It’s getting to be quite the crowded apocalypse for our man Phil Miller, who’s now hardly humanity’s last man and maybe not even its last hope? Thanks to Some Friggin’ Fat Guy, our formerly last human being on earth’s the fourth wheel of a small (and growing) tribe of suburbanites. It’s hard being the odd man out and maybe harder still to call The Last Man On Earth a show of its word when there’s now enough of them to fill an entire American Idol judge panel. But it’s easy to say that Last Man‘s still got its heart.
This episode, Phil has one big new problem and his name just so happens to be Todd: our friggin fat guy in question. At first it seems like Phil should be grateful for not having some Hollywood hunk to contend with. But beauty’s in the eye of the beholder, as is Tom Hanks’ filmography. Todd, as it turns out, is a really swell guy – so swell, in fact, that Melissa’s got eyes for him over our self-obsessed Phil. He’s smart, he’s funny, his favorite film’s The Shawshank Redemption (excellent choice, Todd). And the man’s a walking sympathy machine at the cost of one kidney. Beat that Phil.
It’s ironic that Phil’s problems have evolved like they have over the span of however long this series has lasted. Self-obsession certainly suits the essence of being, well, the last man on earth. And now Phil’s demotion to the second last man on earth – and second best next to Todd – has essentially challenged who he really is, and lately, that’s basically been a jerk. Humanity finally has a chance of surviving again (maybe). But all Phil can say to Todd upon his arrival is, “So you need directions or something?”
As it relates to the future Miller household, Todd’s presence sure serves as a quick fix to any of its incestuous prospects, but what it doesn’t do is calm any of the urges in Phil’s pants for one Melissa Shart. It’s all the better that it’s a fat guy indeed who puts Phil in his place, because for several episodes now, Phil’s been flirting with douche-hood. Humility, it seems, is unbecoming of a man used to living totally alone.
While the whole affair proved to be humanizing for both Phil and Melissa – even her meeting Phil’s spherical companions – doesn’t result in some Hollywood embrace between the two. Melissa tells him plainly that the feeling is not reciprocated. Unlike the movies, Phil’s “You’re the only one for me” speech did a lot more for his own breakthrough than winning him an adoring Melissa, and that’s appreciated in a series that’s done too much to deserve clichés. But really, The Godfather? Surely Phil must appreciate Castaway a lot more by now.
We can thank Carol’s oh-so-subtle “double-date” for a wonderfully awkward and unwittingly endearing couple in Todd and Melissa, one which will hopefully never demand the service of “vomit soup.” Their whirlwind romance of go-cart racing and playing real golf in a miniature golf park probably reiterates my though of their desperation at getting the electricity back up and running, but it certainly spotlights Last Man‘s admirable ability to conjure up the most bizarre bonding moments, shirtless tennis and all.
It’s all a wonder where Last Man goes from here. With the big man in Melissa’s life, surely it won’t be about Phil’s stalking Melissa any longer. If Last Man is more a question of masculinity now than existence, than it’s safe to say that the show’s underhandedly defined it beyond facial hair and ego. Todd’s arguably the heart of gold in the series and what Phil’s road to redemption means now. Kids? A real presidency?
In all of its typically atypical ways, The Last Man On Earth‘s continuing to find ways to reinvent itself in all but the most subversive ways. Its originality now not withstanding, I think I’m beginning to enjoy the series almost as much as when it first premiered and it’s hard to speculate about just how far these changes are going to go. If Tuscon’s on the brink of being flooded with more Todds or Melissas as it probably is by account of Phil’s “Alive” signs, than it’ll be interesting to see where Phil really will fit back into a world that ever did rebuild itself. I can only hope it’s just as fun as this one.
The Last Man On Earth airs Sunday night on FOX at 9/8 Central. Catch all the latest episodes at FOX.com and all the latest reviews here at BagoGames.