The sit­com wife gets her due

National Post (National Edition) - - THECHATTER - SO­NIA RAO

It’s been a lit­tle over a year since Kevin Can Wait killed off Erinn Hayes’s char­ac­ter af­ter just one sea­son, a very weird move, given that she played a lead char­ac­ter — Donna Gable, Kevin’s wife of 20 years. To add fuel to the fire burn­ing in­side up­set view­ers’ hearts, the CBS sit­com re­placed Hayes with Leah Rem­ini, Kevin James’s for­mer co-star from King of Queens. Rat­ings took a dip, and the net­work even­tu­ally axed the show in May.

Donna, while a high-pro­file case, wasn’t the only mis­treated wife in sit­com his­tory, and this hasn’t gone un­no­ticed. AMC Net­works an­nounced Fri­day that it has a project in devel­op­ment called Kevin Can F*** Him­self, from cre­ator Va­lerie Arm­strong and ex­ec­u­tive pro­duc­ers Rashida Jones and Will McCor­mack.

The se­ries aims to ex­pose “the se­cret life of a woman we all grew up watch­ing: the sit­com wife,” the net­work said in a state­ment. “A beauty paired with a less at­trac­tive, dis­mis­sive, cave­man-like hus­band who gets to be a jerk be­cause she’s a nag and he’s ‘funny.’’’ The show aims to illuminate said se­cret life by switch­ing be­tween ”sin­gle-cam­era re­al­ism and multi-cam­era za­ni­ness.”

Hayes even tweeted about it: “Rashida Jones and Will McCor­mack are de­vel­op­ing a com­edy at AMC ti­tled Kevin Can F*** Him­self.”

This project is the sec­ond buzzed about this week that di­rectly chal­lenges long-es­tab­lished Hol­ly­wood tropes. The first? Isn’t It Ro­man­tic, an up­com­ing movie that cen­tres on a cyn­i­cal woman (Rebel Wil­son) who faces her worst night­mare when she gets trapped in a cheesy ro­man­tic com­edy. (Yes, the same movie Wil­son was pro­mot­ing when she in­cor­rectly claimed to be the “first-ever plus-sized girl” to lead a rom-com.)

AMC opened a writ­ers’ room for the sit­com – as well as work­place drama “Rainy Day Peo­ple” – un­der its “scriptto-se­ries” devel­op­ment model, used for projects with promis­ing pi­lot scripts.

“Un­der the ap­proach, AMC fore­goes the tra­di­tional pi­lot process and in­stead opens writ­ers’ rooms to de­velop scripts for sev­eral episodes and a de­tailed look at a po­ten­tial first sea­son be­fore de­cid­ing whether to move to a straight-to-se­ries or­der,” Dead­line re­ported last year.

So while there’s no guar­an­tee “Kevin Can F*** Him­self ” will make it to the fin­ish line, AMC pro­gram­ming pres­i­dent David Mad­den did note that the net­work has had “great ex­pe­ri­ences” with the creative team be­hind it. Things are look­ing up. We (Kevin) Can’t Wait!

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