Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Producers and cast members of Fox’s new comedy Enlisted (three brothers on a military base and their misfit colleagues), told TV journalists at TCA today that they are not bothered by the show’s 9:30 PM Friday time slot, usually considered a wasteland for nabbing the younger viewer. “That’s party night!” joked executive producer Mike Royce. Said cast member Geoff Stults: “We don’t care what our time slot is, we’re just happy to get one.” Creator/writer/executive producer Kevin Biegel added his 2 cents: “We don’t want to be on up against Parks And Recreation or Big Bang Theory,” he said. “I’d be lying if I said I was bummed about being in any time slot.”
Humility seemed to be the theme of the day for the Enlisted panel. Biegel freely admitted that in the pilot there were “a lot of things we screwed up in terms of technical stuff, we’re totally embarrassed about that” — and vowed to do better. He also cracked wise about his identity as co-creator of Cougar Town: “Hold for applause — oh, yeah, you are critics,” he said when he brought up the affiliation.
While enjoying their own jokes, cast and producers insisted the show will never appear “mocking or disrespectful” of the military and that it will deal with the realities of war. The producers use retired military as advisers (although they said they prefer not to use active personnel so as not to appear to be a mouthpiece for the military). As in the pilot, the plan is also to end each show with a shout-out to a different deployed unit overseas. Still, the show is at its heart a workplace comedy, not a war comedy, the producers said. Biegel said he does not want to fall into contemporary stereotypes of portraying military personnel as either “superheroes in the (game) Call of Duty or someone so wracked with PTSD they can’t even function. There’s a great swath in the middle.” He added: “These are misfits on a particular base. We are not saying all soldiers are like this.”