The Last Man on Earth: Is Fox's New Post-Apocalyptic Comedy a Survivor?

The Last Man on Earth Series Premiere Recap

You know all of those gross things you do when no one’s watching? Fox has built a comedic series premiere around them — and Saturday Night Live alum Will Forte — and it’s called The Last Man on Earth.

In Last Man‘s double-episode kickoff, which aired Sunday, Forte’s Phil Miller traverses the country in the year 2020, “one year after the virus,” a subtitle informs us. As far as Phil can tell, he’s the last person left in the United States — possibly the world.

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Rather than succumb to the crushing loneliness of that fact, Phil takes advantage of his unique position. He steals major works of art from national museums, then hangs them on the walls of the upscale home he commandeers. The sight gags alone are worth a chuckle: Phil’s haul includes Emmy statuettes, Babe Ruth’s bat, a dinosaur’s head and Emmanuel Leutze’s Washington Crossing the Delaware.

Because absolutely no one is around to see/judge him, Phil does whatever the heck he wants. He grows a bushy beard and wears only boxer briefs, hiking boots and a headband. He acquires porn — lots of porn. He watches Cast Away and complains loudly that no matter how bad it gets, he’ll never talk to a ball.

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Cut to five months later, when an even more disheveled — and exponentially more desperate — Phil has a host of sports balls as drinking buddies… and he drinks a lot. He also uses an in-ground pool as a toilet, romances a mannequin and attempts to commit suicide… until he sees the smoke from a campfire in the distance. And when he arrives at the campsite to see a bra hanging among laundry on a line, it appears his prayers have been answered: Not only has another human survived the virus, she’s a woman.

Though Phil first imagines his new companion is someone who looks like True Detective‘s Alexandra Daddario, he soon wakes up and realizes she’s actually Carol (played by 30 Rock/Daily Show alum Kristen Schaal), a stickler for rules who takes it upon herself to find the “nice” Phil underneath the unrepentant caveman. He continually is irritated by Carol’s sunny outlook and insistence that they’ve survived because they have a purpose, but he soon finds himself helping her… albeit grudgingly.

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One night at dinner, Phil agrees to have sex with Carol — the whole repopulation of the Earth thing, plus he’s also “next-level horny” — but balks when she wants them to marry first. Moments later, though, he’s down on one knee for a proposal, which she accepts. The post-apocalyptic wedding is on!

What did you think of Last Man on Earth? Grade the premiere via the poll below, then elaborate on your choice in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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42 Comments
  1. Rob Horine says:

    Hooray for Fox. They have found a cure for insomnia! The girl is fine, but I’ve never laughed at Forte. This doesn’t change things. I’ll watch horse racing next sunday.

  2. Tran says:

    It was laughable to see Will Forte’s character talking to sports balls like when Tom Hanks is talking to Wilson in Cast Away.

  3. Annie says:

    That was painfully bad.

  4. c-mo says:

    I really enjoy Kristen Schaal, usually, but in this roll with her quirky voice and the way the character was written, she was unwatchable. The role for Will Forte was typical, an annoying man-child. But my real problem with the show was where in the world did he get enough gas to travel to all 50 states in the giant RV? And how does he get enough gas to drive the truck for more than five months? I had lots more issues but that one crossed my mind less than 10 seconds into the show.

    • John NYC says:

      Every abandoned gas station on the continent would have thousands of gallons down in the storage tanks

      They all have fill portholes so all he’d need is a hose and a pump.

      • J.Norman says:

        I guess he could get gas that way, but it would be 10 times tougher than you make it sound.
        As long as he remembered to keep some gas for his (presumed) portable generator that he would need to set up every 100 miles or so.

  5. George Moss says:

    It is okay, I mean it is not great but I am having to switch between this and the Walking Dead so kudos.

  6. A sad commentary on the state of the world when half the viewers find this funny. What a waste. No redeeming social value.

    • mwk89 says:

      Easily FOX’s best comedy (certainly better than the failing New Girl)

    • mwk89 says:

      Yes, how sad that people have a different opniion on what’s funny than you do. get a life

    • Emily says:

      Everyone thinks they have a good sense of humor; obviously this is impossible. People who don’t have a good sense of humor have no idea that they don’t have one at all. Thank you for proving that point. The show wasn’t Shakespeare, but it had funny moments.

    • flutiefan says:

      i agree, Chuck. it really wasn’t good. there were a few ha-ha moments, but otherwise i didn’t see much to sustain a weekly comedy.

  7. Frog212 says:

    the silence in the first episode didn’t work for me…..are we supposed to sympathize or feel bored? i wish there was funny music instead or something.

  8. Kelly king says:

    Funny as crap in a swimming pool!! Can’t wait for the next one

  9. fringe30 says:

    Couldn’t stand the actress in the second one. I immediately turned it off.

  10. Tea says:

    Loved it. Not a fan of Schaal but I’ll deal with it.

