Kevin Can F**K Himself premiered on AMC this weekend, and while its title and other aspects of the show seemed to allude to other TV shows you might have heard of, creator Valerie Armstrong said they do not have one target in mind. In a roundtable interview with PopCulture.com and other outlets, Armstrong referenced several shows without identifying any of them as the inspiration for her dark comedy.
"We're definitely not trying to poke at or point to any specific sitcom," she said. "I know the title might seem like we are, but that title stopped being about any other show a really long time ago. To me, the title is about — it's sort of telling us that the show's not actually about Kevin. It looks like it is, but it's not. The title also sort of exemplifies the format switch, where it sounds like something familiar, and then at the end the rug is sort of pulled out from under you."
Naturally, the title Kevin Can F**K Himself calls to mind the title Kevin Can Wait — a recent sitcom whose premise seems to relate to the subversion in Armstrong's show. In fact, Kevin Can Wait became sort of infamous when it callously did away with one sitcom wife character and replaced her with another more familiar actress.
In the course of the interview, Armstrong also made references to other sitcoms as examples of tropes or inspirations in her writing. She invoked the longevity of Frasier, for example, and then the snarky humor of Roseanne. She described Kevin Can F**K Himself as Roseanne meets The Fighter, in a way.
However, Armstrong said that the content of Kevin Can F**K Himself needed to be original in a way for it to succeed, reasoning: "in order to really talk about the genre, we had to make something of the genre. We couldn't copy anything to do that, we couldn't plagiarize... Also, at a very base level, we just wanted that part of the show — which takes up 20, 15, 30 percent of every episode — we wanted it to be a good place to hang out. You can't ask people to watch that amount of your show while winking at it. It's just not going to work."
Executive producer Craig DiGregorio added: "These tropes and these sort of characters have existed in some form or another for so long that it was very easy to sort of do our version of those characters and those stories."
Kevin Can F**K Himself is streaming now on AMC+. The series premieres on the AMC network on Sunday, June 20 at 9 p.m. ET.