And here’s where “Kevin Can F**k Himself” elevates. I’m not sure what I was expecting from last episode’s combination cliffhanger and reveal, but I didn’t imagine the show was going to open up to include Mary Hollis Inboden in the reindeer games. Though I did have an inkling Inboden would be able to handle it in the previous episodes….
The episode opens with what initially seems like a world-breaker; Annie Murphy is alone in the living room with husband Eric Petersen’s friends. Now, if Murphy is only living in the imagined sitcom life when Petersen’s present… how come it’s going on seemingly before he’s walking into the house. With a sitcom husband stupid antic no less.
Because it turns out—I was right and “Kevin” is about being a woman in this shithole existence—and Inboden goes into the same sitcom land whenever she’s around the boys too. I wonder if the show’s going to figure out the “rules.” It probably doesn’t matter. But then I didn’t think Inboden was going to matter. “Kevin” is always surprising.
Starting with the opening being a flashback setting up Inboden’s very real, very sad history as an Oxy dealer. Her first customer turns out to be the town librarian, Phyllis Kay, who we met last episode. I’m scared to google and check if Worcester, MA really doesn’t give its librarians health insurance; it’s a good move as it starts building out the world of the show, very carefully, very quietly, because Murphy, Inboden, and Petersen’s sitcom world is overbearing but without actual detail. It just has sitcom detail.
The episode’s going to end up split between Inboden, Murphy, and then the sitcom plot. The sitcom plot is Petersen and numbskull sidekick Alex Bonifer (he’s Inboden’s brother and they seem to live together even though it also seems like Inboden lives with boyfriend Sean Clements) getting in a fight over cooking chili to bribe the snow plow guys to plow their block first and Murphy and Inboden having to spend more time with their respective albatrosses. Meanwhile, Murphy’s still trying to reconnect with ex-boyfriend Raymond Lee, who’s celebrating his eighth year sober and invites her to his chip ceremony. We get the whole backstory on it from Murphy’s perspective when she tells Inboden about it, as the two start becoming friends. Or something.
It’s a great episode. Inboden’s arc is fantastic, even if it ends up being a done-in-one; between that story and Murphy’s reintroduction to the world (and Lee), the sitcom gimmick feels like a different show. Only then when the gimmick comes back, it reminds it’s very much the same show. So good.
Murphy’s great, Inboden’s great. Lee’s good. Petersen doesn’t really get to show off, though he and Bonifer are exceptional at being annoyingly unfunny.
Anna Dokoza directs, Craig DiGregorio and Noelle Valdivia get the script credit; they do excellent work; best so far excellent work.
I’m all of a sudden expecting a lot more from “Kevin” and I was expecting a lot already.