Kevin Can F**k Himself is a brand new AMC drama starring Annie Murphy as Allison McRoberts, Eric Petersen as Kevin McRoberts, and Mary Hollis Inboden as Patty.
The series focuses on Allison, who breaks television convention escaping her confines to take the lead of her own life.
TV Fanatic had the chance to chat with the cast and crew ahead of the series premiere, and my first question was about how creator Valerie Armstrong got the idea for the show.
“It was the summer of 2017, and I was pretty angry,” she shared with TV Fanatic.
“I was angry a lot and often and in some ways, it was very new, and in some ways, it felt like it had always been sort of deep inside of me.”
“I just sort of tapped into it for the first time, but I was just sort of looking at things a little bit differently,” Armstrong continued.
“I was listening to a podcast where these two women comedians were talking about pilot season and how every year they’re asked to go out for the sitcom wave every year.”
“And that they’re always told by their agents, like, ‘we need a really funny woman for this,’ and then they get the sides and, it’s all a reaction.”
“They’re set up machines for the men of the show,” which made Valerie wonder how this was still happening.
“I don’t understand how these women are reading for these roles and and why they’re still around.”
Valerie said she wondered where the female’s show was all this time and that the idea came to her all at once, with this bright comedy that showed everyone happy … until the wife walks into the kitchen and she’s miserable.
“It’s not that she’s a different person than she was in the other room.
“It’s that you weren’t paying attention. In that original idea, she always looked straight at the camera and said, ‘I fucking hate my husband.'”
There are two distinctly different genres at play on the series. There’s the sitcom setting and then the drama side of things when we follow Allison away from that setting.
“Craig and I figured out very early on that we couldn’t have a sitcom and then have the other side of it be completely divorced from that reality.”
“We couldn’t go from Kevin Can Wait to The Handmaid’s Tale.”
“And so what we figured out is that a sense of humor runs throughout the show. It’s not the same sense of humor. The sitcom has its own cadence.”
I was very interested in the process of getting the show on the air, largely because pitching a show with two distinctly difficult genres would be tough.
Valerie had the pitch for a couple of years and worked on it while working on other projects, and it ultimately landed at AMC after a meeting.
Valerie’s manager called ahead of the meeting and told her that three executives would be joining the meeting and that they’d read the script, and that she was unprepared because it was her third meeting ever.
“I think that the show could only work the way that it came about, which is to pitch it. People would be too confused,” Valerie added.
When it came to casting the series, Annie was on the list from the first call, but she was busy filming the final season of Schitt’s Creek.
Valerie said finding the right cast was crucial to nailing the unique series.
“We got incredibly lucky, but Annie came to us pretty late and just immediately was exactly right.”
“We knew that Alison couldn’t be dour. She couldn’t be a bummer when she’s alone in her single-camera life.”
Valerie said Annie blew her away with both the sitcom-style and the more dramatic parts of the series.
Valerie and her writers are already writing the second season but have yet to be picked up officially by the network.
Hollis Boden revealed she was attracted to the series from the get-go because it’s a female two-hander.
With the name Kevin in the title, the actress enjoyed that it was a show about female friendship, among other things.
The actress also likes “the attitude of Patty, the kind of hard edges that she displays, covering up so much like gold on the inside.”
For Petersen, he was excited when he booked the audition, noting the title of the series was “jarring, aggressive and captivating.”
He felt like it made him want to know more about the character of Kevin, but he was happy about what the show was trying to say.
“That was really kind of in my wheelhouse of being able to do a funny half-hour show, but then to see the reality of the effects of that show and the characters on that show and the jokes they tell on that show and the relationships that they have on that show and to see what those characters, at least the female characters are like outside of that.”
Hollis Inboden shared that Patty wants to help Allison in the long run and that the two characters get into a lot of trouble resulting from it.
Eric said that most of the heavy lifting in the acting department was from Annie and Mary.
When it came to shooting the series, the sitcom-style was being shot on one day, so the stars did not have to go between the two styles the same day.
“I always sort of felt like I was on a hamster wheel,” Hollis Inboden shared.
“The goal is every third line is a joke, I think it’s hard to catch your breath.”
“Stepping between two worlds, Valerie Armstrong is telling people that you’ve not ever thought to watch for who’s in a male-led sitcom is the butt of the joke. And most often, it’s a woman, a female of color, or a member of the LGBTQ community.”
Kevin Can F**k Himself is available to stream on AMC+ now, but it also premieres on AMC this Sunday at 9/8c.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.