“Hello? Hello? Hola? Bonjour? Chinese Hello?”
The hilarious first lines of dialogue in The Last Man on Earth as Phil Miller (Will Forte), the titular last man on earth, drives around a desolate United States looking for fellow survivors of “the virus” in 2020. He sets up shop in a McMansion in Tucson and begins a descent into slobbery. It’s simultaneously repelling and endearing. He consumes massive amounts of junk food, raids museums, blows up cars, and takes afternoon naps in a kiddie pool full of margaritas. As Phil says, “There’s really no wrong way to use a margarita pool.”
It’ll be interesting to see where the series goes, but from the start, as a post-apocalyptic narrative fan, I was perfectly happy to revel in Phil’s solitude. Unfortunately, the writers assumed that most viewers wouldn’t, and so they gave us another character, the hyper legalistic Carol Pilbasian (Kristen Schaal), all too soon in the second episode. Together, they form something like a post-apocalyptic Adam and Eve. These two survivors couldn’t be more different, but they both embody the worst of us on both ends of the philosophical/moral/ethical spectrum. Phil is content to do whatever he wants with whatever he wants. Gluttony and destruction have become his favorite pastimes. Carol, on the other hand, is still obsessed with obeying the rules, whether they be of the road, language, or religion (she refuses to “procreate” with Phil until they are married). Yet while Carol annoys the hell out of Phil, her persistence does wear him down to reveal a more compassionate–if still selfish–side.
The Last Man on Earth airs on Sunday nights at 9:30 p.m. on FOX.