‘Kevin Can F*** Himself’ uncovers an ugly outcome of hope deferred in a toxic marriageCategory: Television
AMC’s dark comedy Kevin Can F*** Himself breaks television convention both in style and substance. It blends multi-camera network sitcom with single-camera gritty cable network realism to make us feel rage and exasperation of a long-suffering wife.
Allison McRoberts (Annie Murphy) is a prototypical sitcom housewife; she finds herself at the butt of her man-child husband Kevin (Eric Petersen), but cheerfully absorbs the humiliations and disappointments that life and her loser spouse can throw at her. Trapped in her faith of a bright future of moving into a new house with a mud room and granite kitchen countertop, Allison maintains the often-ignored and put upon sitcom housewife personality with a big fake smile. God forbid that she should erupt in anger and frustration! It is simply not done.
In an oversaturated sitcom domain complete with laugh track, Kevin is adored by his ‘boys’ (his father and next-door neighbors) and gets away with anything. Regardless of what’s thrown in her face, Allison is easygoing, unbelievably patient, and absolutely devoted to Kevin until one glimmer of hope is shattered by his blatant lie.
When she finally wakes up to the injustices in her life, the show follows Allison out of Kevin’s domain and observes how she acts out in the harsh and depressing single-cam reality. Darn that dream of a fresh start! Kevin is not going to change. Nothing is enough. This is a relationship of exploiter and exploited, oppressor and oppressed. I’m not going to take it any more! The question is what is she going to do about it?
Consumed by pent-up anger, Allison decides to “kill” Kevin. Oh, dear! Are you sure about that? Wait a minute, that sounds vaguely familiar…I know, I know. That’s exactly what Empress Catherine II (Elle Fanning) tried to do to her stupid & immature husband Emperor Peter III (Nicholas Hoult) in Hulu’s The Great* – *an occasionally true story. I find it fascinating and appalling that Allison grapples with the same old issue in the 21st century America!
Despite ideas of equality, old habits do die hard and we women still put others before ourselves and ignore our own needs. Kevin Can F*** Himself is less about the toxic masculinity, but more about the empowerment of women. It’s a graphic and timely reminder that we teach people how to treat us by what we allow, what we stop, and what we reinforce. Self-empowerment starts with self-care and self-discovery, ladies!
The first two episodes of Kevin Can F*** Himself premiered on AMC+ on June 13, and on AMC on June 20. Subsequent episodes will be released weekly on each platform.
About the Author
Meg Mimura is a TV critic who actually watches shows zealously in search of thought-provoking and paradigm shifting human drama worth our precious time. She is a member of Television Critics Association. Follow her on Twitter.
photo courtesy AMC