Members of the Murphy family.
- Dysfunctional Family: Big time. All of them are very short-tempered, and have regular arguments and fights with each other.
Immediate Family and Household
Francis "Frank" Xavier Murphy
Frank is the patriarch of the Murphy family. He's a working-class Irish-American man with an explosive temper.
- Abusive Dad: He verbally abuses his kids on a regular basis, hurling any obscenity at them he can think of. Although rarely, he does occasionally hit Kevin or Bill when they're being especially annoying to him.
- Alcoholic Parent: He often drives drunk, and can't reliably complete simple tasks without getting sidetracked by booze and cigarettes.
- Brutal Honesty: Most of the time, Frank isn't afraid to yell out whatever's on his mind, and will frequently disregard any tact or politeness when doing so. Unfortunately for him, other people naturally want to hear none of it.
- "I will put you through that fuckin' wall!"
- "Those fucking animals."
- "Does it ever fail?"
- Dad the Veteran: After graduating high school, Frank was conscripted into the US Army (14th Infantry Regiment) and fought in The Korean War. After the war, he served in the US Air National Guard until he was discharged from the military.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: Despite his appearance and overall attitude, Frank was originally a member of the 14th Infantry Regiment in Korea, which was revered for its strenuous training in mountain warfare.
- Entitled Bastard: Most of his angry rants involve how he feels he deserves something from other people, whether it's actually warranted or not.
- Fan Disservice: The shot of his balls Bill and the audience are subjected to.
- Family Man: A very grudging but still mostly loving example.
- Fatal Flaw: Frank's wrath is the biggest source of conflict between him and his family, friends, and co-workers.
- Freudian Excuse: At least some of Frank's anger issues and personal insecurities can be traced back to his childhood, living with his Abusive Dad who mocked and taunted Frank for his perceived lack of masculinity.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: You'd better believe it. His short temper is one of his major traits, and definitely his biggest personality flaw.
- Heroic BSoD: When he sees a graphic picture of childbirth at a Lamaze class, Frank blanks out the way his 11-year-old son did when he saw anything disgusting up until the last episode of Season 3. Complete with the same music.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Towards his new friend Chet Stevenson in Season 3. Sue accuses Frank of being overly defensive of him, despite increasingly obvious hints that he's not such a great guy. Though granted, Chet Stevenson was very charming and charismatic on the surface. Though Frank does eventually come into full agreement with his wife's suspicions (which are proven to be correct).
- I Was Quite a Looker: As demonstrated in the intro sequence, he was quite a bit more handsome as a youth. But now he's grown a beer belly, and is starting to go bald.
- It's All About Me: Frank has a tendency to overplay his own issues in detriment of others. Despite what others have been through, he believes that he is the person with the worst life, and the worst problems in the cast, and this lack of perspective gives him a limited amount of empathy towards others to work with towards, since he always believes they're being whiny since their problems are small compared to his.
- Jaded Washout: Frank had dreams once. But after military service and 3 kids, they're dead and he's a bitter wage slave just living day to day.
- Jerkass: He's extremely hotheaded, rude, stubborn, and prone to hurling obscene insults at everyone around him.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite all his faults and overall attitude, he really does love and care about his family. He also cares about his job and looking out for his coworkers, and tries his best to be a middleman to everyone when the strike approaches, even though he notes himself that you can't choose both your job and your friends.
- Like Father, Like Son: Is very similar to his son, Kevin, which is a big reason they don't always get along.
- Locked Out of the Loop: With the union guys after they no longer trust him.
- Loser Protagonist: He's a wage slave who had to give up his dream of being a pilot, and was even fired on Christmas Eve.
- Men Can't Keep House: As seen in episode 4. It's the whole reason why he doesn't want his wife to have a part time job.
- Near-Death Experience: Repeatedly mentions he nearly bled out on a battlefield somewhere in Korea.
- Not So Different: For all of his frustrations with Bill's timidness and Kevin's constant defiance, flashbacks in the fourth season show that he was exactly like them when he was their ages.
- Papa Wolf: Demonstrated with his brawl against the Fitzsimmons' on Christmas eve.
- Parental Favoritism: Sure, Frank loves all his kids, but he's much more affectionate with Maureen than with his sons. He also favors Bill for having a paper route, while looking down on Kevin for his musical endeavors.
