Cue the chortle observe.
The stereotypical stick-in-the-mud sitcom spouse is getting her close-up in edgy new present “Kevin Can F**k Himself.”
Premiering Sunday on AMC (9 p.m.), the darkish comedy follows Allison (Annie Murphy in her first position post “Schitt’s Creek”), a long-suffering spouse who rolls her eyes as her schlubby man-child husband, Kevin (Eric Petersen) clowns round together with his mates.
So far, so typical for the style. But “Kevin Can F**k Himself” — a riff on the widespread CBS present “Kevin Can Wait,” which starred Kevin James and resulted in 2018 — is utilizing the conventions of latest sitcoms to show them on their head.
To do this, the present alternates between acquainted scenes — full with punchlines, harebrained schemes from Kevin as Allison tries to maintain their family so as and a chortle observe — and a extra naturalistic, dramatic vibe during which the digital camera follows Allison when she’s alone, letting her frustration present.
“To me, the format switch [jumping between sitcom and drama] is a metaphor for the benefit of the doubt that we’ve given Kevins forever,” creator Valerie Armstrong informed The Post.
“Those guys get to walk around with their own little sitcom audience laughing and cheering them on, and they don’t have to deal with the consequences of their buffoonish funny actions. Everybody else around them does. It’s the guy who gets to have destruction in his wake and never look back, and the woman who has to deal with that and is then called naggy.”
Armstrong, 31, is a tv author and first-time TV creator who received the concept for the collection when she was listening to the podcast “The JV Club with Janet Varney.”
“These two women comedians were talking about how every year they go out for the sitcom wife [roles] and they’re always told, ‘We need a funny woman for this. You’ll get jokes for this one!’ And then they get the [scripts] and their lines are just set up for the men in the room,” stated Armstrong.
“And I was like, ‘We’re still doing this? How?’”
For Armstrong, the reply was clear — create a present that focuses on the spouse.
“That first image came to me with a woman in her sitcom living room with her husband … She walks into the kitchen and suddenly we see her up close and it looks very different. It’s not that anything necessarily changed in her from the living room into the kitchen — it’s that we’re finally paying attention to her,” she stated of her early concepts.
The present is set in Worcester, Massachusetts, though Armstrong initially wished to base it on her hometown of Milford, Connecticut.
“But people hear Connecticut and think, ‘fancy,’” she stated. “It’s not, but I knew that it wouldn’t have that shorthand. And then I remembered Worcester, where my brother’s college roommate is from. He totally understood that there was something backwards about that place and yet he had this immense pride and love for it.”
That struck a chord with what she was making an attempt to do. “I thought, what a great place to set this [show], which has this bright and shiny veneer but also has this rot beneath it.”
Although Armstrong didn’t watch “Kevin Can Wait” — which infamously killed off Kevin’s (Kevin James) spouse, Donna (Erinn Hayes) to a storm of viewer confusion and controversy in 2018 — she grew up watching a lot of its small-screen predecessors.
“I did watch a lot of ‘King of Queens’ when I was a child. I watched ‘Family Matters’ and ‘Frasier’ and ‘Friends’ and ‘Home Improvement.’ I grew up loving sitcoms. It’s only since having the idea for this show that I’ve gone back, thinking, ‘Huh — was Jill from ‘Home Improvement’ miserable?’”
As reducing as “Kevin Can F**k Himself” could be, nevertheless, Armstrong stated that eviscerating different exhibits is not the aim.
“We are not here to make fun of this genre,” she stated. “Everyone involved has a real respect and love for it. But you can love something and still take issue with it.”