Review

Review

A one-of-a-kind mockumentary built on silly gags that lead to sheer existential tragedy

The Very Best

8.6

TV Show

United States of America
English
Comedy, Mockumentary
2014
Andy Daly, James Urbaniak, Jessica St. Clair
23 min

TLDR

If you told me that a fake variety show that starts with a guy eating too many pancakes ends in the most terrifying way... I think I'd believe you, actually.

What it's about

For his own show, entitled Review, television host Forrest MacNeil goes through and reviews a variety of random life experiences as suggested by his viewers.

The take

A concept this strange deserves a treatment that's equally as odd, and Review nails the bizarre tone of humor shared by its fellow Comedy Central series Nathan for You: both shows are knowingly dumb at heart but are also completely shameless about making their stars look like fools. Forrest MacNeil (played with utmost dedication by Andy Daly) would have seemed like a respectable man if he wasn't so inexplicably drawn to obeying his audience's wishes, for no clear reason whatsoever. Consumed by this show that allows him to only ever simulate real experiences, he becomes a pathetic—almost eerily so—portrait of a person's need to belong.

But what helps elevate Review beyond being an episodic series of sketches is the fact that there actually is some continuity between episodes. This means that some of the more drastic requests that Forrest indulges carry emotional consequences. Perhaps most important is his decision to accept the assignment of divorcing his wife, which creates ripples throughout the rest of the series and turns Forrest into an even more desperate man, trapped in this purgatory of his own making. But also, it's all just very, very funny.

What stands out

If Review was seen by more people, its final season should have gone down as one of the strangest in TV: just three 20-minute episodes wherein Forrest very quickly sabotages his own show and deludes himself into the worst fate imaginable. That the season is so short and ends so abruptly seems to be exactly part of the joke, as Comedy Central, Forrest's viewers, and the rest of the world move on to the next thing without him. It's terribly tragic when you think about it, but it's also thrilling to imagine a series choose to go out in such unique fashion.

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