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"The world revolves around him. No, it's not that it does, it's that it has to. And if it doesn't, he just blows it to hell. And it has to stop."
Allison

Kevin Can F**k Himself is a 2021 Metafictional Black Comedy series created by Valerie Armstrong, co-executive produced by Rashida Jones and starring Annie Murphy.

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 self-absorbed behavior crosses over into outright abuse has increasingly worn down Allison, with the sitcom trappings (complete with a Laugh Track, brightly lit and colorful three-walled sets, three camera visuals, and people giving over-the-top and hammy performances) being simply the result of Kevin's warped and narcissistic perspective of the world. Allison's perspective is... much different, with the canned laughter gone, the visuals single camera, the "sets" real locations, dark and moody lighting, and people behaving more believably down-to-earth.

A decade of being trapped in this miserable marriage 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, has left Allison deeply unhappy and especially fed up with only ever getting dismissed and insulted by Kevin and his friends, who blow her off as a nag and a wet blanket whenever she tries to bring just the tiniest degree of sanity and moderation to their immature proceedings. Desperate to take back control of her own life, Allison decides Kevin must die so she can be free.

The show premiered on 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 November 30, 2021 that the second would also be the final season of the series. The second season premiered on August 22, 2022 and ended on October 10.

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 1 finale before Patty saves her.
  • Annoying Laugh: Pete's girlfriend Lorraine in Season 2 has a very obnoxious sort of laugh which annoys both Kevin and Allison.
    Allison: What was that? Did a demon just achieve its final and most powerful form in our kitchen?
    Kevin: No. My dad has a new girlfriend, and the girlfriend has... a laugh.
  • Antics-Enabling Wife: Deconstructed hard the series. Before the start of the series, Allison tolerated Kevin's buffoonish behavior even when it ended up hurting her. As the series begins, she starts to realize how unhealthy the relationship is and plots to extricate herself from the marriage...permanently.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: Allison can dish these out when delivering a "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
    • Allison gives these out to Patty a few times in Season 1, most especially in "Live Free or Die" when she gives Patty a What the Hell, Hero? calling out for failing to consider the destructive consequences of Kevin's impulsive and irresponsible antics just because it was funny and seemed harmless.
    Allison: And when he spent all our life savings without telling me? Was that harmless too?
    Allison: Maybe he doesn’t care when I whine, but he laughs when you bleed.
  • 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 use the single-camera filming method for varied angles and closeups.
  • As Himself: Brian Scalabrine and Sean Avery, as seen in "The Grand Victorian".
  • 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.
    • Diane and Chuck, to the point that Diane runs away for a brief period in season 2, and starts an affair when she returns.
  • Bad Guy Bar: Kevin, Neil, and Pete hang out in one in "New Patty" where they begin to insult 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.
    • Allison gives one to Kevin in the Grand Finale, right before telling him she wants a divorce.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Patty and Tammy break up, Neil moves out and his fate is up in the air, along with his relationship with Diane, and as pointed out in Fridge Horror, Pete is going eventually find out that Kevin died in a fire in his own house shortly after he left for Florida. But on the positive side, everyone is free from Kevin's tyranny, Allison is able to come back since the case involving Patty is dropped, it's implied that Neil and Diane's relationship might have hope if Neil can improve, and the show ends with Allison and Patty embracing and deciding to "grow old and die alone together", possibly implying a relationship.
  • Brick Joke: In the finale, Allison finally reads Ulysses, and, unlike in the second episode, you know it's not a dream because the correct author name is written on it.
  • Broken Masquerade: In the final episode, Allison confronting Kevin about wanting a divorce finally snaps him out of his sitcom mindset and into dealing with the real world.
  • Brutal Honesty: A problem Tammy has.
  • Bumbling Dad: Deconstructed through Kevin. 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. However, Kevin isn't a father, largely because he doesn't want anyone else taking the attention away from him, including his own hypothetical child (and it's telling that he only warms up to the idea of fatherhood by viewing his imaginary children as potential "little buddies" and extensions of himself).
  • 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".
  • The Cameo: Many different sitcom actors appear for an episode.
