F is for not quite Feeling it
What is there to say about F is for Family, the new animated Netflix original comedy created by Bill Burr? That’s a hard question. The year is 1973. Baggage handler Frank Murphy is a typical 70’s dad. Grumpy, insensitive but loves his family more than he can emotionally express. His wife, Sue, is a typical 70’s housewife. Unfulfilled by just ‘being a housewife’. And the kids? Well they’re just kids, rebelling, getting in trouble and growing up in the 70’s. The whole thing basically reeks of ‘this is a 70’s family reboot, no one has done this in while.’ But I’ve watched That ‘70s Show and I remember Married with Children and F is for Family is a little bit different.
There is swearing in abundance, depressing society undertones and definitely no warming resolutions. There is a kid, Kenny, who walks around with a full diaper and what I can only imagine is rickets. As well as an ongoing joke about a holocaust survivor being a Nazi just because he’s German. But as the trailer points out, this was a different time. ‘Men were men’ and there would never be such a thing as a woman astronaut. There was an air of what we would now consider as ignorance. So a reboot of the 70’s family to show how far we’ve come and how far we have yet to go actually seems astoundingly appropriate.
The basic formula of each episode is the same, as you would expect from the standard family conundrums, but with a deeper moral undertone and aptitude. What I took from F is for Family is that they were trying to balance comedy with something darker, something like BoJack Horseman. The show however comes across as flat, nowhere near as punchy as the one-liners Frank blurts out. I have a great appreciation for the creative endeavors Bill Burr has gone through but my interest was as flat as the show itself. There is definitely something in there, tweaked scenarios, imaginative animation stints, but I felt it needed some more brain sugar.
I rated it 5 stars on Netflix, but only because I thought I might get suggestions for something similar but hopefully nothing exactly the same. If you want an accurate feel of what the show is like watch the intro, which I could argue was my favorite part of every episode. I’m not trying to undermine the show, I just really liked the intro… There is some great dialogue and there are some incredibly funny moments, my favourite being when Frank sings along to ‘O Holy Night’, he means every note in his lungs but you can’t help but laugh. F is for Family only has 6 episodes and if you like that sort of flat King of the Hill tone and were born in the 70’s you may have found your spirit animal in this animated show. For everyone else there needs to be some tweaking if there is to be a second season as at the moment F stands for too many things other than family.