Kevin Can F**K Himself’s third episode, “We’re Selling Washing Machines,” establishes that Allison isn’t the only fed-up sitcom woman on this show. Her neighbor Patty is also stuck in the orbit of tiring men like her brother Neil, who is just as moronic as his BFF Kevin. Patty ingrains herself with Neil, Kevin, and Pete, but she’s not just “one of the boys,” as Allison suggests. She is unafraid to speak her mind and resourceful, as evidenced at the end of “New Tricks.” when we learn she is secretly selling pills from her salon. Clearly, even if Patty is limited by her town and her family, her rebellion against it all began long before Allison’s did. Unfortunately, Allison’s newfound urgency crashes Patty’s side hustle this week, intertwining both their fates and resulting in a begrudging but most welcome partnership.
“We’re Selling Washing Machines” begins four years in the past to show how Patty got into the business of selling Oxy. She did it to help older clients with health problems and no insurance, and she gets to sneak in extra cash for herself in the process. Maybe her income rise explains why there is seemingly no one else working in her somewhat spacious, if glum, salon? Does she not require assistance or is she not hiring so she doesn’t accidentally get caught? Patty doesn’t have coworkers or close pals. She does have a boyfriend, Kurt (Sean Clements), who enjoys eating bagged salads, watching Ray Donovan, and asking for pity sex. It sure looks like she is as lonely as Allison. It’s no surprise that when they finally start opening up to each other—whether it’s while eating burgers on the porch or when Patty is curling Allison’s hair—seeds are sown for a potential, long overdue friendship.
Allison’s decision in the premiere to kill Kevin and escape her depressing domesticity comes from a place of not realizing she has the power to leave him. Even in this episode, when she tells Patty that going home means she will have to aid Kevin in his silly chili cook-off against Neil, Patty simply responds with “So don’t [help him].” Allison is super quick to reject that notion. “Like that’s an option,” she scoffs, not recognizing that it very much is. For some reason (that hopefully the show explores soon), she has bound her identity to being a dutiful wife to a man who is far out of her league. Allison correctly points out that Patty gives similar leeway to her brother, seeing as she picks up his prescriptions and will clean up his cooking mess. Kevin Can F**K Himself sets up interesting character studies with these women by deconstructing sitcom tropes, but it can only be effective if they help each other see value beyond the men they are tied to. Neither of them have gotten a trustworthy outside perspectives before, so this unexpected female friendship might be their way out of a lifestyle they detest, ideally without turning into full-fledged criminals.
Allison distracts herself from helping Kevin roast a pig in her backyard by spending time with Sam. He invites her to his AA meeting where he’ll be getting his chip for being eight-years sober. Despite both of them being married, it’s clear there’s still some attraction here. Their conversation flows freely, mostly because he pays attention to what she has to say. She is able to express herself through jokes, arguments, and lingering gazes. For Allison, she isn’t necessarily pining just for Sam—she doesn’t even know who he is anymore, not really—but she is pining for the carefree woman she herself once was. “When I’m around you, I feel 15, and I was a brat at 15,” she tells him. It’s hard to picture her as spoilt, but then again, she does reveal to Patty that her and Sam used to hook-up at the Mexican restaurant they used to work at as teenagers even though he was already seeing Jenn (with two N’s, she clarifies) a.k.a his current wife, played by For All Mankind’s Meghan Leathers—a woman whose style and looks Allison is clearly trying to emulate.
Ultimately, Allison ends up ruining her own plan of getting pills to overdose Kevin when she reports Marcus, the mechanic she did cocaine with in episode one, “Living The Dream.” He sells out Terrance, the pharmacist who used to supply Patty with her stash, and the cops arrest him before he can give her any more Oxy. Much like she did by starting a fight between Kevin and Neil that came back to bit her, Allison continues to partly be the cause of her own troubles in trying to execute her murderous plan. But she’s not giving up. She lies to Patty about the real reason she desperately wants drugs, and with their mutually assured destruction in place, the two decide to venture out on their own to secure more pills. I suspect some road trip shenanigans will ensue in the next episode.
- It’s kind of nice to get an episode diving into Patty this early in the show’s run. Mary Hollis Inboden is fantastic at bringing out her acerbic and vulnerable sides.
- The multi-cam storyline with chili cook-off is extremely sitcom-like, but I liked that it tied into the single-cam story by the end instead of being standalone.
- On that same note, the editors—Joseph Fulton, Ivan Victor, Dan Schalk—are phenomenal at swinging between these two vastly different worlds.
- Patty and Allison’s distinctive fashion styles: Too on-the-nose or perfect for their personalities?
- Kurt, my dude, there is nothing worse than feeding your girlfriend $3 bagged salads every night in a dimly lit room, taunting her when she says she wants to eat real food, and then proposing to her in a pharmacy parking lot without a ring.
- Sam tells Allison she is “the most self-controlled person” he knows, which once again makes me wish we get some kind of flashbacks into why they broke up, why Sam left, and why Allison was on his apology list. Was it total abandonment that led her into Kevin’s arms? Sure looks like it, but we’ll see.