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'The Last Man on Earth' premiere fan recap: Balls are for fun!

Season 1 | Episodes 1 & 2 | “Alive in Tuscon” & “The Elephant in the Room” | Aired Mar 1, 2015

“I would never complain about anything ever again, if I just got to see one more woman.” This is one of two promises Will Forte’s dystopian, happy-go-lucky bum breaks in The Last Man on Earth‘s premiere.

The first promise revolves around possibly the funniest bits in the two-episode series premiere. Phil Miller (Forte) pokes fun at Tom Hanks and the creators of Cast Away for the idea that anyone secluded would end up talking to a volleyball. “Balls are for fun,” Miller jests. Five months later, he’s talking to an entire team of sporting balls, the least of which is a volleyball named Gary.


Before our hero makes these fruitless promises or invents the diving-board toilet seat, we meet him traveling across the U.S., attempting to find anyone else on earth. He eventually crosses out all of the states and settles down in Tuscon, Arizona, where I often suspected my dad had a second family, but was really just a nice place to go on business trips and golf (and maybe have a second family. No, I don’t think my dad had a second family, but this is a terrific way to find out if he reads my work.) Miller settles down in a nice home fit for a king … or second family.

Unlike Zombieland‘s protagonist, The Last Man on Earth features a man completely uninhibited by stop signs or parking spaces. Rules no longer apply to him, and nothing is off limits. He wears Hugh Hefner’s actual robe, occasionally switching it out with the original Rocky robe. The United States Constitution acts as a napkin when necessary. Babe Ruth’s autographed baseball (not the fake one those idiot kids tried to forge in The Sandlot), the Heisman trophy, and Dorothy’s red ruby slippers are all scattered haphazardly across his home.

By the time Phil sprays (squeezes? applies? pastes?) Cheez Whiz into his $10,000 wine, it seems like this series may feature absolutely no one else. And, quite honestly, I would’ve been absolutely fine with that. Forte has a charm that seems to have flown under the radar. Sharing the stage with costars like Andy Samberg, Bill Hader, and Keenan Thompson throughout his Saturday Night Live career have somehow made him less relevant, despite consistently hilarious characters. If you have not seen the digital short in which Forte goes on a blind date with Megan Fox, you are doing yourself a disservice.


But Phil isn’t alone and does meet someone. Thank Wilson (sorry, “Gary”) it was Carol. More on her in a second.

After a night out with his sporting balls, endless tequila baths, and breaking the arm of a mannequin (think the I Am Legend mannequin moment, but hilarious and weirdly sweet, then actually kind of sad), Phil decides it’s time to give up and do the dirty deed. No, not poop in a pool. Though he does have a pooping pool and a garbage pool, which I found to be hilarious results of the writers really thinking through what the last person on earth would have to deal with. Sure, they can grow tomatoes and find plenty of food with preservatives. But where does one poop, and where does the trash go?

Pools. Garbage and poop pools.

Anyway, the dirty deed. Phil plans to kill himself. We know this because he’s painted a large bullseye into a rock and marked the day of his death—November-ish 2021—on another rock. The happy-go-lucky tone already set in place helped to pull this scene off. It’s sad, yes. But you also know this is a pilot and he clearly won’t die, so why not really go for it and make it as funny as possible?

Just as Phil rounds the canyon road and prepares to collide into the rock, he looks to his left and sees smoke. Fire. Fire = person. You can see Cave Phil make this connection in his head as he sprints toward the smoke. That’s the brilliance of Phil having that massive beard. It allows those simplistic moments of discovery and excitement for Phil that are actually sort of reminiscent the first people on Earth.

At the site of a tent, a car, and a woman’s underwear, Phil literally passed out with a bra to his face. Cue fantasy sequence makeout session with a very attractive lady. But wait: He was dreaming and is actually getting CPR? This common trope was partially saved by Phil’s romantic rendition of the Ghostbusters theme song, but still kind of meh.

Whatever the case, we are finally introduced to Mel—I mean Carol. I’m getting that out of my system now, because Kristen Schaal’s performance as Mel in Flight of the Conchords is still absolutely hilarious; if you haven’t seen both seasons, you are doing yourself a disservice. Stop doing me a disservice. Anyway, before getting a brief glimpse of Carol, episode one is over. BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE.

Yes, Fox aired back-to-back episodes for the premiere. I’ll never understand why they could be considered two separate episodes. Maybe they were filmed that way, but honestly, these go together so seamlessly, why not just call it “A Special One-Hour Premiere”? Or “The Super-Awesome Will Forte Is Trying What Fellow SNL Alum Andy Samberg Did and Bringing a Comedy Show to Fox”? Or even “The One-Hour, Wait, Hold On, When Did Fox Become the NBC of Comedy? I Thought Fox Was Terrible. Does Fox News Have Anything to Do with Fox? Thanks Obama”?

Doesn’t matter, because Carol is here. Unsurprisingly, she’s the exact opposite of Phil. She’s Jesse Eisenberg in Zombieland times 10. She has her rules, but she also has laws. The most incredible thing about Carol is that she makes someone who was so depressed and lonely that he was ready to kill himself actually decide being alone would be better. The two do not get off to a good start, which is great for us as the audience. The “everything is a parking space!” argument is so simple, yet so funny. Forte takes the joke of hyperbole (“Literally, even if you were the last person in the world …”) and somehow nails it every time, especially with the juxtaposition of Schaal’s brilliant, deadpan, earnest viewpoint.

Carol and Phil

Ultimately, The Last Man on Earth plays one of its biggest cards way earlier than I expected. Speaking of cards, if you haven’t seen season three of House of Cards, you are doing yourself a disservice. But seriously, self-population, as Carol so blatantly puts it, is mentioned halfway through episode two (otherwise known as the second part of episode one). At first, this seems like a terrible idea. Why bring that up so early? Why not let the two characters squirm a little longer?

But it pays off, because Carol wants to get married before they “knock it out.” This stipulation and the reaction from Phil tell us right away that “self-population” won’t be happening for a while. And honestly, even if it does, the writers have already found several unexpected ways to make this fairly simple concept funny and exciting enough to keep watching.

The Last Man on Earth airs Sundays at 9:30/8:30C on Fox.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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