(Warning: This post contains spoilers for Sunday’s Season 1 finale of “Kevin Can F**k Himself.”)
Welp, the first season of “Kevin Can F**k Himself” didn’t end with Kevin McRoberts (Eric Petersen) getting whacked by his wife, Allison (Annie Murphy), and neighbor Patty O’Connor’s (Mary Hollis Inboden) — but it did conclude with the death of the AMC drama’s sitcom world.
At least for Kevin’s best friend and Patty’s brother, Neil (Alex Bonifer), who made the laughter stop by strangling Allison upon learning of her failed attempt to murder Kevin, causing Patty to hit him over the head with a bottle. When Patty smashed that glass to save Allison, she broke through the multi-cam world that Kevin, Neil and Kevin’s father, Pete (Brian Howe), have lived in throughout the entire season (with the exception of one daydream sequence Allison had at the end of the pilot that was, of course, about killing Kevin).
“Kevin Can F**k Himself” creator Valerie Armstrong said she waited until this “unforgivable” moment to allow Allison and Patty to bring Neil into the real world with them, one where he must face the consequences of his heinous actions.
“In my head, what the sitcom catalyst always meant is like this benefit of the doubt,” Armstrong told TheWrap. “The fact that Kevin and Neil and Pete, and guys like them, get to walk through the world in their own sitcom. They don’t have to live in the single-cam. A lot of people have asked what is Kevin like in single-cam and the answer is, he never has to be there. And that’s a privilege. It’s a lack of having to deal with any consequences.”
Armstrong and showrunner Craig DiGregorio were intrigued by the idea that a character could “do something so egregious that you lose that benefit of the doubt,” she said. And because Neil did “something that is unforgivable … even the audience at the end can’t laugh at it anymore. The way the script was written and the way that our audio engineers worked it out, which I really love, is it starts out with like this slapsticky kind of fight that the audience can still laugh at. And then it goes into a little bit more serious and people aren’t sure what to do. And then he has his hand on her throat and like one guy coughs nervously. And once Patty hits him with the bottle, it’s like, now we have to deal with consequences. And he’s going to next season.”
AMC has yet to renew “Kevin Can F**k Himself,” but Armstrong tells us an answer on a Season 2 should be coming “pretty soon” and she is “very hopeful about it.” Which means if we do get a second season, we’ll see the fallout from Neil’s actions, but also the strengthening of Allison and Patty’s bond after coming together following their fight about Allison coercing Patty into spying on her police detective girlfriend, Tammy (Candice Cooke), to see if she was on to Allison’s attempted murder of Kevin, a blowup that came just moments before Neil attacked Allison.
“A good argument in television, or in any medium, has no right answer,” Armstrong said. “There is no clearly wronged party. You can tell where both people are coming from. And I absolutely see where both Allison and Patty are coming from in that fight. Patty is saying, ‘I can’t believe you asked me to do this. You knew I wouldn’t say no, not to you.’ And Allison is saying, ‘I thought that’s what we do! We’ve both done stuff for each other. I thought we do f—ed-up stuff and then we like save the other. That’s what we’ve been doing this whole time.’ But I think what Allison sort of failed to notice that, I mean, in my head Patty has real feelings for Allison. Like, they’re confusing and she’s not quite sure what to do with them. And rather than deal with them, she ran to Tammy.”
Allison then exploited that situation to ask Patty to betray her girlfriend, though Armstrong thinks Allison wasn’t really conscious that that’s what she was doing. “I see both points in that argument,” she said. “And I love this idea that the season ends with Allison saying, ‘I’m not going to ask you to do anything anymore’ and Patty saying, ‘Great, I’m not going to show up for you anymore.’ And them both leaving separate ways. And then five minutes later, that proves not to be true. They will always show up for each other.”
Armstrong said she thought hard about the season’s final scene and how it would blow up that “impenetrable” sitcom world. “There have been a few moments in the season where you think maybe there’s going to be a glitch, maybe they’re going to break it a little bit and it’s just so conservative and it’s so self-generating that nothing really changes,” she said. “But then the minute Allison and Patty show up for each other, the minute that they work together, they actually break it. Neil gets pulled out of it and they get a win. And that’s really what I wanted at the end of the season.”
She also wanted to drop an F-bomb, the second and final one of the season.
“We had a couple of instances where we could say f— in the show. We really had to fight for them,” Armstrong said, describing the back and forth with the networks standards and practices department. “Allison says ‘f—‘ in the pilot, and then I didn’t want to hear it again until Neil was in single-cam. Because that to me is like, ‘Oh, we’re not in a sitcom anymore.’ You don’t say that in a sitcom. And it sounds so odd coming out of Allison’s mouth in that moment, too.”