Kevin Can F**K Himself is wisely ending after two seasons on its own terms. I say wisely because, as much as I enjoy this perfectly weird little drama, I would hate for it to run out of steam without having anything valuable to add to its thematic and storytelling subversions. This tight narrative doesn’t need to be needlessly dragged out. Thankfully, based on the second season premiere, AMC’s genre-bending drama remains a mostly effective character study of Allison McRoberts (Annie Murphy) and inevitably of the audience that’s been programmed to laugh at her for decades. The aptly titled “Mrs. McRoberts Is Dead” also provides an intriguing path to the show’s conclusion.
Created by Valerie Armstrong, KCFH picks apart the age-old trope of the redundant sitcom wife. You know the one: She’s hot, patient, and dutiful, baring with her oafish husband’s tantrums and the sexist entendre meant to belittle her. From Mary Kay And Johnny to The King Of Queens to Kevin Can Wait (whose unceremonious firing of Erinn Hayes partly inspired KCFH), sitcom wives are used to and swiftly move on from jokes targeted at them, stepping into the next 20-minute episode for a repeat telecast. This move empowers the husbands to feel like the world is theirs to own. So Allison decides to topple the game. She spends season one trying to kill her spouse, Kevin (Eric Petersen). It’s a violent, flawed, ridiculously executed plan. But KCFH has never been about his death; it’s always been about her re-emergence.
Allison is done with the charade of putting on a fake smile in Kevin’s brightly lit, multi-camera world where the laugh track never stops. KCFH makes a strong case for why, despite desperately wanting to, it’s not easy for women to simply pack up and leave their toxic relationships. It only gets worse now that the titular dudebro is popular after his bid for Worcester, MA., city council hits its stride with a loud TV spot that Allison engineered. (It’s a play on The Troggs’ “Wild Things” with Kevin positioned as the Wild Dude. It’s gross.) She hopes it will take him down. Instead, people love it. Doesn’t she know by now that folks can rally behind a noisy politician with bad hair and zero redeeming qualities?
So her world, which switches to gritty and single-camera style when Kevin isn’t involved, gets darker and possibly lonelier. After 10 years of withering away alone, Allison finally found a teammate and partner-in-crime in Patty O’Connor (Mary Hollis Inboden), but their friendship is on shaky ground. To make matters worse, they disagree about what to do with Neil (Alex Bonifer), Patty’s brother and Kevin’s idiot BFF, who overheard their murderous plot. He tried to choke Allison before Patty saved her by hitting him in the head. To stop him from blabbing to Kevin, the two women now tie him up in Patty’s basement.
Neil is shitty and a bully, but Patty feels guilty about kidnapping him anyway, mainly because his head wound needs to be treated. Allison begs for more time to come up with a solution, but we know her plans rarely work out the way she intends them to. Ultimately, Patty takes him to the hospital, where he’s sedated and quiet for now. But how long will it last? At some point, Neil is going to reenter their orbit. Will he succumb to telling his best friend the truth, or will Allison’s parting words about how Kevin constantly mocks him stick with him: “Maybe he doesn’t care when I whine, but he laughs when you bleed.”
Allison and Patty’s relationship still anchors the show, thanks to Murphy and Inboden’s excellent chemistry. Their bond is tested in many ways here as Neil manages to spew some venom and get under Patty’s skin. The biggest test is still Allison’s one-track goal to become free. Now that she knows she can’t kill Kevin, she needs a new plan. Patty, who defended Allison to her girlfriend Tammy (Candice Coke) over soup just a few scenes prior, makes it clear that she wants nothing to do with what happens next.
Their friendship emerged out of a common goal to seek revenge on the men who take advantage of them, but it blossomed into something far more real than either expected. “She has my back, I have hers,” Patty explains to Tammy. Yet, their activities have only caused them and those they involve pain and suffering. With her drug dealing days behind her, a brother in the hospital, and a cop girlfriend who loves to show up unannounced, it’s no wonder Patty wants out.
Allison goes on a drinking binge with her aunt, Diane (Jamie Denbo), who just found out her own husband of several years was cheating on her. [There are hardly any decent men on KCFH, huh? Allison’s ex, Sam (Raymond Lee), might be a nice guy, but he still cheated on his wife last season and split up with her at the end, hoping to get together with Allison.] She poorly decides to drive after downing shots and gets into an accident. It leads to a moment of truth with Patty, who suggests she stop victimizing herself. It’s a loaded statement.
Is Allison a victim, or is she good at portraying herself as one? That’s what KCFH is trying to decipher, but there is only one right answer. Sure, she went along with Kevin’s buffoonery for years before one day deciding she’s had enough. Even then, instead of divorce or couples therapy, she’s resorted to the worst possible outcome: Murder. But it’s important to remember from the bits and pieces of background KCFH has provided (and we need more, stat) that her distorted worldview has been developed through previous trauma. She’s a tortured woman clawing her way out of a mortifying reality, one that her husband doesn’t see because he lives in a world of his own making. The alternating multi-cam/single-cam device is a clever way to depict the difference.
“Mrs. McRoberts Is Dead” nevertheless ends with a shift in Allison’s perspective. She is no more interested in killing her husband, but rather herself. Kind of. She gets the idea from something Patty said, and realizes that a potential non-incriminating way to leave Worcester forever is to disappear while everyone thinks she died. And just like that, she’s back to square one, a.k.a. a library where she’s Googling the most insane things. Will she succeed this time? Let’s unpack it over the remaining seven episodes.
- Hi, I’m excited to recap and dissect Kevin Can F**K Himself one more (and final) time.
- Like season one, these recaps will follow KCFH’s broadcast airings on AMC, but the show also streams episodes early on AMC+. (Please refrain from sharing spoilers if you’ve seen ahead!)
- I want everyone to focus and analyze this crucial line from Patty to Allison about men like Neil (and Kevin): “He’s not a complete idiot, he just wants you to think he is because then you pay his rent and bail him out for 30 years.”
- It was admittedly interesting to see that Kevin chose Allison’s advice over his dad’s for the first time, primarily because she was keeping it chill and acting more like Neil.
- Kevin continues to be an intolerable meathead. What’s the worst joke he cracks? “Let’s get our creative juices flowing. That’s what I call pounding beer and ripping shots.” Or is it asking Allison a question immediately followed by, “I need the opinion of the uninformed public”
- If you want to watch more stuff with a similar theme, I recommend Apple TV+’s Bad Sisters, by Catastrophe’s Sharon Horgan. Plus, Netflix’s Darlings, an Indian dark comedy about a mother-daughter duo who team up to take revenge on an abusive husband.
- Finally, we love a tangential Keri Russell mention, so shoutout to Diane for describing her husband’s girlfriend as “She has curly hair like Felicity.”