    • "New Patty" has Jon Glaser as Paddy, Patty's Spear Counterpart, and Evil Counterpart.
    • Basketball player Brian Scalabrine and hockey player Sean Avery play themselves in "The Grand Victorian".
    • In "The Unreliable Narrator", Rachel Dratch plays Beatrice, a former Worcester city hall employee who helps Allison get the documents she needs to fake her death.
    • In "Ghost", Peri Gilpin makes an appearance as Allison's mother Donna in a flashback to the day of Allison's father's funeral. This flashback takes place in the sitcom world, suggesting that Donna was the domineering figure in Allison's life before she met Kevin.
  • Cassandra Truth: Neil tries to tell Kevin about Allison and Patty's plan to kill him, but Kevin is so caught up in his newfound fame that he doesn't take this news seriously at all.
  • Cerebus Call-Back: 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 "Live Free or Die", Patty and Allison accidentally trade cocaine for a pistol while trying to buy Oxy in Vermont. Upon their return to Worcester in "New Patty", they bury it in the McRoberts' backyard to keep it from being used. In "Broken", 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 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 pattern of a standard sitcom to its unseen conclusions.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Kevin invokes this in the finale when Allison is explaining that she’d faked her death to get away from him.
  • Cooking Duel: Kevin and Neil have one in "We're Selling Washing Machines" that escalates into a full-blown feud, which in turn makes them act clingier with Allison and Patty respectively, which drives both women up the wall. Each one claims that their contribution to their chili is what makes it great and view the other as the sidekick. They 'break up' over the fight and decide to make their own chili.
  • The Couch: As befits a dom com, the couch features prominently in the sitcom sequences.
  • Couch Gag: Each title card censors out the "fuck" part of the title in different ways (pen scribbles, a lipstick mark, etc).
  • 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."
  • Death Faked for You: Allison's plot in Season 2 revolves around her trying to get away from Kevin in a different way, by faking her death and fleeing. It's a lengthy process, which involves finding the body of an unclaimed, deceased woman named Gertrude Fronch in the local mortuary, who is from out-of-state and therefore the paperwork to file her death certificate is delayed. She then steals her death certificate from City Hall before it can be filed, which gives her a social security number. She hires a PI to create fake mail for her in Worcester, and with both this and the SSN, she goes to the DMV and gets a driver's license with her photograph. When Diane gives her money for a "vacation", she fakes a "hiking accident", and is able to leave town and start moving from place to place under Gertrude's identity.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Every major character has this going on for them.
    • Allison is one for the Closer to Earth sitcom wife. On the surface, she seems like the typical snarky but ultimately devoted and supportive wife; underneath, she's deeply unhappy and utterly tired of being expected to act as the "voice of reason" only to be dismissed as a "nag" when she tries to get the guys to stop doing something stupid for more than five minutes, which has only deepened her resentment of Kevin.
    • Kevin himself is one for the doofus husband archetype. In the sitcom framing, he's the jovial Big Fun; in reality, he's a self-absorbed manchild who is completely oblivious to any of his wife's own needs or desires, essentially taking Parenting the Husband up to eleven and then some. The story wastes no time showing just how exhausting and insufferable such a person would be to deal with in real life over an extended period of time.
    • Patty deconstructs The Snark Knight. She's revealed to also be just as resentful of her life situation as Allison is, being a Sad Clown who has all but resigned herself to being stuck in Worcester with her dumb manchild brother and his equally idiotic jerk of a friend. She only participates in Kevin's group partly because of Neil and partly because she's bored and they're funny and when she ultimately wises up to how toxic Kevin truly is, she is unable to hang out with him in good conscience anymore.
    • Kevin's father Pete is not so much the Cool Old Guy dad usually seen in sitcoms so much as he's an enabler who has completely failed to raise his son properly.
    • Neil gets some as the Bumbling Sidekick. He's even more immature than Kevin is, which is heavily implied to be the result of some kind of mental disorder, and it's made clear that he's just as much a victim of Kevin's idiocy and narcissism as Allison and Patty are. The second season reveals that he is a bit more perceptive than he lets on (though he's still not the brightest bulb), has a drinking problem, and a lifelong problem of not knowing his own strength.
