Fall in, men! Fox's new comedy Enlisted received raves from critics when it reported for duty in January with the story of three brothers serving on an Army base full of misfit soldiers. We sat down on set with stars Chris Lowell (Derrick), Geoff Stults (Pete) and Parker Young (Randy) to get further insight on these mischievous brothers-in-arms.
TV Guide Magazine: What initially attracted you to Enlisted?
Stults: It was a comedy that actually made me laugh, so I thought that was a good sign. And then I really liked the dynamic among the three brothersYoung: I couldn't have imagined how fun it was going to be to work with these guys.
Lowell: I had never done a comedy, and I really wanted to do something dry and cynical. In the first audition, I read with Geoff, and I could tell that we'd actually get along in real life. Boy, was I wrong about that! I really screwed up.
Stults: One out of two is not bad.
Lowell: Right, because between the two of you, Parker is the one I'm completely in sync with. I do feel like Geoff's a good middleman. If you took the worst sides of me and the worst sides of Parker, the result would be Geoff Stults.
TV Guide Magazine: You went to boot camp to train for these roles. What was the biggest lesson you learned?
Lowell: That it's very, very difficult to be a soldier.
Stults: It's more difficult for an actor who's pretending to be a soldier.
Young: The biggest thing for me was that there's a right way and a wrong way to do everything: walk, hold your backpack, stand, dress, make your bed. And if you do it the wrong way, they're going to make sure you don't do it the wrong way again.
Lowell: There are no shades of gray in the U.S. military. There's an equal amount of emphasis put on how to hold a gun as there is on how to hold a toothbrush.
Stults: But we didn't do weapons training because they knew Parker would have killed somebody.
TV Guide Magazine: Did your upcoming prank-wars episode inspire any high jinks on set?
Lowell: When that episode came, I just knew it was going to be hell. In the episode, when we're asleep, they shave Randy's pubic hair and glue it to my character's face. Funny joke; funny in the script. Geoff and Parker tried to convince the hair and makeup team to actually use their pubes and then not tell me.
Stults: That's the worst thing I have ever heard, and I don't even remember doing that.
Lowell: Parker remembers.
Young: Oh, I absolutely remember.
Lowell: And I kept trying to reason with these people as to why they shouldn't let this happen. Heads would roll. You don't bounce back from that!
Young: Baseball bat to the car windows. [Laughs]
TV Guide Magazine: Geoff, we've seen Pete start to tackle his post-traumatic stress disorder after returning from Afghanistan. How does he change over the course of the season?
Stults: He realizes he does need help from his brothers. I really like the way the writers didn't just jam it down your throat. He doesn't yell or get in bar fights — or however it has been painted before. We're trying to respect the men and women who suffer from it. The research shows that you can't just group [people] with PTSD into one category.
Young: And you can't say PTSD without "Pete."
Stults: I'm going to sit at the other table, Parker.
Young: And to take it one step further: If your name was Petey and if you had an STD, it's a PTSD.
Lowell: When Parker gets out of middle school, I feel like he's really going to fly and spread his wings.
Young: What if he was from San Diego? PT-SD!
Lowell: Yeah, great.
TV Guide Magazine: Do you find it difficult to do a comedy with such a serious setting?
Stults: My only fear is that people are going to think that this is a military show, and it's not. It's a f---ing comedy. A funny one. It's a workplace comedy that happens to be set on a military base. I was worried we wouldn't be able to be goofy and do things like prank wars, but it's been the opposite. We're trying not to make fun of — but make fun with — the military.
Lowell: We have so many people around us who are making sure that we're not being disrespectful. It makes our job a lot easier to focus and to deliver our lines to the best of our ability. Well, whenever Parker gets his lines right.
Young: And that's occasionally.
Enlisted airs Fridays at 9/8c on Fox.