Allison McRoberts (Murphy) and her husband Kevin (Eric Petersen) appear to have the quintessential sitcom marriage. The couple lives in the suburbs of Worcester, Massachusetts, where Kevin acts as the resident Big Fun and gets up to all kinds of wacky antics while hanging out with his friends, leaving Allison to serve the classic role of the Only Sane Woman who has to act as the voice of reason and bring Kevin and his friends down to earth again, much to Kevin's outspoken chagrin.
However, in reality Kevin is actually a Jerkass Manchild who is completely clueless to the destructive and lasting consequences of his many Zany Schemes and whose buffoonishly abusive behavior has increasingly worn down Allison, with the sitcom trappings being simply the result of Kevin's warped and narcissistic perspective. Allison's perspective is... different. Deeply depressed and fed up with constantly having to cater to Kevin's childish whims and irresponsible nature, both of which have wreaked considerable havoc on her social life and the couple's finances, and only ever getting condescension and derision from Kevin and his friends, who call her a nag and a wet blanket whenever she tries to bring just the tiniest degree of sanity and moderation to their immature proceedings, Allison finally decides what she wants: Kevin must die.
The show premiered in June 13, 2021 on AMC+, with episodes airing on AMC proper one week later. Trailer here.
On August 28, 2021 , AMC announced the show had been renewed for a second season. It was later announced on 30th November 2021 that the second would also be the final season of the series.
Despite the title being a gigantic middle finger towards it (and shows like it in general), it has nothing to do with the 2016-2018 CBS series Kevin Can Wait.
Provides examples of:
- Alone with the Psycho: Allison with Neil in the season finale before Patty saves her.
- Art Shift: The "sitcom" parts are brightly lit and are filmed using the multi-camera method standard for network sitcom shows. The "drama" parts of the show have more realistic and sometimes downright dour lightning (while still avoiding Real Is Brown), and uses the single-camera filming method for varied angles and closeups.
- As Himself: Ex-NHL player Sean Avery, as seen in Episode 6.
- Awful Wedded Life: Despite keeping up a beleaguered but affectionate sitcom wife façade, Allison has come to actively despise Kevin, who seems blissfully ignorant of her true feelings.
- Bad-Guy Bar: Kevin, Neil, and Pete hang out in one in Episode 5 where they begin to bitch about Patty and invite a similarly named guy (Paddy) into their group.
- Bat Deduction: In the fourth episode, Kevin turns the house's basement into an escape room and offers a large cash prize to any group that can successfully escape, deliberately making the clues oblique to the point of Insane Troll Logic. Naturally, the very first group to try it pick up his trail within seconds.
- Big "SHUT UP!": Allison is often on the receiving end, to the point of being the first thing we ever see of her. It's so much a Running Gag of the sitcom reality that the other characters have trouble not doing it in the real world. Her telling Nick, the drug dealer she hired to kill Kevin, to shut up marks a turning point for her character.
- Bumbling Dad: Deconstructed. The series shows off how miserable an experience it would be to be married to the classic "goofy, dimwitted husband" present in a lot of Dom Com shows.
- Butt-Monkey: Allison, who is insulted and demeaned by her husband and all of his friends, and often comes off worse thanks to their antics (according to dialogue, this has in the past led to her being fired and almost drowning, among other indignities). Even away from Kevin and his influence, she has a rough time — she gets her sweater snagged on a trash can, accidentally hits a realtor, and gets insulted by two catty makeup salesgirls for having donut powder on her face all within the first ten minutes of the first episode.
- Call-Back: The beginning of the first episode has Allison break a glass in frustration, cutting open her hand on a glass and meekly saying "I'm fine" despite no one in the next room noticing. The ending of the season finale has her cutting her hand in the same spot while being strangled by Neil. After bashing her brother over the head with a bottle to save her, Patty asks if she's okay. Allison, no longer alone in life, lets out a genuine "I'm fine".
