Last Man on Earth: Pranks For Nothin'
April 13, 2015 8:48 AM - Season 1, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Everybody hates Phil and even Phil realizes that he's an asshole. Can this possibly lead to Phil being less of an asshole in the future?

Dammit, my post didn't save last night and I have to think about this shit all over again!

Anyway, Phil claims his fuckup from the last episode was a prank, which nobody believes whatsoever even though he tries to claim he had a dead first wife named Carol. Melissa calls him disgusting, and even Todd doesn't like him any more. Everyone drives off without Phil, forcing him to walk home in the dark alone.

The next morning, everyone but a missing Carol is having breakfast in Carol's house, WITH the cow. Phil creeps in, ruining breakfast for everyone. As he milks the cow, he asks where Carol is. "How long am I gonna be in the doghouse here?" he whines. No one will talk to him, so Phil joins in the silent treatment, glaring at everyone (including the cow) individually before stomping out.

Phil finds Carol at his house, where she's literally haunting the place. "You just sprayed the wrong dog," she says, and she kicks him out of his haunted house. Phil is gonna live at the bar with his balls. "I could use a break from people." NO SHITTING, PHIL.

Gail and Erica drop by to see Carol with pecan pie and no hard feelings. Why would there be any hard feelings, said Carol, about their making slut-based decisions with a man they hardly knew? They would never have done it if they knew he was married. "In this country we tend to do a bit of research before we let in a man down under," Carol says. She doesn't enjoy hussy pie either.

Phil acts out the movie Cocktail, very clumsily. "They must have CGI'd those bottles, right?" He finally catches one.

Melissa and Todd visit Carol with tea. They want o know how she's doing. She doesn't like pity parties and forces Todd and Melissa to make out in front of her, then yells that it was fake.

Nobody has come looking for Phil (why would they?) and he wants to go back home. He fucked up again. He can't become another person....Now "Mike Miller," Phil's "twin," comes knocking on the door looking for Phil. Puh-leeze. This gets exactly as much play as you saw in the trailers, i.e. 15 seconds of eye-roll.

Phil dresses up in some kind of haystack costume (seriously, who makes this?) and spies on everyone but Carol playing croquet and talking about how horrible he is. He's a little tossed in the head, a wanker, a pathological liar.

Nobody misses Phil, he doesn't get why they are mad, and why won't they give him the benefit of the doubt? He's not a liar...and then he flashes back to every damn lie he's told every ten seconds since he started talking to other humans again. "I am a liar," he realizes.

Phil shows up as everyone else is sitting around the campfire. He wants to talk, everyone will ignore him. He just starts screaming until they will talk to him. Then he admits yesterday wasn't a prank--"that was a very real effort to swim naked with women." Yes, he wanted to fuck Melissa, he didn't write "Fields of Gold," Todd (Todd knew that), and he's lied to Carol so much he can't even keep track, but they shouldn't have gotten married because he didn't "do." He apologizes and says he doesn't expect this to change any way anyone feels about him, but he'd rather be honest with no friends, so smell ya never.

Carol goes after Phil in the bar, with some props: an ugly quilt (which has Phil's "Dunk the Skunk" shirt in it and some knitting, among other random bits) and a folder. She finds Phil talking to his balls and says she guesses they can overhear this then, and asks Phil to not interrupt her while she speaks. What does he think about this quilt? He gives it a thumbs-up and she's all no, it's ugly, it's the kind of quilt your friend would tell you to put in the closet. Because "sometimes in quilting, you just don't have the right scraps." She gives him a divorce agreement (which says he's a terrible husband)--she's a notary, so it's official. "You're better off without me, I'm better off without you, I just want you to be happy." He says the same and signs. "This is fun to notarize again."

It's official. Friends? And then they start making out. No, seriously, that happened. Then they break it off--see you at the cul-de-sac. Phil turns and says to the balls, "So that's my ex-wife."

So....does anyone think this means Phil might improve from there? I'm thinking from the "I'm gonna have a double date!" previews for next week that...uh, yeah, maybe not.

Anyway, this has been your bitchcap, saving you from watching the episode.
posted by jenfullmoon (13 comments total)
 
Since this is a comedy, no. That's basically the difference between drama and comedy. In drama, Phil would learn something.
posted by Naberius at 8:51 AM on April 13, 2015


Ha - I just wrote up a synopsis and went to hit post, and then Firefox crashed on me, so I know your pain. I am very relieved that you posted this before I had to rewrite it, so thanks for that, jenfullmoon.

This episode was like – well, I'm not sure I can even objectively evaluate it. I enjoyed it! I almost even sort of cheered at one point! But I can't even tell if it's because this was good or because the past bunch of episodes have been so utterly horrifically bad.

Probably the latter, but I'm going to let this one slide. I actually liked this episode.

Naberius: “Since this is a comedy, no. That's basically the difference between drama and comedy. In drama, Phil would learn something.”