  • Deconstruction: A common facet of the series. It ultimately examines how the "wacky" antics seen in 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 a lasting effect. Lastly, it breaks down the misogyny that is often inherent to the typical American sitcom, showing how much darkness can be masked with a laugh track.
    • 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.
    • 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 boyfriend, the 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. And even if she does manage to kill Kevin, Allison may very well become a suspect in his death.
    • Many of Kevin's Zany Schemes are short-sighted, illogical, and have left behind a lot of collateral damage in their wake, especially on Allison's social life and the McRoberts' finances in general.
    • 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.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: 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 when the realistic consequences are applied.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Several times, and not just with Kevin and his many Zany Schemes. Many others clearly have a problem with this as well.
    • In "We're Selling Washing Machines", Allison calls the cops on Marcus after getting fed up with his catcalling and harassment, 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. However, in "New Patty", 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.
    • Patty never stopped to think that the generic oxycodone she was selling to her clients would get used for less-than-noble purposes. Nick even calls her out on this.
    • In "We're Selling Washing Machines", Kurt impulsively proposes to Patty in the aftermath of her drug supplier getting arrested. In "New Patty", when he sees that she's not comfortable with the thought of marrying him, he takes back his offer, realizing he just jumped into this whole thing and doesn't actually know Patty very well even after having dated her for three years.
  • 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.
    • As Kevin's behavior worsens over the course of Season 2, both Neil and Pete call out Kevin and cut him out of their own lives.
  • Domestic Abuse: Kevin is a particularly insidious version because his abuse is not physical (other than the scene where he kicks a door in Allison's face and not only blames it on her but refuses to apologize). All the damage is done through demeaning and putting her down, constantly disregarding her own needs and desires, and even outright sabotaging her when she gets anything nice for herself.
  • Dramatic Irony: Kevin nearly dies several times throughout 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 solve her problem. Alas, she is unaware that he almost got himself killed in her absence. This is confirmed in the finale: once Kevin is completely alone, he dies within minutes.
  • 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. note 
  • 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.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Tammy's initial reasons for asking Neil to move out were rather lackluster, a point she does concede when called out on.
  • Dying Town: In the "Crime Drama" scenes from Allison's POV, Worcester is portrayed this way.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After everything she'd gone through, Allison is finally free of Kevin in the Grand Finale, as is everyone else who was caught up in his abusive domineering ways. Kevin accidentally offing himself is the cherry on top.
  • Easily Forgiven: Averted, keeping in line with the Genre-Busting aspect of the series. Kevin's repeatedly done all kinds of dangerous and idiotic things that have resulted in all sorts of messes that have done damage to Allison's own life, all the while selfishly ignoring the pain he causes her. One particular standout incident as detailed in "Live Free or Die" was when Kevin baselessly thought Allison was having an affair with her boss from her previous job as a paralegal and destroyed her boss' car, which got her fired. The pain of losing that job still stings years later, and the fact that Kevin never did anything to actually make up for the damage he caused only deepened Allison's resentment of him until it festered into full-blown murderous hatred.
  • Escalating War: Takes place over "New Tricks" between Kevin and the unseen neighbors 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.
    • 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 — Kevin.
    • Pete usually just goes along with his son's antics, but there are limits. In "Mrs. McRoberts Is Dead", Pete is visibly horrified by the sheer stupidity of Kevin's new campaign video.
    • In "The Unreliable Narrator", several characters point out to Kevin that intentionally destroying Lorraine's hearing aid and lying about it is not funny, but in fact extremely cruel. And this is before they find out about his role in the citywide blackout.
  • Fauxshadowing: In "Broken", when Allison dismisses the idea of Neil trying to hurt her or Kevin, Detective Bram warns her, "You'd be surprised how dark people can be beneath the surface." In the very next episode, "Fixed", Neil learns Allison tried to kill Kevin and ends up strangling and nearly killing her, but over the course of Season 2, realizes his mistakes and ultimately starts taking the first steps towards becoming a better person. Meanwhile, Kevin increasingly shows his darker side throughout the second season, culminating in the finale showing what he's really like without the sitcom filter.
