After releasing the animated hit BoJack Horseman, it seemed like there was little else that could give it any competition on Netflix . I should’ve known it was only a matter of time before the company looked into making a contender in the form of comedian Bill Burr’s F is for Family. While the six episode season is filled with plenty of swears and angry rants that Burr is famous for, there’s also some well made stories about family values in the 70’s for those who give it a chance.
Produced by Peter Billingsley (yes, the star of A Christmas Story) and Vince Vaughn, the series focuses on the life and times of Frank Murphy (Bill Burr), a guy with some serious anger issues that’s an airport baggage handler by day and a disgruntled father any other time. His wife Sue (Laura Dern) tries to keep the family together as best she can, but she’s not without her problems that slowly reveal themselves over the course of the series. Of course no family is complete without their kids Kevin (Justin Long), Bill (Haley Reinhart), and Maureen (Debi Derryberry) who never cease to cause trouble as they work through their growing pains.
A good example of this is in the first episode where Frank wants to get a new TV to impress his neighbors, especially the overly cool ladies’ man Vic (Sam Rockwell) and have them over for the big boxing match on TV. The youngest son Bill is doing a science project on magnets and decides to try it on the new television, only to break it. The oldest son Kevin tells him to keep quiet about it as he knows Frank will go ballistic, which he does at the TV shop for selling him a “broken” set. The way the episode comes together in the end is pretty touching as Kevin doesn’t bail Bill out without consequences, and the whole debacle brings the family just a little closer.
To me, that’s the saving grace of the series, having the family learn lessons and values that sometimes remind me of the hit show The Wonder Years. If the show was all about Bill Burr cursing and yelling his way through everything, it would be a waste of time for most. As with BoJack, the situations the family gets into can be a wild ride, as the show doesn’t know if it wants to be a sitcom or a sad ride into depression which can be a little jarring for viewers.
F is for Family is a fun way to spend a sitting with Netflix, thanks to it’s short length and interesting stories of living life in the 70’s. Those who can work past the insane but sometimes funny rants of Bill Burr will find an enjoyable show that’s working through its growing pains, and will hopefully become a real contender to match the awesomeness of BoJack Horseman.