Comedy pilots are usually pretty hit or miss. The problem is that comedy is so subjective and writers try to show that their show is unique and quirky (I’m looking at you Zooey Deschanel.) However, for the first time this season, and last season to be honest, I actually enjoyed a pilot.
Enlisted is Fox’s newest addition to its new line of comedies this season that included a very promising Brooklyn Nine-Nine and the highly offensive “laugh because you’re uncomfortable” Dads. What makes Enlisted different from these two entries is the simplest of elements. The characters.
There is no doubting that Brooklyn Nine-Nine is hilarious and well-written, but it lacks the well-developed characters that Enlisted has. I’m confident that Brooklyn Nine-Nine will find its footing, but Kevin Biegel (co-creator of Cougar Town) is already miles ahead with Enlisted.
Staff Sergeant Pete Hill (Geoff Stults) is a disgraced and demoted army officer who after punching his superior is sent Fort McGee, an army base where he is assigned to rear detachment. Essentially he is sent to the bottom of the army ladder. To make matters worse, both of his brothers Derrick Hill and Randy Hill are in his platoon. Pete must deal with his band of misfits platoon, while maintaining and bettering his relationship with his brothers.
Each of the three brothers and actors have created such diverse characters that contribute to the success of the series. The best part is that they all fall under stereotypical comedy characters. Pete is the skilled, overachieving brother. Derrick is the straight, by the rules brother, and Randy is the dimwitted follower brother. Their personalities can be summed up by one scene in the beginning of the episode. As their father left each brother responds differently
Pete: “Yes sir”
Randy: “Bring me back something.”
It’s their bond and relationship that drives the series. It’s their interactions that drive the series. However, you can’t denying the smart writing and supporting performances, especially that of Keith David. The veteran actor portrays Sergeant Major Donald Cody, the head of the platoon, who, after stepping on a landline, wears a white prothetic leg because black doesn’t come in his size.
I personally loved Enlisted and laughed out loud several times and in the end, there is a lot of heart. Whether you find it as hilarious as I did is up to you, but it’s definitely worth an episode, or two, or twenty.
Enlisted airs on Fridays at 9:30PM on Fox.