- Cerebus Retcon: The show does this to itself repeatedly by depicting the repercussions of the multi-cam show's gags through the more dramatic single-cam lens. For instance, a silly exchange about Kevin leaving a note on the couple's bathroom mirror in permanent marker becomes dismally sad when we actually see it depicted onscreen as part of the general decay of Allison's surroundings. There's even the odd inversion when something previously Played for Drama is taken into the sitcom half.
- Chekhov's Gun: A literal gun in this case. In episode 4, Patty and Allison accidentally trade cocaine for a pistol while trying to buy Oxy in Vermont. Upon their return to Worcester in episode 5, they bury it in the McRoberts' backyard to keep it from being used. In episode 7, Kevin suddenly pulls the gun from under his and Allison's mattress, revealing he found it in the backyard while searching for treasure with Neil and a metal detector (which was itself introduced in a previous episode). He immediately tries to use it to fend off a perceived burglary.
- Comedic Sociopathy: Deconstructed throughout the series by following the Rule of Funny-fuelled patter of a standard sitcom to its unseen conclusions.
- Cooking Duel: Kevin and Neil's in Episode 3 drives Allison and Patty up the wall. Each one claims that their contribution to their chilli is what makes it great, and view the other as the sidekick. They 'break up' over the fight and decide to make their own chilli.
- The Couch: As befits a dom com, the couch features prominently in the sitcom sequences.
- Crapsaccharine World: Kevin's sitcom world is portrayed as this. When he isn't around, the whole world is merely depressing.
- Cringe Comedy: Outside of the sitcom aspect, most of the comedy centered around Allison is this. Unlike Kevin she has enough shame to be embarrassed, such as when she's insulted for unknowingly walking around with donut powder on her face or accidentally elbows a man in the nose when he mistakes her for a prostitute. Patty even Lampshades the association when she explains why she told Allison about the bank account: "I'm not good with cringe comedy."
- Deconstruction: A common facet of the series. It ultimately examines how the "wacky" antics seen on typical Sitcoms would not be as fun if they occurred in real life. In addition, there is no Negative Continuity in the series, meaning that problems build up and have lasting effect.
- When Kevin spends all of his and Allison's savings on a sports memorabilia scam, it's presented as being the immature and reckless act that it is, rather than brushed off as it normally would be in these situations.
- Sometimes averted, as we never find out what happened with the beef that was left in the oven other than some of the characters saying they can smell something burning.
- As miserable as she is, you may wonder why Allison doesn't just divorce Kevin and leave. The series lays out exactly why escaping an abusive marriage can be so hard — it costs money to get a divorce and start over, and he controls what little money they have left. And because he's spent so long isolating and abusing her, all the people Allison sees regularly are his friends; she doesn't even have anyone who could put her up on their couch for a few weeks or something.
- Patty's casual relationship acquaintance and Dogged Nice Guy Kurt impulsively proposes to her in the aftermath of her drug supplier getting arrested. In a sitcom world, it might have worked, but here we see why that's frequently a terrible idea, as Kurt realises he knows next-to-nothing about her and rescinds his offer just as Patty's warming up to it.
- As Patty makes it very clear to Allison, her plan to kill Kevin with pills only has a guaranteed chance of working if she is absolutely certain Kevin will actually die. There's a chance that he will just wake up the next day after blacking out.
- Inverted in the Season 1 finale, when Neil's sitcom-standard buffoon behaviour in falling for Kevin's lie about a hide-and-seek contest ends up with him overhearing that Allison planned to kill Kevin — and then snaps back to this when, instead of talking him down, Patty smashes a bottle over his head to keep him from choking Allison out.
- Deconstructed Trope: Of Awful Wedded Life sitcoms involving Manchild husbands and their hyper-competent, long-suffering wives. The show emphasizes how miserable it is for Allison to be constantly ignored and dismissed in favor of Kevin's passing hobbies, and that Kevin's absolute insensitivity to her is outright Domestic Abuse once outside of the sitcom framing.
- Didn't Think This Through: Several times, and not just with Kevin and his many Zany Schemes. Allison clearly has a problem with this as well.