  • 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/aunt Diane.
  • Feud Episode: The sitcom portion of "We're Selling Washing Machines" 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.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Early in Season 2, Kevin mentions that he removed all of the batteries from the smoke detectors in his house. Come the finale, he passes out drunk while burning Allison's possessions in the living room, and dies in the fire, with the smoke detectors not being able to rouse him or alert the fire department until it is too late.
    • In "Live Free or Die", after the escape room incident, Allison points out that if she isn't around, Kevin would likely kill himself. Come the final episode, Kevin does just that after Allison tells him she wants a divorce and leaves him for good.
  • Frame-Up:
    • By the end of the "New Patty", Allison's plan changes from poisoning Kevin with oxycodone to framing him as the town's drug dealer.
    • This is part of Tammy's Dark and Troubled Past. She framed a (guilty) drug dealer by planting evidence that he didn't leave, and everyone in the department found out about it. Her partner told her to.
  • 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 "New Patty", 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.
    • In the finale, Sam and Patty acknowledge that they have truly become friends in Allison's absence.
  • 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 of it all the while.
    • Patty has this with Allison (friend) and Tammy (lover). Tammy is not at all a fan of Allison and the feeling is mutual. Played for Drama, as this ends up being a serious strain on Patty's relationships with both.
  • 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 "Live Free or Die" as an alternative to Neil's get-rich-quick schemes: a "get-wealthy-fast idea."
  • Godzilla Threshold: In order to get Tammy off her back, Allison tricks Kevin into going after her by saying she's investigating a blackout he accidentally caused, knowing that if someone is against Kevin in any way, he will find a way to ruin her life.
  • 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".
  • Green-Eyed Monster: The main reason why Tammy does not like Allison.
  • 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.
  • Heel Realization: When contemplating whether she should go through with ruining Tammy's career, the sitcom filter stays on Allison for a long moment after Kevin leaves the room. It disappears when she realizes she can't do it and tries to make things right.
  • 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. However, they're also a deconstruction, as Kevin clearly does not value Neil as a friend as much as the reverse holds true and is a Toxic Friend Influence on him to boot.
    • The true example ends up being Allison and Patty as they become friends and partners in crime over the course of the series. Allison says they're so close, that she sometimes can't even remember which of them did what, and that any horrible thing they do is okay because they do it for each other. Patty later admits Allison is her "favorite person." Played with, as Patty turns out to be queer (though it's never clarified whether she's a lesbian or bisexual), and some of their interactions take on a romantic undertone, with both season finales ending with them Holding Hands and the Grand Finale has them promising to stick together no matter what.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In the finale, Kevin passes out drunk after starting a trash can fire in his living room, burning his house down with him inside.
  • 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.
    • The second season also ends with them holding hands, this time on what remains of the McRoberts’ porch, as they agree to die alone together.
  • Idiot Houdini: Deconstructed with Kevin. His dangerously impulsive behavior and total disregard for consequences don't seem to have particularly negatively affected him, but they've devastated the lives of those around him. The fact those consequences never land on him has only stoked the growing hatred his wife and rest of his social circle have for him.
  • 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: "Broken" 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 "New Tricks" 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.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Tammy flat-out admitting to disliking Allison might have been needlessly harsh, but to Tammy's credit, she's not entirely wrong about Allison always being around Patty and expecting too much from her.
  • 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 selfishness 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 was a known drug dealer who 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". Sure enough, once Allison is gone, it takes Kevin no time to pick up a new, attractive girlfriend, who hadn't yet caught on to his toxicity.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Almost literally in "New Tricks". One of Kevin's hare-brained schemes to get revenge on the neighbors involves them getting a dog, who Allison bonds with. 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 season 1 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.
  • Killer Finale: Kevin dies in a house fire he set in the final episode.
  • Laugh Track: Played with. The sitcom portions feature a laugh track, while the drama scenes do not. The laughter is generally very canned, with the “audience” being generally supportive of Kevin’s antics and misogyny. This makes the finale especially jarring, as when Allison stands up to Kevin, irregular gasps and cheers can be heard throughout the audience, and by the end of her "The Reason You Suck" Speech, the audience has switched sides and abandoned Kevin entirely.
