The Last Man on Earth explains everything. But he’s too stupid, too infantile, and too self-centered, to know it. Which is exactly why he explains everything.
1. He enjoys knocking things over, breaking things, destroying things.
He rams his grocery cart into a pyramid of cans. He rolls bowling balls into a row of aquariums. (1) Apparently delighted to hear the smash. His reaction to blowing up one car with another is orgasmic. What does that tell us? Destroying things gives men pleasure.
2. He wantonly pollutes the water. That is to say, he does not use resources responsibly. And that is to say, he exhibits extremely short-sighted thinking.
He uses a swimming pool for a toilet. (2) A metaphor if there ever was one. In more ways than one. (In addition to the despoiling of resources, it shows us how full of shit he is.) (And that he is, quite literally, an asshole.)
He does this, perhaps, because he figures he can just move into a new house whenever he’s finished wrecking the one he’s in. (3) Again, such a metaphor. (We’ve used up our own water and oil, so let’s go to someone else’s country and use up theirs.) (And when we’ve used up Earth, we’ll go live on the Moon.)
Is it that, like other infants, Phil doesn’t understand “All gone!”? (4)
Is it that he lacks the ability to imagine the long-term consequences of his behaviour?
And does he really think he’s the only one left? What a special little snowflake he is. Sure, he drove all over the country. Calling out from an RV. Real thorough. Apparently, he didn’t consider the possibility that someone might be alive, but hurt or in other need of help that would require him to actually get out of the RV and walk around a bit.
But that’s Phil. He thinks the world is all about him now. (Actually, he’s probably thought that all along.)
3. He doesn’t really do much else.
Well, he eats a lot of junk food. And drinks a lot of alcohol. And
4. He thinks about himself.
He thinks about how lonely he is. Which may seem paradoxical, given how incapable he is of thinking about other people. But he’s incapable of thinking about what other people might need or want. He’s lonely because of what he needs and wants. (Which explains why, when he finds himself so utterly alone, his cry sounds more like the wail of an infant than an existential scream. )
No surprise, then, that
5. He considers half the human species merely as things to be fucked.
Almost the first words we hear him say are about how much he misses women. Since that comes right after apologies to God for masturbating so much, we know he misses women because he uses them to masturbate. (Not because they might know the cure for the virus.)
And just in case we missed this, we see him choosing porn over food in the grocery store (6), and we see his lingering gaze at the female-bodied mannequin.
So that’s three times in the first six minutes we get this message: women are sexual objects for his use. (7)
When he dreams about a woman eagerly kissing him, the woman is, of course, gorgeous. Why is it that unattractive men always think women will find them attractive? More incredibly, why is it that unattractive men think attractive women will find them attractive? Seriously. How deluded do you have to be about your own attractiveness?
And again, just in case we missed this, when Carol introduces herself as “the last woman on Earth,” we see from the look on his face that he’s thinking he may have to break the bro pledge, “I wouldn’t fuck her if she was the last woman on earth.”
Phil thinks he’s the last man on Earth because some virus wiped out everyone else. That may have been the proximate cause. (Or just bad writing.) It’s likely that climate change, due to melting polar ice and the consequent change in the ocean currents, due to increased greenhouse gases, due to relentless fossil fuel use and meat consumption, changed disease vectors which, along with the consequent disruption in the supply of goods and services (food, water, drugs; medical care) created a perfect storm for the virus to become a global epidemic.
He’s the last man on Earth because he gets pleasure from destroying things, because he doesn’t live responsibly, because he thinks only of himself, his own (primarily physical) needs and wants HERE! and NOW!—in short, because he’s disgustingly infantile.
I don’t find that at all entertaining, let alone insightful, so I stopped watching. (9) (10)
(1) And of course, he won’t clean up the broken glass. But, well, he’s the last man on Earth, and, hey, if he doesn’t bother him… So if, when, he discovers he’s not the last person on Earth, if, when, he discovers there are other people in the world, other people who might want to walk there without getting cut up, will he go back then and clean up the mess he made? Of course he will. And pigs will fly.
(2) It brings to mind the patch of garbage floating around in the Pacific Ocean that’s twice the size of the United States. And all the industrial waste — 70% of it — that men (most likely) pour directly into our fresh water.
(3) The truly disgusting shape of the house he’s living in after a mere five months brings to mind that thing about if the history of the Earth were a year, life wouldn’t appear until March, multi-cellular organisms not until November, we’d show up on December 31, by late evening, we’d have well-developed brains—and then it’d take us a mere forty seconds to thoroughly trash the place.
(4) He glories in there being no rules or, more specifically, in there being no rule-enforcer: like a child, he hasn’t developed any rules of his own.
(5) That he continues to believe there’s a God also indicates just how child-like Phil is. He may as well be writing Dear Santa letters.
(6) That pornographic magazines, magazines in which women are for the most part humiliated and degraded, is openly for sale, even in grocery stores, without disapproval by the writers or Phil is clear evidence of the rampant misogyny I’m pointing out.
(7) It’s pretty much what the writers think about women. In the very first episode, we see there’s also a woman alive. But is the series titled, then, The Last Man and Woman on Earth? Of course not. Women are not worth mention. (Well, except, as fuckholes.)
(8) He’s certainly not thinking that she might be thinking “I wouldn’t fuck him if he were the last man on Earth.”
(9) Who does find that entertaining? And why?
(10) And does anyone find it insightful? I mean, really, is any of this news?