Tag Archives: King of Queens

Ridgewood reacts to first episode of ‘Weird Loners’


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Anthony Giudice

BY CRISTABELLE TUMOLA AND ANTHONY GIUDICE 

Imitation is not always the sincerest form of flattery.

A group of Ridgewood residents had mixed feelings as they gathered at a local bar to watch the premiere of “Weird Loners,” a new Fox comedy that uses the area as the inspiration for the show’s setting.

“The group [that lives in the] house in the show represents the patrons of the bar,” said Steven Lewis, co-owner of Queens Tavern, who, with Sarah Feldman from Ridgewood Social, had the idea to hold a screening party at the bar. “There has never been a show centered in Ridgewood on TV. The show was better than I thought it would be.”

“Weird Loners” centers on four relationship-challenged 30-somethings who unexpectedly end up in each other’s lives and start bonding while living next door to each other in a Queens townhouse.

According to creator and executive producer Michael J. Weithorn, the setting is based on Ridgewood, though the show’s current scripts don’t directly mention the area. There are future plans, however, to more directly feature the neighborhood in the sitcom.

 Becki Newton as Caryn, Zachary Knighton as Stosh, Meera Rohit Kumbhani as Zara and Nate Torrence as Eric (Michael Becker / FOX/Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting)


Becki Newton as Caryn, Zachary Knighton as Stosh, Meera Rohit Kumbhani as Zara and Nate Torrence as Eric (Michael Becker/FOX/Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting)

About 25 to 30 people came out to the Queens Tavern Tuesday night to check out the show’s 9:30 p.m. debut and share their opinions, with the bar handing out noisemakers to the crowd so they could jeer at any mention of the borough.

During the fun and sarcastic mood of the evening, the crowd booed at the large living room of Becki Newton’s character Caryn and the exterior shots of the neighborhood. Weithorn had the set designer research Ridgewood’s old buildings, but the show was shot in Los Angeles.

“The show was corny,” said Morgan Pielli, who has lived in Ridgewood for two and a half years. “I thought it represented Ridgewood terribly. The set looked nothing like it.”

Liz Babish, who has also resided in Ridgewood for around two years and hails from New Jersey, was more optimistic about “Weird Loners” as a comedy, but said it wasn’t a reflection of her area.

“It has potential,” she said. “The show has a ‘New Girl’ vibe. Ridgewood was not represented at all.”

Babish was right about the “New Girl” feel — Jake Kasdan, an executive producer for the Zooey Deschanel series, is also an executive producer for “Weird Loners,” and even directed the pilot.

Attendees overall had positive reactions to the entertainment value of the first episode, which lays out how the four main characters — Caryn (Becki Newton), Stosh (Zachary Knighton), Zara (Meera Rohit Kumbhani) and Eric (Nate Torrence) meet and end up living adjacent to each other in Queens. The final scene finds the foursome mocking and then crashing a nighttime wedding in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

But they felt the comedy featured little of Ridgewood, and what it did portray wasn’t an accurate depiction.

“It didn’t show anything of Ridgewood. I hope it gets more street views of Ridgewood,” said Timothy Bakth, who has lived in Ridgewood for all 31 years of his life. “Being from Ridgewood my entire life, I wish they would have taken a look at Ridgewood 10 years ago; many things have changed.”

Queens Tavern is holding another viewing party next week, on April 7 at 9 p.m. “Weird Loners” airs Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on Fox.

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Ridgewood bar to hold viewing party for ‘Weird Loners’ premiere


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Michael Becker / FOX/Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting

The neighborhood that inspired the backdrop of a new Fox comedy will be holding a viewing party at a local bar for its premiere that is likely to be filled with more jeers than cheers.

Weird Loners” is about four relationship-challenged 30-somethings who unexpectedly end up in each other’s lives and start bonding while living next door to each other.

Creator and executive producer Michael J. Weithorn, who also co-created “The King of Queens,” decided to use Ridgewood as the setting for the show.

He had the set designer research the old buildings of the neighborhood for the Los Angeles-shot show, and used a Polish delicatessen he visited in the area as a child for the inspiration for the background of two of the characters.

