When the promotions team from the new FOX show Enlisted reached out to me to check out their new show, I jumped at the opportunity. I’d seen a preview or two on the TV, and had a good feel for what to expect. I finally had the opportunity over my winter break to sit down and watch four uncut, preliminary episodes, including the pilot. The show started a bit slow for me, as I was wrangling my daughter, but as I kept at it I found that I really enjoyed it. What was even more surprising was that DH was just as transfixed by the program, which had him laughing through numerous comedic moments. Whoa there! My husband is a hard man to please when it comes to military-based shows, being a veteran of three branches of service. Media representations of the military that fall short annoy him, and he can’t see past inaccuracies to buy into the plot, no matter how well written. He used to roll his eyes and make negative comments when I would settle in with Army Wives on the DVR.
Enlisted is different, much in the way that M.A.S.H. or Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. were different. They’re military shows, yes, but the show’s themes emerge not through the portrayal of military conflict, but the interaction and relationships of their characters. They’re friends, family, and they also happen to be soldiers. We see mentorships, leaders struggling with their roles, friendships forming, and relationships blooming, all in the context of a military setting.
The show has apparently received some negative feedback, although I haven’t seen any of it online. Some people are complaining about inaccuracies like haircuts out of regulation, overweight soldiers, grooming standards, etc. Really, folks? What’d you expect? It’s a comedy. Not to say that the Enlisted team didn’t receive military advisement. To appease the nay-sayers, they’re doing a “Spot Our Snafus” contest, so go ahead and take notes while you watch – pick it apart!
As for those that claim this show is disrespectful to the military, I think that’s a little far-fetched. Like any other source of comedy, the show magnifies characteristics, both positive and negative. The hearts of the creators are in the right place, and the Enlisted team is really connected to their viewers. My question about who’d be watching on the AHE FB page last night hit Twitter and it blew up! A simple question for my readers was acknowledged and appreciated over and over by the creator, the writers, a producer, an actor, and so forth. It was like IMDB threw up on my Twitter Interactions.
Ultimately, Enlisted provides a great opportunity to unwind at the end of a long week, poke fun at ourselves, and have a good laugh. We need that, especially during wartime. We face the harsh realities of our duty day in and day out. Laughter is cathartic, we owe it to ourselves.
Enlisted premieres on FOX this Friday, January 10th, at 9:30/8:30 central.