Review: ‘Enlisted’ – ‘Randy Get Your Gun’

Senior Television Writer
01.17.14 19 Comments


A quick review of tonight’s “Enlisted” coming up just as soon as I put together a lookbook to show your barber…

So the ratings for the premiere were about as lousy as you would expect for a new comedy debuting on Fridays at 9:30 after veteran comedy (albeit a really good one) that’s been struggling at 9. That said, the ratings jumped 87% when you add in DVR usage and On Demand viewings within 3 days after the episode aired, and while those numbers aren’t easy to monetize, they at least send a signal to FOX that there’s an audience interested in watching “Enlisted” who aren’t necessarily going to be available on a Friday at 9:30. At press tour earlier this week, Kevin Reilly said they would air all 13 and then look at the DVR numbers, and from that standpoint, the news is somewhat decent.

As for “Randy Get Your Gun,” it was a very strong follow-up to the pilot, particularly in the story that gave the episode its title. Randy is so dumb and inept that even a fairly broad comedy like this one has to put in a lot of work to explain how he would survive in the military, and the marksmanship story accomplished that nicely, showing both that he’s gotten help from others but also that he demonstrates aptitude in certain areas (dealing with the wives, shooting when he’s able to remove emotion from his thoughts) that others want to cover for him. And the running gag about “Toy Story 3” – a movie I have watched approximately 972 times with my kids, and has turned me into a quivering wreck approximately 972 times – was hilarious, whether Randy getting upset at minor things like the Pixar logo (“That lamp doesn’t even have a family!!!!,” followed by Randy getting burned trying to hug a real lamp) or him coldly describing the incinerator scene in explicit detail while on the firing range for his test, or the perfect pay-off with the Mr. Potato Head doll.

Pete’s competition with Jill was a bit more predictable – and evocative of the Peralta/Santiago rivalry on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” which also spent this week’s episode dealing with the attraction that lies beneath the gamesmanship – but there were some good gags in there as well, particularly their dishes being presented as if they were on “Top Chef” or “Chopped.” 

Because “Enlisted” was meant to debut in the fall, I first saw the pilot way back in June. I’d been holding the memory of how much I enjoyed it in for a long time, waiting to see if Biegel, Royce and company could keep the quality up in ensuing installments. Last month, I finally got to see “Randy Get Your Gun” and was very, very pleased.

What did everybody else think?

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