On Sunday, creator Valerie Armstrong was joined by Annie Murphy and Mary Hollis Inboden for a virtual ATX panel to talk about their new dark comedy series on AMC, Kevin Can F**k Himself.
For those wondering at home, Armstrong insisted you say the profanity to properly pronounce the show’s title.
“I just needed a title that made me laugh and Kevin Can F**k Himself always did,” Armstrong said.
Kevin Can F*** Himself probes the secret life of a type of woman we all grew up believing we knew: the sitcom wife (Annie Murphy). It looks to break television convention and ask what the world looks like through her eyes. Alternating between single-camera realism and multi-camera comedy, the formats will inform one another as we imagine what happens when the sitcom wife escapes her confines and takes the lead in her own life.
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The series’ title is a reference to the short-lived CBS sitcom, Kevin Can Wait, starring Kevin James. The 2016 series was criticized after the lead character’s wife was written out of the show in the second season. Armstrong, though admitting the allusion, said the show draws very little from the now-defunct show.
“Obviously, it is spun from another title that may have inspired me during the writing of it. But what kept it around is not that it’s based off of some now defunct sitcom that I truly don’t think about anymore,” Armstrong asserted.
Armstrong added that her show isn’t critical of the mainstream sitcom medium, stating she grew up on many popular shows like Family Matters and King Of Queens, but instead serves as commentary on the male chauvinism that formed some of the humor the referenced shows are known for.
“Something that was important to me in making the show is that we are not making fun of these sitcoms,” Armstrong said. “We are taking issue with certain behavior.”
She added, “You can draw inspiration from people and do it in a way that doesn’t belittle them. But you can have issue with the behavior that was exhibited on those shows.”