Friday, January 17, 2014

REVIEW: 'Enlisted' Forever Changes the Way You'll View 'Toy Story 3' in 'Randy Get Your Gun'

FOX's Enlisted - Episode 1.02 Randy Get Your Gun

When Randy questions his place in the Army after his marksmanship test, Derrick helps him embrace a new mindset in order to pass. Meanwhile, Pete and Jill compete in an unorthodox series of challenges to determine who the better soldier is.

"Randy Get Your Gun" effectively sets up why this collection of characters want to be soldiers. Pete and Jill both want to be the best in their unit. Randy sees the Army as the family business - if he's not in the Army than he's not in the family. Things are a bit trickier with Derrick. He doesn't want to be in the Army and yet he's in the Army. By episode's conclusion, he learns that there's much more to being a soldier than simply being a stone cold killing machine in war areas. Randy's time at the wives support group opens the episode as a joke by pretty much everyone. But by the end, it's seen as one of the most emotional honest things about this profession. It's a strong episode for rounding out Randy as a character while also bringing Derrick into better focus.

It's that strong focus on character work that makes this episode work so well - even though it's only the second episode of the entire series. It's really odd that I'm already handing out an A- grade to this show so early in its run. But I just had so much fun enjoying this episode - especially that running gag involving the plot of Toy Story 3.

"Those orphans just wanted a better life."

"That lamp doesn't have a family!"

"Andy's leaving for college and leaving them behind because he doesn't care about them anymore."

Those outbursts by Randy were the funniest things the show has presented so far while still proving a lot of value for his character development. Derrick did turn him into that stone cold killer - the kind who could easily pass the marksmanship test. But the show also isn't turning its back on the Randy who's prone to emotional outbursts. He's there for the woman in the group as well as needing a moment after seeing Mr. Potato Head in the donations box.

Some more thoughts:
  • The series premiere jumped a strong 86% during its first three days of time shifted viewing - which is a very hopeful sign that the show may grow. FOX president Kevin Reilly said he plans on airing all 13 episodes. So, Enlisted has a lot of chances to grow into a success.
  • There was a really solid B-story with Pete and Jill competing in extremely ridiculous Army-based skills to see who is the better soldier. It confronted the will-they/won't-they dynamic on the head while having a lot of fun with it.
  • Derrick would watch a show about an evil genie. Would you?
  • It appears Private Dobkiss has a Ben Wyatt-level of love for calzones.
  • Sergeant Major Cody: "It's alliteration. It makes things more colorful." I would listen to Keith David alliterate sentences all day long.
  • How many takes do you think it took for Parker Young and Chris Lowell to do the moment where Randy puts his entire arm through the cake so seriously without laughing?
  • Also loved the recurring joke that Jill couldn't remember anyone's name who used to be in her unit.