Not since Delilah buzzed Samson’s scalp has a haircut been more emotionally wrenching than the one that recently aired on The Last Man on Earth.
I’ll provide some context for this clip below, but, to avoid spoilers, I urge you to just go ahead and watch it. If anything, the sight of Jason Sudeikis gently removing Will Forte’s hair to the tune of “Falling Slowly” from Once is just as good even if you’ve never seen the show.
Okay, context: The Last Man on Earth is a show about the few survivors of a global pandemic. The protagonist is Phil Miller, played by Forte (who also created the show). In the second season, Phil’s brother Chris (Sudeikis) shows up to the Malibu beach house where Phil lives with a few other survivors. As brothers do, at first they fight, engaging in a prank war that culminates in Chris shaving half of Phil’s body. Phil says he likes the cut, thus justifying his character looking ridiculous for many episodes. (Forte, ever committed, walked around with a completely half-shaven body for a month in real life.) Eventually, they make up and perform a karaoke duet of the song “Falling Slowly” a bunch. (Fun fact I learned while moderating a Paley Center panel with Forte last night: Sudeikis and Forte have been going to karaoke together for years; “Falling Slowly” is their song.) But then there’s a twist: Suddenly it appears that Chris has contracted the virus! Not wanting to die in front of Phil, he leaves Malibu for their childhood home in Tucson. Phil follows him there. They fight and then make up.
As one can see in the clip, in a newfound spirit of honesty, Phil finally admits he hates being half-shaven. The only thing left to do is have a romantic brother-on-brother shave session.
At the Paley Center last night, Forte revealed that explicitly the goal was to shoot it like the pottery scene from Ghost. They even almost got the rights to “Unchained Melody,” but they realized at the last minute it had to be “Falling Slowly.” It had to be!