The Last Man on Earth is a show that I’ve been watching since its pilot, but due to schedules for shows I already write about (*cough*Supernatural*cough*) I haven’t been able to give this show the attention it deserves.
Well, guess what b*****s, it’s Christmas break and that means TV BINGEING.
TLMOE is the comedic post-apocalyptic story of one man, Phil, played by Will Forte, (later renamed Tandy), who thinks he is the last man on Earth. To the surprise of no one, he isn’t, and he meets Carol (Kristen Schaal)in season 1, followed by several others over the past two seasons, including his brother, Mike (Jason Sudeikis).
This season, the crew has left their beachfront property in Malibu because Patrick “Pat” Brown first threatened them, and later was killed when Todd (Mel Rodriguez) hits him with a van. They relocate to an office building that is self-sustained, meaning that for the first time in years, Tandy’s merry band has electricity and water. The crew has grown by one with the addition of Lewis (Kenneth Choi), and will soon grow by two more since both Erica (Cleopatra Coleman) and Carol are pregnant.
Are you there, Melissa?
Arguably the biggest development of the season has been the deterioration of Melissa’s mental health. After accidentally killing a man at the beginning of the season, the normally level-headed Melissa has all but checked out, creating a problem for the crew, who are definitely not equipped (Tandy least of all) to handle mental illness.
It’s a theme I’ve seen in other post-apocalyptic shows, most notably The Walking Dead, but I’ll admit, I was surprised that a comedy decided to touch on it. Melissa’s mental health is depicted mostly as situations that can be seen as humorous: for example, she carries around a baby doll and calls it her child. In the midseason finale, however, the group has to decide if Melissa should allowed to act on her own agency, or if she should be monitored and/or restrained.
After Melissa is found standing at the top of a roof, able to fall at any second, Todd decides that she should be monitored constantly, and is locked in a room with a two-way mirror.
We’re all in this together
In the world before the apocalypse, the members of the crew probably never would have met. It goes without saying that most of them wouldn’t have liked each other. In their current reality, however, survival is dependent on each other. Tandy calls the crew a “family,” and Carol “adopts” Gail (Mary Steenburgen) as her mom; though the others brush it off as a joke, it quickly becomes serious when first Melissa, and then Gail, disappear.
Melissa wanders off because she is upset with the men in the group for not impregnating her (it’s more serious than it sounds). Gail leaves after a fight with Carol. Although Melissa is eventually found, Gail becomes trapped in an elevator in a building that the group isn’t using. On another show, this story line would be resolved in one episode. The Last Man on Earth, however, defies expectation by leaving Gail trapped in the elevator for several episodes, leaving the audience wondering if she’ll ever escape. Spoiler alert: as of the midseason finale, Gail is still in the elevator, and no one has yet realized she’s missing.
When the group is fractured, they are weaker. Gail’s current situation is a perfect example of why the crew needs to stick together and act, you know, like a family.
Perhaps my favorite thing about TLMOE is how, even though its cast is small (7 characters at the moment), the writers have endeavored to represent a diverse cast–both in ethnicity and personality. Tandy (Will Forte) is a lead character who is typically considered an idiot by the rest of the group, and his atypical leadership leads to humorous situations but also lets the rest of the cast shine in their roles. Todd is a generous, kind, and loving man–who at one point this season was involved in a polyamorous relationship with Gail and Melissa. Gail, Melissa, and Carol are all over thirty–and all the women are generally seen as the smartest of the crew. Lewis, the newest addition, is also shown to be smart–reluctantly putting up with Tandy’s antics–and is also shown as a grieving gay man who has lost his husband. The only attractive twenty-something on this sitcom is Erica (Cleopatra Coleman), and she is a POC who is self-described as a “political nerd.”
Dude, you should be watching this. Dude.
If I can give you three quick reasons to watch this show it would be:
- It’s hilarious. (Like serious tear-inducing, side-hurting laughter regularly occcurs)
- Kristen Schaal as Carol is really freaking perfect. And adorable. And did I mention hilarious?
- If The Walking Dead or Z Nation or Survivors are too dark for your tastes, I urge you to give The Last Man on Earth a chance. It’s a postapocalyptic show without the blood, guts, or bats wrapped in barbed wire.
- Did I mention it’s hilarious?
Give TLMOE a shot. You can watch it on Hulu.