- Allison calls the cops on the mechanic she's been feuding with since episode 1, anonymously reporting him as a drug dealer. It's a solid plan — except for the fact that after getting arrested, he outs Patty's supplier as the actual dealer, leaving her with no way of getting the oxycodone central to Allison's plan at the exact point she's decided to use it to fake Kevin having an overdose.
- Allison's initial plan to murder Kevin involves poisoning him with Oxy and making it look like an accidental overdose. Patty spells out that this could backfire in numerous ways, including the fact that Kevin has a high tolerance to drugs and alcohol, and an overdose has no guarantee of actually killing him.
- Patty also points out that Allison has not given any consideration to how to handle the aftermath of Kevin's death if she should succeed in killing him. Allison will be under suspicion from the police and her neighbors, and being a suspected Black Widow will permanently affect her reputation for the rest of her life.
- Disproportionate Retribution: It doesn't take much for Kevin to cut ties with people in his life. Neil challenging him to a chili cook-off causes the temporary end of their friendship, while the notion of Patty and Allison going to a fast food restaurant without him is enough to kick Patty out of their friend group.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Kevin's political campaign at the end of Season 1 definitely has Trumpian overtones.
- The Dog Bites Back: In "Fixed", Allison actually calls Kevin a dick to his face, although it goes unnoticed because another part of the full sentence she used — "everyone may think you're an everyday hero, but really, you're just a dick" — gives him the catchphrase for his political campaign.
- Dramatic Irony: Kevin nearly dies several times over the course of the first season, simply because Allison happens to be absent at the time and does not provide the voice of reason. This implies that, if she were to actually make the incredibly difficult choice to leave him, he would likely get himself killed by accident, which would actually solve her problem. Alas, she is unaware that he almost got himself killed in her absence.
- Dream Intro: The second episode opens with Allison spending her morning hanging out in an upscale cafe. It becomes clear that it's a dream when she casually tells the waitress that she recently killed her husband, to which the waitress reacts with friendly interest.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Allison's response to learning that Kevin blew their life savings on a fake sports memorabilia scam is to stay out all night getting absolutely wasted on booze and cocaine. It's far from the last time she'll hit the bottle.
- Dying Town: In the "Crime Drama" Scenes from Alison's POV, Worcester is portrayed this way. Sadly, this is very much Truth in Television.
- Easily Forgiven: Averted, keeping in line with the Genre-Busting aspect of the series. The pain of Kevin getting Allison fired from her paralegal job still lingers years later, and the fact that he never did anything to actually make things right for her is part of the reason Allison resents him so much.
- Escalating War: Takes place over the second episode between Kevin and the unseen neighbours he believes are responsible for stealing a valuable hoodie he ordered online.
- Everyone Has Standards: Even Kevin knows that Neil shouldn't be allowed anywhere near fireworks. Also, once it becomes apparent that the male Paddy is a psychopath, Kevin, his dad, and Neil all agree they he needs to go... only to become too afraid to say so. Patty has to be the one to chase him away. That said, prior to the finale, no one seems to have been aware that the group already has a straight-up psycho — Neil.
- Female Misogynist: Subverted in Patty's case. She was one of the "Honorary Dude" variety, enabling Kevin and Neil's antics and having next to no sympathy for Allison or her situation. Though she begins to genuinely care for Allison and like her, she also wants out after realizing how horrible Kevin and his actions are. Played straight with Allison's coworker Diane.
- Feud Episode: The sitcom portion of the third episode is this for Kevin and Neil, who have an intense Cooking Duel after each claims responsibility for the success of their famous chili.
- Financial Abuse: Kevin has been doing this to Allison for years (in addition to emotional/mental abuse), spending all their money on sports memorabilia and not telling her. Allison mentions that her lack of personal funds is one of the things keeping her from simply divorcing him.
- Five-Second Foreshadowing: In the season finale, after her argument with Patty, when Allison storms into the kitchen it immediately changes to the sitcom atmosphere despite her seemingly being the only one in the room, which is a sign that she is now in mortal danger.
