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The Last Man on Earth
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Last Man on Earth is a dark comedy about a man who believes he's alone on the planet after a virus devastates the human population. Our protagonist, Phil, drinks frequently and to excess, at one point filling up a baby pool with vodka and salting the pool's rim. Mild cursing: "What the hell are you doing?" and "Dammit." Frequent sex jokes, such as the protagonist stocking up on adult magazines for masturbation. There's a bit of violence, from exploding cars to guns breaking glass. At one point Phil attempts suicide, pushed to the brink by loneliness, boredom, and despair. But the most vexing issue for parents may be the dark, uncomfortable issues raised by the show's premise.
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What's the story?
Two years ago, an unnamed virus killed everyone on earth -- almost. As far as he knows, Phil Miller (Will Forte) is THE LAST MAN ON EARTH since his nationwide bus tour failed to uncover any other signs of life. At first, he watches Tom Hanks in Cast Away and scoffs; he'll never wind up talking to a ball. And at first he keeps busy figuring out how to play tennis with himself and rigging cars to explode. But after a few years of solitude, the company of some balls with drawn-on faces starts sounding much more appealing. Then Phil makes a discovery that will change everything.
Is it any good?
Who hasn't pictured a scenario in which everyone else on earth disappears, leaving all the world's stuff for our picking? We'd live in the fanciest house, drink the wine of kings, and do nothing but watch movies all day long. It's fun to watch Phil testing the waters of his new world. He takes what he likes from the grocery store, parks in the handicapped spot, and, pushing it even further, turns his living room into a sea of garbage and his swimming pool into a toilet. Why not?
But it's when Phil's life takes an existential turn -- we won't spoil it -- that things get even darker, and we realize what this show is really about: Wiping out humanity doesn't improve upon human nature. It's hard to imagine how The Last Man on Earth can sustain itself on its apocalyptic scenario -- unlike other after-the-fall dramas such as The Walking Dead or The Last Ship, there's no colorful foe to fight against. But with its absurdist slant and fresh talent, it'll be fun watching The Last Man on Earth try.