  • 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 pet because Kevin doesn't want anything "cuter than him" in the house. Not only that but it's also shown how Kevin's harebrained antics actively prevent Allison from doing anything for herself, as he needs constant supervision and intervention to prevent his zany schemes from going off the rails, leaving very little time for her to have anything resembling a social life outside of her home. This leads Allison to be incredibly lonely and isolated. Allison is so desperate for any form of friendship that one somewhat kind conversation with Patty makes her think they've formed a connection, 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).
  • Living Emotional Crutch:
    • Patty is one for her brother Neil (who's older than her) and for Allison. Allison herself also serves as one for Patty, even when Patty gets exasperated with her attempts to escape Kevin.
    • In Season 2, Allison becomes this to Diane by default after being confided that her husband has been cheating on her for years. Although Allison does feel bad for her aunt, she is not above using Diane's grief for her own selfish purposes.
  • Lonely Together: Despite Patty's initial denial, she and Allison are bonded by the fact that they are both deeply lonely, unhappy individuals who have no real connections in their own lives. Their growing friendship provides them both with the support and companionship they've been missing. In the finale, they sit on the porch of Allison's destroyed house and make a promise to "die alone together," and hold hands.
  • Lousy Lovers Are Losers: Given Kevin's extreme egomania and general selfishness, it's not surprising that sex with him is depicted as an awful experience. In the pilot, Kevin's upset because his boss invited himself over to Kevin's "rager", and then 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.
  • Manchild:
    • 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 first season finale, he throws a childish tantrum when Kevin's making a (minor) attempt to grow up by running for political office which leaves him too busy to play hide-and-seek. Even when he overhears Allison tried to have Kevin killed, his main thought is to try and get back in Kevin's good graces rather than be shocked at what has transpired. He does start growing out of this as the second season progresses.
  • Mega Meal Challenge: During the sitcom portion of "The Grand Victorian", 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.
  • Mirthless Laughter: This is literally all Kevin can do when he catches his best friend Neil making out with his aunt-in-law Diane.
  • 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.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Patty is hit with this in "Live Free or Die" after Allison bitterly calls her out on ignoring the destructive consequences of Kevin's antics just because they "seemed harmless". Patty is horrified when she realizes how her behavior with Kevin's actions led to her mistreating Allison in the process, driving her to genuinely apologize.
    • Sam has one in "The Unreliable Narrator" when Kevin starts trying to "save" his marriage by teaching him how to be a "good" husband. Sam starts to realize just how much like Kevin he has been acting, both to Jenn and to Allison. Thereafter, he makes a legitimate effort to start changing his ways.
  • 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. 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.
    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.
  • 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."
  • Older and Wiser: Pete isn't that much better than his son Kevin overall, but definitely has him beat in the common sense department.
  • 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."
    • There are a few interesting quirks like this throughout the show. For most of Season 1, Neil continues to occupy the sitcom reality even when he's not with Kevin, an indicator of how much influence Kevin has over him. Allison's abusive mother, during her brief scene in a flashback, also generates her own sitcom filter. And then, when Kevin tries to make Allison frame Tammy for corruption, she's still in the sitcom style after he leaves until she refuses. And as Kevin's friends turn on him more and more in Season 2, the lighting for the sitcom gets more muted and washed out while Allison's scenes get brighter and more colorful as she gains more freedom.
  • 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:
    • The show 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 "New Patty", while she may appear unfazed during Kevin's narrative, the single-camera segment shows this as a 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 "Living the Dream" 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 beer 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.
    • Repeated in the series finale where Kevin, upon being forced out of his sitcom world after Allison finally stands up to him, threatens to "fucking destroy [her]" (and calls Neil a "fucking idiot" to boot).
  • Pyromaniac: Neil. Kevin and Patty always make sure that he can't get anywhere near fireworks. Quite possibly an Informed Flaw given that we don't actually see him being a pyromaniac, whereas Kevin displays a penchant for arson in Season 2 that definitely qualifies him as one of these.
  • "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.
