This past week, Fox's new comedy series "The Last Man on Earth" established its as one of TV's most unique new shows, "SNL" and "Fifty Shades of Grey" star Dakota Johnson outraged viewers with a very funny ISIS skit, the trailer for season 6 of "Community" claims that the age of Yahoo! is here and Netflix has announced premiere dates for a few summer shows that will be binge watched.
If you're still mad about that "SNL" skit, you might be cheered up by the news that "Dancing With The Stars" siblings Derek and Julianne Hough will be in Milwaukee in July. If that doesn't help, then I really can't help you.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for "The Last Man On Earth." Proceed with caution.
1. Fox's "The Last Man On Earth" is already one of a kind
There's nothing quite like "The Last Man On Earth" on television. When it premiered on Fox this past Sunday, it became its own in terms of both its plot and humor with bleakness slid underneath.
I didn't know what quite to expect before I watched the first two episodes, titled "Alive in Tucson" and "The Elephant In The Room." With Will Forte ("Nebraska") in the lead and "The Lego Movie" directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller at the helm, I had an idea that the show was going to be zany and funny. As it became clear when watching the first episode, zany isn't even the right word to use. It's bizarre, sad, hilarious and engaging all at the same time. Props to Fox for not only taking on a high-concept comedy, but also blending in the comedy with material that's pretty bleak.
"Alive In Tucson" introduces us to Phil Miller as he navigates an empty world, searching for any other survivors of an unknown virus that had wiped out humanity in the year 2020. Now, in 2021, Miller drives a large RV, marking off different states and territories on a large map that he has visited searching for another living person. He questions through a loudspeaker hoping that someone will eventually respond, but the only response he gets is silence. After having no luck on his desperate quest, it soon starts to sink in that he's all alone and with this realization, the episode hones in on Forte's singular, physical performance.
As the last man on earth – as far as he knows – he embraces his new life by doing things that the old world would've never allowed him to do. For the first few minutes of the episode, all of this is very fun for him and, in turn, we have fun watching him.
He breaks in and sets up his new home inside of a house that he would've never been able to afford before. He steals billions of dollars worth of famous paintings, a T-Rex skull, the eagle rug from the Oval Office and countless other things. As he watches "Cast Away," he even wears Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls jersey and yells at the Tom Hanks on screen, "Balls aren't people, dude. Balls are for fun, man." He proves this by standing in a suit of armor while tennis balls shoot out of a machine, hitting him repeatedly. He takes every single hit.
These aren't the only hijinks he gets into. He tosses bowling balls at lamps and stacked fish tanks in a parking lot and crashes a car into another to just see the wreckage. He also manages to not care about his diet; resorting to eating Twinkies off his fingers, canned foods and even going as far as to spraying some canned cheese into a glass of expensive wine.
He's essentially a big kid, and the empty world is his giant playground.
As he keeps living on, he keeps holding out a slice of hope that either he will find someone or someone else will find him. He starts to ache for any kind of communication. At first, he hopelessly prays to God, at first apologizing for "all the recent masturbation," only to say, "But that's on you." But then starts to pray as if he just wants to start to talk to someone. He eventually gets angry, shouting to God, "I don't need people! I'm gonna be just fine!" as if he thinks God is playing some sort of sick joke on him.
Five months later, Miller has transformed from a big kid in a giant playground to an emotionally destroyed, hopeless alcoholic who lives in his own filth. His beard is even more out of control than it was when we were first introduced to him. He's in complete despair, exhausted from his own hopeful efforts. He emerges from the trash heaps of empty bottles that surround him in his home and attempts to keep himself occupied. He fills a kiddie pool with margarita mix, pours salt around the rim and lies in it in a dreary, dazed state.
Five months earlier, he claimed that balls aren't people; now, he's given balls names as if they're pals. He walks into a bar for a whiskey fix, and all the balls are inside, organized in different spots. He asks each of them if they want a drink of whiskey, but to his own imagination, they all decline his offer. He looks at Jerry, an deflated football, and says, "It looks like you lost a little weight. What have you been doing? Exercising and skipping carbs? Well, whatever you're doing, keep it up." His interactions, just like Tom Hanks in "Cast Away," are both hilarious and sad.
This sadness, however, is perfected by Forte, who exemplifies a man at peril, slowly breaking down until his inevitable breaking point. This breaking point eventually does come toward the end of "Alive In Tucson," when he, along with his volleyball pal Gary, pulls up to a storefront with a female mannequin in the window he's had his eye on for awhile. He shyly and nervously approaches the mannequin as if it's a real woman and elicits a conversation. He attempts to kiss the mannequin, going as far as to apologizing for being so forward, before mistakenly removing her arm. The moment packs a punch, as he stands there, realizing that the mannequin isn't a woman and either by embarrassment or by more loss of hope, he looks up and tells God, "You win."