- Parental Neglect:
- Is all but completely oblivious to his son Bill's descent into delinquency all throughout Season 2. Frank is clearly affectionate to Maureen and at least Kevin provokes a reaction out of him. He does help Bill retrieve money from some dickish customers on his (Bill's) paper route so at least he's not completely absent.
- In Season 3, this is one of the main conflicts, as his kids are all doing something and fail to communicate with him since he is worried about the new baby and obsessed with Chet.
- Parents as People: He's verbally and sometimes physically abusive and prone to flying off the handle at any moment, but he tries to provide for his children and loves his family more than anything. His kids eventually become more sympathetic to him when they learn how bad their grandpa was.
- Politically Incorrect Hero: Thanks to the Deliberate Values Dissonance on display.
- He expresses quite sexist beliefs to both his wife Sue and their daughter Maureen, not wanting the former to get a job out of his own insecurity, nor wanting the latter to pursue any "masculine" dreams like becoming a scientist.
- He also displayed some fear of African Americans (minus Rosie) due to the possibility of being mugged by them, even from one who happened to politely ask him for gas (who was actually a white investigative reporter on an undercover story about racism in America).
- The Protagonist: He's the main star of the show.
- Pushover Parents: His attempts at disciplining his children for bad behavior are almost always ineffectual.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives one to Bob Pogo in the Season 1 finale.
- Running Away to Cry: Does this in the first episode when Kevin tells him "I fucking hate you!"
- Seduction-Proof Marriage: For all his complaints about her, it's clear Sue is the only woman for Frank. When Chet suggests getting Frank some extramarital company, he instantly shuts him down.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Though not crippling, he exhibits some clear PTSD from his stint in Korea, casually mentioning all the bloodshed that he witnessed and experienced over there.
- Shotgun Wedding: He got Sue pregnant with Kevin, which forced them to marry young.
- Sir Swears Alot: His dialogue is about 90% profanity.
- Tranquil Fury: A rare example for Frank occurs when Sue's father relates how not only did his father get his first love, but he wishes he could've done the same to Frank.Frank: "...Get the fuck out of my house."
- Trauma Conga Line: Season 4 was even harder on him than Season 2. His abusive father moves in and starts supplanting him as his children's parental figure, his attempts at being a better parent fail miserably, his relationship with his family reaches an all-time low, he learns that Mohican Airways is being bought out, which will likely result in him losing his job for good, and his father has an evidently fatal stroke/heart attack just as he tries to bury the hatchet for good. He also watches a traumatizing video about childbirth. The only consolation he receives is that he finally gets to see the birth of one of his children.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: He's foul-mouthed, temperamental, and is prone to being very insensitive to the feelings of others. In many other sitcoms, he wouldn't be seen as even half as likable as he is here. It helps that 1), the show drives home that he loves his family as much as possible, and 2), he's surrounded by people that are much worse.
Susan "Sue" Murphy (née Chilson)
Frank's wife and the mother of Kevin, Bill, Maureen, and another child, who isn't content with her life.
- Batter Up!: Her weapon of choice is a baseball bat. This is because she played softball in high school.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Sue is sick of her unfulfilling, soul-crushing life as an unappreciated homemaker, and yearns to have a career of her own. She then gets an unfulfilling, soul-crushing job, working for a bunch of jerks who don't appreciate her.
- Beware the Nice Ones: She's the one who puts a stop to the fight with Jimmy and his scuzzy father, by giving the latter a good whack to the solar plexus with a baseball bat."Get the FUCK off my lawn!"
- Cordon Bleugh Chef: Seems she has to work with what she can, like the hotdogs wrapped in bacon from the first episode. Also, her TV dinners are still frozen in the middle.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Suffers from this every now and again. She's not unhappy as a mother, but she really wants to fulfill herself with a good career and accomplish something with her life.
- Fatal Flaw: Sue is rather self-absorbed, and neglects or outrights dismisses her friends' and family's problems in favor of focusing on her own. She also ignores all of her own shortcomings as a wife and mother in favor of pinning all the blame on Frank, which nearly caused their marriage to collapse in Season 2 when she tries to encourage him to be more open about his feelings, only to still get angry when he does exactly that.
- First World Problems: While Sue is deeply upset about her life in Season 3, it's not until she talks with Nguyen-Nguyen, a survivor from the Vietnam War who describes in painful, excruciating detail what happened on the day that she lost her family and village, that Sue realizes she needs to be more thankful.
