Falling In Love With the Condemned: Discovering "Enlisted"

Enlisted high jinks

Enlisted high jinks

By Sean Tuohy

One day you find the love of your life. He or she has everything you want: brains, looks, and humor. Your friends like him or her and your parents do too.

Perfect, ah?

Well, how about if one day you have to watch him or her get whacked in half by an ax-wielding mad man with too much money. That's exactly what it felt like when I discovered the FOX sitcom “Enlisted.” I fell deeply in love with the show and they canceled it. I finally opened my heart to a new show only to have it smashed to a million pieces. FOX is like a husband in a Lifetime movie. One moment he’s loving and great, giving me great gifts, and telling me I look good in that dress, and the next minute he’s beating me with a broom stick in the bathroom.

To quote Backstreet Boys, quit playing games with my heart, FOX.

Falling in Love

If you haven't seen “Enlisted,” you're missing out on one of the most original comedies to come out this past season. For some reason, FOX decided to bury the show on Friday nights with no lead in. The show followed three brothers who were stationed on the same Army base in Florida. Staff Sergeant Pete Hill—who is played by tons of fun Geoff Stults (not a fat joke)—returns from Afghanistan after punching out a superior officer and placed in charge of a misfit platoon of soldiers.

So the plot line doesn't sound like anything new—we've all see military-based comedies before—but “Enlisted” stands out because of its wit, characters, and, most of all, its heart. It was really easy to fall for the characters that populated the show's world. You rooted for them because they seemed like real people. The jokes were well developed, so you could tell that the writers had fun crafting each line of dialogue. But what really got me was the fact that Peter Hill was dealing with PTSD and that weakness was something that the show was exploring. Given enough time “Enlisted” could have gone to great places with these characters and, because the show was so well written, the audience would have gone with them.

Mad Ax Men

FOX canceled the show because of low ratings. Why did the show get low ratings? Because FOX threw it in to the Friday night death spot. This is not the first time Fox has done this to a good television show. Christopher Titus’ award-winning show “Titus” was all but forgotten by FOX during its third and final season. FOX isn't the only one to employ these tactics, however, FOX seems to act like some an even crazier version of a Roman emperor when it comes to its television shows. If you read Matt DiVenere's piece on the canceled “ Surviving Jack," you see that FOX once again did not give a show a chance before axing it. I don’t work in television, so I am not going to tell FOX what to do, but I would hope that they will see the error in their ways and allow their next batch of freshman shows the chance to grow before cancelling them.

Sad Sean

I discovered "Enlisted" on a boring Sunday and need some background noise. Five minutes later, I was hooked. Something about the writing caught my ear. Writers—well, most writers—know good dialogue when they hear it and I heard plenty of it with "Enlisted." It first comedy since "30 Rock" to make me laugh out loud and truly love the characters. I was on cloud nine with my new show and then I found out that it had been cancelled. Did I treated this the same way I treat all heartbreak? By crying in the shower while eating a candy bar? No, this time I held in my tears and decided to let the writers of "Enlisted" know that they had done a great job via Twitter and then I cried. 

I could sit here and bitch and moan about how FOX screwed a great show (Wait, I kind of just did that) or I could tell you to go watch "Enlisted" by any means necessary because you are going to discover a great show.

I'll be ready with candy bars when you finish.