segued into a joke about a coupon for a kung fu class. But Donna got another mention in Episode 2 when Kevin’s daughter called him out for over-parenting “ever since Mom passed away.”
“Mom would want you to go back to work and see your friends and shave,” Kevin’s daughter (Taylor Spreitler) said later.
In the most “poignant” reference to dead Donna thus far, at one point Kevin admitted, “I’ve been living in a cocoon since Donna. The kids keep trying to push me back into the workforce, but I don’t know if I’m ready for that.” Again, how did Donna die?
Of course, Leah Remini’s character, Vanessa Cellucci, just happens to run a private security firm, and she just happens to need some help on an insurance fraud case and delivering some divorce papers to a carnival worker. Kevin is in; paving the way for lots of alone time with Vanessa in bars and stakeout cars.
In the “Business Unusual” episode, the duo’s first “stakeout” involves some playful, flirtatious banter as the two dine on cheeseburgers. It seems that James and Remini’s characters are being set up for an eventual romance, which has some fans hoping to see more of their King of Queens chemistry.
Many fans took to social media to cheer for a reunited Kevin James and Leah Remini. Some fans wrote that they like seeing “Doug and Carrie,” the characters James and Remini played on The King of Queens, with kids.
While some fans are happy to see “Doug and Carrie” with kids, Kevin Can Wait executive producer Rob Long revealed there is no immediate plan for James and Remini’s characters to get romantic.
“Honestly, we’re trying not to [put them in a romantic relationship],” Long told TV Line. “These two actors have incredibly fun chemistry together, but they’re also great antagonists. So as much as there’s a lot of snap and crackle on screen, there’s also a lot of fun in watching two people not get along.”
King of Queens fans aren’t buying it. As Kevin Can Wait moves forward, the characters are being set up for some cozy situations as Kevin’s life as a single dad takes a back seat.
Kevin Can Wait airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBS.
[Featured Image by Jeffrey Neira/CBS]