TV Review: “Enlisted”-Hit or Miss?

Written by Emily Stewart February 12, 2014

The cast of "Enlisted"

“Enlisted” is a heartwarming family sitcom, focusing on an army unit. Think of this as “Top Gun” without the combat. The characters are likable, and the strong bond the Hill siblings have with each other is enjoyable to watch. It’s also refreshing to see a focus on the siblings, unlike most sitcoms. Although the Hill brothers will hang out with their colleagues, much like friends will, they help each other out through each of their problems. However, the characters are stock with little to no growth on the show.

“Be the strongest bear”

“Enlisted” introduces Pete Hill (Geoff Stults), one of the top soldiers in the army unit. Well, he was, but then punching a fellow comrade in the face sent him back home. From there, he commands the soldiers in the Rear Detachment Unit, which helps deployed soldiers’ families. His brothers, Randy (Parker Young) and Derrick (Chris Howell) ,are there as well. Of course, the siblings have personalities that match their birth order. Pete’s the leader, middle child Derek wants nothing to do with the army, but knows of its importance to the family. Youngest sibling, Randy, is the childlike and sensitive one. The separation of the personalities make each brother distinct from each other, yet are a bit stereotyped. This is especially the case for Pete and Randy.

Parker Young, Geoff Stults, Chris Lowell in camouflage in "Enlisted"

The Hill siblings aren’t the only characters with standout personalities, however. Determined Sgt. Jill Perez (Angelique Cabral) is a feisty soldier who won’t let her gender define her. In fact, she and Pete are in the same rank for nearly everything they do, from a shooting test to cooking meals. All of the characters have great personalities, and all of the actors play their roles well. That in mind, there’s little to no growth for the characters during “Enlisted”. The only exception’s in the second episode, when Derek tells Randy he’s too sensitive, which is why he failed the shooting test. He toughens up with a “who cares?” attitude, but is it forgotten by the next episode? Of course! It’s a sitcom. Characters’ don’t usually have a significant personality change in that genre, and this is only the first season after all. However, there needs to be more plot development to guarantee “Enlisted” will last.

No work, all play?

The narrative in “Enlisted” is lighthearted, featuring the soldiers acting like old friends in the bar. Don’t worry, they are doing their job as well. Helping deployed soldiers’ families creates a touching, positive conclusion to each episode. For instance, Derek promises his girlfriend’s (Jessy Hodges) son, Sam (Rob Lamer) he’ll reunite him with his dad, currently deployed in the war. Just when Derrick admits it won’t happen, he’s in the mascot the other time. It’s nice to see such sweet, if not slightly cheesy, moments happen in “Enlisted”. Those moments add a bit of depth to the show, because they are frequent and provide contrast to the scenes where characters hang out at a bar, much like a typical sitcom.

Jessica Hodges, Chris Lowell, and Parker Young of "Enlisted"

All of the characters in “Enlisted” are likable, and the show is enjoyable to watch. There’s a good balance between playful teasing and heartwarming family moments. Still, there’s not a lot of room for the characters to grow.  Other than “Enlisted” taking place in the Rear Detachment Military Unit, there’s nothing new for this family sitcom to add to the table. It’s still fun to watch the characters look out for each other, regardless of whether or not they’re siblings. There’s been no combat on the show, unless you count the tests they’ve done, and their game of flag football. It’s best to not expect an action packed narrative in “Enlisted”, but rather a lighthearted and comedic one.

Parker Young, Geoff Stults, Chris Lowell

My Rating: 7/10 

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About Emily Stewart

Emily is a Media, Information and Technoculture student at Western University who likes to put her critical thinking skills and passion for writing to good use, including reviewing TV shows for We Eat Films.

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