HBO’s The Last of Us has its devotees as a fairly popular show at the moment. However, there are those who feel that the adaptation of the equally popular video game already managed to jump the shark. A number of the game’s fans who gave the series a chance feel this way, though they may be in the minority, but one stands out.
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YouTube reviewer Synthetic Man called out The Last of Us and HBO for going too far and drastically diverging from the game’s characters and storyline as they’re presented in that medium. The Last of Us TV show has already jumped the shark,” he writes in the description of his video review, adding that it didn’t take long at all.
“Three episodes in we get such a drastic change from the game that wastes everyone’s time. I really shouldn’t get surprised by this stuff anymore but here I am,” he continued. In his review, Synthetic Man noted how he is criticized for not giving adaptations a chance because of their woke content and revisions, regardless of the amount.
With The Last of Us, he is unfortunately vindicated. “Holy crap! I am blown away by the lack of restraint by HBO,” Synthetic Man declared. “Subtlety is truly dead.” What proved to be too much for him was the backstory of Bill shoehorned into episode 3. In the game, gay prepper Bill has a partner who commits suicide once infected with the zombie fungus.
He goes on a mission in the city with Ellie and Joel where they encounter the ravenous mushroom monsters and that’s the long and short of Bill’s place in the narrative. HBO, however, went further and finally told the tale of Bill’s (Nick Offerman) relationship with his lover before the zombie apocalypse, including courtship, marriage, and living together.
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The subplot takes up a good 50 minutes of the third episode’s runtime, entitled “Long, Long Time.” Synthetic Man opines, “It is just the weirdest, bizarre, out-of-left-field sh—t that is completely irrelevant to the overall plot.” None of the exposition happens in the game, “it’s not even close” to the source material, he adds, understanding that “it’s clown world” we’re living in.
Nonetheless, he thinks The Last of Us creator Neil Druckmann is pushing the agenda too far for the average audience — that more than likely is uninterested in seeing two hairy middle-aged men kiss — and goes to implausible lengths. It’s improbable, says Synthetic Man, that Bill would quarantine a town but spares and falls for a survivor who also happens to be gay.
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Synthetic’s other lament was that Bill was a cool character in the game; one who wasn’t defined by his sexuality. Gamers don’t even find out about his sexual preferences until Ellie pulls out and examines one of his adult magazines on the way out of town. The YouTuber observes it’s rare to find a gay character anymore who doesn’t shout out their orientation or wear it on their sleeve.
The differences between the game and the show are many beyond that. The town Bill and his boyfriend Frank (Murray Bartlett) occupy is safe and deserted “like a private island” and their only contact with the outside is Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Tess (Anna Torv). The two live out their lives and end it all when Frank is about to die of cancer or AIDS.
Euthanasia enters the picture too as a plot device and none of it is appealing to Synthetic Man and, more than likely, throngs more viewers. If he wanted to watch a gay romance, he’d find one of the several his mom watches on streaming — and there are plenty to choose from on all streaming services. LGBT relevance to The Last of Us is nil to him.
Additionally, it was weird for the YouTuber to see Nick Offerman in a gay role, though he doesn’t follow the actor’s career, and views the episode as a stunt that will appeal to the usual subsection of Twitter that constantly posts about such topics. He predicts The Last of Us will lose viewership but that probably won’t stop Druckmann, who planned Bill’s coming out from the start.
Tell us your reaction to this episode and subplot down below.
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