- Frame-Up: By the end of the fifth episode, Allison's plan changes from poisoning Kevin with oxycodone to framing him as the town's drug dealer.
- The Friends Who Never Hang: Patty and Allison were this at the start of the series, barely knowing each other despite the former being constantly present at the latter's house for the past ten years.
- Friendship Moment:
- In Episode 5, when Allison calls out a guy for intentionally bumping her and insults him back for calling her a bitch, Patty genuinely gets excited at seeing how far Allison has come and even smiles when she quits her job because her aunt brushed off the incident.
- Invoked: After backing out of her plan to slip pills into Kevin's burger, Allison decides to make it seem like Patty had gotten him a Top Dog burger to "make up" for getting fast food without him earlier; as a result, he lets her back into his friend group.
- Friend Versus Lover: Kevin wants both Neil and Allison to believe they have top billing in his life and goes on a Two-Timer Date with them every year on his birthday to convince them of this. However in this case, Allison knows this was happening for years, so much so that Patty even brings her a book to pass the time and doesn't even care about being important in Kevin's life. Neil has been blissfully unaware about it all the while.
- Gaslighting: Kevin has been doing this to Allison for years, to the point where he's convinced her that she's bad with money (thus giving him control over their finances, with predictably bad results) and that she's a bad driver (thus meaning he doesn't have to share the car with her).
- Get-Rich-Quick Scheme: Kevin presents the escape room in the fourth episode as an alternative to Neil's get-rich-quick schemes: a "get-wealthy-fast idea."
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: At the end of the trailer, Allison can only swear with "F!". Patty chides her, that saying "f" is much worse than saying "fuck".
- Good People Have Good Sex: Kevin ain't good and the sex is awful. In the first episode, Kevin's upset because his boss invited himself over to Kevin's "rager", when he sees Allison in bed with a shoulder exposed because she was scratching an itch. This gets him horny and he agrees to get Allison the new house she wants. He also hints at her to consider doing an unnamed sex act that she said she'd never do. This time she's so happy at the news of getting a new house, that she agrees. The next morning, she almost throws up.
- Hated Hometown: All the main characters grew up in Worcester, but Allison deeply despises it and wants to leave. Sam did leave, only to get pulled back. The only person who loves living in Worcester and never wants to leave is Kevin.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: In true sitcom style, Kevin is much closer to his best friend Neil than he is to Allison. The pilot has Neil bawling loudly at the prospect of Kevin moving away. Their plotline in "We're Selling Washing Machines" is a classic Feud Episode in which the two compete ferociously to see who is the superior chili chef; Kevin seeks an advantage by buying a whole (dead) pig, but ultimately can't bring himself to cut it open because he's bonded with it as a Replacement Goldfish for his missing friend. Allison and Patty, who are respectively forced to spend more time with Kevin and Neil since they're no longer always together, find that they have to repair the friendship just to get some much-needed space from their ridiculous behavior. This is Played for Laughs in the multi-cam plot with the expected Women Are Wiser emphasis, but takes on a darker edge in the single-cam, where Kevin's new clinginess is interfering with both Allison's ongoing plot to murder him and her efforts to spend time with an Old Flame.
- Holding Hands: The first season ends with Allison and Patty holding hands after Patty saves her life and asks if she's okay, despite their vicious argument just minutes before.Allison: I'm fine.
- Innocently Insensitive: Kevin is an unsympathetic example. He isn't going out of his way to hurt Allison's feelings, but the combination of his ignorance and ego makes him a horrible husband, and even if he's not trying to cause his wife pain, he's still completely ignorant of the consequences his actions have on her and he never apologizes to her either.
- Interface Spoiler: Episode 7 purposefully hides the victim of the shooting in the mock robbery, and by the end of the episode their identity is still unrevealed. Given that the show isn't a miniseries and the cast and crew have talked openly about a second season, it's pretty obvious the victim isn't Kevin.
- Internal Reveal: "Live Free or Die" ends with Allison opening up to Patty about her plan to kill Kevin.
