Sunday, November 15, 2015

Best dressed in the apocalypse: '12 Monkeys' vs. 'The Last Man on Earth'

After writing French soccer fans sing their defiance in the face of terror and then watching the second Democratic debate, I'm in another "I can't be all DOOM all the time" mood.  Then again, that's why Entertainment Sunday exists on my blog.

For today's collapse-and-decline entertainment entry, I'm going to indirectly salute the French by looking at the fashion in two shows about the apocalypse with the help of Worn on TV, "12 Monkeys" and "The Last Man on Earth."*  Haute couture in the time of The Red Death, anyone?

I'll work up from the character wearing the cheapest clothes and to one with the most expensive, beginning with Phil "Tandy" Miller from "The Last Man on Earth."  Phil has cheap tastes and likes to wear T-shirts from all the tourist destinations he visited on his journeys looking for other survivors, including the Columbus Zoo and Mount Rushmore.  In his own way, he's trying to preserve the culture of the old world while taking advantage of not having to pay admission.  As I wrote, he has cheap tastes.  He could have taken any item of clothing and he selected ones costing $32-$36.  The T-shirt I most approve of his this one, which is also the least expensive at $30.

As someone who loved the national parks enough to become a Park Ranger, I agree.  Visit our national parks.

Follow over the jump for the clothes of three more characters from "The Last Man on Earth" and two characters from "12 Monkeys."

James Cole from "12 Monkeys" has the next most inexpensive item on Worn on TV.

I can't blame this one on James.  His character is being dressed by the women in his life, and they're going for practicality over fashion.  Given what he does in the show, that's a good decision.  Go James!  Prevent the plague from happening and avoid the time-travel paradoxes!

Surpisingly, the character with the next cheapest clothes on "The Last Man on Earth" is not Carol Pilbasian, it's Melissa Shart Chartres

Melissa may not have expensive taste (although she does wear a top from Neiman Marcus that is out of stock, so it has no price listed, which might have changed my assessment), but in her former life as a real estate agent she had to look good on a budget.  She must have carried those traits over even when money was no object--that, or she just kept wearing her old clothes.  Either way, the character knows a good value when she sees one.

Erica has more expensive tastes than Melissa, but the character does not have the most expensive clothes on the show.  Carol has that honor, but I'll get to her later.  Erica was a first year med student and political nerd when the outbreak began.  That first description doesn't seem like she had much of an income, but she had enough money to travel from Australia to attend medical school.  Whatever the state of her finances before the plague killed most of humanity, she certainly has a taste for clothes that ranges from cheap (but cute) to expensive.

I have a feeling the character indulged her taste for sexy clothes regardless of price once no one was tending to the register.  Stay sexy while you can, Erica.  You're going to have to use your medical training soon, as you're the closest thing this world has to a doctor, and you're about to become a mom.

Carol has the most outfits of any character from "The Last Man on Earth" listed on "Worn on TV," eleven to Phil's seven, Erica's six, and Melissa's three.  They're also the most expensive.  Take this sweater, for example.

That top is $490 fucking dollars.  Let's get it!

I have no idea what Carol did for a living before the plague hit, but she wears clothes like money is no object.  Neither is refined taste, for that matter.  Her clothes are cute, fun, colorful, and distinctive, just like her.  In that way, she makes a good bookend to Phil, whose taste is cheap and tacky to the point of being vulgar.  Carol actually knows quality when she sees it, even if it's not obvious at first glance.

Finally, the character with the most expensive clothes is Cassandra Railly from "12 Monkeys."  It was a close call between her and Carol, and a case could be made that Cassandra is cheating because she's actually wearing these outfits before civilization falls, but Cassandra still wins with this coat

That was $795.  It's now marked down to $499, but it's still the most expensive single item in either of the shows. As for what it says about Cassandra, it indicates that she has access to more money than her salary at the NIH/CDC.  It also says that she travels in very high-powered circles where she needs clothes like that for social occasions.  Of course, anyone who watches the show knows that latter part already.

Here's to Cassandra entertaining her audience while she and James save the world.  My wife and I are looking forward to the second season of "12 Monkeys" when it returns early next year.

*The site has one other series about the apocalypse on its >, "The Leftovers."  That's a very different kind of apocalypse from "12 Monkeys" and "Last Man on Earth."  In both of those, a plague has killed most, if not nearly all, people and civilization has collapsed.  In "The Leftovers," a Rapture has occured, but civilization goes on.  The effect is not the same.  Besides, my wife and I were so turned off by the show that we stopped watching it after the first episode.

There are lots of other series on topic for this blog that Worn on TV reviews, so expect me to post more from this site and Shop Your TV on future Sundays when I'm in another "I can't be all DOOM all the time" mood.

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