I was late to jump on the bandwagon with Enlisted, the Fox show created by Kevin Biegel, and for that I am regretful. I let the episodes build up in my Hulu queue while I finished out the seasons of the other shows that I had fallen hopelessly behind on. Then, over the past two days I watched all 13 episodes. Despite my best attempts to not get too attached to the characters (knowing that the show was cancelled by Fox), I became hopelessly involved in the relationship between the Hill brothers, and I am walking away from the show having a much higher standard for storytelling in half hour comedies.
Not only is Enlisted perfect in its comedic depiction of family relationships through Pete, Randy, and Derrick Hill, but it also creates a heartwarming and hilarious underdog story about the soldiers in a Rear Detachment unit of the army. The show succeeds on the merit of its story about the oldest Hill brother, Pete (the perfect Army hero) being demoted to the Rear Detachment unit in Florida with his brothers: the sarcastic middle child, Derrick and the emotional, shark-loving Randy. They are joined by the rest of the unit: a colorful cast of quirky characters that rival the ensembles of shows like The Office and Parks and Rec.
The series is filled with poignant moments, like when Randy throws Pete a “silent” trailer warming party, or the unit marches in the base parade as the cleanup crew. There are smile inducing hand-on-head “hugs” and great moments of teamwork among the unit. But in the end, what makes Enlisted so strong is its ability to portray a particular group of people in a comedic way without taking away any of the integrity of what they do. Yes, the unit is portrayed as a group of (at times) pathetic soldiers, who in the eyes of the system have “failed”. But on the other hand, the writers of the show always make sure to pepper the episodes with moments that demonstrate the importance of the unit and the hard work that they are doing at home in order to support the troops abroad. While these characters may not be up to par as soldiers, the show effectively portrays them as good people that everyone can relate to in one way or another.
I truly hope that Fox (or another network) can see the need to give this perfect little show a little more time to shine, and give it another season.