Okay, before you hard-charging soldiers email me in anger, just keep in mind that:
- I know
- I don’t care
- It’s because I love you
Anyway, I’m sure all of you are aware of Fox’s new show “Enlisted” premiering tonight. More importantly for you, you’re probably wondering if you should watch it. I know a lot of you are also aware that I personally visited the show a couple of times during filming. Many of you know that I even contributed to the show a little bit. I want to stress little bit here, not because I’m ashamed in any way but because there are a lot of hard working people on the show that did a hell of a lot more than I did.
My relationship with the show began oddly enough. The initial launch trailer many months ago came on my radar, I had posted it on the Facebook Fan Page for people to take a look at. The reaction was less than favorable, which promptly led to the show’s creator Kevin Beigel shooting me an email to tell me more about the show. Kevin is quite possibly the nicest guy I’ve ever met, he worked on Scrubs and South Park in the past and invited me out to spend a week on the show to check out the writer’s room and offer some military cultural expertise. I met a ton of really awesome people, took a buzzer to Geoff Pierson’s head in the middle of a shoot and really got to see what the show was about.
I think it’s worth pointing out that Kevin has family that has served and one if his major inspirations was from a close friend that is also an Afghanistan veteran. With that preface, it’s also worth noting that respect was obviously a big deal both on and off the set. When I checked into Fox, there was even a written memo by the show’s creator detailing how important the emphasis on respect was. There is absolutely no intention here to make fun of the Army or anyone that serves. As Kevin describes it, this show is simply a workplace comedy–and the workplace happens to be the Army. With Kevin’s experience on Scrubs, you can kind of surmise what I mean in that Enlisted isn’t any more disrespectful to the Army than Scrubs is to hospitals.
Make of that what you will, I’ve never worked in a hospital.
Back to the point: Should you watch it? Well I suppose that depends on what you’re looking for. This is not Generation Kill. This is a show about POG’s doing POG stuff with a good sense of humor. It’s important to remember that Fox is not a military network. This is not a show designed for the military, it’s a show written and created by civilians for civilians. There were two really awesome military advisors on the show (Gregory Bishop and Trevor Scott) that I had the pleasure of meeting, both of them Army combat veterans, but they mostly provided overhead guidance in terms of uniforms, regulations and the such. The show itself is technically accurate, sans concessions that had to be made for the sake of clarity, but that’s kind of the story of every military show or movie ever made.
I say give the show a couple of episodes before you write it off. It’s got some genuinely good humor and the creators are really trying their best to do this show the right way by the military by getting in touch with guys like me to help improve it. Their heart is definitely in the right place, and that’s all any of us can really ask of them.