Enlisted


So, Fox has a new comedy debuting on January 10 titled “Enlisted.” And boy howdy, when the trailer first hit the internet, did vets let Fox know they weren’t impressed.

So the production team behind the show decided to seek constructive criticism.

Blackfive also has a portion of an interview that the producers did with Doctrine Man.

What’s my take? Glad you asked.

This isn’t a show about the Army. It’s a show about people, one that just happens to be set in the framework of people in the Army. The Army setting is simply the vehicle used to tell stories about people. And while the veterans community is large enough to be heard when complaining about the show, it isn’t large enough to carry a show on a major network. The writers have to make the show accessible to the general public, who have little or know knowledge of what the Army is like. Further, the need to tell human stories means that sometimes, creative license will have to override accuracy in depicting Army life. And I’m pretty OK with that.

Do you recall the reams of people up in arms over The Office’s faulty depiction of the reality of the paper products industry?

Was Scrubs (where the producer worked before) a true to life depiction of the lives of health care professionals?

Sometimes, the best stories take a kernel of truth and stretch it to the absurd conclusion.

As long as the majority of the cast is shown as decent people, dedicated, if not always squared away, that’s fine. It’s one thing to mock or hold up for ridicule “that guy” from time to time (and every unit has “that guy”). But if the show makes a sweeping generalization that everyone in the Army is a dolt, that would be unpardonable.

I don’t really know if the show will be good or bad, successful or cancellation bait.

But I’m not going to call for heads on pikes just because the cast isn’t fully versed on AR 670-1.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Enlisted

  1. Bill Brandt

    One of the funniest shows I saw about enlisted Army life was Bill Murray in Stripes. Now in the real Army – or at least the one I knew – a Bill Murray character would be so hammered down that he would not be recognizable from what he was at the beginning.

    But the movie took basic facts and really blew them up.

    I’ll have to see this series before passing judgement.

    You are right – if – as it seems the typical Hollywood fall back – they portray everyone as dolts – it will be a thumbs down…

  2. Those Hollywood people … How difficult would it be to find and hire a retired platoon sergeant or first sergeant and say, “OK. You tell us when we go wrong on appearance and such, just understand you don’t change the personnel”?

    • Bill Brandt

      Dale Dye – retired USMC captain – made a career out of doing just that. Some directors and producers are interested in authenticity. Spielberg used him for Saving Private Ryan and there was a great independent movie based on this Ranger rescue of emaciated American POWs who used Dye – both are excellent.

      Usually if Dye is involved he will put the actors into a mini boot camp and by the end they will act like the servicemen they are supposed to portray.

      But when Hollywood doesn’t care, or more specifically, someone has an agenda, the results (and usually market share) are predictable.

  3. If you click on the YouTube icon and watch the clip on their site, you’ll find in the “related videos” list a series of webisodes relating to a half-dozen of the cast going through a quickie Basic Training course.

    It seemed to have an impact on them. They might carry themselves differently on the show now.

  4. Just so long as they have FM 22-5 down cold.

    My Company TAC Ossifer told us that, so it must be true.