On getting laughs while being respectful to the military, the 'Stripes' influence, and more
It isn't often that the creator of a sitcom gets choked up talking about his new show, but "Enlisted" isn't your typical sitcom. On the one hand, it's a goofy workplace sitcom about a straight-arrow brother (Geoff Stults from "The Finder") being forced to work alongside his misfit brothers (Chris Lowell from “Veronica Mars” and Parker Young from “Suburgatory”). On the other, their workplace happens to be an Army base, and even though they work in a rear detachment unit, doing support work on the homefront for the soldiers serving overseas, and the family members left behind, it's at a time when we still have soldiers risking their lives on foreign soil, a fact the show isn't blind to.
Before FOX moved "Enlisted" to midseason (it debuts on Friday the 10th at 9:30 p.m.), it was one of the few network fall pilots I genuinely liked, as much for the way it tried to balance "Stripes"-style hijinks with an acknowledgment of what's happening in the military right now. It's a show that manages to find laughs in Army life without actually making fun of the Army or its soldiers, a distinction that's important to creator Kevin Biegel, who learned to balance comedy and emotion on "Scrubs" and "Cougar Town." When I sat down with Biegel and fellow executive producer Mike Royce (co-creator of "Men of a Certain Age") back in the summer, Biegel got visibly emotional several times while discussing the subject matter, as well as the show's influences, his relationship with his own brothers, and more.
Assuming I have time next week (when approximately 73 new and returning shows are debuting), I’ll write a separate review, but if that doesn’t happen, know that I enjoyed it a lot.