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Throughout the ten-episode first season of Netflix's Space Force, Steve Carell's put-upon military leader Mark Naird deals with a smorgasbord of frustrations, complications and miscommunications. For the most part, all three of those could be applied to his relationship with his media manager "Fuck Tony Scarapiducci, as played with kinetic energy by Ben Schwartz. While F. Tony is clearly built for laughs as a spin-driven parody of real world White House communications directors, that doesn't mean he can't evolve in some ways if Space Force gets renewed for Season 2.
In fact, Ben Schwartz wants to see a few particular things happen with F. Tony if Netflix makes the decision to renew Space Force for a second season. Speaking with TV Guide, the former Parks and Recreation actor name-checked his standout character in talking out hopes for F. Tony's characterization in the future.
I want him to do something great. I want him to do something good... I want you to see like the layers that kind of separate him from Jean-Ralphio, the idea that maybe he's sad at home. Maybe he really wants the respect of Carell. I find Carell is his like militant father who doesn't give any love and Malkovich is the cool dad who does give them love. I can't wait to see the layers that can go with him because what's happened at the end of the first season is going to take an incredible media manager to spin on America's behalf, and F. Tony is not an incredible media manager yet. I think it's going to be really funny watching him try to pretend he is, and then slowly learning that he is pretty good at it later on.
Considering Space Force co-creator Greg Daniels was also the co-creator of Parks and Recreation, he clearly knows a thing or two about how to utilize Ben Schwartz's infectious comedy energy. Admittedly, that energy does create performances that are more over-the-top than grounded and nuanced, but Schwartz is definitely capable of scaling it back and introducing more layers. Assuming that's what Daniels & Co. would want to expand on with F. Tony, of course.
Ben Schwartz's pitch is a pretty solid idea in my mind. Because the character seemingly breezes through life without obviously reflecting on much about his personal life away from his Space Force-related duties, it presents the opportunity to go in tons of different directions with those kinds of details. It would be wild to dig into F. Tony's past and see that he had a mother that acted (and maybe looked) just like John Malkovich's Adrian Mallory, and a father who acted (and maybe looked) just like Steve Carell's Mark; and that he's just blind to seeing how his current gig is a big reflection of his youth. (Not that F. Tony couldn't have two fathers, obviously.)
In any case, it's much easier to think about F. Tony having an interesting past than to consider him being overtly and objectively great at his job, considering all of the decisions he made in Season 1. Clearly, he had F. Tony's interests in mind most of the time, as opposed to Mark's. But if Space Force does come back for Season 2 and beyond, it just gives Ben Schwartz's character that much more room to grow into an incredible media manager, even if he sometimes fools himself into thinking he earned that distinction already.
For all that I agree that F. Tony should be on a separate character plane from Parks and Recreation's Jean-Ralphio Saperstein, I can't be alone in thinking it would be amazing if Space Force introduced Jenny Slate as F. Tony's outgoing twin sister, similar to her Mona-Lisa Saperstein Parks and Rec role. That might not be the kind of layer that Ben Schwartz was talking about, but it wouldn't be "the wo-o-o-o-rst" idea.
Having split critics and audiences down the middle, Space Force Season 1 is available to stream in full on Netflix right now. While waiting to hear updates about Season 2's chances, check out all the other shows we know are coming to the streaming service with our 2020 Netflix TV schedule, as well as bookmarking our Summer 2020 and Fall 2020 premiere schedules.