Annie Murphy Delivers Exquisite Emotion in ‘Kevin Can F**k Himself’

AMC’s “Kevin Can F**k Himself” is a dark comedy about a sitcom wife searching for a way to get out of her marriage. After being married to her immature, arrogant husband Kevin (Eric Petersen) for fifteen years, Allison (Annie Murphy) is ready to take life in her own direction, without Kevin. In hopes of finding a new friend to help her on her journey, Allison attempts bonding with dull and introverted neighbor Patty (Mary Hollis Inboden).

Annie Murphy, who is most well-known for her performance of Alexis in “Schitt’s Creek,” is exhibiting her range of talent as the role of Allison. As Alexis, Annie played an airy, bratty and dramatic young adult finding her calling in a P.R. career while searching for true love. Annie also played similar roles to Alexis as supporting characters Jill in “Blue Mountain State” and Ana in “Story of Jen”. 

On the other hand, Allison in “Kevin Can F**k Himself” is a determined part-time worker and a fed-up full-time wife from Boston who experiences dark, lonely moments of anxiety. This contrast in roles showcases Annie’s incredible ability to play completely opposite characters. All in all, it is refreshing to see Annie step away from the peppy, young-at-heart character to play a more mature young adult role.

AMC

While watching the first episode, it was different to see Alexis Rose from “Schitt’s Creek” playing a serious role, but after getting to know Allison better, Annie’s performance becomes much more believable. In addition to her Boston accent, Annie conveys Allison’s opposing feelings well of wanting to murder Kevin when not around him and acting uninterested and innocent when she is with him.

Another refreshing aspect of “Kevin Can F**k Himself” is its unique alternating switch between a sitcom and a drama. The sitcom scenes provide the typical multiple camera setup with a laugh track and bright, warm colors. When the scene switches to a drama, the colors become darker to emit a cold feeling, while portraying a single-camera setup. The switch is very effective for showing the difference in emotion. Most notably, Allison’s emotions become noticeably different. In comedic scenes she is used as a punchline in Kevin’s jokes and she attempts to put a smile on her face. But during drama scenes Allison shows her true colors with many emotions— including anxiety, friendliness, frustration and integrity.

It is important to note that when Allison is with her husband they are always in a sitcom scene, but when she is not with Kevin the series becomes a drama. This contrast conveys the opposing ways that Allison feels she must act when around her husband compared to her moments without him where she shows her honest feelings of anger and contempt. 

In fact, Allison’s performance becomes so significant that the bright and funny sitcom scenes become less effective at providing laughs. The jokes become corny and annoying, and Kevin appears more and more irritating by the moment. It’s likely that this impact is purposeful in order for viewers to begin relating to Allison’s murderous feelings towards Kevin. 

However, viewers are still unsure whether we want Allison to kill him? She discussed that leaving him wouldn’t be enough because she wouldn’t be able to get away with it. Also, unlike divorce, murder would be a permanent solution, according to Allison. Although Kevin’s naivete makes it more probable for Allison to get away with it, it has us wondering if the Type A wife will be able to follow through and remain innocent? 

Kevin continues providing the audience with more reasons for us to side with Allison’s murderous plan against him. The writers of “Kevin Can F**k Himself” do a wonderful job of conveying how much women are looked down upon and are patronized in society: Allison has a maid-like role when home with Kevin, and just when we think he might do something right for once, Kevin lets Allison down, providing constant disappointment. Therefore, the audience should ultimately want the best for the underappreciated wife. Allison deserves freedom from the marriage holding her back from life. 

Overall, Annie’s portrayal of frustrated wife Allison is well done. She completely brings out Allison’s emotions and personality, and in turn creates relatable moments and humorous scenes in “Kevin Can F**k Himself.” Allison’s story is important to tell because of its emphasis on the lack of respect that occurs much too often between couples in real life. The story makes viewers both excited and anxious to continue following Allison on her journey to a hopeful catharsis. 

“Kevin Can F**k Himself” airs Sundays on AMC and can be streamed on AMC+.

By Lauren Weber

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