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'The Last Man on Earth' recap: Big fun enthusiast

Season 1 | Episode 11 | “Moved to Tampa” | Aired Apr 19, 2015

“I hate to disappoint you, but I’m about to set in motion a chain of events that will leave you tamed, shamed, and without a name.”

I shouldn’t be surprised at this revelation, and neither should the fictional Phil Miller. The Last Man on Earth Facebook page was practically telegraphing that another person would be added to this growing ensemble, with not-so-subtle captions like, “You never know who (or what) is coming to Tucson.” This show adds cast members more frequently then Brangelina adopts children. However, with the addition of the Third to Last Man on Earth this week, it’s starting to feel like we may not seen anyone new for a while (or maybe 10 more people and five more cows next week).

But let’s take it from the top. Grab some upside-down butt pancakes and settle in—there’s a lot to talk about.

The show kicked off with the Big D. Whoa, get your head out of the gutter. The “big D,” as Phil and Carol so happily coin it, is the big divorce. The end of Phil and Carol had arrived, after three lovely weeks of marriage. While the ending of this episode basically fizzled out into an awkward end credits scene, the beginning was my absolute favorite opening. For some reason, Gale can play the accordion. Even better: Apparently that was actually the ageless actress Mary Steenburgen playing it.

The gang toasts Phil and Carol’s divorce with her less than upbeat song, as The Last Man on Earth‘s credits flash across the screen. This is the weird stuff that has made the creators Phil Lord and Christopher Miller so successful (see: The Lego Movie, 21 Jump Street, etc.), and this is what distinguishes this show from most of network television.

The gang celebrates the Big D.

The brief tenure of the marriage came as a bit of a shock to Erin and Gale. After harshly judging Phil in last week’s episode for sort of, kind of, definitely fabricating the death of his wife Carol, they threw a little sympathy his way after realizing it was a very forced, short-term marriage.

The “little sympathy” came in the form of very straightforward sexual advances. The Third to Last Woman on Earth, Gale, made the first move. She was followed moments later by Australian actress Cleopatra Coleman, who plays Erin, the Fourth to Last Woman on Earth. Will Forte already has a great rapport with both of these actresses. The banter always seems to work, whether he’s calling himself a “big fun enthusiast” or a “big hiking enthusiast.” And while his constant “G’days” to Erin may seem a little forced, my Australian roommate laughed hysterically, so maybe it’s working.

Phil plans for this sex marathon that we all know will not happen, because anytime someone on this show says, “Let’s meet up later tonight,” it never works out. Meanwhile, Todd serves heart/upside-down butt pancakes to Melissa and declares his love. Melissa answers with what I’m pretty sure was the cliché answer for every ’90s sitcom that ever existed: “Thank you,” she says. And despite this common answer, which probably happened in many a Friends or Boy Meets World episode, this was one of the best developments of the episode.

For once, it makes Todd not perfect. Todd is obviously very upset about this, and it sets into motion a very Phil-like series of events that turns him into a jealous, spiteful person. Making the sweet, loving guy an angry, bitter boyfriend isn’t always the best move, but it looks as though this will align Todd with Phil—something Phil desperately needs.

Phil doesn’t do a very good job of comforting Todd, but that doesn’t matter because we all know Phil’s latest potential sexcapade is about to burn up in hot Tucson sun-scorched flames.

Because apparently there’s no other way to progress the plot in this TV show, Phil does something selfish, and the post-apocalyptic God punishes him immediately. He paints over the “ALIVE IN TUSCON” billboard, indicating a sudden move to Tampa, only for the ladder (and eventually his pants) to fly away. Stranded, Phil is rescued by the Third to Last Man on Earth, brilliantly named “Phil Miller.”

New Phil introduces himself.

It’s nice to see some more diversity on the cast with Boris Kodjoe, but the real stroke of genius was giving him the same name. And, as mentioned before, he has now given a reason for Phil and Todd to team up. The First, Second, Third, and Fourth to Last Women on Earth are all about New Phil. Indeed, the show heavily implies an “ménage-a-three-way” between New Phil and the Third and Fourth to Last Women (yes, I’m going to keep using these titles, because it’s ridiculous and you’ve already made it this far into the recap anyway).

The moment of fleeting feelings between Phil (now Tandy, after losing his name in a game of Jenga) begins to really show itself toward the end of this episode. Even Carol seemed smitten with new Phil, delivering him food in a purty dress and subbing raisin balls for an apple pie.

Several seeds were planted for the remainder of this season. Hopefully there is an episode in the future where Todd, or anyone but old Phil, sets up the conflict. It’s great to see Will Forte constantly mess up, as he is so endearing, but it’s getting very tiring. Even this episode ended on an uncertain note, but it wasn’t so much a cliffhanger as just another “Phil’s life sucks” moment.

Despite a strong showing last week, I’ll have to knock this episode’s rating down a couple of Kevins—partially because we didn’t even get to see dear Kevin the Tennis Ball, or Gary the Volleyball.

7.7 out of 10 Kevins

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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