Survival of the Averagest

In most apocalyptic scenarios, we often imagine the lucky few to survive as being the toughest, hardest, most disciplined born leaders. Phil Miller is none of these things.

click to enlarge The Last Man on Earth
The Last Man on Earth


n most apocalyptic scenarios, we often imagine the lucky few to survive as being the toughest, hardest, most disciplined born leaders. Phil Miller is none of these things.

As The Last Man on Earth (Season Finale, 9:30 p.m. Sunday, Fox), Phil (played to perfection by Will Forte) has to be one of the most average survivors in all doomsday-related media. After a mysterious virus virtually wipes out the entire human race — no zombies or Mad Max villains here — Phil spends his days binge drinking (sometimes lounging in a kiddie pool filled with tequila) and collecting various artifacts from across the country. He eventually posts up in a mansion in Tucson, Ariz., using a lovely in-ground swimming pool as a toilet.

When it quickly becomes clear that Phil is not actually the only person left on the planet, you might expect him to be on his best behavior, but no. While Phil has his valiant moments, he typically acts selfish, careless and immature — probably not far from how he was pre-apocalypse, which is what makes the show so interesting on top of being hilarious.

Phil’s antics could veer into annoying territory for viewers, but Forte pushes it just far enough, then recoils into this pathetic dude you either relate to or feel the tiniest bit sorry for (“For whom you feel the tiniest bit sorry!” – Carol). Phil Miller — and even the other survivors — proves you don’t need to be a Rick Grimes-type to survive the apocalypse; you just have to treat it like a vacation. Bring on the kiddie pool margarita!


The Casual Vacancy (Series Premiere, 8 p.m., HBO) – J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults gets the miniseries treatment thanks to director Jonny Campbell and writer Sarah Phelps. The story centers on a death in a small English town that pits its residents against one another. Part two follows at 9 p.m.; part three airs at 8 p.m. Thursday.

Modern Family (9 p.m., ABC) – Joe inherits Lily’s princess castle, much to Jay’s chagrin; Mitch and Cam catch the baby bug again; Claire attempts to bribe Luke’s principal.


The Comedians (10 p.m., FX) – Josh and Billy try to overhaul their show when FX delays the premiere.

Louie (10:30 p.m., FX) – Louie’s brother Bobby invites him over; Louie gets beat up by a woman on the street.


Beyond the Tank (Series Premiere, 9 p.m., ABC) – For those who can’t get enough Shark Tank (which airs at 8 p.m.), this new series gives a behind-the-scenes look into businesses that found success on the show — and even some that didn’t get investments.


Saturday Night Live (11:29 p.m., NBC) – Scarlett Johansson hosts; Wiz Khalifa performs.


Game of Thrones (9 p.m., HBO) – The Faith Militant get aggressive; Jaime and Bronn hit the road; meet the Sand Snakes!

Silicon Valley (10 p.m., HBO) – The Pied Piper guys stress over a new hire; Big Head gets a promotion at Hooli; Jared enacts a workplace harassment policy.


Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (Premiere, 9 p.m., HBO) – HBO presents the first fully authorized doc on the Nirvana frontman, complete with interviews from family and bandmates, home-video footage and Cobain’s own art and journals. 


New Girl (Season Finale, 9 p.m., Fox) – Coach moves out, aka Damon Wayans, Jr. leaves the show (for real this time — I think).

Inside Amy Schumer (10:30 p.m., Comedy Central) – A full-episode riff on 12 Angry Men takes Amy in front of an all-male jury debating whether she’s hot enough for TV.

CONTACT JAC KERN: [email protected] or @jackern

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