- It's All About Me: Kevin is this in spades. This is the reason why he and Allison do not have any children or even pets, since he does not want them "pulling focus" from him.
- It's for a Book: How Allison justifies searching murder methods on a library computer. This leads to a discussion between Allison and the librarian about why the main character in her "book" won't just leave her husband that obviously applies to Allison herself.
- I Was Having Such a Nice Dream: Allison says this in the second episode when Kevin wakes her up by jumping on the bed. Little does he know that she's been dreaming about the happy life she intends to have when her plot to kill him succeeds.
- Jerkass: The titular Kevin is an incredibly selfish individual who doesn't give a shit about his wife's feelings or needs, only how she can attend to his.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Some aspects of the sitcom portion of the show imply that Kevin might have a softer side on the inside, only for him to double-down on the self-interest and insensitivity.
- Karma Houdini: Kevin, who never seems to suffer from any consequences of his actions, as befits his Big Fun status in the sitcom world. Even when he shoots someone with an unlicensed firearm, he's hailed as a hero because the victim had broken into his house.
- Kavorka Man: A downplayed example, but if Allison's aunt is anything to go by, some women regard a man like Kevin as a "catch".
- Kick the Dog:
- Almost literally in the second episode. One of Kevin's hare-brained schemes to get revenge on the neighbors involves them getting a dog, who Allison ends up warming to. At the end of the episode, Kevin abandons the scheme and leaves the dog where he found it, without a single thought or consideration about how Allison may feel about it.
- After discovering a Top Dog burger wrapper in his car, Kevin comes to the conclusion that Allison and Patty got fast food without him, and decides to kick Patty out of his friend group. Not only this, he actually phones the guy she was in a casual relationship with to tell of her disloyalty, which is one of the many things that causes him to break off their relationship.
- The finale has Kevin send Neil off on what he says is a big game of hide-and-seek after he gets annoyed by his childish whining during his campaign party, then mocks him with his father once he's gone. Subsequent events with Allison had him hiding for over four hours without realizing the truth.
- Limited Social Circle: As with most of the rest of the elements in this series, this is deconstructed. All of Kevin and Allison's social circle belongs to him and engage in his antics, with Allison not even being allowed to have a dog for company because Kevin doesn't want anything "cuter than him" in the house. This leads Allison to be incredibly lonely and isolated, with her closest associates being her co-worker who doesn't really seem to understand her situation. Allison is so desperate for any form of friendship that one somewhat kind conversation with Patty makes her think they've formed a bond, only to be coldly rebuffed later (though they do end up forming a genuine friendship later on after Patty sees for herself just how truly toxic Kevin is).
- It's later shown that Kevin's antics actively prevent Allison from doing anything for herself, as he needs constant supervision and intervention to prevent his antics from going off the rails, leaving very little time for her to have anything resembling a social life outside of her home.
- Kevin is unbelievably self-absorbed, still mentally in the frat boy zone and runs roughshod over Allison's life without any hesitation.
- Neil is even worse, acting like he's about 10 years old most of the time, in the final episode throwing a childish tantrum when Kevin's making a (minor) attempt to grow up by running for political office leaves him too busy to play hide-and-seek. Even when he overhears Allison tried to have Kevin killed, his main thought is try and get back in Kevin's good graces rather than be shocked at what has transpired.
- Mega Meal Challenge: During the sitcom portion of Episode 6, Kevin gets into one of these with Sean Avery (who he hates for slandering the Bruins and their fans on social media), with the two competing to see who can finish the meal first. The meal in question, the "Mighty Moo", is a 32-ounce steak, two baked potatoes with all the fixings, a jumbo shrimp cocktail, and a roll.
- Money Dumb: Kevin is this in spades. Atypical of this trope, Kevin doesn't come from a rich background. He's simply so reckless and impulsive he sees no issue in blowing all of his and Allison's savings on scams and parties. However, through many years of Gaslighting, he was able to convince Allison that she was the one who was terrible with money.