Then he prepares to commit suicide by driving full force in his truck into a giant boulder with a target on it. As the last man on earth, he prepares to go out in a blaze of glory.
It's a relief when he doesn't go through with the plan, slamming on the brakes instead of crashing into the rock, as he notices smoke in the distance. The first sign of life he's seen for a long, long time. He pulls up to a campsite and on a clothesline is a bra. He leaps over like a creep, unhooks it and buries it in his face. He's been looking for a real live woman for so long. When he hears a woman's voice, he passes out.
As "The Elephant in the Room" begins, he's awoken by a beautiful woman (portrayed by Alexandra Daddario). As they embrace each other and start to kiss, she cradles his head and they sing the "Ghostbusters" theme song.
He soon realizes that his mind has been playing tricks on him, and the woman is actually Kristen Schaal's Carol, who immediately doesn't trust Phil. He's disappointed that Carol doesn't look anything like his dream girl, making him seem very shallow when he's been pining for a woman for a long time. They are repulsed by each other and their issues.
She doesn't care for his slobbish lifestyle amongst his trash and using the pool in his backyard instead of his toilet. She nags and questions why he doesn't follow laws and the rules. She corrects his grammar and flips out when he runs through a stop sign or takes up a handicap parking spot. He doesn't like her constant nagging and complaining, and instead of trying to be civilized as the last two people on earth for all we know, they bicker back and forth as if they're a married couple who are becoming sick of each other.
Essential questions begin to arise such as why are they the only two left? Carol questions this as if they've been chosen for a purpose so they can repopulate the new world. As the "Elephant In The Room" ends, we're still left with a lot of unanswered questions. The show could've easily turned this into a sappy romance right away by having the two characters take a liking to each other right away. Phil Lord and Chris Miller, thankfully, both offer a fresher take for the show by having Phil and Carol dislike each other. Who knows how much longevity this show will have, but as of right now, it has earned its spot as one of the most bizarre, hilarious and sad shows on TV with Forte on top of his game.
2. Funny ISIS skit on "Saturday Night Live" (unsurprisingly) causes controversy
This past weekend on "SNL," host Dakota Johnson graduated from high school and was dropped off at the airport by her teary-eyed father (played by Taran Killiam) to join ISIS as a truck full of gunmen pull up behind them. As he tearfully said goodbye, she says to him with an assuring smile, "Dad, it's just ISIS."
The sketch is a parody of this Toyota Camry commercial, in which a father drops his daughter off at the airport on her way to join the U.S. military. I actually found this parody to be quite funny and, yes, bold. Many people, however, disagree with me.
People flocked to Twitter to tweet their outrage with comments like, "Dear #SNL, jokes about ISIS are not funny. See how much you laugh when you have to see your loved one(s) being slaughtered. No respect." and "When you have loved ones being slaughtered by ISIS, the #SNL skit doesn't seem so funny. Absolutely disgusting." There was more outrage, but if I had to post everything that has been said about the skit, this article will be very, very long, and you'd just get bored.
If "SNL" openly mocked the victims, then yes, the outrage would be justified here but they're not. I just think it's fifty shades of ridiculousness that we live in a such a sensitive society when even blatant parody and satire sparks as much outrage as this skit did. It should be encouraged to poke fun at evil, not to back down and let ourselves continue to be terrorized.
After all, satire has been used before in similar terror-filled contexts. Ernst Lubitsch, Charlie Chaplin and even the Three Stooges had no worries mocking Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. Most recently, James Franco and Seth Rogen garnered controversy and nearly started a war with their bro-com "The Interview" because of their depiction of Kim Jong-Un and North Korea.
So, let me state this: Bravo, "SNL." You made me laugh and thank you for not continuously playing it safe.
3. Trailer for "Community" season 6 has arrived
Even though three of the original cast members – Chevy Chase, Donald Glover and Yvette Nicole Brown – left the show, creator Dan Harmon temporarily left and then came back, and NBC took it out back to put it out of its misery, "Community" is a show that still hasn't died and shows no signs of doing so.
With Yahoo! picking it up and the trailer for the new season now online, "Community" looks like it may have a little life in it to keep going – at least for a little while longer until we, the audience, finally decide to let it go and live on with re-runs (I mean, after all, the majority of the show's brilliance remains in the first three seasons anyways).
The trailer shows it's still not holding back from referencing movies, TV show and anything else that fits into popular culture. The trailer riffs on the teaser for Marvel's "The Avengers: Age of Ultron" while throwing in quick references, flat one-liners, winking self-aware nods, as well as some new faces to Greendale Community College like Frankie Dart or "New Shirley" (Paget Brewster of "Criminal Minds") and Elroy Patashnik (Keith David).
