“King of Queens,” “According to Jim,” “Still Standing,” “Home Improvement,” “Kevin Can Wait” — the list of sitcoms centering doofus, schlubby dudes married to women out of their leagues, and usually stuck at home, goes on and on. But now we have “Kevin Can F**k Himself,” a darkly comedic look at what happens when one of these sitcom wives decides she has had enough.
When her husband is around, Allison (Annie Murphy) is stuck in a laugh-tracked multi-cam comedy where Kevin (Eric Petersen) and his dipshit friends get into hijinks, while she is expected to clean up whatever mess they leave behind, and weather their casual cruelty with a bemused smirk on her face. When Kevin isn’t around, Allison is in a single-cam dramedy a la “Orange Is the New Black” or “Better Call Saul,” where she navigates disappointments, regrets, and frustrations. This world is light on shenanigans but is where Allison can be an actual person in her own right — not just someone’s wife.
For awhile, Allison has been able to juggle the two sides of her life, and has convinced herself that she is happy. But then Kevin does something that’s unforgivably selfish, and Allison cracks. She can’t lie to herself any longer: she’s stuck in a terrible marriage, one that has undermined her dreams, desires, even her own sense of self. And then Allison realizes the only way to escape this predicament is to kill her husband.
From creator Valerie Armstrong and exec producer Rashida Jones, “Kevin Can F**k Himself” is throwing a lot at the wall. It’s a deconstruction of a “King of Queens”-esque sitcom (its title alone directly engages with “Kevin Can Wait” and its misogyny) and a portrait of an anti-heroine who thought her life would be a lot better than it has turned out thus far. You see, Allison doesn’t just want to be rid of Kevin. She wants to escape her working class community, to go back to school, to be passionate about something. In short, she wants more. Other characters see her aspirations as snobby, but the show doesn’t — on the contrary, Allison’s longing feels honest and moving. At one point or another, we’ve probably all felt as if we were stuck in one TV show, and desperately wanted to change the channel.
At turns acerbic, bleak, awkward, and enraging, “Kevin Can F**k Himself” defiantly flips the bird to the bro-y, sexist comedies that just won’t die. It’s high-time the long-suffering sitcom wife got her own spotlight. Television could use a lot more Allisons, and a lot fewer Kevins.
“Kevin Can F**k Himself” will have a two-episode premiere June 20 on AMC. AMC+ subscribers can stream the first pair of eps now.