- Murder Is the Best Solution: Allison comes to this conclusion about Kevin. Played with, however, as for all that Kevin is utterly horrible and awful, it is often suggested that there are better solutions to Allison's problems than simply killing him.
- Narcissist: Kevin, frequently and blindly, runs roughshod over everyone bar himself. His stated reason for not having either pets or kids is that he can't stand anything cuter than himself in the house.
- Negative Continuity: Averted and played with. Most Sitcoms of the sort this show is parodying would treat the husband emptying out the couple's bank accounts on a whim as a wacky side plot or joke, and wrapped up by the end of the episode with no lasting consequences. Here, such an act doesn't go away, and the financial limitations that Allison faces as a result of Kevin's actions are presented as being the main practical reason she can't just pack up and leave him.
- No Woman's Land: Kevin's sitcom world is this. If Allison or Patty even try the slightest to defy their roles and their place, Kevin acts like it's the worst thing they could do and grills them for it.
- Noodle Incident: Plenty, in a manner typical of sitcoms. These tend to enforce Allison's Butt-Monkey status (lost her job thanks to a misunderstanding on Kevin's part, almost drowned when she tried to be a more 'fun' person, etc), enforce Neil's idiotic and/or plain dangerous tendencies (among them a penchant for arson), or imply behavior that further solidifies Kevin as a destructive asshole:Kevin: Oh, simple Allison. This is all a part of my master plan.
Allison: Okay, well, the last time you said that, we had to cut down the oak tree to get you out of it.
Kevin: That tree was an eyesore for 300 years.
Allison: Paul Revere planted it.
- Taken to an even darker extent in the single camera scenes where such incidents further illustrate how bleak Allison's life has been, such as Patty talking about how Allison didn't get a slice of her own birthday cake.
- Oh, No... Not Again!: When Kevin accidentally gets locked in his own basement with a group of people he's endeavoring to scam, he rejects Neil's offer to chop the door down: "Allison got so mad at us last time we did that."
- Painting the Medium: The show features two very distinct styles of lighting and camera work. Sitcom-esque moments are shot and lit very much like a traditional Sitcom, even including a laugh track, showing off Kevin's narcissistic, idealized view of a reality that revolves around him. Meanwhile, the rest of the scenes are shot with much more restrained lighting and cinematic camera work to create a feeling of "This Is Reality."
- Parenting the Husband: Like many a sitcom patriarch before him, Kevin is barely functional without Allison around, which is taken to dark extremes. Kevin's antics further Allison's sense of isolation as having to deal with the ramifications of his childishness leaves her next to no time for her to do anything for herself.
- Perspective Flip: This is about the typical sitcom marriage from the perspective of the wife, who after years of putting up with her husband's selfish and immature behaviour has come to hate him to the point of wanting to kill him.
- Patty's story in the episodes shows what happens when the resident Deadpan Snarker isn't with the group. In the multi-camera segments, Patty appears to be unmoved by what's going on, but the single camera segments show that this is the result of the loneliness and detachment she feels. When Kevin kicks her out of the group in episode 5, while she may appeared unfazed during Kevin's narrative, the single camera segment shows this as wake-up call for her, to the point that Patty agrees to go along with Allison's plan to kill Kevin.
- Pet the Dog: The end of the first episode has Kevin trying to stage an apology/romantic meal for Allison. Which is subverted, given how it's heavily undermined by his execution, with Kevin continuing to belittle his wife, even telling her that she's making the meal. Just to hammer home how bad his attempt at this was, a particularly vivid Imagine Spot shows that this is the point where Allison decides that killing him is the way forward.
- Precision F-Strike: At the end of the Season 1 finale, when Neil — who has been exclusively shown in the "sitcom" segments, and consequently never sworn on camera — suddenly shifts to "reality" as Patty smashes a wine bottle over his head, the change is underlined by his shocked gasp of "What the fuck?" Earlier in the episode, Allison calls Kevin a "dick" within the sitcom, but this was not acknowledged by the rest of the characters.
