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New dystopian series ‘Y: The Last Man’ trades drama and suspense for vacuous trans virtue signaling.

Michael McCaffrey
Michael McCaffrey

Michael McCaffrey is a writer and cultural critic who lives in Los Angeles. His work can be read at RT, Counterpunch and at his website mpmacting.com/blog. He is also the host of the popular cinema podcast Looking California and Feeling Minnesota. Follow him on Twitter @MPMActingCo

Michael McCaffrey is a writer and cultural critic who lives in Los Angeles. His work can be read at RT, Counterpunch and at his website mpmacting.com/blog. He is also the host of the popular cinema podcast Looking California and Feeling Minnesota. Follow him on Twitter @MPMActingCo

New dystopian series ‘Y: The Last Man’ trades drama and suspense for vacuous trans virtue signaling.
In the series all men but one die from a plague, but in order to avoid being labeled transphobic, producers embraced gender fluidity and thus rendered the drama entirely moot.

‘Y: The Last Man’ is a new TV show on FX/Hulu that boasts a very intriguing premise – what if all the men on Earth, but one, were wiped out in a mysterious plague.

The show, based on a popular graphic novel series of the same name that ran from 2002-2008, premiered in mid-September and is now through six episodes of its first season.

The dystopian drama’s basic story is that a sudden bloody illness kills every male mammal on earth except for a guy named Yorick and his pet monkey Ampersand. In a mildly clever commentary on the current state of masculinity, the rather ridiculous and feckless poor Yorick, named after a dead clown in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, is alas, a failed magician, oops, I mean escape artist.

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Yorick’s mother, Jennifer Brown, happens to be a US congresswoman and she succeeds to the presidency after all the men running things drop dead. If you thought women running the world would make it better, then not only have you never heard of Margaret Thatcher, but you’ll also be disappointed by ‘Y: The Last Man.’

Life in a woman's world is filled with just as much violence, crime, chaos, corruption and cruelty as the man’s world it replaced. The only real difference between men and women ruling appears to be that women seem incapable of clearing away the hordes of dead bodies littered everywhere. Maybe they just lack the upper body strength to get the job done, who knows?

While the show has some bright spots, such as the performances of Ben Schnetzer as Yorrick, as well as Diane Lane, Amber Tamblyn, and Ashley Romans, it also has some major problems, namely its relentlessly predictable political agenda.

Most of the politics are of the usual vacuous variety you’d come to expect from Hollywood. All the villains are irrational right-wing Republicans and all the heroes are allegedly logical liberal Democrats. Tamblyn’s Kimberly derisively describes the new all-female administration as “a Rachel Maddow fever dream,” and she’s correct.

But the most egregious example of the show’s political pandering is that it has veered sharply away from its source material by incorporating gender fluidity and trans men into the mix and in so doing has castrated its own dramatic power.

In contrast to the comic book – which some deemed ‘trans-phobic’ because it mostly ignored the trans community – trans men are featured predominantly throughout the TV show. A major character, Sam, and his merry band of trans men are one example, as are other groups of trans men who are referenced searching for their precious elixir testosterone, which ironically enough is tough to find.

In the most recent episode gender fluidity was at the forefront as Dr. Allison Mann, a Harvard geneticist, passionately declares in a long monologue, “not everyone with a Y chromosome is a man!” She also rants about how transgenderism and gender fluidity are much more prevalent than we realize and how it wasn’t “just men” who died from the cataclysmic “event” but “all people with a Y chromosome.”

Ok…but I don’t think the title ‘Y: The Last Mammal with a Y Chromosome’ would inspire much interest.

A major dramatic device in the story is that Yorick is in danger because he’s literally the last man on Earth and is the only hope for mankind’s survival. Trans men may ‘believe’ they’re actually men, but the premise of this story, at least the graphic novel version, obliterates that subjective assertion. This is no doubt why trans activists were so up in arms about the show being made and why the producers were so quick to kneel before the altar of gender fluidity despite how that questionable notion neuters the premise and drama of their show.

 For example, being the actual last man on Earth means Yorick has the utmost value, and when you add in that he’s the current president’s son, then his value skyrockets even more. This is why he continuously wears a gas mask to hide his bearded face and he skulks in the shadows to avoid being discovered. But none of this makes any sense at all since trans men are so predominantly featured on the show.

In this context, if Yorick is discovered he could just say he’s a trans man, and according to the world of the show, no one would bat an eye. In fact, in the latest episode a group of rebel/terrorist women stumble upon Yorick and just assume he’s trans and tell him where a bunch of other trans men are who have testosterone, which needlessly defused a potentially very dramatic situation.

The bottom line is that ‘Y: The Last Man could’ve been great, but it's ultimately a foolish and unforgivable waste of a good sci-fi premise. The show is nothing but another example of pandering producers who’d rather signal their woke virtue and render impotent their project’s suspense and drama than actually make something interesting, challenging and worthwhile.

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If a mysterious sudden plague ever comes that wipes out just the woke in Hollywood, I’ll look into the vacant skulls of these long-lost producers and muse, “where your gibes be now? Your gambols? Your songs? Your flashes of merriment that were wont to set the table on roar? Not one now to mock your own grinning? Quite chapfallen? Now get you to my lady’s chamber and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favor she must come. Make her laugh at that.”

Just kidding. What I’d actually say is “God bless and good riddance” and be merrily on my way.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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