In Appreciation: Review Season 2 - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

In Appreciation: Review Season 2

Ryan reviews reviewThis season on one of the best shows on the air, I have seen the main character get shot, stabbed in the stomach, buried alive, get wrapped up in a cult, murder a man and lose many loved ones and I laughed every second.  Review is black as night comedy like nothing else on TV.  While the show follows a pattern each week with main star Forrest MacNeil (Andy Daly) review "life" for his TV show also named Review, it is impossible to guess where the show would take Forrest and the audience each week.

Review just ended its second season on Comedy Central last week and is easily going to end up in my top five best TV shows of the year.  Simply put, there is nothing else like it on TV.  Many articles have been written about how we are leaving a cycle of TV where are main protagonist was a anti-hero whom we should not root for like Walter White, Tony Soprano and Vic Mackey and Forrest fits in with them perfectly.  Unlike meth or the mob, Forrest's main downfall and destruction is his own ego and wanting to feel special.  He is on a TV show that doesn't review movies, TV, theater or music but instead life itself with such questions from his audience including "what is it like to lead a cult" "sleep with your teacher" "have the perfect body" and "murdering someone".  Forrest will then live his life using these questions and then rate what it is like using a 5 star scale.  No matter what the review might be, chances are things will end horribly for Forrest and his life will be worse than it was before.

I am a fan of really dark humor and Review fits that bill perfectly (Andrew's note: I wouldn't have found out about the excellent Cheap Thrills otherwise).  I didn't think Review could go to more uncomfortable places than season one where you saw his home life imploding slowly and painfully but it found a way.  The best episode from season one was "Pancakes, Divorce, Pancakes" which twisted the knife into Forrest slowly and then just twisted it more. I thought things couldn't be more cringe inducing then that wonderful episode but season 2 had at least 4 episodes just like it.  Forrest is a horrible cyclone of destruction on not just him but also anyone that happens to be in his path.  His ex-wife has seen her whole life upended at least twice and at one point makes a smart choice to move her and her son out of town and away from her ex and his show.  In this season Forrest also destroys other people's marriages, destroys whole lives, inadvertently murders a handful of people and burns down two separate houses of family members.  There is no doubt that Forrest is the villain of this show and it is even worse because he never comes to realize this or he is too delusional to come to terms with it.Let's review blue dresses nextEven though he is the corrupting influence on this whole universe, you watch the show because of the 100% all in performance of Andy Daly.  Daly wears the same suit, nerdy glasses and dumb grin on his face every episode that it is easy to forget that Forrest is not actually a real person and just a character on the show.  Thanks to the format of Review being a show within a show, the audience never sees anything that was not filmed by the fake reality cameras.  Daly has to be Forrest all the time with no scenes or episodes where he can unburden the load onto another character and have a relaxing week. Review is Daly's show and he runs with it wholeheartedly and it is the perfect mixture of material and actor.

This is not to say that the rest of the cast are useless, they are the perfect supporting group for Andy Daly.  His ex-wife is never the shrew-y kill joy that some other anti-hero shows have unfortunately had and instead is a fully fleshed character whose actions and emotions are totally justifiable.  His producer Grant is slimy in the best way and is the perfect guy to stroke Forrest's ego even more and get him to achieve the task.  Yet, I think the MVP in the supporting cast is AJ Gibbs played perfectly by Megan Stevenson.  She is the co-host of Review and she somehow deftly suggests a "dumb blonde" but is actually the smartest person on the show.  One of the funniest moments of the season was her glee when Forrest got to use the veto booth and in a season with many laugh out loud moments that is saying something.  Whether she is worrying about a review, looking in horror after a review is done or kicking Forrest in the balls, Stevenson makes the most out of her few minutes of screen time a week.

Review is a wonderfully written, directed and acted TV show that more people should watch and appreciate.  While it is dark and getting darker (which might be a big reason the ratings are cratering) it is also getting better and better.  Unlike a lot of shows that reset after each episode, the cost of doing the show keeps adding and adding on Forrest and it is only getting harder to watch.  Yet, no matter how uneasy it is to watch, I will keep doing it with my hands covering my eyes and laughing all the time.  Lets just hope Comedy Central knows what it has and orders that third season.

Posted by Ryan

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