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Phil and Carol struggle with infertility while Todd juggles the rest of the women in the house.

 

Season 2, Episode 13 “Fish in the Dish”

For me, Last Man on Earth’s weakest episodes have always been the ones that revolve around their sexual misadventures, and this week proved no exception. What felt like a mish-mash of B-stories was saved by a couple of great sight-gags and a delightful twist ending that’s still got me laughing now.

 

Carol, desperate for a baby after six months of trying, and feeling a particular sense of urgency after Phil’s sudden demise, asks her Phil (still referred to as Tandy in the show) to take a fertility test. She’s upset by his porn habits, so she creates a book of empowered women and gives him a masterbation den furnished with pictures of strong women throughout history, including Billy Jean King and Janet Reno. Despite her “best” efforts, Phil’s tests keep coming back negative. Thinking that it’s because of an expired test, Phil gets Todd to loan him a sperm sample. But Todd’s sperm are just fine. Of course, Phil lies about it, because that is what he does, and of course he comes clean by the end, because even our most original sitcoms must solve everything in 22-minutes.

 

 

Todd, meanwhile, is having a sex marathon running between Gail and Melissa’s rooms. Every time he tries to tell the truth, he’s seduced yet again. Erica then asks him to father her child in place of the deceased Phil, and Todd kisses her as well. After taking a turn on the jetski, he comes clean to the ladies on the beach, just as Tandy is making his confession as well. Todd, though, tries to turn this situation in his favor, asking the ladies why they can’t all just continue as-is, but honestly.

 

Before they can react with any disgust beyond Gail’s most excellent face, Carol notices a man running down the beach. It’s Phil’s brother, Mike, Phil runs toward him, clearly emotional. Mike opens his arms to hug him, but rather than fall into his embrace, Phil socks him in the nuts.

This was the perfect ending to an otherwise middling episode, treading ground we’ve already gone over. While it’s fascinating to see infertility addressed in a comedy, especially because it’s so stigmatized, it almost feels too late. Carol’s feelings of jealousy toward Erica have never been explored to meet their obvious comedic potential. It should have been her episode. There’s a great visual gag where, after seeing Phil’s positive fertility test, she gives herself acupuncture, hoping to boost her own babymaking ability, and she uses push-pins. Of course she bleeds, and in the next scene on the beach, her collar is spotted red. It’s hilarious, subtle, and the sort of unpredictable wackiness that Phil’s constant stream of lies have lost.

 

That being said, even at it’s most predictable, Last Man on Earth has such a great cast and a team of writers capable of delivering some great dialogue, keeping it afloat even in a filler episode. I do wish Melissa had more to do — January Jones is so funny, and her character could and should be more of a foil to Phil, since they both frequently act from selfish places. Similarly, i think Erica has been tragically underwritten through the whole series. Pregnancy is as weird and uncomfortable as this show, and I wish they’d explore that more. Mike will be a welcome addition to the cast. Hopefully, a more attractive Miller man with the pedigree of an astronaut will make the frequent madcap sex adventures upon which the writers seem to insist a little more fraught.

 

Directed By: Jared Hess

Produced By: Andy Bobrow, Will Forte, Phil Lord, Chris Miller, Chris Plourde, Liz Cackowski, Erik Durbin, Tim McAuliff, John Solomon, Emily Spivey, Steve Burgess, Erica Rivinoja, Seth Cohen

Written By: Liz Cackowski

Starring: Will Forte, Kristen Schaal, January Jones, Cleopatra Coleman, Mel Rodriguez, Mary Steenburgen, Boris Kodjoe, Jason Sudeikis

Network: Fox

Release Date: April 3, 2016

Runtime: 22 minutes

Rating: N/A

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