Ah, but what happens when characters in a comedy become so boringly awful that no one wants to watch it? What is the threshold? How terrible can characters in a comedy become before they actually really do have to be redeemed before anyone will want to continue being in the audience?

That's the question that "Last Man On Earth" has boldly taken it upon itself to answer.
posted by koeselitz at 8:55 AM on April 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Or – I should say – comedies are based on people doing stupid things, not learning anything, but at least there should be maybe some sort of respite, and generally this is provided by other characters on the show doing some stupid things. I'm guessing that's what we're in for; up to now, Phil was exposed to the bulk of Carol's awful nonsense, so the rest of the group wasn't apparently aware of it. But if her "I hate hussies" speeches to Gail and Erica are any indication, we're going to see more of that now, and people are going to come to see that Phil was a terrible idiot and a liar, but not really that awful a person for not wanting to be Carol's devoted husband. Which – eh? Probably not necessarily a narratively-satisfying turn, but at least some development and some relief from the never-ending Phil-is-a-turd show.
posted by koeselitz at 8:59 AM on April 13, 2015


Since this is a comedy, no. That's basically the difference between drama and comedy. In drama, Phil would learn something.

Yeah, I was saying to my wife that this the fundamental problem with the show - in TV comedy, there is a tendency to prevent the characters from changing. In the case of LMOE the main character has to change, or the show is unwatchable.
posted by nubs at 9:57 AM on April 13, 2015


At this point, I'm guessing that Phil "growing up" was in fact part of the plan all along -- that essentially, Forte saw the first season as a distinct story rather than just Season One Of Eleven, with catchphrases and stock characters who never evolve. I even wonder whether maybe the pace of his change is why Fox decided to do this weird scheduling (the last three episodes of the season will allegedly air over the next three weeks, which puts the airing schedule at 2-1-1-2-2-2-1-1-1) -- if they'd aired them one per week, this "redemption" episode wouldn't have aired for another month, and that's a long time for your title character/creator/viewpoint character to be a dickhole.
posted by Etrigan at 11:16 AM on April 13, 2015


i09's review has a photo of the divorce agreement that suggests that Carol gets all of Phil's stuff. Go, Carol!

This show would be so much better if there were any plots that didn't have to do with Phil. Can't the other characters have B plots that aren't about Phil? That would make this so much more watchable. (Have there even been any B plots that don't involve Phil? I can't think of any.)

I mean, hell, the best scenes have been Melissa and Carol talking. If only they weren't talking about Phil or situations caused by Phil. It's like it's failing some super-secret Triple Bechdel -- every plotline is all about a man, and not just any man... Phil.

I did really like Carol's quilt metaphor, though. "The right scraps" indeed.
posted by pie ninja at 4:27 PM on April 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


(Have there even been any B plots that don't involve Phil? I can't think of any.)

The closest I can think of is the five off-screen seconds it took for Melissa and Todd to get together, but even that was definitely seen through the lens of How Phil Reacts.
posted by Etrigan at 4:33 PM on April 13, 2015


Did Phil give himself a perm when I wasn't paying attention?
posted by ktkt at 12:21 AM on April 14, 2015


Yes, when he was trying to disguise himself as his own twin.

I am listening to the Firewall and Iceberg podcast right now, where they're discussing this. The showrunners are diehard about wanting to do this, unfortunately.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:07 AM on April 14, 2015


Maybe at the end of the season, everyone dies except for Todd. And then he's the intended last man on earth, saving the title of the show from being a bald-faced lie.

Although I think if we've learned anything (and everyone in the show should be asking this question), if five random people can somehow find each other in Tucson, AZ, in a short amount of time, there are probably a ton more people still alive.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:16 AM on April 14, 2015


I'm comfortable thinking that none of these folks has even that good a grasp of statistics.
posted by phearlez at 10:27 AM on April 15, 2015


Although I think if we've learned anything (and everyone in the show should be asking this question), if five random people can somehow find each other in Tucson, AZ, in a short amount of time, there are probably a ton more people still alive.

Phil spent most of a year criss-crossing North America putting up signs saying "ALIVE IN TUCSON." All four of the others have specifically said that they saw those signs and headed toward Tucson. At some point they're going to have to start asking the opposite question -- if anyone else is left, why aren't they in Tucson?
posted by Etrigan at 10:48 AM on April 15, 2015


At some point they're going to have to start asking the opposite question -- if anyone else is left, why aren't they in Tucson?

They couldn't figure out how to siphon gas and get mobile? I dunno, I'm kind of more surprised that Phil DID figure that out.

Phil doesn't seem to have set up any sort of "Welcome to Tucson" center or signs or anything for new arrivals. I figure it's probably only a matter of time before we have someone new show up and say they searched Tucson two years ago and didn't find Phil. (Given the show, that someone will probably be a hot chick who subsequently found another Last Man on Earth and is now unavailable to Phil BECAUSE IRONY.)
posted by pie ninja at 1:10 PM on April 15, 2015


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