**Contains spoilers for the pilot episode of The Last Man on Earth**
You had me at “Chinese hello.”
In a sitcom landscape populated with crowded ensembles and overused concepts, here comes Phil Miller, the last man on earth.
The Last Man on Earth starts around two years after some unexplained catastrophe hit earth. Phil Miller (Will Forte) travels the country looking for another human alive, but to no avail. He settles down in his hometown of Tucson, Arizona, and tries to survive on his own. He does, but he’s going pretty crazy.
The loneliness is getting to him. In one of the best scenes of the pilot, Phil decided it’s time to off himself. It’s surprisingly heartbreaking for a sitcom, even if we know he’s not going through with it. With confidence, The Last Man showed the audience that it’s not afraid to get dramatic.
It’s a sad concept if you think it through. That would be true lonliness. That’s why we immediately sympathize with Phil, and we want him to find another human.
And find one he does. Carol Pilbasian (Kristen Schaal) is everything Phil did not want to find in a partner. She’s corrective, annoying, and hilarious.
What I love about The Last Man is that in this wholly original concept, it finds it’s way back to sitcom tropes. The relationship between Phil and Carol is similar to many marriages in older sitcoms, with a nagging wife and the slacker husband. But here we have a whole new spin on things. They’ve got to get along or die alone. It’s pretty black and white.
The concept drew me in, but it didn’t stop there. The visual comedy is some of the best on TV right now. Sight gags and funny cuts are used heavily, separating it from many of the dialogue driven sitcoms that are so prevalent (not that those are bad, mind you).
The Last Man on Earth has an immediately intriguing premise and pitch-perfect comedy, with two stars that we can’t help but root for. As long as Forte and director/producers Phil Lord & Chris Miller have a long-lasting plan for the series, The Last Man on Earth will be well worth tuning into for years to come.