- Formerly Fit: Flashbacks revealed that she used to have a very small waistline. Now she sometimes gets comments about her weight.
- Hartman Hips: A full figured woman with very wide hips and thighs.
- Housewife: Up until episode 4 when she's given an opportunity to take a part time job working with Plast-a-Ware.
- Innocently Insensitive: To Frank over his embarrassment in the electronics store.
- In-Series Nickname: Her full name is Susan.
- Never My Fault: Frank is hardly a good parent, but Sue tends to forget her own shortcomings, namely being something of a pushover when it comes to disciplining Kevin, and her search to find meaning in her life causing her to pay less attention to her other children. She still tends to blame Frank for most, if not all, of the family's problems. Bill does call her out on this (to a degree) in the Season 3 finale.
- However, he only mentions her obsession with the Forkoontula and nothing else about her. Things do not get any better between them in Season 4 either.
- Not So Above It All: Gets noticeably upset in episode 5 when her new boss forces her to make another run out of town for a regular customer. She's also quite violent and insensitive to others at times, committing the same acts that she would normally call Frank out for.
- Parental Favoritism: According to Word of God, her favourite is Kevin.
- Pregnancy Makes You Crazy: A possible excuse for her less than savoury behaviour and actions in Seasons 3 and 4. However, its arguable that her aforementioned personal flaws (see Fatal Flaw and Never My Fault) may actually be the actual cause.
- Pushover Parents: With Kevin (at least according to Frank.) She see's herself as more of a Reasonable Authority Figure considering Kevin's disability.
- Shotgun Wedding: She married Frank only after she got pregnant with Kevin.
- Uptown Girl: Sue comes from a rich family, with a very successful father, who also helps her family financially as revealed in Season 3.
- What the Hell, Hero?: She has given Frank several of these throughout the series, including quite the silent one after discovering he sabotaged her possible job interview.
- Your Makeup Is Running: When she cried over how dull and meaningless her life was.
Frank's and Sue's firstborn son. He's a dimwitted slacker who often challenges his father's authority.
- Big Brother Bully: He has his moments of being this to Bill, such as beating him up and throwing his hockey stick into a tree when he made fun of him.
- Book Dumb: "Did you know there were two world wars?"
- Break the Cutie / Trauma Conga Line: Kevin suffers through continuous traumatic events during Season 2.
- Catchphrase: "Dildo" is his go-to insult.
- Childhood Brain Damage: According to an argument between Frank and Sue, his slowness was caused by him drowning at a bottom of a motel pool for two minutes as a child. This is further emphasized when he fell into a frozen pond during a ski trip and began to have traumatic memories of motel pool incident.
- Cool Big Bro: Tries to be this to Bill. For example, when he signed his suspension form for him to give him a day off.
- Deadpan Snarker: Often makes sarcastic and indifferent remarks.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: In one Season 3 episode where Kevin gets arrested for robbing a liquor store with his hoodlum friends, he gets placed into a detention cell filled with women at the police station, because the cop who brought him in mistook him for a girl (due to Kevin's long hair, unmanly crying, and wearing his mother's blouse). Soon afterwards when Frank comes over to bail out and scold Kevin, they pass by International Touch, who mistakes Kevin for a female prostitute, while also mistakenly assuming that his angry father was another pimp.
- The Dreaded: In the first episode Bill is being bullied by a group of three older kids until Kevin shows up and the leader of the group literally pisses himself in fear of Kevin.
- Dreadful Musician: Has the ambition, but none of the talent. Averted as of season 4, where his song Mr. Happy Guy is considered good in-universe.
- Dumbass Teenage Son: He's failing most of his classes, History in particular. See Childhood Brain Damage for possibility on the cause of this trope.
- Emo Teen: He's constantly angsting about his daddy issues.
- Everyone Has Standards: Laughing at a tape of someone's gruesome death is definitely not cool in Kevin's book.
- He also doesn't like the cranky old lady being unreasonably rude to his dad.
- Fanboy: For "Shire of Frodo", a Tolkien inspired prog rock group.
- Flipping the Bird: Does it quite often.
- Freudian Excuse: Tries to invoke this by telling Frank the reason he's failing history is because his teacher is "a major perv".
- Heroes Want Redheads: He initially had Claire as a girlfriend but stops seeing her during Season 2.