  • Satellite Character:
    • Pete, to Kevin. He only appears in the sitcom scenes, and thus never appears in a scene without Kevin. Even after he successfully exits Kevin's life in the series finale, we never get to see him in the "real world", the only major character for whom this is the case.
    • Neil seems to be this at first, but he is broken out of the sitcom filter in the first season finale, and in the second season, he has his own independent storylines.
  • 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!
    Pete: Worse!
    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.
  • Simple Solution Won't Work: The obvious solution to Allison's problems - divorce Kevin - won't work because he's blown all of their savings on his childish whims, her only remaining family is even worse than he is, and she has no social circle who could support her through such a transition.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: One-sided. Kevin hates his unseen neighbors because they like soccer.
  • Slapstick: 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 neighbors are revealed to be Manchester United fans. Naturally, this becomes part of the feud, with Kevin (who thinks they stole his Brad Belichick 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).
  • Springtime for Hitler: Zigzagged; Allison creates an obnoxious campaign ad for Kevin in the hopes it ends his political ambitions. While the ad does put a halt to his political career, it also goes viral and gives Kevin his 15 minutes of fame.
  • Status Quo Is God:
    • Like every other sitcom convention, this gets a dark spin; Kevin is preventing any positive change from occurring and sticking in his and Allison's life so that he can continue to live as he prefers in their Hated Hometown.
    • Averted as part of a Surprisingly Realistic Outcome with regards to Kevin and Allison's savings account. Some years before the start of the series, Kevin had blown their savings on a sports memorabilia scam as part of a get-rich-quick scheme. It wasn't something that just got quickly fixed "at the end of the episode" (so to say) and he kept Allison in the dark about it, with her only finding out when Patty tells her. This discovery is The Last Straw for Allison, driving her to want to find a way to get out of her horrible marriage.
  • 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. Everything is initially Played for Laughs with Allison being the Butt-Monkey of the show, but once she leaves the living room, we see her much more troubled perspective where the sitcom is more tied into how Kevin sees the world around him but the reality of things is (literally) dramatically different.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: The show is all about how Allison is considering becoming one, since her plan is to kill off her horrible, psycho husband.
  • Take That!:
    • As the title indicates, this whole show is a big middle finger to the Kevin James-led series Kevin Can Wait. To be more specific, this is in regards to how that show infamously killed off the titular Kevin's wife Donna (played by Erinn Hayes) at the start of the second season and replaced her with a character named Vanessa (played by James' The King of Queens costar Leah Remini) in a desperate attempt to improve ratings (which ended up being All for Nothing as the show was canceled after that season anyway). That much-maligned move was cited by this show's creators to be the jumping-off point for this story. This also feeds into the plot of this show's second season: Allison concludes that the only real way to get away from Kevin and the problems she's accrued is by faking her own death, which she decides to do at the end of "The Problem" by making it look like she went missing after going on a hike. And to further the sense of irony, the following episode and Grand Finale of the series, "Allison's House" has Kevin quickly going On the Rebound with a new girlfriend who's played by Hayes.
    • Allison gets donut holes from Dunkin Donuts... and throws several of them out in the trash before spitting out a partially chewed-up one into 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" in "New Patty".
  • 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.
  • Trash the Set: Kevin accidentally burns down his house in a drunken fit in the final episode.
  • Trumplica: Given the MAGA-like theme of his campaign to get elected to the city council, Kevin evidently wants to be a small-town version of this.
  • 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.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Kevin in the finale, after Allison tells him she wants a divorce, forcing him out of the sitcom.
  • 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.
    • The flashbacks in "Ghost" feature Allison's mom who is filmed in a sitcom style. It instantly reveals and explains many of Allison's issues prior to meeting Kevin and why she may have gravitated towards him in the first place.
    • In the series finale, after even the sitcom audience seems to have turned on him, Kevin is shown in the single-camera format.
  • 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.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: "Ghost" includes multiple flashbacks to the day of Allison's father's funeral, which was also the day she first met Patty and Kevin.
  • 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.

 
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Classic Sitcom Marriage

The trailer introduces Allison and Kevin's marriage with bright, sitcom-esque colors and laugh tracks before switching to a darker framing to emphasize that she is deeply unhappy.

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