There was one laughable joke in “Point Person Knows Best,” what one would anticipate would be a pivotal episode of THE LAST MAN ON EARTH.
The joke was a reference to Michael Jackson’s “The Girl is Mine.” Maybe that’s me – I’m a sucker for that song, a popcorn classic with smooth vocals and flawless instrumentation from the band Toto. But I didn’t laugh at anything else. That’s not good for an episode that really bungled its premise.
Here’s the premise of “Point Person Knows Best”: There’s another person alive on Earth. And that person is a child. Who isn’t speaking.
So, here’s an idea: Let’s waste an entire plot on Tandy’s attempt to have a relationship with the kid.
Yup, it’s a Tandy episode, with Will Forte acting like the dumbest, most clueless version of his character, if that’s even possible at this point. He assumes control of the kid (which he names Jasper) and tries to bond with him (with a swimming pool filled with sundae ingredients, with Gary), but Jasper knows better and refuses every lame attempt. Every refusal sends Tandy into a tizzy – rinse, lather, repeat.
The most symbolic moment comes early in the final act of the episode, where after luring Jasper with cigarettes in order to act nice, Tandy attempts a fist bump with the new kid. But Jasper just stares at him, a bored and annoyed look across his face.
Yeah, we’re all Jasper, just freaking tired of Tandy chewing the scenery and taking the intelligence out of this show.
Just as bad is the writing staff basically wasted this really important premise. Again: There’s another person alive on Earth. And that person is a child.
Seriously, why do Erica, Todd and Gail allow Tandy to simply assume control of Jasper? Where’s the conflict between the adults? What about his origin story? Why aren’t they sad for the kid? All things that could’ve been tackled instead of a throwaway Tandy story about him wanting to be a good father figure. And he won’t be. We know that. The guy can’t even let Jasper spend one night holding onto Gary.
Jasper finally ends up with Erica (thank God – the Cleopatra Coleman line watch is still on), but did we really need to get there through Tandy? I don’t think so.
Meanwhile we get a similarly weak story on the B side, as Carol grows worried (and angry) about Todd putting his hand on Gail’s shoulder. There’s very little to this plot, only that Todd and Gail have a history and Carol (I guess because she’s Gail’s surrogate daughter?) decides Gail shouldn’t be shacking back up with Todd.
But they aren’t. Really, there was one nice moment between them last week after Todd better understood Gail’s elevator plight, but it’s nothing on which to build some cockamamie story about jealousy. It’s more than a stretch, and worse, it’s just not interesting. Carol has a couple monologues about how people become lovers, but they’re pretty standard Carol fare.
Worse than this, season MVP January Jones is reduced to looking weird and making a couple facial reactions (since Melissa is hopped up on drugs). She’s the best character going right now, and we’re getting very little actual character these days.
Moreover there’s some questionable direction (like the camera zooming in on an angry Carol) that only pulls the plot further into cartoon land.
And that’s basically the problem with “Point Person Knows Best.” Our two stories spotlight Tandy and Carol, and both are overly goofy despite the very important and real things facing our group (like, you know, there’s another person on Earth … and that person is a child).
“Point Person Knows Best” is The Last Man on Earth at its worst. Little happens. Good characters are pushed aside. It’s too goofy. We learn nothing. Worse yet, the jokes aren’t funny.
Season 3, Episode 14 (S03E14)
The Last Man on Earth airs Sundays at 9:30 PM on Fox
Timothy, who grew up on The Golden Girls and Seinfeld, writes regularly about entertainment, arts and lifestyles for a number of publications.
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Timothy Malcolm | Contributor