The apocalypse as comedy, #TheLastManOnEarth, and plot holes

Who knew the decimation of mankind could be so quirky and amusing? If you haven’t seen it, The Last Man on Earth is a sitcom airing on Fox on Sunday nights.

Phil Miller finds himself alone and lonely after a virus wipes everyone else off the planet. For a year, he drives around the U.S. in his RV searching for signs of intelligent life, before holing up in Tucson, Ariz. In a stroke of foresight, he spray paints on a billboard, “Alive in Tucson” in case somebody happened to survive.

He’s on the verge of committing suicide out of loneliness and despair when he spots another human being–a quirky, maddening woman named Carol. Wouldn’t you know the two remaining people on earth can’t stand each other!

But Phil is desperate to get laid, and Carol sees it as their duty to repopulate the planet, so they get married (Carol won’t have sex unless they’re married). The nuptials are no sooner complete and the marriage consummated when Melissa arrives, having seen Phil’s billboard. Sweet and sexy, she is everything Phil would have wanted–and still wants. Only he’s attached to Carol. And the ball-and-chain won’t let him forget it.

Thus goes Phil’s life. Everytime he thinks he’s got something worked out, he gets thrown a curve ball. It’s hard to feel sorry him, because the guy is basically a jerk. Not a horrible person, just a run-of-the-mill lying sleazebag.

One by one, survivors, having seen the billboard, straggle into Tucson and change the dynamic. As of last Sunday’s show there were seven people.

Like Carol’s personality, The Last Man on Earth is quirky and interesting. Not riotously funny, but certainly amusing and entertaining. The story has what I would call a “narrow focus” — it shows you only what occurs in this small area of Tucson where seven people have congregated. It doesn’t concern itself with the bigger picture.

And therein lies the rub–it leaves open a lot of questions.  The largest plot hole, big enough to drive bus though, is:

Where the hell are all the bodies?

The virus has wiped out nearly everyone on the entire planet. In the US, that means that more than 300 million people have died–yet on the show, the streets are devoid of bodies. After a year, while there may not be rotting corpses anymore, there would be bones. Lot of bones. Why do the characters not run into dead people?

Which leads to other inconsistencies:

2. What about animals? Other than a lone cow (which I’ll address soon), there are no animals. No dogs, no cats, no squirrels, birds, coyotes, rats. Did the virus wipe out all animal life? If you were the last man on earth, wouldn’t you adopt a dog if you could?

3. Several episodes ago, the characters found a cow, which they’ve using for milk, cheese, and ice cream. For brevity, I won’t go into the reasons why, but Carol leads the cow upstairs (supposedly cows can ascend stairs, but can’t descend). So the cow lives in an upstairs bedroom. What about all the cow poop??? Is somebody cleaning up? Doesn’t Carol’s house smell? And is anybody feeding and watering the cow?

4. It’s a comedy. I get that. And it’s been a year since the virus struck and everyone died. But shouldn’t the characters mourn lost loved ones at least a little? Phil’s despair in the first episode was more a result of loneliness than missing or mourning anyone specific. None of the characters talk about deceased spouses, children, parents, friends, etc.

5. There are no stranded cars ; the streets and highways are wide open.
Grocery stores do not reek of spoiled food. Everyone who died apparently left their homes in perfect condition despite having been ill.

6. Phil and Carol live in separate houses. He breaks her door, and although he promises to fix it, he never does. She continues to gripe about it. Why doesn’t she move to another house? She can have her pick!

Perhaps it’s my author mind at work, but the inconsistencies continue to crop up as I watch the show. Despite that, I  enjoy it, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with the new wrench the writers thrown — the addition of a male hottie!

I think Sunday is the last (or second to last) show of the season, but if you want to catch it, it airs at 9:30/8:30 central. I hear it’s been renewed for a new season.



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2 Responses to The apocalypse as comedy, #TheLastManOnEarth, and plot holes

  1. Matthew Bigelow says:

    Here is another inconsistency. After Karl is blown up, Tandy turns around to see Karl blown apart body.
    In the next episode, Karl’s blood and guts are shown all over Tandy’s back. However, those guts and that blood were not seen on Tandy’s back immediately after Karl died.

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