Emmy episode analysis: Will Forte brings the laughs as ‘The Last Man on Earth’

emmy episode analysis will forte the last man on earth phil miller 13579086

Will Forte has two Emmy nominations this year, including this one as a lead actor and another for writing the pilot episode (“Alice in Tucson”) of Fox’s freshman comedy “The Last Man on Earth.” That episode is also his Emmy submission in the Best Comedy Actor race as the titular Phil Miller, who believes he’s the last living person following a mysterious virus. Forte previously received bids for guest starring on “30 Rock” and as part of the writing staff of “Late Show with David Letterman.”

Click here to see the updated list of all 2015 Emmy episode submissions

Phil Miller traverses the country searching for other living humans after a virus has killed off all of Earth’s population. He eventually settles in Arizona and puts signs up everywhere that say “Alive in Tucson.” After moving into a posh mansion, he prays to God and asks that he send her a woman. Five months later, Phil awakens alone with a hangover, his mansion covered in trash. He goes to a bar where he’s created a dozen or so “friends” out of different types of balls and again mentions how sad he is being alone.

Phil visits his “girlfriend,” a mannequin in the store window, where he soon realizes that he has nothing to live for. So, he attempts to commit suicide by ramming his car into a rock. As he’s barreling toward the end of his life, he notices smoke in the distance. He slams on the brakes just in time, then races over to the campsite where he sees a woman’s clothes hanging to dry. Phil faints when he hears Carol (Kristen Schaal) clear her throat, and then she does mouth-on-mouth in order to wake him up. They introduce themselves as the last man and the last woman on Earth. Can Forte’s hilarious performance win him his first Emmy? Let’s weigh the pros and cons:

Forte. Is. Funny. That’s something many of his competitors can’t say, as Jeffrey Tambor (“Transparent”), William H. Macy (“Shameless”) and Don Cheadle (“House of Lies”) all hail from dramedies.

Thanks to the concept of the show’s pilot, Forte appears in every single moment of the episode and gets to show incredible range, from silly to suicidal.

The fact that Forte also wrote this pilot episode should give him extra credit points.

The Last Man on Earth” may simply be too high-concept for the older, conservative members of the TV Academy to embrace.

Forte is on a brand new show and it’s always a question mark whether the Emmys want to honor freshmen series over established favorites.

The character of Phil is rather selfish and polarizing — some fans love him and others are annoyed by him.

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Photo Credit: Jordin Althaus/FOX

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