Whether you’re a fan or a detractor, you have to admit: There’s something bold about a character-erasing time jump. Monday night’s season premiere of Kevin Can Wait not only pushed the show’s timeline forward over a year, it also addressed the Erinn Hayes–sized elephant in the room: the conspicuous absence of Hayes’s character, Donna, erstwhile wife to Kevin and mother of the three Gable children. As reported this summer, season two features the demise of Donna, as Hayes has been written out of the show. However, as BuzzFeed’s Jarett Wieselman pointed out, Donna’s death is alluded to only very briefly and with regards to her still-standing gym membership (to be fair, those things are very hard to get out of). The conversation then ends with a kung fu coupon punch line. So, if you were looking for any concrete answers about how or why Donna died, well, Kevin Can, and Will, Make You Wait. Provided the show addresses it at all, of course.
Meanwhile, the news that Hayes would no longer appear on the series came at roughly the same time viewers got word that Kevin James’s previous TV wife Leah Remini would become a series regular, in an apparent attempt to recapture that old King of Queens magic. After watching tonight’s episode, some fans did not refrain from letting the Scientology and the Aftermath host know they would not let Donna go gentle into that good night so easily.