- Pyromaniac: Neil. Kevin and Patty always make sure that he can't get anywhere near fireworks.
- "Ray of Hope" Ending: Season 1 ends with Kevin alive and running for Worcester City Council on a MAGA-like platform, with seemingly a fair amount of support from the public. Nick is in critical condition and may yet squeal on Allison and Patty hiring him as a hitman. Allison has crossed the Despair Event Horizon and rejected Sam when he wanted to escape both their unhappy marriages and run away together. Patty's salon seems to be failing now that it is no longer a front for her drug dealing, and Neil has learned of the plot to kill Kevin and threatens to expose Allison and Patty to get back into Kevin's circle, nearly strangling Allison in the process. Things are looking pretty down. However, Allison and Patty have reconciled and team up to threaten and subdue Neil into silence, forcibly snapping him out of the Sitcom setting and into the real world, meaning the sitcom is not completely overpowering.
- Running Gag: Allison accidentally injures various men who are not her husband.
- Sanity Slippage: Having to deal with Kevin's idiotic antics, irresponsible behavior, and constant callous dismissal of her own wants and needs on a daily basis for nearly a whole decade has increasingly worn down Allison's mental stability and peace of mind.
- Serious Business: In contrast to the more literally serious business of Allison's plot such as murder and drug-running, Kevin is steeped in drama such as an intense cooking competition and the disappearance of an expensive hoodie.Kevin: Stealing that sweatshirt was as bad as the Boston Massacre!
Allison: You guys said the same thing about cinnamon gum.
Pete: It's too hot.
- Sherlock Can Read: In "New Patty", Kevin is stunned when the guy he's chosen as Patty's Replacement Goldfish addresses him by his name, which is sewn onto his work uniform.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Neil is as dopey and idealistic as Patty is sharp-witted and cynical.
- Slapstick Knows No Gender: Despite (or perhaps because of) her Only Sane Woman status in the sitcom framing, Allison is on the wrong end of much of its physical comedy, getting splattered with various food items and falling through a coffee table, among other indignities.
- Small Town Boredom: Allison and Patty both suffer badly from this, with Patty coping by involving herself in the day-to-day antics of Kevin's group while dealing drugs on the side, while Allison works towards a better life elsewhere.
- Snow Means Death: While it was snowing all episode, while Allison and Patty are talking outside towards the end of "New Patty", it begins to flake when Allison agrees to a different method of killing Kevin (namely framing him as being the town's drug dealer).
- Soccer-Hating Americans: Kevin, Neil and Pete are shown to be this in "New Tricks" when the new neighbours are revealed to be Manchester United fans. Naturally this becomes part of the feud, with Kevin (who thinks they stole his hoodie) stealing a Man U shirt from them (although — presumably for comedic effect — it's not an actual Man U shirt but a generic red sports shirt with "Manchester United" printed on the front).
- Status Quo Is God: Like every other sitcom convention, this gets a dark spin; Kevin is preventing any positive change from occurring in his and Allison's life so that he can continue to live as he prefers in Allison's Hated Hometown.
- String Theory: The corkboard Kevin uses to accuse Patty and then Allison in "New Patty".
- Stylistic Suck: The sitcom side of the series is deliberately written and performed to resemble the over-the-top, predictable and lame-brained shows that the creators are satirizing.
- Subverted Sitcom: It begins as a standard sitcom about a goofy jerk of a husband, Kevin, and his exasperated workaholic wife, Allison. Allison is first depicted as a total nag and the Butt-Monkey of the show, but once she leaves the sitcom scene, we see her more sympathetic and troubled perspective. The show becomes more of a drama as Allison undergoes Sanity Slippage and plans to kill her husband to end her pain. This is illustrated in the different cinematography between the sitcom reality and Allison's reality: the former is a brightly-lit multicam setup reminiscent of most classic sitcoms, while the latter is a desaturated single-cam setup reminiscent of a drama.
- Sympathetic Murderer: The show is all about how Allison is considering becoming one.
