Netflix has been coming out with some pretty stellar original series lately. So when I got wind this new animated sitcom, I was pretty excited to watch it.
It was cool to see that it was a throwback to the 70’s. I wasn’t around in that era, but I love nostalgia pieces and appreciate the feel this show was trying to bring. I also saw it was written by Bill Burr. Until today, I didn’t really know much of this man. So keep in mind that this review is coming from someone who has never seen the creator’s stand up comedy.
The show started out with this sort of “King of the Hill” look, which got my hopes up because KOTH is one of the best animated series. It’s not meant to be straight out hilarious but subtly so. It’s clever and there are deeper meanings, family moments, and lessons to learn. I was pretty stoked to see an updated version of this classic.
This was not anything close.
The opening scene was uninteresting, but I held out hoping it would get better. The Murphy family is sitting at the dinner table. Frank, the balding, beer bellied father is our main character. He seems like a decent father and husband. Then the phone rings. All of a sudden, Frank turns from this not very interesting family man into an angry, swearing miserable guy, bitching about how salesmen always call when he’s trying to have dinner with his family. Sure enough, he answers the phone and just swears out the guy on the other end. I feel like they were trying to do a surprise 180 to show you Frank’s character, which is always complaining, unhappy and yelling. This goes on for pretty much the entire episode. There is nothing slightly endearing about this character. The writers give you nothing to help you like him even a little bit, there is no reason to root for him.
I can definitely appreciate that he is just an asshole, but other than that trait there is absolutely no depth to Frank Murphy. He hates his successful, handsome (and very friendly) neighbor, which is a lazy trope in this situation because we already know he’s a selfish jerk. He drinks beer with his not very interesting or dynamic buddies, gets really angry and every other word out of his mouth is fuck. There are a lot of fucks in this episode. I felt like about half of the curses were useless, like they were just stuffed in places they didn’t really fit so the show would be more edgy or something.
I have a lot to say about Frank in this review because he’s kind of the only character with any sort of personality, though one that’s not even really deep or developed. The rest of the characters are forgettable and seem to exist solely to create situations for him get pissed about. His daughter is a typical little kid, his younger son messes shit up by accident and his teenage son is just a little horny punk who hates him. Frank’s wife is just there. She’s just there to be a woman. It would have been cool to see her give him more sass. The sass she did kind of give him felt like she didn’t even know she was doing it.
The story was simple, and it was a really decent idea for a first episode. The writing and execution could have been much better. It had all the correct parts but was missing that clever spark. Like it was copied from a floor plan for any basic TV episode and not really spiced up. F is for Family is not a terrible TV show, and I’m not trying to rip on it. Some people will really like this show. Especially those with a crude, blunt sense of humor, and probably people who are familiar with and appreciate Bill Burr’s standup. But for someone who also enjoys crude and blunt humor, I didn’t really laugh or even crack a smile. I felt like it was really missing cleverness and originality, like it had been made just for the sake of being made.
The one thing that I really did appreciate about this show was the title sequence. The title song is “Come and Get Your Love” by Redbone and opens with a young Frank graduating and his whole life ahead of him. He flies into the air free and ready to start living when he suddenly bumps into a draft alert. His clothes morph into an army uniform. Then he passes other things like a wedding cake and a baby bottle. Up ahead he sees a massive cloud of mundane, everyday things like lawnmowers and radios and clocks, which smack into him as he flies through. He lands like a missile into the house and life he lives in now, looking less than happy as he sits in his chair with a beer, his family surrounding him. It was a super creative and fun way to express how life flies by.
F is for Family, while not an astounding, amazing show, is a fun little watch. But your first episode is supposed to hook people and make them want to see more. I don’t really care to watch any more at all, but I plan on giving the rest of the season a try to see if it grows a little.