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Listen up meatbags and listen good: ENLISTED IS BAAAAAAAAAAAACCCCKK!!!!!!!
Well, not entirely. The axe has well and truly fallen on my beloved sitcom, but it seems that at least Fox has kept true to its word and will run the last four remaining episodes throughout the month of June. Honestly, I had given up hope altogether about ever seeing Enlisted through to the end, and were it not for a flattering tweet from the series creator himself, I would never have known. The delay in getting the news on top of my increasingly busy schedule means that I am way late in my review for this week's "Prank War" episode. Still, my intent is now the same as it was when I first started this glorious enterprise: to review the entire season to the end, or at least for as long as you fine folks will allow.
In this week's shenanigans, we begin with the Platoon getting together as Randy unveils their new Platoon flag, a symbol of their unity and pride. But to his dismay, the next day the flag turns up missing. SSG Perez is soon revealed as the culprit in a particularly heinous proof of life video message. However, this is no act of scornful malice, but the opening volley of fire signaling the beginning of prank season on Fort McGee. SSG Hill at first is reluctant to get involved, but the chance for unit cohesion and the opportunity to stick it to Jill provokes him to forge ahead. Unfortunately, the platoon realizes that although they have a decorated war hero for a leader, ol' Pete reeeaally sucks at prankin' and is no match for the viciously cunning prank master SSG Perez. After yet another embarrassing defeat, CPL Hill steps up to the plate to put his naturally antagonistic streak to good use. The teacher becomes the student as Pete learns the Way Of The Prank from Derek, who gets the team into an escalating prank battle that only gets dirtier.
I myself haven’t encountered large scale unit level pranks like other soldiers may have, but one thing that virtually everyone has had experience with is pranking Privates and Lieutenants who are brand new to the unit and the Army, fresh from boot camp or officer school. As the famed satirical news site The Duffle Blog explains, “Soldiers new to units often become subject to pranks that are as old as the Army itself; often, these pranks involve seasoned soldiers sending the new Private on a quest for objects that don’t exist." The trick to these pranks is that, for a brand new guy, most common military terminology and acronyms sound completely alien and nonsensical, so there's likely no way they would know some made up bullshit from an actual legit task or piece of equipment if you make it sound technical or convincing enough. Many a private has been sent on a neverending quest for items like a box of grid squares (as in the spatial delineations on map), Chem-light batteries (whereas glow-sticks are of course chemically fluorescent), or several meters of Flight Line (another name for the landing strip of an airfield.) My personal favorites involve sending someone to do some fuckery in the motorpool, like collecting exhaust samples from the Humvees (by holding a trash bag over a tailpipe while the engine runs) or cajoling the LT into finding weak spots on the armor of a tank/IFV by hitting with a hammer and marking them with chalk when found. And of course, there is the infamous Tank Boom Test:
Also in this episode is a side story featuring CSM Cody dealing with his own pain in the ass in the form of 2LT Schneeberger. Here once again, the out of sequence airing of the episodes hurts the story progression, since we, the audience, actually got our first taste of the LT in the previously aired episode, "Paint Cart 5000 vs. The Mondo Spider." As such, it doesn't really help in a basic dramatic sense to already know that the snotty LT will get his comeuppance in glorious fashion later in the timeline. Even so, he still gets his fair share of shit by episode's end, so it at least remains thematically consistent.
So for me, that's another satisfying episode down, made all the better by even being allowed to see it at all. It may soon all be over, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's the end. You see, my dawg Kevin Beigel aka Kay Bagels aka Mr Beigeldeer aka the Kommandant of Komedy sent out a rallying cry for fans who have stuck with the show this far to encourage the troops in hopes of a ratings bump, ending on a high note. Apparently, as is now the go-to course of action that inevitably gets brought up when our favorite shows are canceled, there may be a glimmer of hope for the future of the show by being shopped to other potential distributors. Which is to say, Enlisted may yet be able to re-up on a streaming service near you.
And damnit, if any show out there is worth even the slightest possibility of a second chance, Enlisted is it. In the ocean of snark and cynicism and crushed heads and womanizers and egotistical meth lords on our airwaves, I find the overwhelming warmth and heart and earnestness so completely revitalizing and refreshing. On top of that, after all these years of long, hard-fought wars with so many scars and sorrow to show for it, it is truly astounding for a show to have the brains and the balls to treat our service members with empathy and humanity, not broken souls forever damned.
Goddammit...What I'm Saying Is WE NEED MORE TELEVISION SHOWS LIKE ENLISTED, MY FRIENDS. WE NEED TO BRING THE HEART AND SOUL BACK TO TV. YOU CAN KEEP ALL YOUR META AND YOUR MATURITY AND YOUR DARK AND GRITTY AND YOUR CAUSTICALLY WITTY AND YOUR OVERBEARING TITTY (NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH TITTY JUST SAYIN), AND HAVE SOME GOOD, WHOLESOME, SMART AND HONEST COMEDIES THAT STILL MEAN SOMETHING. I DON'T KNOW BOUT Y'ALL BUT LIKE I SAID I'M DOWN WITH ENLISTED TILL THE END, I'M DOWN WITH ENLISTED4LYFE, AND IF YOU HAVE A SHRED OF DECENCY AND COMPASSION I KNOW YOU WILL TO. WE DON'T NEED SIX SEASONS AND A MOVIE, WE JUST NEED ONE MORE MARCH, ONE MORE FLY BY, ONE MORE SCAN OF THE SECTOR, ONE LAST SALUTE. DO IT FOR THE GREATEST GENERATION. DO IT FOR YOUR MAN VYCEVICTUS, DO IT FOR YOUR MOMMA AND DAUGHTER SO Y'ALL CAN WATCH A SHOW TOGETHER IN HARMONY. DO IT FOR YOUR SISTER AND BROTHER SERVING OUT THERE SOMEWHERE. DO IT FOR AMERICA!!!!