- Take That!:
- As the title indicates, to the sitcoms starring Kevin James, particularly Kevin Can Wait. To be more specific, this is in regards to how that show infamously killed off the titular Kevin's wife and replaced her with a character played by his The King of Queens costar Leah Remini in a desperate attempt to improve ratings. That much maligned treatment of the sitcom wife was cited by this show's creators to be the jumping-off point for this story.
- Allison gets donut holes from Dunkin ... and throws most of them out in the trash, before spitting up the chewed up one in a waste bin.
- Take This Job and Shove It: After telling off a customer at the liquor store for rudely shoving her, and her aunt tries to downplay it by saying it's just part of the job, Allison quits on the spot, and takes a bottle of wine as her "gold watch".
- Til Murder Do Us Part: By the beginning of the second episode, Allison has all her hopes for a happy future pinned on killing Kevin.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Patty and Allison, the Two Girls to a Team of Kevin's cast as well as the protagonists of the show proper, are this respectively.
- Tender Tomboyishness, Foul Femininity: As the series progresses with both the women trying to find freedom from their sitcom dystopia, Girly Girl Allison grows more and more ruthless and abrasive while The Lad-ette Patty grows kinder and more vulnerable.
- Two-Timer Date: Kevin's so fond of this one that he does it every year. Because he wants both Allison and Neil to think they're his favorite, he's made a birthday tradition of scheduling simultaneous dinners at an upscale restaurant and an amusement arcade next door and flitting between the two all evening. Allison has always known what he's doing because his reasons for ducking in and out are so implausible and brings a book with her to fill the dead time, but Neil has been blissfully in the dark for ten years.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: As fitting with the deconstruction of sitcom tropes, Allison is way out of Kevin's league.
- Unkempt Beauty: Both Allison and Patty almost look like a mess due to how much trauma Kevin put them through, but they still manage to look pretty.
- Wet Blanket Wife: Subverted - Kevin thinks Allison is this, but she's just trying to bring in some sanity and sense, especially since his impulsive and irresponsible antics have led to some pretty serious financial problems for them.
- Wham Shot: The first season finale ends with Neil attempting to strangle Allison in the sitcom style... before Patty hits him on the head with bottle, forcing him out of the sitcom and into reality.
- What Does She See in Him?: What did Allison ever see in Kevin that convinced her to marry him? Well, it turns out that he really did make her laugh early on in their relationship (and he was apparently not as bad back then), and when he persuaded her to move in with him after they'd been dating for a couple of months, she gladly went along with as it enabled her to leave her parents' house.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Allison calls Patty out on the way she dismissed Kevin's harmful behaviors as just silly funny pranks.
- Women Drivers: Among the sexist comedy tropes that come in for deconstruction. Until recently Allison believed herself to be a bad driver, but when she thinks it over, she realizes she's never had a problem on the road, and that Kevin has convinced her of her lack of ability so that he won't have to share the car.
- Yes-Man: Neil and Pete constantly encourage Kevin's insane schemes despite their stupidity, and join in his hazing of Allison and Patty on command.
- You Bastard!: While not directly addressing the audience, at the end of Episode 4, Allison chews Patty out for being oblivious to Kevin's dark side despite years of engagement with his shenanigans, referring to an incident both of them remember which sounds like a standard sitcom plot revolving around a wacky misunderstanding, to which Kevin's overreaction caused Allison to get fired from a job she loved. The resonance with an audience familiar with this kind of sitcom is obvious.Patty: Okay, fine, I never said he was a great guy. But that's the kind of juvenile crap he does.
Allison: Patty, he got me fired. Right when I felt like I was worth something. He ruined it. And you just watched him and laughed. Can you just think about that for more than one second? He didn't like something that was my own, and so he took it away from me. Like this car. Like my friends. Like any shred of a life that is my own.
Patty: I-It...It seemed...harmless.
- Zany Scheme: The realistic subversion — Allison often suffers the worst when Kevin enacts these, such as when she's forced to uncomfortably host his boss in the living room to prevent him from finding out about a wild party occurring in the backyard.