I've been seeing ads for this new show, called "The Last Man on Earth" on the Fox network, a place that I should be boycotting because of their insane and hateful news broadcasts. But they make some interesting shows, and this sounded intriguing, so I thought I'd give it a shot and set the Tivo to grab it.
So now I'm watching it, and though I have never "live blogged" something before, this feels worthy, and I'm trying to get back on the horse with this whole blogging thing, trying hard to recover from the whole episode in which facebook ate my blog. It did. Facebook ate my blog. It was mean. But then again, I was a bystander, and I didn't stop it, so my bad.
Come to think of it, I don't think one can "live blog" anything that's not live. Sorry. I was trying to be cool and "in the know" there for a minute. Big fail, I know.
Fine. So I'm just going to write about my impressions as I sit here and watch.
As you know, I like things to make just a little bit of sense (which is utterly ridiculous for tv in general, much less Fox). Okay, they don't have to make sense...maybe the word I'm after is "consistent"...or something. It doesn't have to exactly make sense, because that would pretty much eliminate this show (and network) all together, but I do have a hard time watching something with glaring inconsistencies that seem to shout "we love that Americans are idiots and don't pay any attention!" Not little things mind you. More like how it it would be jarring to watch someone on Downton Abbey pull a cell phone out of their pocket. Some things just knock a show off of it's premise a bit too far.
So, my first thought (you know, like before it even started) was that this was a funny idea, and kind of mind-bending. I didn't know it was about the aftermath of a virus which killed everyone, which is already kind of stupid, but okay, that kind of crazy premise I can put up with. I do have an imagination, and I'm not thinking this is a documentary or anything. Who doesn't wonder what they could or would do if there were no rules or laws and no people around and they could do anything they wanted? It's a neat thing to think about. Kind of like the tiny anarchist that lives within us all. It starts for most of us in grade school, when we think about being locked in a grocery store overnight and being able to eat whatever we want, or we read books about kids who run away and live in a museum. Prime fantasy material.
Oh. Here's something worth mentioning. More than anything, I love the sociological and psychological side of things (surprise!) and like that part of all TV shows. It's one of the things I love the most about Amazing Race (my favorite TV show of all time, wanderlusting creature than I am)--seeing what stress does to people, how the people who get along and stay calm always seem to win. I like that stuff. So, even though this is a comedy, and i know it's meant to be silly, it's fun to spend 40 minutes in a fantasy about what that might actually be like. Brain entertainment.
The show starts with this guy, who we later find out is named Phil Miller, driving in a bus-sized motorhome, a year after the mystery virus purportedly killed everyone else, except for him. He is clearly driving through every state in the continental United States. That's some serious driving. Good thing his bus never broke down, I guess. Immediately, I want to know where he got gas. I think--oh, maybe there is still electricity, and he could just take gas for as long as he wants and as long as it lasts. Okay. Wait and see.
He crosses off each state when he doesn't find anyone alive. And then the title credits play. Last Man On Earth. Good Lord, Americans are so arrogant. You can't find anyone in the 48 contiguous states, and that is proof enough that there are no people left on the PLANET? How very American. Oh. This is Fox. People who watch Fox (except me, you know, because I'm just doing it for you so I can blog about it and keep you informed) don't know that there is a world outside of the 48 states. Superbowl champions are World Champions. The championship game of baseball is the World Series. Both events are only American teams. Well, at least there's a precedent.
The show goes on. Some funny stuff. Then he's running a generator in order to watch TV. Oh. Okay. So there ISN'T any electricity. Back to the gas problem.
A month passes. Alcohol and talking to imaginary people are now the central themes. And balls. Lots of balls, with faces drawn on. A volleyball with a face goes by the name of Gary that travels with the main character, riding on the dash of the car (another car with gas in it!), a conversational companion. Talking to a volleyball, eh? This show has some original writers. At least we all have a heads up. Go buy a volleyball, folks--you know, just to keep on hand in case of the apocalyse. Because volleyballs are the thing. They're the ones that talk--this is something we need to know. And they're safe because you can refer to them as "the white fella" (ah, now it's all making sense). Got it? Good. (Okay, fine. Later in the show, they do give full credit to Castaway, which helps a little.)
18 minutes in. The comedy is becoming a drama. A well constructed scene with a mannequin, borne of longing for human (and particularly female) company, and a subsequent decision to commit suicide (seems like there are a lot better ways than what he chose...or didn't wind up choosing), both play pretty true to form. Apologies to the many balls with faces for "giving up." Well done, I thought. Believable, tragic, and powerful as he confesses "I just realized that having other people around is really what makes life worth living." Yup.
Minute 21. The title of the show is blown. Cutting out a few minutes for commercials, they only made it, what, 17 minutes, with him being "the last man on earth"? Maybe there should have been a question mark at the end of the title?
A woman. Of course. Gorgeous. Great makeup and hair. Oh, man. Perfect. Dream scene. Oh. Wait. Real life is something slightly different. Nicely done. "ARE YOU A NICE PERSON!!?!!!!" And a grammarian and extreme rule follower at that. I laughed out loud. I am guessing this is is going to be the highlight of the entire show. Gunpoint, screaming people, and this:
"There is nothing to be afraid of."
"Nothing of WHICH to be afraid."
"I just said that."
"You can't end sentences with prepositions! Nothing of which to be afraid is the proper grammar!"Score one for the writing team. I'm still laughing. And the grammar jokes and rule following and conflict between the only two people left continues. I love this show.
Hmm. The female lead just said "You think I want to repopulate with YOU? I would rather eat a cat! And I love cats!" Which reminds me. Where are the feral dogs and cats (not to mention rats and mice and insects)? Two years with no people, there would be cats and dogs everywhere. Oops. Add that to the fail list. Hey. Guys. If you're reading this, throw a few cats in there. Come on. Humor me.
Winding up. Phil makes a heroic move. Unrealistic love is in the air, along with tomatoes. Really love that he took art from museums--I'd probably do that. Previews imply that the show is going from crazy to crazier. The Washington Post calls it "Just weird enough to work." I concur.
Verdict: I'm watching again next week. Set to "Season Pass."
Did you watch it? What did you think?