When did Steve Carell become so unfunny?
Space Force is one of those shows that asks the question; “How do you get such an allstar cast together to build a bomb?”
This show probably couldn’t have come at a worse time, and I don’t just say that because Space Force starts off with a rocket explosion and the show premiered on Netflix on literally the week of a SpaceX rocket explosion. Steve Carell’s job is to play Steve Carell in a show starring Steve Carell. His purpose is to not only be stupid and have trouble relating to his daughter, but to be confident in his stupidity until it blows up in his face and he has to timidly acknowledge that he is in fact stupid.
Created by Steve Carell and Greg Daniels, Space Force is literally what happens when the guys that created the American Office adaptation looked at Trump’s announcement of Space Force and said “huh, that’s stupid. Lunch?”
Carell’s character General Naird is an absolute shithead who the show consistently attempts to redeem at the end of each half hour escapade of narcissistic incompetence with roughly thirty seconds of good nature or everything luckily coming together. Otherwise he’s generally making racist comments about his Chinese colleague, going on a tirade against science, losing out on conjugal visits with his wife, and pretty much risking everything of everyone else’s in pursuit of a career that never seems to be in trouble thanks to his untouchable status of four star general.
The great list of cast members includes Jane Lynch, Patrick Warburton, Kaitlin Olson, Ben Schwartz, Diedrich Bader, and more. John Malkovich is Dr. Adrian Mallory who serves as Naird’s handler and guy who keeps Naird somewhat grounded in his ridiculous ideas. Ben Schwartz’s character is literally named “Fuck Tony Scarapiducci.” That’s his name. Seriously.
The show attempts to be politically relevant without being politically poignant due to Netflix not wanting another boycott from Trump supporters. The President is never named but referred to as a narcissist who hates science and is constantly throwing poorly articulated tantrums on Twitter and threatening to ruin the cast’s careers for not kissing his ass. Naird’s office is at odds with the First Lady who is trying to design her own uniform.
Ginger Gonzaga plays Anabela Ysidro-Campos, a parody of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with Concetta Tomei as Representative Petosi. The AOC parody’s running gag is that she’s overly concerned with how wasteful government spending will benefit her constituents who are on food stamps. Hilarious.
My favorite line in the show is Jane Lynch as Chief of Naval Operations telling Carell “acknowledge my gender one more time and I will fuck you in the ass.” There are moments including Noah Emmerich making comments about not-AOC possibly not wearing panties, and a handmaid tale protest with a sign that says ‘okay womber’.
The worst part of Space Force is the fact that the writers and actors are clearly more talented than the output of this show would suggest. There are a lot of plot points that are either never established or never concluded.
I honestly thought I was having a stroke watching this season because we see General Naird’s wife in the opening minutes as he is receiving his promotion and then later on in the episode he’s visiting her in prison. Figuring I must have missed something I watched the episode again. Finding nothing I went online and it wasn’t just me; this plot point is never explained.
The creators wanted to flair the mystery on this and who cares? The first two episodes are centered around the launch and rescue of a satellite, a plot that is failed because of Naird’s hubris and is immediately dropped despite how much the audience is hammered on its importance.
The two winners of this show are Ben Schwartz who is just playing a very Ben Schwartz role not to mention John Malkovich being the calm, cool, smart guy. The bigger winner? All of the set workers who will have steady jobs as this thing no doubt gets renewed for an unwarranted second and probably third season. The loser? Pretty much everyone else. Especially the late Fred Willard whose last acting gig was playing Naird’s dementia-ridden father. Not a high note.
Ultimately Space Force is a five hour waste of time and talent whose saving grace is a production crew that has the talent to turn it around in a second season. Should you watch it? Sure, why not? Just don’t clear your schedule or put off something more important like making your bed.
Rating: C-. Less than average. Rest in peace Fred Willard.