AMC’s Kevin Can F**k Himself deserves a round of applause just for its title — an obvious play on CBS’ Kevin Can Wait, a two-season comedy best remembered for just how sloppily it handled Erinn Hayes’ expulsion as Kevin James’ significantly better half. But does the writing for this sitcom satire do its inventive premise justice?
Both TVLine’s Dave Nemetz and TV’s erstwhile King of Queens have weighed in on the black comedy — and in a moment, we’ll ask what you thought, too. But first, a brief overview of Sunday’s two-episode premiere: Emmy Award winner Annie Murphy (Schitt’s Creek) stars as Allison McRoberts, a prototypical sitcom wife who tires of her regressive, multi-camera marriage to good-for-nothing husband Kevin (played by Kirstie’s Eric Petersen). On Allison and Kevin’s 10th wedding anniversary, next-door neighbor Patty (The Real O’Neals‘ Mary Hollis Inboden) informs Allison that Kevin blew their life savings on bogus sports memorabilia and never told her about it. And just like that, her dream of putting a down payment on a bigger home in a nicer neighborhood is dashed. His betrayal brings her to the very edge.
Allison stays out all night, gets drunk and does coke with a sleazy mechanic named Marcus. She opens up to him about her rudderless marriage, only to discover he’s not listening. She bitch-slaps him and leaves. She returns home, unable to shake the idea of killing Kevin. In a moment of anger, she breaks a frosted mug and envisions herself using its jagged-edged handle to stab him in the jugular.
Allison continues to fantasize about her post-Kevin future at the onset of Episode 2. But she doesn’t know how she’d kill him. She heads to her local library to research the “perfect murder,” but the computer’s firewall prohibits potentially obscene search results. She overhears a fellow patron listening to porn and taps his shoulder to find out how he bypassed the firewall. Unfortunately for her, he’s dead! The EMT who arrives on the scene tells Allison the guy overdosed on Oxycodone — an all-too-common occurrence these days. That’s when a lightbulb goes off in her head: She can feed Kevin an obscene amount of Oxy and make it look like an overdose — easy peasy!
She leaves the library and makes an appointment with her general practitioner, but he refuses her a prescription for back pain. It’s obvious she’s lying. His nurse offers Allison a referral, in case she needs “a little help,” but Allison isn’t interested. She assumes it’s a referral for therapy. From there, she returns to the auto body shop and asks Marcus if he can hook her up with pills. He doesn’t deal Oxy, but tells her he knows a guy. She meets him at an underpass at midnight and gets into his van, only to discover he thinks that she’s a prostitute. Marcus, still pissed about getting bitch-slapped, set her up.
At wit’s end, Allison pays a visit to her ex-boyfriend Sam, who has recently moved back to town and opened a diner. He’s happily married, but that doesn’t stop her from saying that she wishes he’d never left. Sam tells Allison that she was the one who pulled away, but that’s beside the point. He attempts to get to the root of her “worst decade ever,” but she’s not interested in that discussion. She only wants him to listen. When it’s clear he’s not going to do that, she gets up and leaves.
The following day, Allison decides that she does in fact need “a little help.” She pulls the nurse’s referral out of her purse and walks to the address on the card. When she arrives, she discovers that she hasn’t been sent to a therapist’s office, but to a hair salon where she can score Oxy. A patron exits and tells her to “ask for a wash.” Someone named “Bob” will hook her up. And so, Allison heads inside and meets “Bob”… who is actually next-door neighbor Patty!
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