I don’t take into account myself a violent particular person, however I felt nothing however absolute pleasure watching one of many closing moments of Kevin Can F*** Himself‘s first episode. After nearly an hour of watching Annie Murphy‘s wistful Worcester housewife Allison take emotional and physical abuse from her husband Kevin (Eric Petersen), she snaps. A glass beer mug shatters in her hands and she plunges the sharp handle into Kevin’s throat. The sitcom world that Kevin guidelines fades away and the darkish multi-cam present that frees Allison takes command. Kevin is lifeless.
Except, he isn’t.
Like many issues in AMC’s Kevin Can F*** Himself, this second is revealed to be a dramatization of Allison’s innermost fantasies. Kevin Can F*** Himself flits between tv conventions — a crass multi-cam sitcom the place Kevin reigns as incorrigible king, a bleak status drama the place Allison slips into despair, and a misty-eyed nostalgic journey the place Allison and Kevin stay out a suburban fairytale — to deconstruct the gulf between how folks need to see themselves and the way they really are.
However the present’s most scathing commentary is on the conventions of old-fashioned home sitcoms. Kevin is a pampered man-child, beloved by mates, neighbors, and an adoring studio viewers. Allison is the shrewish spouse who drags everybody down together with her literal desires. What Kevin Can F*** Himself does so superbly is reveal Kevin’s character to be an utter villain, sucking the hopes out of everybody round him for energy and management. By the top of the primary episode of Kevin Can F*** Himself, I, too, needed to homicide Kevin.
As a personality, Kevin is supposed to stand in for the many years of male sitcom leads who milked laughs by demeaning the ladies of their orbit. Kevin Can F*** Himself creator Valerie Armstrong has shared that one level of inspiration for her was realizing what number of proficient actresses she knew had been auditioning for these thankless supporting components. “The dialogue for the wives were almost entirely Whadda ya mean?’ and ‘Yes, honey’’ It was all set up. Nothing about their roles was funny or had any depth,” Armstrong said. In the world of those conventional sitcoms, the viewers has been groomed to root for the hilarious male lead and to overlook the “wife” character.
Kevin Can F*** Himself provides itself the duty of switching up who our empathy lies with. Instead of rooting for the playful scamps who simply need to have enjoyable, we discover ourselves relating extra to Allison’s affected person companion. Her desires of transferring to a greater neighborhood? Relatable and practical. The fixed slights she has to put up with? Infuriating. The concept that Allison — a stupendous, caring lady who has compromised a lot — is with Kevin? Obscene.
While lots of this shift in our perspective is thanks to how Kevin Can F*** Himself‘s script moves us in and out of the sitcom world, actor Eric Petersen deserves kudos for playing Kevin as so damn gormless. Petersen has the thankless task of portraying a pop culture paradigm as a one-dimensional villain. He has to be both recognizable to us, and revolting. It’s inconceivable to consider his character has something approaching an internal life, which makes the revelation that he’s been secretly siphoning funds out of the couple’s financial savings account all of the extra upsetting. He’s egocentric, disgusting, and, sure, begging to be murdered.
Kevin Can F*** Himself is a chilling takedown of home sitcom tropes. And the place the place it succeeds probably the most may be in letting the viewers stay in Allison’s rage. If you possibly can watch Kevin Can F*** Himself and not need to homicide Kevin, did you actually watch Kevin Can F*** Himself in any respect?