But these attempts to replicate Ridgewood don’t seem to be sitting well with some of its own who are planning on attending a party to watch its depiction on the small screen.

A “Let’s Watch ‘Weird Loners’ Together…Party” is set for Wednesday at 9 p.m. at Queens Tavern, at 68-69 Fresh Pond Rd., hosted by Sarah Feldman from Ridgewood Social, who will be grabbing the mic during commercial breaks. According to the event description:

Grab a beer and uncomfortably watch the first episode at Queens Tavern on their full screen! Be in awe of how large their indoor apartment is! Then ask yourself… “if that is considered weird by mainstream standards… what am I?” Make bets with your fellow friends on how long until this show gets cancelled!

P.S. The word “Quooklyn” is banned from the party.

If the show does get the ax early on, locals won’t need to worry about any direct references to Ridgewood.

According to Weithorn the show’s current scripts don’t directly mention the neighborhood so far, but there are future plans to feature it more prominently in the comedy.

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New Fox comedy set in Queens premiering March 31


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Michael Becker / FOX/Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting

The co-creator of “The King of Queens” is bringing the borough back to the small screen with a new Fox comedy premiering this month.

Weird Loners” focuses on four relationship-challenged 30-somethings who unexpectedly end up in each other’s lives and start bonding while living next door to each other in a neighborhood that’s supposed to be Ridgewood.

Unlike some sitcoms featuring single urbanites, the comedy speaks to the stigma of being older and still being alone, according to creator and executive producer Michael J. Weithorn.

“There is the feeling that their lives are getting away from them,” Weithorn said. “But they bond together because they find each other.”

The show stars Becki Newton (“Ugly Betty”) as Caryn Goldfarb — described as a cute but high-strung dental hygienist who is love-crazed and an ultra-romantic. Her overeagerness and infatuation in her dating life has left her chronically single.

Zachary Knighton (“Happy Endings”) plays Stosh Lewandoski who is handsome, charming, smart and great at seducing women, but can’t maintain an intimate relationship. After losing his corporate condo, he is forced to move in with his cousin in Queens.

Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting

Michael Becker/FOX/Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting

Nate Torrence (“Hello Ladies”) plays his cousin Eric — a toll collector who is described as a sweet, odd man-child. He lives in his family home with his parents until they pass away and Stosh moves in with him.

Newcomer Meera Rohit Kumbhani plays Zara Sandhu — a mysterious and ethereal woman who likes to live in the moment. A lifelong heartbreaker, men and women regularly fall in love with her. After leaving yet another lover, she moves in with Caryn, who lives next door to Eric and Stosh.

These four characters may be considered “Weird Loners,” but the title is somewhat ironic according to Weithorn because everyone is a weird loner in a way.

“They’re just like all of us…they just have not been able to figure out how to do this one thing,” he said.

Weithorn, a Fresh Meadows native, started creating relatable characters based in Queens with his hit sitcom “The King of Queens,” which ran on CBS from 1998 to 2007.

“I feel like I can write [characters] better if I can feel what it’s like when they walk out their front door,” he said.

Ray Mickshaw / FOX. Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting.

Ray Mickshaw/FOX/Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting

Weithorn’s shows haven’t been the only series set in the borough. “All in the Family” (1971-1979) was supposed to take place in Astoria, though the actual home is located in Glendale; and “Dear John” (1988–1992) was about a high school teacher who is forced to move to an apartment in Rego Park after divorcing his wife. Ugly Betty (2006–2010) focused on the title character’s job at the Manhattan offices of a top fashion magazine, but the dramedy also prominently featured the protagonist’s family home in Jackson Heights.

“The King of Queens” is the only one of the group to put the name of borough in the title, which was hard to sell at first, according to Weithorn. The title was given the go-ahead after the “Queens” was made into a street sign so people would know that Queens was a destination.

“I think we bombarded the American public with the image of Queens,” he said of the show, which is now in syndication.

After setting “The King of Queens” in Rego Park, Weithorn decided to use Ridgewood as the backdrop for “Weird Loners.”

Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting.

