reasonstowatchtlmoe

the last man on earth + episodes written by women

*cowritten with a male writer

watching The Last Man on Earth: a primer

The mid-season finale (or I assume it was the mid-season finale, the scheduling is all out of whack this season) of my favourite and probably only apocalypse sitcom The Last Man on Earth aired today. So I got thinking, during the show’s hiatus I would do a little gifset series titled #reasonstowatchtlmoe or something. Because I really really want the ratings to go up enough for a season 5 to happen. And planning that out got me thinking about the reasons I like the show, and the ways in which it’s… I’m not sure I’d say progressive, necessarily, but perhaps “representative in sometimes new or interesting ways” maybe? It’s hard to say.

(Perhaps you’ve seen some gifs around of these two?

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From TLMOE! And now they’re married!)

Basically, TLMOE is absolutely a flawed show, but it has this strange sort of feel to it which drags you in, and I kinda think that what it comes down to is its complete and utter refusal to judge. Most of the characters are deeply anti-social people who weren’t doing that well even before the apocalypse, and then they’re all stuck together as the last handful of people on the planet. And they behave horribly to each other sometimes (much less, now), but the show never really seems to call any individual out on it, instead constantly beating of the drum of “you messed-up folks are the last of humanity, you better damn well learn to live together” inbetween all the jokes.

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Granted, this doesn’t always work the way it perhaps should (Tandy still gets away with an awful lot, despite his probable emotional disorder from years of isolation) but yet the whole show has this optimism about human nature which I think sets it apart a little. No matter how much of an asshole a character is, they still end up back in the weird found-family fold. This show is not for everyone but perhaps if it’s for you…

Well, you can watch it here. Just skip season one. It’s a skip-season-one type sitcom, unfortunately.

A quick introduction to the characters can be found beneath the cut:

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Phil Tandy Miller:

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Phil (everyone calls him ‘Tandy’, just go with it) is the reason you should skip season one. Luckily, straight from the offset of season two he’s changed so much he might as well be a different character. He’s still annoying, but the annoying-ness is juxtaposed with moments of genuine pathos and Will Forte getting to demonstrate to everyone what a damn good actor he actually is. Is sexist, despite protestations, but is also trying hard not to be. Is also bisexual (enjoys hugging, ass-slapping and “friendship kissing” other men, though it remains to be seen what the show will actually do with this.)

Is not actually the last man on earth.

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Carol Pilbasian:

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Woman with a fantastic sense of fashion. What TVTropes would call a “cloud-cuckoo-lander”. Is deeply weird but also very loveable most of the time. (Most of the time.) Has a nasty streak of other-women-shaming during season one (another reason to skip it) but grows out of it pretty fast. Is married to Tandy and bizarrely, they’re a very healthy and loving couple (again… after season one.) I’ve seen her described as “a grown-up Mabel Pines” but alas I never saw Gravity Falls so I can’t attest to how accurate that is.

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Melissa Chartres

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Woman with an embarrassing last name. (It’s pronounced Shart.) Is good with guns and has a ruthless streak which turns into a full-blown mental health breakdown in season 3. Doesn’t want children, and despite pressure from just about everyone has not changed her mind. (Hooray!) Spent all of season 1 rebuffing Tandy’s gross advances, which was enough to get her labelled a bitch in places like Reddit because I guess most men who watch TV are jerks.

Is played by January Jones and yes the show does do a Mad Men reference at one point, one which managed to be both funny and with serious ramifications so kudos to the writers for that.

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Todd Rodriguez

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Chubby guy who doesn’t lose any weight, whaddya know. Is polyamorous and probably also most likely bisexual (since he’s up for kissing Tandy). Is pretty much the nicest person on Earth and everybody loves him. Likes pop-and-locking, singing, and The Shawshank Redemption.

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Erica Dundee

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Is Australian and not to be confused with Crocodile Dundee. Became the first woman on post-apocalypse earth to get pregnant in season 2, but then was reduced to the periphery for a lot of season 3 which I was annoyed about. Is married, now, to Gail, who deservedly worships the ground she walks on. Once mentioned a wild-child past which included bank-robbing, false identities, a job in the State Department and prison, but unfortunately it seems unlikely it’ll ever get brought up again. Wears gorgeous bohemian dresses a lot.

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Gail Klosterman

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Played by Mary Steenburgen, and once appeared in the same episode as a Delorean but had no scene with it, which I cannot forgive. She’s bisexual, married to Erica, and like her has a complicated past which never gets brought up beyond one time. Is a Wine Mom. As of season 3, seems to occupy the role of Only Sane Person.

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Jasper

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A 9-ish year old child the gang found in season 3, who had lost his parents in the apocalypse virus and lived on his own in a cabin for years. He doesn’t talk much and has recently begun to display Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour. Gives the gang a chance to display their parenting skills, but most of them are terrible at it. Wears a different cosplay-type outfit each day and likes to sit around playing video games, which arguably makes him the most relatable character of them all.

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Lewis Ha

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Gay, and (sigh) dead a few episodes later. Yes, I’m still salty about it.

Had a friendship with Erica which was meant to make up a season 3 sub-plot, but it got cut. I’m salty about that too.

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Pat Brown

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The antagonist of season three (and a bit of season two.) Was basically a creepy weirdo, but there was still the odd moment of emotion with him. Think of him as a dark foil to Tandy or something.

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Phil Miller 2

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Has the middle name of “Stacy” as embarrassing middle names/last names are a thing on this show. Started off as a nice person, then turned sort-of-antagonist, then was more or less part of the group again when he died of appendicitis because sometimes apocalypse life just sucks. Is the father of Erica’s baby, by the way.

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Pamela Brinton

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A privileged one-percenter who gets out of a top-secret bunker for the rich and immediately makes terrible, terrible life decisions. Is actually pretty sympathetic despite this. (The fact that she owns a small cute dog doesn’t hurt either.) Was only in a few episodes and then left with…

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Glenn

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A guy who somehow got himself marooned on an island for years and when he finally met people again the apocalypse had come and all his kids were dead. Would have had the saddest scenes in the show if not forrrr…

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Mike Miller

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Tandy’s estranged astronaut brother. Played by Jason Sudeikis, who was busy being a movie star and so couldn’t stick around for long. The solution to this? Have him go through hell getting down from the space station, nearly dying several times in the process, have him nearly die again when he encounters Pat, then have him find the others, make up with his brother, mourn his parents, and start a relationship with Erica…. AND THEN KILL HIM.

He’s only probably dead, so it’s not entirely out of the question he’ll be back one day, but for the moment everyone cries about Mike. His probable-death scene is particularly depressing.

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A Host of Dead Celebrities

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Ever since season two it’s become TLMOE tradition to introduce a new survivor played by a famous celebrity and then immediately kill them off. It’s a long-running gag I loooove. Though not as much as I love this:

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They killed off the entire Trump administration. And not a moment too soon.

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(p.s. remember you can watch it
here.)