Random Netflix TV Night: F is for Family, seasons 1+2

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When F is for Family was first added to Netflix I immediately sat down to give it a watch. It was vulgar, emotional, and real, so I was excited to see a second season show up on recently.

This time around, we start as Frank has been unemployed for three weeks and the family has to cope with depression, not enough money, and being at each other’s throats. Check out my full review below!

Similar to Bojack Horseman it has a refreshingly honest portrayal of depression and disappointment that audiences can connect with, without making the entire show too dark. The character makeup is also really similar to Family Guy focusing on a family and their neighbours in the main roles.

The first season provided occasional glimpses into childhood ignorance in ways that were sometimes shocking and incredibly powerful, and other times innocent and jovial. In the first season, one of their neighbours is an old German Jewish man who survived concentration camps but the children are terrified of him, assuming he’s a Nazi who got a tattoo of the number of people he killed on his arm. Second season has a kid wearing a KKK-style hood saying he’s dressed like his dad for his “ghost meetings.” Scenes like that are shocking but they also provide a realness that is missing on many shows with children. They’re not all-knowing. Kids hear snippets of conversation or see out-of-context moments of life and draw massive conclusions from them. They don’t constantly spout hilarious one-liners or insightful parables, and that makes this show feel all the more lifelike.

This season promises to show us more of working-class disappointment. It’s baby boomers who have grown up to raise their own children while mirroring current attitudes about previous generations having it better. A big draw of this series is nostalgia. It’s getting your first colour TV, childhood paper routes, struggling to find work, and fighting to reach the American Dream. F is for Family is set in 1974 and although I grew up a couple decades later, the ideas this season draws on still hit home.

With ten episodes this season compared to the six from 2015, we get a lot more time to dig into this family and their neighbours. Sam Rockwell as the popular radio host/neighbour Vic is one of the highlights this season. He has similarities to the Family Guy Quagmire character in his cavalier, womanising ways – but he’s successful and loveable, in a weird way. Rockwell is the perfect voice actor for this role. He can play the chill, stoner-bro so effortlessly, but his occasional ranting freakouts provide an added level of interest to his character. Just remember: “see a volcano, drink a volcano, be a volcano.”

It’s not a show for the faint of heart. The father is misogynistic, yells at everybody, and swears. A lot. There are jokes about teenage masturbation, drugs, and sex, but also endearing moments and overwhelming support within the family. You can find F is for Family on Netflix.

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