- Hidden Depths: With a positive influence in his life such as Alice, Kevin shows a small desire to improve himself. Not only does he apply himself better in school somewhat, but his music improves by actually just having a happy influence in his life. It really shows that he probably needed someone to believe in him to make him grow up and show what he can do.
- Hypocrite: Makes fun of Bill for being a "pussy", but is quite the crybaby himself.
- Innocently Insensitive: To Frank when he tries to show his appreciation for how difficult his job is.
- Insane Troll Logic: Gets upset when Frank distracts him from his missing dog drawing, causing him to draw Major with two penises, because he believes now someone will "bring us a double dicked dog!"
- It's All My Fault: Kevin completely blames himself for Vic's girlfriend taking his virginity. He sees it as a betrayal of Vic's trust on his part and becomes overwhelmingly guilty and self hating. At one point, Vic praises Kevin's character and integrity. He breaks down in tears when Vic leaves and concludes that suicide would be the only way to make things better.
- I Am Not My Father: Wants to avoid being a Jaded Washout like Frank.
- I Just Want to Be Loved: Is usually after approval and/or affection from his father.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: There are hints at this.
- He seems regretful over his choices, especially seeing his father's mistreatment by an elderly passenger and his marijuana-induced reflection of his memories that led him to finish his assignment.
- showed Big Brother Instinct with him beating up the bullies when he heard of them beating Billy.
- Nostalgia Filter: For his early childhood. Justified in that he was, well, a small child. He doesn't seem to remember a particular incident at a motel swimming pool, but Season 2 reveals that he suffers from PTSD as a result, and suffers a regressive panic attack when he falls into some water.
- Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Blue boy to Claire's pink girl.
- Progressive Rock: His favourite music genre.
- Rape as Drama: Kevin being statutorily raped, and the effects it has on him is a major plot point in Season 2.
- Romanticized Abuse: Averted. Not only is the sex between 14 year old Kevin, and Vic's adult girlfriend portrayed as extremely wrong, but we actually get to see the very realistic consequences play out, which directly stem from Kevin's young age, newfound sexual feelings, and inability to fully understand the consequences of what he was agreeing to in the moment. Vic later helps explain this to a very self loathing Kevin, putting it that at his age "Once your dick gets hard, nothing makes sense."
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Manly man to Bill's sensitive guy. Downplayed considering Kevin is just as prone to crying as Bill.
- The Slacker: He'd rather do anything else besides school or hard work.
- The Stoner: The boy likes himself some drugs, mostly weed.
- Teens Are Short
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: His motivation to actually start trying to pass his classes.
- You Need to Get Laid: Frank's theory as to why Kevin and Bill started being at each others throats all the time. Though Kevin did have some sexual frustration, his main issue with Bill was that he wanted privacy and for his possessions to be respected.
- This trope was pretty much averted as "getting laid" made things much worse for Kevin.
William "Bill" Murphy Jr.
Frank's and Sue's second son. He's a very shy, timid, and unlucky young boy who's constantly burdened with anxiety.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: He sometimes fights with Kevin.
- Author Avatar: Named after Bill Burr himself, while possessing a similarly torrid relationship with his father.
- Break the Cutie: He goes from one traumatic incident to the next. It's pretty sad considering how boys were still expected to hide their pain back then.
- Butt-Monkey: While bad things keep happening to everyone in his family, Bill consistently gets the worst of it, like getting beaten up by bullies or suffering public humiliations.
- Cross-Dressing Voices: Bill is voiced by female singer Haley Reinhart, who sang "O Holy Night" in the Season 1 finale.
- Fanboy: For Nickel and Pickle, a Hanna-Barbera-esque cartoon.
- Fiery Redhead: Owing to his Irish heritage and gradual hardening up. Red hair is a recessive gene, which would explain why neither Frank nor Sue have it.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The responsible to Maureen's foolish. Though, in Season 2 this flips with Bill becoming more reckless and Maureen more level headed.
- Grew a Spine: He tries to at multiple times and it is his primary arc.
- Groin Attack: On the receiving end of multiple throughout the seasons.
- Heroes Want Redheads: He becomes attracted to redhead Bridget Fitzsimmons at the end of Season 2. Subverted after he sees her true colors.
