Netflix UK TV review: F Is for Family Season 2
Mike Williams | On 22, Jun 2017
F is For Family’s sophomore season has made its way to Netflix just six short months after it debuted at the end of 2016, with a bigger, brasher, more blasphemous expansion to 10 episodes.
Season 1’s finale of the adult-themed animation, featuring the voices of Bill Burr, Laura Dern, and Justin Long, saw man-of-the-house Frank (Burr) lose his job at the airport on Christmas Eve, leaving us with a bit of sombre uncertainty. Here, we pick up in the New Year, where Frank has sunk into a deep depression and remains in a jobless scenario where he’s expected to provide for his family.
The show continues to address – in both a genuine sense and as a comedic poke – the rampant sexism that encumbered women in its early 1970s setting. Despite a barrage of typically sexist machismo, Sue (Dern) isn’t deterred from going to work herself and persisting with inventive ventures that could see the family’s fortunes transformed. In that respect, it empowers her and portrays those throwing around uncouth comments as cavemen morons.
What is new and in contrast to the first season is the way the show has burst out of its confined narrative and bravely explore further afield, both in terms of its locations and characters. Now we are granted much deeper access to those on the periphery, including eldest son Kevin’s (Long) teenage angst, as well as young brother Bill’s (Haley Reinhart) dealings with local bully Jimmy.
Overall, Season 2 feels more fractured, but in a more interesting way than the conformity of the first. Things might not be going smoothly for Frank, but we learn that everyone around him seems to be having a hard time – even extending as far as Sam Rockwell’s Vic who, in Season 1 at least, appeared to have it all. A more diverse collection of story threads make up the overarching narrative to Frank and Sue’s attempt to earn enough money to keep the family afloat. As desperate as their plight seems at times, we’re never quite convinced that anything particularly bad will happen. That’s because the woes of reality are masked by the whimsy of its comedy. Ranging from slapstick, to morally dubious, to outright sharp as a tack, the scripts are often polished and presented as both an entertaining fictional animated sitcom and a drama that’s relatable enough to be viewed as a stark bite of real life.
Increasing its episode count from six to 10 is a welcomed move – especially if you’re a fan of the show – but also a minor hindrance. Season 1 was bitey, quick to the punch, and very accessible. This bears plenty of similarities, such as picking up episodes here and there that only amount to just over 20 minutes, yet there’s a period mid-season where it becomes a bit sluggish and loses its way.
But, on the whole, F Is for Family is more of the same yet with far more inventiveness and expansion, in terms of where it goes and what it tries to do with its established dynamics. It’s not a series for everyone, especially those who hold the likes of King of the Hill, Family Guy, or The Simpsons dear. It’s similarities are easy (and even lazy) to make, but take the time to look a little closer and you shall see the reward of this original Netflix series, which is pleasantly enjoyable to binge through or dip into whenever you need a cynical laugh.
F Is for Family is available exclusively on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.