blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Kevin Can F**k Himself (2021) s01e06 – The Grand Victorian

What if “Kevin Can F**k Himself” doesn’t have a big twist? It certainly seems like it’s going to have a big twist, but it actually hadn’t occurred to me it might not have one until thinking about this post. I actually can’t guess, because it’s impossible to guess with “Kevin.” What is this show? Six episodes in—with two to go—and it’s still redefining its rules, realities, and potentials. The show’s sticking with the three plot lines—Eric Petersen living in a sitcom about an obnoxious dipshit, Annie Murphy as his suffering wife no longer experiences the sitcom reality (having realized she never did), and Mary Hollis Inboden as Petersen’s only non-bro pal, who’s stopped going to the sitcom for her social life (she exists in reality otherwise) and becoming Murphy’s friend, confidant, and criminal conspirator.

But it takes this episode a while to get to Petersen and the sitcom, which is a delightfully asinine and a wonderful meta look at sitcom devices. It’s his birthday and he wants both Murphy and best friend Alex Bonifer to think he’s spending the night with them so he runs between restaurants. Even without the later plot antics and Murphy’s nightmare of an experience at the restaurant, it’s still hilarious for Petersen’s physical comedy. But in a kind of exasperating way. Because there’s very little uncomplicated emotion in “Kevin,” particularly this episode for Murphy. She has a lot of drama with boss, teen crush, and current affair-haver Raymond Lee and not just because Lee and his wife, Meghan Leathers, show up unexpectedly at the restaurant. Because this episode has Murphy experiencing her own sitcom plot (including the hitman she hires to off Petersen—the excellent Robin Lord Taylor working at the restaurant), only it’s a tragedy of errors.

It’s awesome.

And it leaves the show in an entirely new place once again. It leaves a lot unresolved, but starts making moves on specific subplots, and it’s kind of incredible there are only two left. In addition to splitting the sitcom and drama scenes, I’m also wondering what it’d be like to marathon it. Because the twists and turns aren’t events as often as they’re character reveals, which might hit differently. They’re very good. It’s very good.

Script credit goes to Sean Clements (who is a co-exec and plays Inboden’s boyfriend, but isn’t on this episode). Real good script. More great direction from Anna Dokoza; the way the show juxtaposes the single camera drama and multi-cam sitcom? Audio commentaries might be cool. I’d at least read an interview. Like, it’s extraordinarily well-done here.

Oh, and not to mention it’s a special guest star episode of Petersen’s sitcom life—hockey player Sean Avery plays himself and gets into a spat with Petersen over Boston sports. So much going on. Like Inboden’s “everyone but her knew it was a date” date with cop Candice Coke. It’s real good. Inboden’s performance is probably the episode best, in fact.

Two more to go. It’s been a while since I’ve had such high hopes for a show to end well. But “Kevin”’s going to be good (and successful) no matter what at this point. They can pratfall the finish and the acting, the episodes, the sitcom commentary will stand tall.

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