The growing theme in popular media of apocalyptic survival has found its way into comedy with shows like Last Man on Earth and, more recently, You, Me, and the Apocalypse. As a whole, the effort to mine the funny out of humanity’s brush with death on these shows has yielded results, though whether it’s gold is yet to be seen. You, Me, and the Apocalypse, a British-American joint venture, does a good job of exploring the wider absurdities prevalent in humanity through the lens of this situation, but in doing so, sometimes falls into the trap of unnecessary and gratuitous content in the quest for laughs.
The show follows three separate storylines, all connected via ancillary characters and the news, given in the first episode, that a comet is heading to Earth and is sure to wipe out all complex life. The show follows Rhonda, a mom in prison to protect her hacker teenage son; Jamie, who learns his fiancé who disappeared seven years before is still alive and that he has a nefarious hacker twin brother that kidnapped her; and Sister Celine, who joins with Father Jude in the recently re-opened office of Devil’s Advocate at the Vatican to foil would-be Messiahs trying to profit off the dire news.
As might be clear, the show has a lot going on. As a result it leans heavily on the common conflict for each of the characters – the impending doom that’s overhead. Each of the characters finds themselves in over their heads, and a lot of the comedy is situational as a result. For example Rhonda, finding herself in prison in the first episode and completely out of her element, learns that someone she took for a friend is in fact a Neo Nazi. Forced to choose between that and getting ripped off by the Latina gang, she learns just in time that her lawyer is there to see her and, expecting to be released, flips her enemies the bird on her triumphant walk out. As it turns out, her lawyer is there to tell her that she will in fact not be getting out, and that her case looks hopeless. Rhonda walks back onto the yard, where the stakes have now doubled.
While the comedy strays sometimes into risqué territory, these instances are relatively few and far between. There is enough of it however, to cast doubt on the appropriateness of the TV-PG L rating NBC has been giving it. In the first two episodes alone there has been bleeped language, a fair bit of sexual innuendo, and one extended scene where Jamie and his friend Dave are forced to pass an elderly couple copulating in the open road on their way to find Jamie’s mother. While this kind of content does let up in subsequent episodes, a TV-14 rating would be more appropriate in these cases.
That aside, the show has some heart, especially in the St. Jude/Sister Celine storyline. Rob Lowe as a jaded priest exposing crackpots and accidentally helping the desperate along the way is enjoyable, and the relationship between his character and Sister Celine is the best on the show and what makes it worth watching for those interested in a more humorous take on the end times. Just keep in mind that despite what the network’s rating claims, it is not appropriate for kids.