Kevin Can F**k Himself: Mary Hollis Inboden Talks Patty, Series Impact

Kevin Can F**k Himself has won over audiences, getting an announcement that they have the go-ahead for a second season on AMC. The unique multi-cam & single-camera mixed series tackles sitcoms, comedy, drama, and plenty of unique characters, one of which is Patty O'Connor, the next-door neighbor who becomes a major part of Allison's life. Taking some time to talk about the series and experiences with character work, Mary Hollis Inboden (Patty) explained what excited her about the premise and how she feels about the series' impact in the first of our two-part interview.

Kevin Can F**k Himself: A Chat With Mary Hollis Inboden On AMC Series
Mary Hollis Inboden as Patty – Kevin Can F*** Himself _ Season 1, Episode 8 – Photo Credit: Jojo Whilden/AMC

Bleeding Cool: Excited to talk to you about this show because I've been watching and reviewing it, and it's amazing.  I was wondering what first attracted you to the "Kevin Can F**k Himself" script when you read it?

Mary Hollis Inboden: This show's a disrupter. When I got to the third page and Allison walks through, I thought I was reading multi-cam. I'm lucky to get to audition for a lot of different genres that single cam. That's multi-cam, that's drama. That's comedy, and it's very exciting. Pilot season one, I'm looking for a job, and so I opened it up, not realizing how many pages it was. And it was written in italics and the title was kind of odd, but I also thought that could be a working title. As I went through it ok, so switch your gears into place for going and auditioning for a multi-camera.

Honestly, I rolled my eyes because so often in multi-cam, if I'm auditioning for the perceived best friend character, I'm going to have very little to do. And so I was kind of just went through the motions and read this script and on page three was shocked that the sitcom wife, who had very little to do with the multi-cam opening scene, walks through and we're in this dark and different world that is her reality. And she hates her husband. She hates this buffoon who gets all the laughs who is so "well-liked", who carries the bowling team on Thursday. I thought, this is a huge idea and I want to be a part of it. And I didn't at that point, I didn't care if I was playing the best friend. I wanted to be a fly on the wall when this thing was made because I thought, this is going to shake shit up. And how exciting is that that this woman gets a response to playing this character to being somebody who circles Kevin and has been setting up his jokes for years? She gives her response. I mean, the show was written out of rage in 2016, and I think that that's a female rage I should clarify. But it was written out of female rage in 2016, and I think that that comes through.

Kevin Can F**k Himself: A Chat With Mary Hollis Inboden On AMC Series
Mary Hollis Inboden as Patty – Kevin Can F*** Himself _ Season 1, Episode 6 – Photo Credit: Zach Dilgard/AMC

BC: Yeah, I can definitely see that when watching it. it's really interesting coming from that perspective and looking and examining that.

MHI: That character gets to find her bliss and her bliss is, I have a solution to this problem, and as extreme as it is, she's going to try to kill her husband, and I thought that was hilarious. Honestly, while we were never condoning spousal murder, it also is so relatable. I can't leave this toxic relationship, so I'll just end his life. I thought that that was pretty powerful stuff.

BC: I'm wondering what effect you think the series had on society & television because of these themes?

MHI: Oh gosh. I would hope that it would update the model of the sitcom we've been following, especially in a male, white male-led sitcom. We've been following a lot of cruel jokes and a lot of jokes at the expense of disenfranchised communities or women or the LGBTQ community. Kevin is in our show, a man, but I think the idea of Kevin is not a literal man, he is an idea of toxic masculinity. So he's so much more than just this, this figurehead, he is toxic masculinity run amok. He is a representation of misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, and racist thinking. He is dismissive of women, including his wife, and their point of view. He's a demagogue. I think that once we understand how to watch "Kevin Can F**k Himself," my hope that would be we get to dismantle a part of the television system that continues to think that these sort of buffoons are funny. The jokes need to be better, they need to be updated. People tune in every week and they gather a lot of information for these characters. So our messaging to be could be a little more helpful and it currently is.

BC: I love your character, Patty. Patty O'Connor is quite amazing and has such a unique personality, especially with the accent work it's great. It sounds just like family. I would have out there. Yeah. It sounds so classically New England.

MHI: Oh, thank you! We love hearing that because I don't know if you could tell I have a natural twang.

BC: How did you prepare for getting into Patty's personality and characteristics?

MHI: Patty's different from me and in a lot of ways. In her first episode, one of the most exciting things about playing Patty is that she's just like an onion. You just peel one layer away and you get sort of a new Patty, and then the next time you come at her, you're getting a new Patty. And I think that she gets to do that because of her newfound friendship with Allison. They finally, after 10 years of being in the same room together in this universe, had a conversation on the porch in the first episode where Patty shares a secret. And from there, I think they both realized that they're more powerful together. But in preparing for Patty, to answer your question, I make a joke all the time, that was very real for me, and that is that Patty is storing cash away for the day that Neil burns down their house. Nothing has ever gone right for Patty. She has had to keep her brother alive because of his antics and sort of rambunctious behavior her whole life. So there's never a moment to release any tension for Patty, and I started preparing for her by not smiling. It was as simple as that. This is a person who is so on guard and guarded because of her experience, because of her place, and in sort of Kevin's ecosystem. This is somebody who's got to be on guard, and that is very different for me, I feel like I'm pretty open and COVID was really hard for me because I want to hug everybody all the time, so Patty and I are different in that way.

You start playing with dated messages, 'cause Kevin Can F**k Himself is full of these big messages that costume and hair department help me out with so much. Like Patty wears all these clothes, she doesn't just wear one shirt, she wears two shirts and a jacket. You know, she's got like this sort of shroud, and that creates this sort of sense around her. Nobody can get close to her. Don't cross my bridge sort of thing. And then the hair is like armor, you know, it's dated, which goes along with the idea of these like dated tropes in multi-cam where I play like the bitchy sardonic neighbor. And you never get to know anything else, except she seemingly hates Allison and thinks the boys are rotten, but doesn't ever really speak up to that. She doesn't really like getting in the dirt rolling around the fight until she meets Allison and then you realize that Patty is so much more than meets the eye. She is this very vulnerable soul who has not fully come to terms with her sexuality and her own excitement and the things that really fill her up and her sort of attraction to women. These are things that can never be discussed in Kevin's universe because they would be made fun of. So, as Patty starts to gather more power, she really opens up and becomes the person that she really wants to be without as much fear as she's had to live with her whole life.

Make sure to come back tomorrow for Part 2 of our interview with AMC's Kevin Can F**k Himself star Mary Hollis Inboden.

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Brittney BenderAbout Brittney Bender

Lover of movies, TV, art, and the abstract in life! Horror is a main passion of mine, but I could say that for most media in my life. You'll find me writing recaps, reviews, TV news, "Top 5" content, and more.
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