“Review” humor exceeds small viewership


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Andy Daly plays Forrest MacNeil in Comedy Central’s “Review”

Dennis Tracy

“Review” is nothing like anything else on television. This is a series that is disturbing, hilarious and strangely heart breaking. Forrest MacNeil (Andy Daly) is a former film critic that decided movies were too boring to review, and wondered what it would be like to review various life experiences. He promises his audience that he will review any suggestions people will throw at him, and then grade it on a five-star scale afterward. In the first season, MacNeil went to space, became addicted to cocaine, divorced his wife, went into a mental institution and ran around Los Angeles fighting crime in a Batman costume. Unlike the show’s Australian counterpart, this version does not hit an imaginary reset button at the end of each segment. MacNeil lives with his consequences, sending him into a crippling depression, which causes him to quit and attempt to run away from it all.  Andy Daly not only led “Review” to be one of the most incredible pieces of tragicomedy since FX’s “Louie,” but made the show one of the best Comedy Central has aired since “South Park.”

The show returns for its second season as MacNeil’s boss Grant (James Urbaniak) discovers him and they work out a deal. If any task someone gives is overwhelming, MacNeil can hit the veto button to opt out of it. Sadly, that veto button does not seem like much help as MacNeil can only veto a task twice. However, he has yet to do so.

He probably should have, considering already this season he has been shot, set his father’s house on fire, blackmailed his girlfriend and was falsely accused of setting a sorority house on fire. The second season continues to explore MacNeil’s troubled life. He says he has moved on from divorcing his wife, but in reality, he still feels shameful that reviewing life experiences is his career. In the segment “Haunted House,” he travels back to his original home where his wife and son lived because he believes it is haunted. It is an excuse for MacNeil to allow himself to take a nostalgic trip back to his former life, and wonder how he ended up living with his dad. I do admire how he puts his own series before himself or his family, but at what point will enough be enough? It’s conflicting because the longer he continues the series, the more he digs himself in a hole. Yet, it’s rather amusing to see someone go to such great lengths to cover something like living life as a small person.

One of my favorite parts of the show is how clueless he is when it comes to technology and how society is out to get MacNeil as well. He does not know how to operate Google without asking his secretary (Tara Karsian) for help, his own question machine fails him and to top it off people think MacNeil might be crazy. Let’s take the “There All is Aching” segment from last season as an example. A viewer on Twitter sent MacNeil a request to review what is it like to take a bubble bath, but the question machine popped it up as a request to review, “There All is Aching.”

MacNeil could have asked if something was wrong with the machine as, “There All is Aching” does not make sense grammatically, yet he went ahead and tried to review it. MacNeil managed to find himself in a mental institution. He also kidnapped a police officer and held him ransom. Another example includes the time MacNeil created his own cult. His girlfriend eventually took over as the leader and banished him after an argument about how he came into power. If his own cult wouldn’t follow him anywhere, how does he expect someone to support his own profession? At the end of the day, he is just trying to search for meaning in his life, and how to live it to the fullest.

As excellent as this show is, it seems like no one knows about its existence. The show has extremely low ratings with the highest-rated episode this season marking at a little more than 350,000 people. The clips uploaded to YouTube and Comedy Central’s website are lucky to hit 10,000 views. There is no excuse not to watch it, especially when Comedy Central currently has both seasons available for streaming on its website. This might not be a show for everybody as it continues to dive into dark places, and often times is a very ridiculous series. We are in a decade of some truly fantastic comedies like “Broad City,” “Drunk History,” “Key and Peele” and “Nathan for You.” “Review” deserves to be celebrated in Comedy Central’s lineup and will be talked about by critics for years to come.