26 November 2022

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.

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