After six seasons playing daffy disgraced heiress Alexis Rose, Schitt’s Creek standout Annie Murphy is shaking off the glam and getting gritty in the dramedy Kevin Can F**k Himself, about a sitcom wife and her secret off-camera world. “It was really important to me that after doing Alexis for so long, I wanted to prove even just to myself that I could do something else,” says Murphy, recalling her iconic role.
When her run on the charming Pop TV favorite culminated with a historic Emmy sweep of all seven comedy categories last September, Murphy admits that most of her post-Creek offers were “very Alexis” in tone, which, given the circumstances, might have made her typecasting alarm go off. “I was worried for a minute there, but then I got lucky because this role came along, and it couldn’t be more different.”
No doubt: In Kevin Can F**k Himself, created by Valerie Armstrong (Lodge 49), Murphy is Allison McRoberts, the frazzled, frumpy Massachusetts housewife on a very traditional sitcom. It comes complete with Allison’s boorish, beer pong–playing man-child husband Kevin (Eric Petersen, above, with Murphy), Kevin’s crusty and inappropriately joking dad (Brian Howe), a set of neighbors (Alex Bonifer and Mary Hollis Inboden) who are always over at the house and a bombastic laugh track.
But when-ever Allison leaves the room in a sitcom scene, the camera follows along to view her darker world outside the house — away from Kevin’s crazy antics — giving us glimpses of her frustrations and unfulfilled dreams. This makes the series a startling mix of boisterous laughs and edgier drama.
Ironically, for someone who is best known for cracking us up, Murphy has never starred in a multicamera Everybody Loves Raymond-style comedy. “I really got to [put myself] in the shoes of many TV sitcom wives before me,” says the actress of the show-within-the-show that subjects poor Allison to the buffoonery of her hubby. “It’s so ridiculous and over the top. [There was] a day where my job was literally just to come into work and have Eric be hilarious while he spit steak on me over and over and over.” Yeah, that’s not even a little Alexis.
Kevin Can F**k Himself, Series Premiere, Sunday, June 20, 9/8c, AMC; available June 13 on AMC+