Editor’s note: This article contains spoilers for the series finale.
Kevin Can F**k Himself, an AMC comedy starring Annie Murphy, is built around an intriguing plot device: What if a lady was the wife of a sitcom character, but when she was by herself, she was simply an ordinary woman frantically trying to leave a failing, toxic marriage? This plotline was a major part of Season 1, with Allison McRoberts (Murphy) desperately trying to free herself by killing her clumsy, one-note sitcom caricature husband Kevin (Eric Petersen). However, a change was seen after the Season 1 conclusion and the announcement that AMC was cancelling the show after Season 2.
The second season of “Kevin” acknowledges the necessity of honesty, just as its lead character. Where Allison spent the previous season thinking about killing herself, she is now actively scheming to do so (or at least faking it to start somewhere new). In contrast to last season, Allison this season seems less interested in making a bold statement with her actions. She wants to change her name and leave Wooster immediately.
Allison is a mess as a person, but Murphy’s cheery face and friendliness keep the viewers interested in her. This season, Allison’s “woe is me” mentality has disappeared. It is insufficient to attribute her issues on Kevin. Now she’s hoping to “introduce” her issues to Kevin and at least take advantage of him to make them go away, whether by getting Kevin to fabricate a personal injury claim in order for her friend and ex-lover Sam (Raymond Lee) to keep his diner or by making Kevin believe he’s a key witness in an arson case. Allison uses Kevin to rapidly solve things in her life, even though Kevin may be manipulative in a comedy way. With her best friend Patti, Allison can only think about something (or someone) outside herself (Mary Hollis Inboden).
Patti and Allison’s bond is the most solid this season. Murphy and Inboden aren’t your ordinary pair of awkward mates. The script’s insight of how these two women actually understand one another is heightened by their chemistry. This season has a lot to do with transition, and Patti’s budding friendship with Detective Tammy (Candice Coke) is one example. Detective Tammy urges Patti to leave Allison behind and build a life with her. However, Allison’s presence is what consistently rifts Patti and Tammy. They frequently run into each other while making breakfast since they have no idea which way to turn. Patti doesn’t have to be on while she’s with Allison. She is able to relax and enjoy a cigarette while knowing Allison is there to help.
Kevin’s authority is diminished by his isolation during the season as a result of his reliance on Patti and Allison. He is left with no one to poke fun of if the other folks are gone. Additionally, it eliminates the admirers of Kevin’s unique way of life. If Kevin doesn’t have a following, he’s simply a regular man. It’s funny to see Petersen keep playing Kevin, a stupid idiot whose crude remarks in Season 1 elicited cheers from the invisible audience. This season, the bright comedy lighting and editing disappear on multiple occasions, trapping many of the characters in their own little hells. Neil exemplifies it. After last season’s events, he began to question his purpose aside from being Kevin’s friend. As Neil, Alexi Bonifer transitions from being a dozy schlub to a 36-year-old guy who is unsure of his identity.
But without the individuals he wrongs, who is Kevin? Valerie Armstrong and her team start at the beginning while Allison considers pretending to be dead. In episode two, Allison remembers the evening following her father’s death when she first met Kevin. Murphy demonstrates how Allison was repressing her emotions before to Kevin’s arrival. Since her mother is the first Kevin-type Allison encountered—someone who would reprimand her and make her feel insignificant for their own selfish ego—the scenario is really staged like one of Kevin’s sitcoms. The show serves as a gentle reminder to viewers that Kevin is not unique. Kevins come into our lives on a regular basis. Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, Allison has always had the ability to escape, but not the strength.
In the season‘s climax, everything is actually brought home, providing Petersen an incredible opportunity to display some absolutely outstanding acting. He and Murphy have spent two seasons portraying individuals who don’t have romantic or intimate relationships or shared hobbies. However, that changes in the fittingly named “Allison’s House” series finale. Petersen is free to portray Kevin as the cruel, cunning person we’ve always known him to be now that the illusion has been dropped. However, without a crowd, he is both pitiful and horrifying. If there is any intimacy between the two, it comes from Petersen’s portrayal of Kevin as a guy who is aware of his wife’s flaws. Despite Allison having the last laugh, he ends on a triumphant note.
On “Kevin Can F**k Himself,” there is undoubtedly a neat conclusion, although it does sacrifice some narrative closure. If you believed that Nick (Robin Lord Taylor), the drug dealer who attempted to kill Kevin last season and was in a coma, would emerge to complicate matters, that has been disproved by a careless bit of dialogue at the conclusion of the season. Our brave detective, Tammy, runs into a brick wall that the show doesn’t remove. And Kevin’s unsuccessful bid for city council disappears into thin air. It’s obvious that a lot of material had to be shortened in order to properly wrap things up, and this ultimately benefits the series. The road’s terminus appears to have been designed from the beginning to support Allison’s quest for independence. Who cares if the writers chose not to embellish the story beats from season one?
The second season of “Kevin Can F*** Himself” is a fitting send-off for a show that didn’t have enough time to mature. Thankfully, the ensemble kept things upbeat, especially Murphy and Inboden, who made the closing sequence extremely memorable. While conveying a complex tale of female friendship, chauvinism, and toxicity, “Kevin Can F*** Himself” caused viewers to rethink sitcoms. Although the show claims Allison was never a perfect heroine, it didn’t matter. She deserves to live her dreams out on her own terms since they are just as legitimate as anyone else’s.
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