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Breaking news from Kevin Can Wait land: Vanessa has a boyfriend! Or, had a boyfriend! This is a disarmingly large development but one which, frankly, we should have seen coming. All this time, we’ve I’ve been asking ourselves the muted void, “When will Kevin move on from his wife’s network-approved death and test the romantic waters with new series regular Leah Remini?” but I’ve never once stopped to ask: What does Vanessa’s love life even look like? Does she, too, have a spouse who died in a freak network scheduling accident?
As it turns out, Vanessa has been dating a doctor — a hunky doctor, in fact, with a very ambiguously hunky name: Trent. (Of all the hills I may die on with this column, please don’t use my opinion of the name Trent as one of them.) But things don’t go well once Kevin meddles, and soon, sexy dermatologist Trent exits the picture right before he was supposed to escort Vanessa to her sister’s wedding. The high visibility of the event is especially important because Vanessa’s disproving father (Chazz Palminteri, obviously) is expecting to see his daughter with the very eligible plus-one he’s been hearing so much about. So, to help Vanessa maintain the optics of having a successful doctor boyfriend, Kevin shows up as her surprise wedding date — and pretends that he’s the Trent with the medical degree! (As any fan knows, Kevin does not have a license to practice medicine, suggesting that this will be one wacky turn of events!)
Fortunately, both because of King of Queens and because the writers have just decided that this is the new normal, Vanessa and Kevin have the instant chemistry of Shakespearean soulmates and cause quite a stir at the wedding. They dance (and definitely out-salsa Vanessa’s father!) and banter (in a comical/humorous way!) and they’re getting the perfect amount of attention on the dance floor until — uh oh — Kevin insists on dipping Vanessa. Spoiler alert: It does not go well! Vanessa falls, and it’s super embarrassing!
Vanessa’s father uses the dance floor slippage to basically announce that the whole relationship is a flop because his daughter is unreliable, an outrageous sentiment that forces Kevin to stand up for her and say, “If I had to pick one person to rely on in this world, it would be Vanessa!” Off screen, the ghost of Donna rolls over in her [place of rest TBD].
Moved that Kevin stood up for her and that he watched four hours of salsa lessons on YouTube, Vanessa gingerly touches his shoulder and thanks him. “It’s what friends do,” he replies. Their stares linger. Tension rises. This is the moment. Then Kevin makes a joke about a chocolate fondue fountain. The episode ends.
So, did Kevin and Vanessa hook up in week 4? No, of course not — but in the long journey of Kevin rebounding, the “let’s pretend to be platonic dates” episode is a major step forward. Also, the writers pulled a sneaky move here: Vanessa says she’s not ready for a relationship, and Kevin says, “It doesn’t matter if you’re ready, okay? Love doesn’t have a clock!” It’s almost as if the character is safely testing out this philosophy on someone else’s life so that viewers can count him in the clear when he no doubt applies this logic to his own life when the time comes! I don’t know — just a theory! We have fun here.