- Heroic BSoD: In Season 1, when he was under the bed while his parents had sex, which led to him seeing Frank's balls and later exposed to the disgusting stadium bathroom. Then again in Season 2 when he catches Kevin masturbating. Again in season 3 when he walks in on Julie in the ladies' room trying to check on Maureen after she's been in the bathroom for a long time, though it gets cut short when she freaks out. In the last episode of Season 3, he starts to have this when he sees a homeless person defecating in a phone booth, but then yells "NO!" and kicks the phone booth over in anger. He doesn't have a one in Season 4, signifying that the phone booth episode was where the shock of seeing people at their worst has finally worn off.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Bill's crush on Bridget Fitzsimmons. Simply due to thinking she's beautiful, he deems her to be a "perfect" girl and ignores her glaringly obvious personality flaws (for example, he keeps a newspaper photograph featuring Bridget just to fawn over it, ignoring her callous mockery of a seriously injured man). It's not until he starts hanging out with Bridget more often, does he begin to realize how cruel and dangerous she is.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Feminine boy to Maureen's masculine girl. He can also be this to Bridget's masculine girl at times as well.
- Middle Child Syndrome: Kevin's doted on by his mother and Maureen by his father, leaving Bill alone in the middle. He smugly warns Maureen that this will happen to her after the fourth child is born.
- One Steve Limit: Subverted, as he shares both his first and last name with his paternal grandfather, who is known as "Big Bill" to distinguish the two.
- Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?: He gets an erection at the public swimming pool after seeing his crush Bridget towelling off. It leads to Bill trying desperately (and failing) to avoid public embarrassment.
- Parental Sexuality Squick: Being stuck under the bed as his parents had sex was rather scarring for him.
- Potty Failure: Peed his pants after accidentally lighting Jimmy's entire fireworks stash.
- Pyromaniac: Not really, but this is what Frank takes to calling him after the forest fire incident.
- Redhead in Green: Always wears a green T-shirt and often a matching jacket.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Sensitive guy to Kevin's manly man.
- Sir Swears Alot: Just like his father.
- Thousand-Yard Stare: Has a pretty epic one whenever he gets an eyeful of something he knows he won't be able to unsee.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: Things seem to be looking up a little for him by the end of Season 2: Jimmy declares that they're officially cool after Bill wheeled him to the emergency room to get help for his broken leg, and he discovers that Jimmy's little sister has a huge crush on him.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: As early as Season 2's "A Girl Named Sue", Bill already behaves like this towards Kevin and Maureen (unprovoked). Throughout the same season, he becomes more aggressive and begins ditching school, shoplifting, skipping out on food bills and becoming a bully to his only friend Phillip. Though it doesn't excuse his behavior, it's not hard to see why this happened to him. Bill does apologize to Philip in "Pray Away", and again in Season 3's "Mr. Murphy's Wild Ride".
- However, Bill's behavior becomes considerably worse as he plays hockey throughout Season 4 (he whacks other players with his hockey stick), even befriending his former tormentor: Jimmy Fitzsimmons, and that same person's father. Luckily, he does realize his actions upon seeing that Jimmy is being heavily neglected by his father and gives him the glory to help fix his relationship with him.
- Trauma Conga Line: Some real nasty stuff happens to him throughout Season 1, as well as Season 2.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Anytime things start to look up for Bill, it's just so life can sucker-punch him again. Bridget Fitzsimmons becomes his girlfriend in Season 3, but he quickly learns she's a psychopath that makes her brother Jimmy look like a Nice Guy.
- Youthful Freckles: The perfect complement to his red hair.
Frank's and Sue's first daughter and their third child. She has a devious streak like her brothers, but is also more intelligent.
- Affectionate Nickname: Frank calls her "Princess".
- Alliterative Name: Maureen Murphy
- Annoying Younger Sibling: She sometimes fights with Bill.
- Bratty Half-Pint: A more realistic one, to be fair to her. It's heavily implied that Frank doesn't discipline her as strictly as her brothers (Truth in Television for a lot of dads in those days).
- Brainy Brunette: She's the most book-smart of her siblings, and performs very well in school.
- Break the Cutie: Thanks to her rival getting sick, she gets the lead role in the school play because she is the only other cast member who knows all the lines. And for the first act of it, she certainly did her part as rehearsed, and all seemed well. But then her father and her grandfather get into a major screaming argument that attracts the audience that is supposed to be watching the play, and it continues even when the second act is just starting. She stops performing when she sees them in their row, and runs offstage crying in humiliation when Frank punches Big Bill. On the walk home before being picked up, she mentions how she will be embarrassed at school because all her friends saw what happened. And when Frank comes into her room to apologize, she sadly and angrily turns away from him, not wanting to hear it.
