Future Man, Haley Joel Osment

Haley Joel Osment's 'nice guy' in Future Man Season 2 is an icon of nerdy toxic masculinity

Contributed by
Jan 7, 2019

Throughout Future Man Season 1, Haley Joel Osment's Stu Camillo cycled through several iterations, jumping between personalities that suffered from varying degrees of psychosis. His personas cycle as the series' leads — Josh Futterman (Josh Hutcherson), Tiger (Eliza Coupe), and Wolf (Derek Wilson) — shift through time in order to stop a world-ending war.

Ultimately, the Stu Camillo who makes it through to Future Man Season 2 is one that Osment describes as the "nicest version" of the character, though that characterization comes with some true caveats.

"90 percent of the Stus in Season 1 were terrible. And this [Season 2 version] comes off as being the meek and mild one who's really obsessed with Tiger, even though he spent one day with her," Osment tells SYFY WIRE, referring to a major event in the first season. "Even in a century and a half, he's not been able to get over this woman that he met back in 2017."

**SPOILER WARNING: This story contains spoilers for Future Man Season 2.**

While Season 2 doesn't jump between decades, staying in an alternate world 150 years in the future created by the messes that Josh, Tiger, and Wolf made in Season 1, it still manages to be even more complicated than the first go-round. Instead of timeline-hopping, we get a nightmarish future of Stu Camillo's creation, one in which he, as a sort of Elon Musk parody, has promised to take the remaining members of the human race to Mars. Part charmingly pathetic techie, part "guy who took The Matrix too seriously," Stu tiptoes through human interaction and whimpers to a fake therapist, a self-fulfilling hologram of his own subconscious wants and desires.

Those wants and desires all come down to his "love" for Tiger, who he met once in Season 1 before developing an all-consuming, deeply unhealthy crush. This crush has fueled him for decades, even after uploading his consciousness to a computer. When Tiger shows up at Stu's compound, she finds a hologram version of the Stu she once knew, and his 150-year-long obsession with her finally comes to a head.

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"It is crazy because a lot of these things that we're playing with, the world sort of caught up to us while we were making [Season 2] over the summer," Osment says.

Future Man is, at its heart, a silly show awash in sex jokes and '80s and '90s pop culture references. But hidden between Wolf's orgies and Stu's multiple (multiple) viewings of My Girl are plenty of uncomfortable real-world parallels and allusions to darker themes.

Fittingly, the sequence that truly stands out for Osment in this coming season is the song-and-dance sequence in the eighth episode, in which Stu finally introduces Tiger to the wonders of AI and computer-generated reality. He convinces her to leave her real-world troubles behind as the two bop around in '50s-inspired formal wear in front of a neon-lit taco truck. As Stu gains confidence, fueled by a twisted validation of his obsession over Tiger, a sort of showman aspect comes out in his personality, Osment says.

Future Man, Season 2

Credit: Erin Simkin, Hulu

The dance scene alone is enough to make audiences want to like this Stu. Season 2 Stu is equal parts endearing in his relatable, over-the-top anxieties — Will anyone ever love me? Have I ruined my life? — and terrifying in his childish temper and how easily he shifts from kind to murderous.

The half-dozen Stus in Season 1 might have wielded katanas and cackled their way through psychopathic plans, but Season 2 Stu is a dude with 150 years of pent-up rage, sexual frustration, and a nation's worth of firepower and influence on his side. Possessive and entitled, dressed in suburban-dad khakis and button-downs, Stu verges on being the prototypical "nice guy," making for Future Man's most terrifying villain yet.

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