Sunday, December 2, 2018

REVIEW: 'F Is For Family' - The War Between Sue and Chet Intensifies at the Fourth of July Block Party in 'Punch Drunk'

Netflix's F Is For Family - Episode 3.06 "Punch Drunk"

Frank can't wait to party with his new best bud on the Fourth of July, but rising tensions between Chet and Sue set off the wrong kind of fireworks.

In 2018, it makes no sense to provide full-length reviews of each individual episode for shows released all at once on the streaming services. Sure, there are some shows out there that value the power of the episode. They do make a point in differentiating each episode to ensure it's not just one big slog to the finish. However, the ability to watch the entire season at one's own viewing pace has largely changed the way we consume and discuss these shows. So, some brief summary thoughts are really all that's actually necessary with these seasons. As such, here are my latest thoughts on the next episode of Netflix's F Is For Family.

"Punch Drunk" was written by Joe Heslinga and directed by Sylvain Lavoie

This season continues to delve into some powerful themes about gender and society's expectations. It's so easy to be on Sue's side when it comes to Chet. She sees him as an abusive monster who treats Nguyen-Nguyen as his slave. He's so demeaning to all women. She can plainly see that and immediately lashes out against him in the hopes that everyone can see it too. Meanwhile, Frank is ignorant to the fact because he wants to believe in the complete heroism of Chet. Frank has always been a problematic father and husband. The show isn't shy about that. He can be a lot to handle at times. And yet, he is always supportive of his family even when they are disrupting his plans for the best day of the year. He simply wants to have a good time during the Fourth of July block party. It's a day full of traditions that he loves. Moreover, all of his children aren't causing him any stress. In fact, their stories are mostly just laying the groundwork for the future - with Kevin plagued with self-doubt upon realizing that his former band is so much better without him, Bill getting dumped by Bridget because he can't fight for her, and Maureen teaming up with Philip in order to earn her parents' love back. All of those stories are absolutely important. But it's much more vital and compelling to watch the battles happening amongst the adults. Frank is so quick to forgive and excuse so much of Chet's behavior because he understands that he has done some horrible things as well. He believes that since no one has come to take the Murphy children away he can't be that bad of a person. If he can still be believed in society, then there is no reason why everyone shouldn't give Chet the benefit of the doubt. That has Frank being aware that he is a difficult person while also excusing all of his personal behavior as well. He wants to believe that he's not as bad as he comes across sometimes. He does everything out of love even though he complains and screams about it a lot. But here, the main story proves how men are allowed countless times to be horrible and fail while women are treated horribly and take the blame for everything not going perfectly. The story understands just how manipulative and charming Chet can be. Sue wants the neighborhood to see him as a monster. He is able to turn the argument against her by making it seem like she's the one who is making a big deal out of nothing. He believes himself to be Nguyen-Nguyen's biggest supporter because he allows her culture to be a part of this patriotic celebration. Sue sees it as a man continuing to control a woman. She can see so much evidence that proves how he just expects his wife to wait on him all of the time. He's not doing any of the hard work. And yet, he gets the credit simply because he lights the grill alongside the other husbands in the neighborhood. So, Frank still sees him as the best. And yes, this competition does eventually get out of hand with both Sue and Chet raising their tempers and lashing out. However, there is a key difference as well. Sue is trying to reveal a monster amongst the neighborhood while Chet actually hurts a woman. He tries to blame Ginny for getting hit by the softball and Sue for ruining the game by making it into some big spectacle. But it should be keen to the audience that this is all problematic and will only create even more problems moving forward so long as Frank wants to remain neutral and be friends with everyone while excusing some terrible behavior.