- Characterization Marches On: She was quite a brat for most the first season. After that, she started to mellow out.
- Daddy's Girl: Frank clearly loves her. That's true for the others, but it's clearer with her in a couple scenes.
- Eye Scream: She's accidentally kicked in the face by Bill, leaving a bloody, swollen gash near her eye and requiring her to wear an eyepatch while it heals (which she thinks is cool).
- Hidden Depths: Despite being a tomboy, Season 2 reveals she has an interest in working with computers, and turns out to be really, really good at math.
- Hypocritical Heartwarming: She regularly torments and quarrels with Bill, but does stick up for him against his bullies, like Jimmy and Bridget.
- Little Miss Con Artist: Usually keeps her out of trouble with her parents.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Masculine girl to Bill's feminine boy.
- Mistaken for Gay: Frank seems to be very worried that she will turn out to be a lesbian due to her lack of interest in girly things.
- Odd Friendship: Develops one with Bridget of all people during season 4.
- One of the Boys: Maureen's friends are all male.
- The Smart Girl: Apparently the brightest kid in her class. Her mom even jokes that she should teach Kevin how to read.
- Tomboy: Was dead set on being a male character for Halloween, all her friends are boys, and isn't afraid to play rough.
Frank's and Sue's (so far unnamed) fourth kid
Frank's and Sue's second daughter and their youngest child. She was accidentally conceived in the Season 2 finale, which resulted in Sue becoming pregnant throughout Seasons 3 and 4 until finally giving birth in the Season 4 finale. This newborn infant has so far remained unnamed.
- No Name Given: Even after being born at the end of Season 4, she still wasn't given a name yet. Season 5 will presumably reveal whatever Frank and Sue have named her.
- Surprise Pregnancy: Much like her older siblings, this kid's conception was not intentional. This was all the result of Frank unwittingly using a punctured condom while having sex with Sue, due to Smokey Greenwood poking holes in random condoms.
The Murphys' pet dog.
- Big Friendly Dog: A little too friendly at times, he's often seen trying to hump someone's leg.
- Demoted to Extra: He had a more significant role in the first season, with a small subplot near the end where he runs away and the family looks for him. He's seen much less in the second season save for a few cameos.
- Dogs Are Dumb: Often seen with a clueless look on his face.
- Meaningful Name: His name might have something to do with Frank's time in the Army.
- Old Dog: He's at least over ten, as he was a puppy when Kevin was a toddler.
Extended Family and Relatives
William "Big Bill" Murphy Sr.
Frank's estranged father. He is a former hardware store owner turned traveling salesman, with a very rocky relationship with his son.
- Abusive Dad: According to Frank, his father was just an utter asshole to his son. He once went to Frank's fifth-grade school play for the sole purpose of humiliating him in public, mockingly laughing at his performance. He then forced Frank to walk home because "there's no room for queers in a De Soto", and made him walk in front of the car while he yelled "Who wants a daughter?" to the neighbors. He kept calling him "Francine" for the rest of the year. Really, it's a miracle Frank isn't in prison. Season 4 reveals it to have been even worse, as Big Bill was physically abusive as well and at least once beat Frank with a crutch.
- A Taste Of His Own Medicine: After years of being an abusive parent, he's finally punched in the face from the very son he tormented and is reduced to a helpless, whimpering old man.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: When he was a businessman, he pretended to be a likable guy. In private, he was mean to his family.
- Broken Pedestal: Any illusions his grandchildren had about him being a model parent was shattered by the Season 4 finale when it finally comes to light what it was actually like being raised by him, with Bill getting to witness his true character firsthand when he almost hits him over accidentally knocking a display case over.
- Broken Tears: When he finally realizes how much of a asshole he really is, he's reduced to a sobbing, apologizing mess.
- Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: Brings it out during moments he's annoyed or angry, giving Frank a hatred of anyone who smokes them.Frank: Fuckin' Popeye.
- Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: According to Big Bill, he was just raising Frank the way society was expecting him to back in the day. Anyone who knows the full extent of the abuse Frank suffered at his hands doesn't buy it, with Bill and Maureen pointing out that he's the reason their father has anger management issues. He takes this to heart and sincerely apologizes to Frank when they meet again in the hospital.
