Dad Rage Fuels The Comedy Of 'F Is For Family' The animated Netflix series features an often-frustrated patriarch named Frank Murphy. Comic and co-creator Bill Burr says the show is inspired by his own childhood stories.

Dad Rage Fuels The Comedy Of 'F Is For Family'

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And let's turn now to a television tradition - the portrayal of the American family. Netflix is getting into it with the new animated comedy that premieres tomorrow "F Is For Family." The series is set in the 1970s and, as the title suggests, it is for adults. Think of an R-rated mashup of "All In The Family" and "The Simpsons." NPR's Elizabeth Blair has more.

ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: The patriarch in this family is Frank Murphy. He's got a wife, three kids and likes to think of himself as the king of his blue-collar cul-de-sac. We learn his back story in the opening credits.


BLAIR: It's a 45-second recap that begins with Frank throwing his high school graduation cap in the air. Frank dreamt of being a pilot, so the animators drew his body soaring, carefree, into the sky. Pretty quickly, the debris of life smacks him in the face - a draft notice for the Korean war.


REDBONE: (Singing) Come and get your love.

BLAIR: A baby bottle, wedding cake, electricity bills, kids' bikes - Frank ends up not a pilot but a manager at an airport baggage claim. "F Is For Family" is the brainchild of standup comedian Bill Burr.

BILL BURR: That whole part of his life happened quicker than he wanted to. But because of that, he had to give up his dream of being a pilot. And now he works at the airport so every day he sees his dream taking off and landing as he sits there managing the baggage claim department. But he's a good guy. He's a fair guy...

BLAIR: ...And a deflated, angry guy - also blunt, like when his kids are talking while he's trying to watch TV.


JUSTIN LONG: (As Kevin Murphy) Pretty great, huh?

BURR: (As Frank Murphy) Hey, I spent 700 bucks on a TV so I could watch a family being happy. So zip it.

BLAIR: Frank and his wife are doing the best they can.


LAURA DERN: (As Sue Murphy) Have fun. Come home when the streetlights come on.

BURR: (As Frank Murphy) Don't go playing with those dirty kids down the end of the block. They probably have chiggers.

REINHART AND DERRYBERRY: (As Bill and Maureen Murphy) We won't.

BLAIR: "F Is For Family" takes place in 1973. It even looks like it was animated in the '70s. Simple lines, realistic - like Hanna-Barbera or "King Of The Hill." Bill Burr had the idea to do this adult cartoon, as he calls it, because he had all of these stories about his family that sometimes make it into his standup. His dad had five kids by the time he was 33.


BURR: The pressure of that - feeding all those kids. Man, I'm telling you, every three or four days he would just snap - just snap out of nowhere, you know? Can you pass the salt? [Expletive] Boom, he'd slam the door, have the car in third gear by the time he got it to the end of the driveway.

BLAIR: Burr says there's some of his dad in Frank Murphy. There's also some of Michael Price's dad. Price cocreated "F Is For Family." He and Burr are cut from the same gently-soiled cloth. Both grew up on the East Coast in Irish Catholic families in the 1970s.

MICHAEL PRICE: We didn't have play dates. We didn't have supervision - perfect time to be a kid. But it was also incredibly dangerous time where (laughter) you know, you could have been killed easily by not wearing seatbelts and, you know, everyone was smoking.

BURR: My mother used to just send us to go outside. Go outside, and then you'd meet your friends. And then with your kid brains, you would decide what you were going to do that day. And sometimes it was, like, let's play baseball. And other times it was, like, let's go break some windows or throw rocks in people's pools...

BLAIR: ...Or get inside big, empty oil drums and roll down a bumpy hill.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: (As character) Oh, it's gone too far.

BLAIR: When Burr and Price were hiring writers for "F Is For Family," they always asked people about their own childhoods.

BURR: If it was, like, too nice, like, oh, it was great, there was always an apple pie cooling in the windowsill, we were like, all right, take it easy. But if they were like, yeah, my brother used to just throw me down the stairs for no reason, like, every other Wednesday and I couldn't figure out why, we were like, all right, let's see what you've got, send some scripts (laughter).

BLAIR: The Murphys are imperfect but all too real. And that's what makes them funny. They're people you might recognize from your own childhood. Elizabeth Blair, NPR News.


REDBONE: (Singing) Come and get your love. Come and get your love.

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