Movie/review

Kevin Can F**k Himself Season 2 Review: Annie Murphy is a Powerhouse in the AMC Series’ Final Season

If season one of Kevin Can F**k Himself pulled back the curtain on the generic wife-characters of modern TV sitcoms and showed us the cracks in their foundations, then season two bulldozes through it all entirely. The show continues its TV genre-bending format — when Allison (Annie Murphy) is with her husband Kevin (Eric Petersen), the show becomes a bright, multi-camera sitcom, complete with a laugh-track à la Everybody Loves Raymond; and when she’s away from him, the show slips into a gritty, Barry-esque, single-camera crime drama — and in doing so, more importantly, doesn’t hold back in its searing commentary on a sitcom’s sexist treatment of women characters.

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Indeed, per Vulture, Kevin Can F**k Himself‘s creator Valerie Armstrong used the now-canceled Kevin James-led sitcom Kevin Can Wait — which inexplicably killed off the protagonist’s wife because, as outlined by James via Vanity Fair, they were “running out of ideas” — as a launchpad for the idea of her show. However, more than just a satirical middle-finger to sitcoms, Kevin Can F**k Himself succeeds on its own merit, diving deeply into Allison’s circumstances, her lack of mobility, choice, and opportunity, thereby offering an exciting lens into the systemic issues, on-camera and off, that limit women in American society.

Allison spends season one of Kevin Can F**k Himself devising a plan to kill her husband. First, she decides to make it look like an accidental oxycontin overdose, a plan that only succeeds in roping in her neighbor-turned-best-friend-of-sorts Patty (Mary Hollis Inboden) and launching Detective Tammy Ridgeway’s (Candice Coke) investigation into the illegal distribution of the drug in their town. Next, Allison hires Nick, a local restaurant employee on parole, to kill Kevin, which also goes awry when he breaks into their home and ends up getting shot by Kevin instead. The season comes to an end with Neil (Alex Bonifer), Kevin’s ever-loyal best friend and Patty’s brother, discovering Allison’s plan, threatening to reveal all to Kevin, and getting bottled in the head by his sister.


A Satisfying Conclusion to Kevin Can F**k Himself

Season two of Kevin Can F**k Himself picks up right where season one leaves off. With Neil now existing in the gritty crime drama side of the show — last season, we only ever saw him in the sitcom sphere with Kevin — tensions rise higher than before, and everything is closing in on Allison (and, by extension, Patty). Tammy can’t let go of her investigation, Patty wants nothing to do with Allison’s schemes, Neil just wants to forget everything he’s learned (but, at the same time, starts to see his friendship with Kevin in a new light), and Kevin is as oblivious and annoying as ever, which, in light of everything happening around him, makes him all the more frustrating and disturbing to watch. And Allison, now scrambling, is even more desperate to get rid of Kevin. It’s why she decides, this season, as seen in the trailer above, to fake her own death.


All of this is ultimately why Kevin Can F**k Himself‘s second and final season succeeds in delivering a satisfying conclusion to its story. Having Neil exit the sitcom-illusion and enter Allison and Patty’s crime drama was an inspired choice. Now that more than half the core cast exists in the “real world,” you get the feeling that they’ve all just been pushing through the — exhausting — sitcom-energy of being associated with Kevin, and they’ve all had it. Where Allison, to a degree in season one, went along with being the punchline of Kevin’s jokes, she, now, can hardly bear to play the role.

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Just like in Kevin Can F**k Himself‘s first season, the cast is on-point. Petersen is perfectly obnoxious as Kevin. Inboden is given a lot to do as Patty, who is never able to exhale since her new girlfriend Tammy is currently investigating the crimes she’s secretly involved in, and now that Neil is privy to her and Allison’s old plan to kill Kevin, their already-paper-thin relationship is even more strained — it’s a juggling act of a role, and Inboden nails her performance. Bonifer, too, stretches himself, giving us a darker side of Neil than we saw in season one.


Murphy is the MVP

Murphy, of course, is undoubtedly the acting MVP of Kevin Can F**k Himself, especially in this season. She won our hearts with her character on Schitt’s Creek, Alexis Rose, and proved herself capable of effortlessly slipping between comedy and drama on the Emmy-crowned show. As Allison, however, Murphy shows why she’s a TV powerhouse: Allison is messy, tortured, and desperate, and it’s nothing short of magical the way Murphy somehow also allows her strength and, at times, tenderness to shine through all of it. “I don’t wanna be me anymore,” Allison says early on in this season. Though a lamentation of her failed marriage, even a revelation of her regret about the choices she’s made all her life, it can, because of Murphy’s talent, also be heard as a promise of sorts, a declaration of change.


AMC had a hit in Kevin Can F**k Himself, and it will certainly be missed by fans. It’s a show for the times we’re living in, when the freedom of choice, the luxury of having a voice, and the space to be more than what tradition initially dictated are more important than ever.

Kevin Can F**k Himself season 2 airs weekly on AMC, beginning on August 22 at 9 pm ET/PT, with the first two episodes available on AMC+.


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