There are some who think "Community" has overstayed its welcome, and it needed to stay cancelled. For a little bit, I was almost convinced of that to be true. The last season showed promise during the first half, but then fizzled out by the end, which often left me bored with its shenanigans. Hopefully this won't end up being the same. If so, then maybe "Community" should just realize it won't fulfill its prophecy of seven seasons and a movie after all.
Season six of "Community" premieres on Yahoo! Screen on Tuesday, March 17.
4. Netflix has announced streaming dates for "Orange is the New Black," "Wet Hot American Summer: First Day at Camp" and "Sense8"
Netflix has confirmed that I will be binge watching at least two seasons of shows this summer, which I'm totally okay with. With season three of "House of Cards" already streaming and "Daredevil" set to premiere next month, the company is wasting no time in setting the calendar through the summer.
Starting on June 5, Andy and Lana Wachowski's "Sense8" will start streaming. The following week, season three of "Orange is the New Black" will finally show up. If you're not like me – who'll probably binge watch both of those seasons in under a week – you'll have a little over a month to catch up before the debut of "Wet Hot American Summer: First Day At Camp," which will premiere on July 17.
Like most people, besides those directly involved with the show, I have absolutely no idea what to expect of "Sense8." All I know as of right now is that the sci-fi drama follows eight characters around the world who, following a tragic death, find themselves linked to each other both mentally and emotionally. The series is from the minds of Andy and Lana Wachowski, whose most recent film "Jupiter Ascending" and most of their work before that makes me think that this will be a heaping pile of nonsensical sci-fi malarky. I'll at least wait to watch the trailer first, though.
"Orange is the New Black" and "Wet Hot American Summer: First Day At Camp," however, are two shows that I'll for sure be binging with hopefully no regrets. I'm curious to see what direction Piper (Taylor Schilling) and the rest of the inmates go to following the events of season two. This season, which will have one more episode than the last two, surprisingly will not feature Larry (Jason Biggs), so maybe this means more time spent on the complicated relationship between Piper and Alex? We'll just have to wait until we're back behind prison walls to find out.
It's my sincere hope that "Wet Hot American Summer: First Day At Camp" is going to be a welcome return to Camp Firewood. As the title suggests, this series will be a prequel to the 2001 movie in which it's based on and will feature the majority of the original cast such as Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, Michael Ian Black, Janeane Garofalo, Paul Rudd, Ken Marino, Christopher Meloni, David Hyde Pierce, Molly Shannon, Michael Schowalter, and Joe Lo Trugilo. Newcomers to camp are Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm, Chris Pine, Jason Schwartzman, Lake Bell and Jordan Peele.
The best part about all of this? Everyone from the original cast are reprising the same characters that they portrayed in the movie, but as the movie was about the last day of camp, the series will focus on the first day of camp during the same summer. Thankfully, writer and director David Wain is behind this so all should be fine. My only worry is that with only eight episodes in the season and with seemingly dozens of characters, there may not be much time to be spend with a lot of them. Regardless, it should be a lot of fun either way.
5. "Dancing With The Stars" siblings Derek and Julianna Hough coming to Milwaukee
Here's something to grab your attention, "Dancing With The Stars" fans. Swinging and grooving siblings Derek and Julianne Hough will be hitting the road again for their new Move Live Tour 2015, and one of their stops will be Milwaukee's Riverside Theater on Sunday, July 19 at 7 p.m.
The show will feature a brand new stage production to showcase the fresh and exciting choreography that spans across a multitude of different dance styles. The pair will be joined by the Move Company Dancers, and they'll also be working their vocal chords with live performances to mix in with the dancing.
"We had such a fun and high energy show last year," Julianne Hough said in a statement. "It was amazing to see such a great reaction from our fans the first time, and we can't wait 'til they see what we have up our sleeves now. Our goal then, and our goal now is to have it feel like a rock concert for dance, and I think we have and certainly will accomplish that again."
Derek Hough added, "Our fans haven't stopped asking when we would go back out on the road so we are excited to be able to tell them that because of their support and demand, we are headed out again to bring them a new and exciting show."
Tickets for the show will be going on sale this Friday, March 6. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to the tour's website.
Colton Dunham's passion for movies began back as far as he can remember. Before he reached double digits in age, he stayed up on Saturday nights and watched numerous classic horror movies with his grandfather. Eventually, he branched out to other genres and the passion grew to what it is today.
Only this time, he's writing about his response to each movie he sees, whether it's a review for a website, or a short, 140-character review on Twitter. When he's not inside of a movie theater, at home binge watching a television show, or bragging that he's a published author, he's pursuing to keep movies a huge part of his life, whether it's as a journalist/critic or, ahem, a screenwriter.