“F is for Family” great animated series for adults

F is For Family is a 2015 original Netflix series that follows a family and their lives over the course of about a year in the early 70s. At first glance, the show seems like yet another dumb family sitcom following the recipe of Family Guy with only one prompt to go off that makes it different. However upon a closer glance, the show is so much more than a conceptual ripoff. It delves into surprisingly deep territory, digging into the relationships each family member has with each other, explores family trauma, marital issues, and yes, explaining the bird and the bees to your children.
The show follows the Murphy family in the early-to-mid 1970s, starting somewhere around 1973 or ‘74, and ending a little over a year after. The family includes a prideful dad, Frank Murphy (Bill Burr), a loving wife, Sue Murphy (Laura Dern), an angsty accident-child teenager, Kevin Murphy (Justin Long), a terrified younger brother, Bill Murphy (Haley Reinhart), and the intelligent youngest sister, Maureen Murphy (Deby Derryberry). The story kicks off near Halloween, and follows the Murphy family as they start dealing with hardships that challenge the family in ways that are usually not seen in your regular American family sitcom. There are times throughout the show where you genuinely feel like nothing can remain the same after this, and usually, it doesn’t.
Trust me when I tell you that when this show gets serious, it gets serious. Of course naturally when a new adult animated show comes out, it will inevitably be compared to the show that everyone uses as one of the best iterations of adult animated shows, BoJack Horseman. Look, I don’t think it’s fair comparing this show to BoJack Horseman, not because this show would fall flat in the shadow of BoJack (that’s a given), but rather because it’s different. BoJack is set in modern times, and makes a point of focusing mostly on the mental and internal struggles of individuals, while F is For Family, being set in a time period when mental health wasn’t that delved into, tends to focus much more into the relationship that a family has. How a father can snap at his wife but still deep down know he loves her, and how children may be troubled because they understand much more than you’d think. It focuses on the intrapersonal relationship each family member has with each other, and it doesn’t attempt to color it as something that is objectively bad. Don’t get me wrong, some of the behaviors shown in this show are by definition of the word, toxic, but the show goes out of its way to acknowledge this, and shows the journey that a family who truly loves each other goes through in order to get better. Of course the show also delves into other plots that tend to have something to do with social issues of the time, and for the most part I think they were done alright.
However the show wouldn’t be half as good as it is if it didn’t have an amazing cast, and let me tell you, I absolutely love them. Well, for the most part. I like pretty much most of the character’s voices, and I think they are incredible at their performances with maybe one or two lines in the series that were a bit awkward, but there is one character whose voice I hate with a passion, and it makes me mad that the show spends so much time with him. Frank’s boss, Bob Pogo, played by David Koechner is a horrible character. He’s supposed to be this stereotype of a very fat man in the first season and goes through a couple of transformations throughout the seasons, but his voice. His god forsaken voice. It makes me so mad hearing his raspy voice and his stupid breath. I hate him so much. So much. I despise him. Just no. Evil, vile man. No offense to David Koechner, he was given an assignment and did his best, but the interpretation the show writers wanted, it doesn’t do it for me, David. At least he has the tiniest semblance of character development near the end of the last season which makes up for the voice ever so slightly. But this is the only place where the show just does not work for me.
F is For Family just released its final season to Netflix last month, and as far as it goes for finales, I think it’s a great finale. The show wraps up most of its plot points throughout the last episode but it leaves the last 10 minutes of the show to focus on debatably the main character, Frank Murphy. I can’t say too much stuff about the last episode without having to spoil the entirety of the show, so let me just say that the way the show ends with Frank, it feels satisfactory, and yet, it doesn’t? It leaves a lot of room for interpretation, like jeez. The show leaves us with a very tense scene that is a parallel of the first episode, and the family all expects him to react a certain way to it, but Frank simply, once and for all, takes a step to change for the better, andhe runs with it. And then the show just ends. Just like that. No guarantee that things will get better, just an affirmation that no matter what happens, they are all trying to get better for each other. And if that isn’t poetically beautiful for you, I don’t know what is. The show purposefully leaves the question of Frank Murphy open ended so that you can interpret the ending how you want to. And it may not be satisfactory to some people but to me, it was one of the best show finales in the recent history of animation. I don’t think even BoJack was able to accomplish this to the level that this show did for me. It felt so hopeful yet so hopeless. It was genuinely terrifying how much it hit the mark.
F is For Family is one of the best recent adult animated T.V. shows, and it shows. It is anything but a Family Guy parody, but it’s still nowhere near the marks of shows like BoJack Horseman. The voice actors deserve praise, and the 70s vibe is incredible, and the show is relentless when talking about family relationships. 9/10, give everyone but Bob Pogo a cookie.