Michael Becker/FOX/Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting

Weithorn had the set designer research the old buildings of the neighborhood for the Los Angeles-shot show, and used a Polish delicatessen he visited in the area as a child for the inspiration for the background of Stosh and Eric.

The two characters are children of Polish immigrants, a fact that is displayed proudly in Stosh’s name and the Polish banter the two sometimes have.

Weithorn doesn’t believe the show’s current scripts contain any direct references to the neighborhood so far, but there are future plans to feature it more prominently in the comedy.

But there are scenes that demonstrate it’s a Queens show — Eric’s hardcore devotion to the Mets and a bonding moment between the group in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

“Hopefully we will get the chance to tell the world about Queens,” Weithorn said.

“Weird Loners” premieres on Fox Tuesday, March 31, at 9:30 p.m.

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Bob Ricken honored as a ‘King of Queens’


| jlyons@queenscourier.com

rickenw

North Shore Towers Board President Bob Ricken was one of 35 honorees at The Queens Courier’s recent fourth annual “King of Queens” event, which recognized leaders in the borough from a variety of fields.

While Ricken might have at first been unsure about accepting the award, he said he eventually did so because of the cooperative.

“I really felt North Shore Towers deserved it [the honor] so that’s why I became very excited with the opportunity,” he said. Ricken also said, “I really believe we’ve been a miracle in the last few years.”

Ricken explained that the “miracle” has been avoiding maintenance increases for the last two years and Country Club dues increases for the last three even in the current economic environment. He also noted that the cooperative is waiting on the New York City tax rates to determine what will happen with maintenance for next year.

“One of the promises I made when I got onto the Board was I would work to that end but I never thought we’d achieve it in this economic environment,” Ricken said.

Ricken said that he thought the November 3 event, which was held at Terrace on the Park, was “magnificent.” He said he was excited to meet everyone, particularly Matilda Cuomo, who was honored as “Women of the Year,” and New York City Comptroller John Liu, who was recognized as “Man of the Year.”

“I found that the people there were excited to be there; the program was just brilliantly put together,” Ricken said. “The whole tone was a pro-business, pro-community, pro-Queens kind of an affair and it made you feel good to be there and be a part of it.”

Among the people on hand for the event were Ricken’s wife Susan; Board members Herb Cooper, Phyllis Goldstein, Phil Plafker and Jim Short; General Manager Glen Kotowski; Assistant to the General Manager Bruce Vogel; Controller Robert Serikstad; Security Director Kris Debysingh; realtor Linda Rappaport; counsel Errol Brett; Country Club Manager Mary Anne Langone and vendor Pouran Eshghi.

“I really appreciated them being there,” Ricken said.

Ricken said that the event was a great public relations opportunity for North Shore Towers since he was able to speak with bankers, lawyers, business people and political people.

“These are people who can well afford to live here,” he said.

When it comes to being a leader, Ricken said that he thinks it’s important to be “a warm fuzzy with teeth.” This means being good to all people while still making tough decisions when necessary. He also said it’s important to treat people fairly, collaborate and recognize that “a mass of people know more than you.”

Ricken has served as the President of the North Shore Towers Board of Directors for about the last three and a half years. In that leadership role, he said the most rewarding part has been having the community grow to respect the Board and appreciate their accomplishments. He also said there is now a tone in the buildings that the Towers is a great place to live.

“I’m also very appreciative to have a Board that works cooperatively together. That doesn’t mean we have any yes people on the Board,” Ricken said. “It means that we have our own arguments, our discussions and then come out with a decision that’s best for the community. I think that collaboration and cooperation on the Board is what I appreciate probably more than anything.”

To view more photos, see the North Shore Towers Courier’s December issue!

SAVE THE DATE: Kings of Queens Breakfast Awards & Networking event


| brennison@queenscourier.com

The Queens Courier will be honoring Comptroller John Liu as “King of Kings” and Matilda Cuomo as “Woman of the Year” at the fourth annual “Kings of Queens, a Champions’ Breakfast Awards & Networking event”, on Thursday, November 3 at 8:30 a.m. at Terrace on the Park.

For more information or for tickets, contact Maria Romero at 718-224-5863, ext 226.