- Gruesome Grandparent: Harshly tears into Bill for accidentally knocking a mannequin over, almost striking him in the process. Later on he drives drunk with Bill and Maureen in the car. It's here that Frank's kids start to understand where he gets his issues from, and why he hates their grandfather so much.
- Heel Realization: It's only after getting a split lip after daring Frank into punching him after another round of insults and being told off by Bill and Maureen at the hospital in the season 4 finale that Big Bill begins to realize just how badly he screwed up as a father.
- It Will Never Catch On: Invested big in iron lungs and crutches...in 1952, when the polio vaccine was invented. His business quickly went under.
- Jerkass Realization: He goes through a series of these every time he has an epiphany or gets called out over his abusive behavior.
- Jerkass to One: He is initially charming to the Murphy family, who have never seen him before. They don't understand why Frank hates him and even begin to believe Frank might have lied or exaggerated his dad's behavior during his childhood. The facade begins to fall apart when Bill gets a taste of Big Bill's abuse at the sporting goods store.
- "Just Joking" Justification: Big Bill tries to pass off his emotional abuse of Frank as "just a joke".
- Miniature Senior Citizens: Old age seems to have made the 'Big' part of Big Bill's nickname moot, as he's now shorter than teenage Kevin.
- Parents as People: After Bill and Maureen make him see how screwed up Frank is because of him, he confides to a nurse that he didn't realize the damage he was doing and was just raising Frank how society expected back then.
- Standard '50s Father: Big Bill is a rather telling deconstruction of it, down to the pipe he smokes.
- Traveling Salesman: He took up this job sometime after his hardware store closed down.
- Uncertain Doom: In the Season 4 finale, just as he and Frank are finally prepared to work through their relationship issues, he suffers a heart attack/stroke and collapses. The episode ends with Frank calling out to him.
- Unseen No More: He's initially The Ghost as Frank hates his dad so much that he never even introduced his kids to their grandfather, lying to a 4-year-old Kevin that he "lives on a comet". Then Frank receives a letter from his father during the Season 3 finale, announcing an unexpected surprise visit/stay at their house. Big Bill makes his first appearance in the Season 4 premiere and remains a major character throughout the season.
Nora (formerly Nora Murphy)note
Frank's mother and Big Bill's ex-wife, who divorced her husband not long after Frank reached adulthood.
- Grew a Spine: After who knows how long as a meek yes-woman to Big Bill, she finally stands up to him when he beats Frank with a crutch. She divorced him not long after.
- Literal-Minded: From what little we see of her in a flashback, she seems to have an annoyingly literal mindset. Explaining in detail why a "Sell ice to Eskimo's joke" doesn't make sense.
- Missing Mom: Currently living in California with Frank's sister Eileen.
Frank's younger sister. She currently lives with her mother Nora in California.
- Literal-Minded: Seems to have inherited it from Nora.Big Bill: Christ, you're just like your mother!
Stan Chilson and Marilyn Chilson
Sue's father and mother.
- Bourgeois Bohemian: Zigzagged Trope, Sue's parents are wealthy and implied to be Democrat supporters based on their argument with Frank over his support for Nixon. However, the "Bohemian" aspect became less since they disowned their "confirmed bachelor" son.
- Fanboy: Sue's dad is one for General Motors, based on how highly he speaks of his Cadillac car, while mocking the Murphys' Ford station wagon. He also tells the famous "Fix Or Repair Daily" joke.
- Foil: 'Big Bill' and Stan contrast each other greatly. Bill hides his dark side while Stan by no means conceals his; Bill was a struggling businessman during his younger days while Stan is wealthy; Stan keeps in touch with his daughter while Bill is estranged from Frank.
- Not So Different: Stan's own father was even more abusive than Frank's dad, going as far as to get a police friend to falsely incriminate his then-girlfriend, Sophie, of a crime, the end of result of which was her own father smacking her down a flight of stairs, which killed her. However, whereas Frank resents his dad, Stan is grateful for his actions.
- Obnoxious In-Laws: They hate Frank for ruining their daughter's life with a Shotgun Wedding, and they even wonder about ways to get rid of him, telling Sue that they know the bishop and can make their marriage disappear. Frank shares mutual enmity for them.
- Parental Neglect: Frank reminds them about their other child, Louis, whom they have disowned after he was outed as being gay.
Sue's brother, who has not yet appeared so far. He currently lives in Florida, after being outed as gay and disowned by his parents.