Is this TV’s most toxic stereotype?

There are anomalies and glimmers of progress on screen. Black-ish, which has been renewed for its eighth season, offers a sharper twist on the sitcom family. The wife and mother is a doctor. For once the husband, an advertising executive, is not a fool. He is not as level-headed as his wife, but he is willing to learn and has a profound sense of social responsibility. 

Despite these glimmers of hope, there have been enough roadblocks and reversals in women’s real-life progress to keep the retro housewife image alive. In Kevin Can…, Allison’s complaint about her financial dependency, for example, becomes especially resonant in light of the disproportionate way the pandemic has affected women. Still the family’s primary caregivers, women in the US became unemployed in greater numbers than men, and are projected to have a slower road to returning to employment. Sitcom wives do reflect one reality after all: sexism is even more deeply entrenched in the culture than it sometimes seems.

Kevin Can F*** Himself is streaming now AMC+ and premieres on television on AMC on 20 June in the US.

Love film and TV? Join BBC Culture Film and TV Club on Facebook, a community for cinephiles all over the world.

If you would like to comment on this story or anything else you have seen on BBC Culture, head over to our Facebook page or message us on Twitter.

And if you liked this story, sign up for the weekly features newsletter, called The Essential List. A handpicked selection of stories from BBC Future, Culture, Worklife and Travel, delivered to your inbox every Friday.


Read on

Please enter CoinGecko Free Api Key to get this plugin works.