  11. Horrible – I want my hour back.

  12. Ray says:

    Didn’t watch but I’m guessing little to no social interaction means no real viable premise here for a sustainable sitcom. This would’ve been better suited as a one off.

  13. DavidJ says:

    Wow, can’t believe the reactions in here. I thought it was freakin hilarious all the way through.

    And seriously, how could people possibly NOT find Will Forte funny?!?

  14. Faye says:

    I love Will Forte in everything. Schaal has always annoyed me in everything; however, who could be better as this character? I laughed because it is so absurd. How future episodes play out is the question.

  15. Oh god, Schaal’s a regular? I’m out.

  16. Margarethe says:

    This was about as funny as a sitcom set in the Titanic would be.
    An hour of masturbation and defecation jokes…Fox family values on display. The irony of that thought makes me LOL, unlike the show. I also cannot see how they’re going to sustain this over a season.

  17. J.Norman says:

    I know its a TV show and all that and you have to suspend logic and belief, but I kept wondering about
    1) Where are the dead bodies (or during the plague did everyone get buried quickly and efficiently as soon as they died)
    2) For that matter, where are the birds and other animals? (or was everything animal in nature killed off and instantly disintegrated?
    3) Weren’t the highway roads remarkably clean, well maintained, and clear of any obstacles (such as non used and derilect cars>

  18. Todd says:

    I thought it was okay. There are a many, many things that require suspension of disbelief (Example: a lot of the food would be expired and inedible). The premise of the show would probably work a lot better as 15-minute episodes with a 13-show season on Adult Swim. I don’t see the show lasting without becoming a completely different thing.

    • steve says:

      I don’t remember seeing him eat anything that would have been inedible in two years… expired maybe, but inedible nah. Potato chips, twinkies, and junk foods like them have enough preservatives in them to keep them edible for a long time. Not to mention some canned foods can be good for decades if they aren’t opened. Honey pretty much never goes bad, they have found it in Egyptian pots from before the time of the pyramids and it’s still technically edible.

  19. Lauren says:

    I really enjoyed Will Forte. But Kristin Schaal is just too good at being annoying. I found her character so grating (which I know she’s supposed to be, but still). Looking forward to them adding some other people for Forte to interact with. I remember seeing some other actors being cast for this series, so I know they’re coming.

  20. It seemed that by the end of Episode II Phil’s melancholy was beginning to dissipate at the fringes. That he would escalate to having conversations with balls so soon after mocking Tom Hanks and Wilson’s repartee is cleverly and slyly fleshed-out.

    I guess that I had partially hoped for some of Charlton Heston’s Omega Man panache to light Phil’s way from the get-go but after 45 minutes or so of The Last Man On Earth I’m a devotee. This show is better than any laconically presented zombie fantasy and I’m going along for the entire ride. Will Forte is consistently better than the material he’s had to work with and what he has to work with this time is not too shabby; some by his own hand yet!

    Kristen Schaal, as Carol, is the intelligent klutz with the moxie to survive and as the potential “Mother To The New Mankind” will yield some viable candidates for survival one might hope. I’ll keep watching with fingers crossed.

  21. Lizo says:

    It felt a little too misogynistic for my tastes. That when he lives in a world with no other people, he finds another person and then has the gall to complain that she’s not good enough for him. Then the writers deciding to dump all the irritating sexist character tropes on her (she’s annoying, wants to get married, blah blah blah). No thanks Fox.

    • Elf says:

      Wait a second. If you’re going to complain that Carol is a walking stereotype of misogynistic tropes, then what about Phil? Does he not embody the worst of all the typical male stereotypes as well? He’s a slob who loves porn and drinks too much. In fact, as annoying as she is, at least she’s trying to maintain a modicum of dignity, which Phil has abandoned completely.

  22. RhonniG says:

    Lighten up people…it’s just a show and it was funny. Who knows how one would act in that situation. Then he wanted a woman…he got one..a nagging, law abiding, annoying woman…hilarious! Loved it! I want to go bowling with aquariums!!!

  23. gnd says:

    How can she be so concerned about proper parking, stopping at red lights, etc, but have no problem what so ever with just taking a house that does not belong to her?

  24. TJ says:

    I am wondering about the idea of them repopulating the earth. Won’t it get a little “inbred” so to speak? With all the houses and stuff available, just keep moving around.

  25. Awesome??? Just how low do your standards and expectations have to be to rate this turkey as ‘Awesome’?

  26. Kayla says:

    There were a couple funny parts throughout but I thought it was kind of stupid.

  27. krissy2315 says:

    Schaal is so utterly annoying it’s hard to watch. Actually, Forte’s actions are annoying as well but I like him so I’ll deal. This show is a fun idea but my OCD makes it hard to watch. I would have the most immaculate clothes, makeup, home and I would definitely spend my time more constructivly than he does. It’s fun to think what one would do in that situation so I’ll keep watching.