F Is for Family: "I'm sorry, I thought you were going to be happy tonight"
December 21, 2015 4:07 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Netflix brings us another great animated comedy, drenched in bitter nostalgia and and huge dose of Norman Lear.

Reviewed at Vox, Sepinwall, AV Club.

Personally I found it both hilarious and probably the most accurate portrayal I've ever seen of growing up in that era.
posted by General Malaise (5 comments total)
I haven't finished the season. In fact, only halfway through.
I already wish there were more.

I grew up at this time and in a different sort of millieu, but this is damn accurate in some big ways.
posted by Seamus at 9:47 AM on December 22, 2015

I've only just watched the first episode, so I'll withhold judgment, but one thought I couldn't get off my mind while it was playing: Aren't comedies supposed to make you laugh? Maybe it's as much a matter of positioning and marketing as anything else, but this show is pretty dark.

I did laugh at the two in-universe TV shows, especially the one about feminism ... that was pretty spot-on.
posted by jbickers at 1:09 PM on December 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

"Remember when we 'cleaned the kitchen'?"

Vic- "I remember you fucked the shit outta me."

I lost it for a good ten minutes.
posted by XhaustedProphet at 8:59 PM on December 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

My husband and I didn't get far with this one- about halfway through the second episode. Both of us are products of this era, and though this isn't representative of our parents, this kind of family dynamic was common enough that this felt way too real. Like, "oh shit, this is bringing up some really bad buried memories of the time I had a sleepover at my friend Diane's house with her scary drunk father" kind of thing. We didn't actually laugh at it so we turned it off.
posted by aabbbiee at 7:31 AM on December 29, 2015

I watched my way through this recently, and I thought it was a great dark comedy. The scene towards the end with Billy hiding under the bed... equal parts horrifying, mortifying, and hilarious.

To me the big theme of the show comes from the ridiculous Magnum PI slash Deathwish frame show, "A man's gotta do what a man does." Frank internalizes it, and also epitomizes it. Frank has a lot of preconceptions about what a man should do, and he really tries to do them, but things like class and opportunity (and reality) are constantly standing in his way. Frank's ideas about what it means to be a man, as failed and flawed as they typically are, are meted out on his family in equal measure. Sue and the kids have to deal with Frank's bad (but well meaning) ideas: that Sue should be a house slave, that Maureen should dress like a princess, that Billy is a 'pussy', and that Kevin is an irredeemable fuck-up. Frank's own ideas about this come in from a variety of sources, and given the spirit of the times (portrayed brilliantly by the minority interest panel shows helmed by a rich white man), and he sees them as natural. You can't really say that he's necessarily a bad person, but you can definitely say that he has bad ideas about how to be a father.

I liked it a lot, even if there wasn't a whole lot of laugh out loud moments for me. The overarching storyline was great, and Frank patching up Mohawk Mohican Airlines and still getting fired is wonderful. In a lot of ways this reminds me of a companion piece to Mad Men. Mad Men was a drama that was inherently darkly funny, and this is a dark comedy that's inherently serious (like the scene of Sue crying into her tupperware). Mad Men is about a millionaire, and this is about a guy who's just barely teetering on the precipice of poverty and the middle class. Both deal with the toxic masculinity that's handed down in a patriarchal society, and the fallout for the people who ostensibly benefit from that privilege (until, like Frank or Lane, they get on the wrong side of it), and the people who are yoked by it.

Anyway, I liked it a lot. I hope Netflix renews it.
posted by codacorolla at 4:56 PM on February 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

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