Kevin Can F**K Himself strongly attempts to address what many viewers (including commenters here) have wondered about as we tread further into season two: Why doesn’t Allison leave Kevin? After spending season one trying and failing to kill her husband, she can perhaps try to pack up and go. Instead, she’s resorted to another scheme to escape her excruciating marriage by trying to disappear and letting everyone think she’s dead. Is it worth going through the trouble of retaining a private investigator, at a $350 an hour rate she can barely afford, who can assist her with this? Wouldn’t it be easier to divorce Kevin? The answer is a complicated and tragic no.
It seems simpler to gut her relationship and move out of Worcester. Yet she can’t because, as she explains in this episode under the guise of seeking advice for her aunt Diane, divorce is expensive, could take years to settle, and it would take Kevin actually letting her leave. Diane’s own spouse, Chuck, who cheated on her, attacked the PI they went to see and struck his car upon learning that Diane’s run away. This parallel storyline fortifies Allison’s fears of what Kevin is capable of. He won’t let her go. He’s goofy in his little sitcom universe, but that’s not the real world. Under the bright lights and a laugh track, his comments are demeaning. Without that context, they’re straight-up devious and prove Kevin is more calculating than anyone besides Allison gives him credit for.
Look no further than Kevin secretly keeping his valuables in Chuck’s storage locker after losing their savings. He hasn’t told Allison about the stash, which includes a pearl necklace her grandmother gave her that he hates because it makes her look like a “poor man’s Wilma Flintstone.” So when she dons it again, he doesn’t ask how she got hold of it. (Diane sneaked her into the storage room so she could pawn some of Kevin’s stuff and get the money to pay the PI). Instead, he questions if wearing it makes her feel like she’s better than him. The argument is played off lightly, but his remark is manipulation masked as humor (*more on this in Stray observations below) on top of a million others that have collectively become a pressure bomb for Allison over 10 years.
“The Way We Were” also depicts that she’s not the only one bearing the brunt of his shitty holier-than-thou attitude and actions. His BFF Kevin has blindly supported and joined him, but it looks like the tide is shifting. Neil’s conversation with Allison from the premiere about how Kevin laughs at and takes advantage of him has made an impact. His sudden morose behavior in Kevin’s sitcom existence feels off, but Alex Bonifer is really nuanced in portraying how Neil is slowly coming to terms with a toxic friendship he’s encouraged for a long, long time. He does try to warn Kevin about Allison’s plans to kill him, but the response he gets is simply: “What is marriage if not a death sentence?” Cue the eye roll, please.
Admittedly, I perked up when both Neil and Allison defended Patty simultaneously from Kevin’s jokes because Neil would’ve otherwise joined Kevin in teasing his sister. It’s hard to sympathize with him just yet, but I appreciate KCFH’s attempt to unpack his thought process as he moves into the single-cam world. And I hope he takes responsibility and reckons with contributing to Kevin’s incessant narcissism as this duo falls apart because it’s going to happen, right?
Another big takeaway from “The Way We Were” is more insight into Allison’s background. With Kevin’s city council campaign getting traction, he gets interviewed (translation: he embarrasses himself by taking one bite of hot sauce), but he wants to lie about Allison being his cousin instead of the wife (having a partner goes against his Wild Dude persona). Sadly for him, Allison knows the journalist because they went to high school together. We learn that Allison was great at relay, had the possibility of going to college, and was really popular for a while. But it all went downhill from there. I hope KCFH fully fleshes out what exactly transpired in Allison’s life and how it led her to Kevin in the first place.
Meanwhile, Patty and Tammy’s relationship suffers because they temporarily start living together after the latter’s air conditioning stopped working. It doesn’t last long because Patty needs her space (Fair enough! Their relationship is still new) but the two figure it out—at a funeral for Tammy’s partner, no less—as Patty asks for more patience because she still doesn’t know how to open herself up. I think she’s doing a better job than she realizes because both Tammy and Allison clearly adore and are dependent on her, noticing details about her likes and dislikes, from cashews to vodka.
Now whether the two women like Patty in the same romantic way is still TBD. Allison and Patty’s charged fight in the season one finale had some undertones of it (Annie Murphy and Mary Hollis Inboden’s electric chemistry was dialed up), but KCFH hasn’t really explored that dynamic again. Maybe that’s on the docket because Patty has been sucked into Allison’s scheme yet again (Boy, Tammy’s really going to need the patience, huh?) because the episode ends with them meeting the PI to figure out how exactly Allison might “disappear.” Is this idea doomed to fail, or will she actually manage to escape this time? We have six more episodes to find out.
- I wasn’t sure if Raymond Lee’s Sam would return, but it was nice to see him and Allison remain friendly, even though he fires her from the diner job. If KCFH digs into Allison’s past, I’d love to see what their relationship was like back then before it ended.
- Allison instantly agrees to go along with Kevin’s lie about being his cousin: “Being related to you is less pathetic than being married to you.” Insert gif of Chris Hemsworth as Thor asking, “Is it though?”
- In my recaps last season, I wondered when we’ll learn about Kevin’s mother because we’ve seen how his father, Pete (Brian Howe), influences him deeply. In this episode, we learn that she’s dead, a fact Kevin casually drops during the interview. I wish there were some follow-ups.
- This week’s award for Terrible Jokes by Kevin goes to:
Neil: “She’s trying to kill you.”
Kevin: “The reporter? She is wearing an awfully short skirt. ”
- *Finally, to expand on the “manipulation masked as humor” part of the recap above, I wanted to share an interview with Indian actor Shefali Shah (Delhi Crime), who recently starred in Netflix’s Darlings, which tackles similar themes as KCFH. She talks about disrespect being a big red flag, but I’ll let her do the talking.