F is For Family is one of those animated shows that can be both ridiculous and truthful. Set in the 1970s, the Murphy family are one of more the popular group of original characters on Netflix. In the new season of the series, the cartoon characters continue to deepen as the show keeps the laughs coming.
From creators Mike Price and comedian Bill Burr, Burr voices Frank Murphy, a father and airline employee with an anger problem. There’s a lot of love in Frank, too, but he’s a hotheaded ‘70s dad. Most of the time, Frank’s behavior is played for laughs, but in season four, Price and Burr dig more into the hurtfulness of it. In the latest season, Frank and Sue Murphy (Laura Dern) are expecting another child; Kevin Murphy (Justin Long) has a new girlfriend and is making music for his neighbor, Vic (Sam Rockwell); and Maureen (Debi Derryberry) and Bill (Haley Reinhart) keep trying to stay out of trouble.
A Bad Dad
Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad) is Big Bill Murphy in season four. Bill Murphy Sr. is an even worse father than Frank Murphy, who at least tries to do better and occasionally learns. In season four, we see where Frank Murphy got his anger — his father. Big Bill Murphy drops in on his son, playing the role of the friendly ‘ol dad and grandfather. Bill Sr. either ignores the past or denies it, causing Frank great pain. The father-son storylines carry heavy weight and truth, as well as levity, this season.
A More Empathetic Frank Murphy
Frank Murphy is at his most compelling and empathetic in season four of the series. No longer is he the guy bullying or scaring his kids. This time, Frank Murphy is the scared kid. There’s genuinely painful moments in season four of F is For Family, watching Murphy struggling with his father and the past.
Whenever Frank opens up about a painful memory and his dad says, “Oh, I never did that,” many children of abusive parents will recognize that line and that pain. Again, the Netflix series is more often than not silly, but the drama can sting. After a whole lot of silliness, F is For Family surprises us with real moments. The show prioritizes the laughs, but the show is arguably at its best when it’s at its most dramatic. When we can recognize ourselves in the family and their serious household drama.
The Good Son
Even Kevin Murphy’s arc this season is his most emotional. There’s a kid who can never feel comfortable with love and happiness. For the first time, Kevin meets somebody, Alice, who sees good in him. It makes him completely uncomfortable and insecure. He can’t believe it. Just like his dad, Kevin doesn’t really know how to be happy, mostly because of his dad too. F is For Family can get real, and when it does, it’s believable. There’s real pain in these cartoon characters, and the more of it we see, strangely the better F is for Family gets.
F is for Family Season Four Overview
A part of the success of F is for Family: everyone has their own problems and much of it rings true. Again, it’s a very silly and ridiculous show, but it has more to say than just jokes. Anybody with a dad like Frank Murphy or worse will see more in F is for Family than the solid gags, clever lines, and colorful and charming animation. The jokes are funnier this time around, too, but it’s F is for Family’s continued growth and ongoing drama that makes it one of the better animated shows out there today.