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“Last Man on Earth” – More Omega Bland Than Omega Man

  I was cautiously excited for FOX’s new series “The Last Man on Earth,” starring Will Forte as Phil Miller. I’m a sucker for anything post-apocalypse and I’ve enjoyed just about everything Forte has starred in. But after binge watching the first ten episodes on Hulu, I was more than disappointed. It’s not that the show lacks humor – in fact many of the gags are sort of enjoyable. The problem with “Last Man” is that in ten episodes the show has only told one joke, and it’s just not very funny. More than anything, the show is a huge waste of talent and a potentially delightful setting. Phil Miller wants to get laid. There you have it. I’ve summed up ten episodes and likely the remainder of its poorly-written, destined-for-one-season run of “The Last Man on Earth.” The titular character Phil Miller may have the entire world to himself but all he cares about is getting drunk and watching porn. Sure he has a few funny habits, most of which involve a flamethrower, but the rest of his time is spent obsessing over sex. He marries the first woman that shows up in an effort to get into her pants and when the more attractive Melissa (January Jones) shows up, Phil does absolutely everything he can to have sex with her. He lies, steals, and is a general scumbag in an effort to get laid. Because Phil Miller wants to get laid. As the show rolled out the rest of its cast, I couldn’t help but groan. A portly yet cheerful Todd (Mel Rodriguez) immediately draws the attention of Melissa, much to Phil’s chagrin. Because Phil Miller wants to get laid. Then when Phil realizes how well and truly his uncontrollable urges have screwed up his situation, two more attractive ladies show up. And the first thing he does is lie to them. Because Phil Miller wants to get laid. Am I being obnoxious? Is this joke getting old? Good, because that’s exactly what it feels like to watch “The Last Man on Earth.” What a waste of a good apocalypse. Perhaps “Last Man” is commentary on what the average male would do after having the world to themselves for a year. But, for some reason, I don’t think many people would slip into a listless, booze-fueled porno spree. Woody Harrelson’s character in the film “Zombieland” was obsessed with finding a Twinkie in the post-apocalyptic wasteland. It was funny, quirky, and by no means dominated the story. Phil’s quest could be equally amusing if it wasn’t the main plot driving the show. When Phil finds a cow and brings it home to the new people in his life, everyone is excited about the possibilities of cheese, milk, and even yogurt while Phil expected to make some hamburgers. This could have been a humorous episode, with Phil trying to convince his neighbors to have a BBQ even though he definitely doesn’t know how to butcher a cow. Instead, it’s yet another venue to explore Phil’s unrequited sexual desires with predictable results. A talented cast and a great setting can’t save “Last Man” from itself when every plotline is hampered by the need to shoehorn in a horny Phil scheme. It’s not that Forte isn’t a good actor – in fact his solid acting emphasizes the bad writing. He plays the neurotic, near-nymphomaniacal so convincingly he’s instantly repugnant, but not in a love-to-hate way like Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) from “The Office,” instead he’s just unpleasant to watch. More recent episodes have shown Phil moving toward a redemption arc, realizing how stupid he’s been and promising to change. If this sticks, the show could definitely take a turn for the better and we may get storylines based on the post-apocalyptic setting and character exploration instead of typical sitcom romance. “The Last Man on Earth” needs to step up and respect its audience beyond a few cheap sex jokes. Its dwindling viewers are clearly not impressed and unless the writers can find a way to expand their repertoire, the show is quickly working its way into good riddance territory. Photo Credit: Jordin Althaus/FOX

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I'm here to watch TV and play with puppies. And I'm all out of puppies.

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