We’re in an era of pop culture where the sitcom, and the expectations it created in women, is being re-examined. AMC’s new series, “Kevin Can F**k Himself,” is all about upending everything in the traditional sitcom set-up. Starring “Schitt’s Creek” award-winner Annie Murphy, the show focuses on a housewife named Allison and her realization that the world revolving around her husband, Kevin, isn’t what she wants.
The first photos below give hints about Allison’s world and the distinction between the sitcom landscape and her own point-of-view. As showrunner and executive producer Craig DiGregorio told IndieWire exclusively, there was a serious desire to create a landscape of the sitcom universe without directly imitating anything specific. “There was [desire] just to be true to the format of a multi-camera show,” he said.
“We always want it to feel like it’s the same universe,” he said with regards to Allison’s world and the sitcom she inhabits. “Allison should never walk from a sitcom scene, or from a multi-camera scene, into another scene.” The comparison he made is like if Roseanne were to enter into the world of “The Fighter.” The cadence of how the character would talk would be the same, in spite of the landscape changing. DiGregorio said there’s a desire to be more filmic in the scenes outside the sitcom, especially as they allow for close-ups and wider shots that the smaller format would naturally prohibit.
As DiGregorio explained it, the series came out of creator Valerie Armstrong’s desire to look at how often sitcom wives are taken for granted. “If you were to think of them outside of the confines of these shows, that’s what we’re exploring here,” he said. He made a point of saying it’s not a behind-the-scenes look at a sitcom or an attempt to separate Allison from the sitcom. It’s to ponder what happens to this character in the moments in-between watching her sitcom husband.
It’s easy to point out examples like “The Donna Reed Show” or “Leave It To Beaver” as proof of how the sitcom housewife has crafted an unattainable example, but for DiGregorio and company the goal is to showcase how these tropes aren’t anything new. “It’s not like these themes existed 50 years ago and they no longer happen today,” he said. “They happen today, this week….even as way back as ‘The Honeymooners’ ‘to the moon.'”
This is definitely a change for Murphy who hadn’t been on a traditional sitcom before. “Being in the loopy world of [‘Schitt’s Creek’] was a wonderful world,” Murphy said. “But the world was very small. A big thing for me after ‘Schitt’s Creek,’ I was worried about being stuck in that blonde, loopy land.” It felt like exactly the right thing for her to do after that series. The added fact it was created by a woman, with a predominately female cast, left Murphy desperate to sign on.
DiGregorio said there’s a hope that audiences will see a completely different side to Murphy’s talent. “The thing that I didn’t realize watching on ‘Schitt’s Creek’ is how incredible of an actor she is,” he said. “Every emotional moment is just pitch perfect for her.” The actress had the challenge of vacillating between tones, but also taking Allison away from the flat sitcom world that could stymie her character and create something truly fleshed out and lived-in. “I’m just excited for people to see her do so many things we haven’t seen her do yet,” DiGregorio said.
“Kevin Can F Himself” premieres this summer on AMC.