The second season of Review, the Comedy Central series starring Andy Daly as Forrest MacNeil, ended on a cliffhanger with Forrest and his producer Grant (James Urbaniak) falling off a bridge and into a raging river. It left the audience wondering if this were the end for the show that saw Forrest MacNeil attempting a variety of life experiences for the purposes of review, ones that were often self-destructive. Over the course of two seasons, Forrest MacNeil has let his life unravel as part of his duty to review life experiences, taking on such ill-conceived reviews as divorce, addiction, and killing a person regardless of their potential consequences to his personal life.
Since its debut, Review has been one of the funniest shows on television, leaving those watching to wonder just how far the show could possibly go with many suspecting that the only review left for Forrest MacNeil is death. The end is near for Review and Forrest MacNeil as the Comedy Central series returns for its final season. So where can review go from here? Is death truly the final frontier for Forrest MacNeil in his quest to document life experiences? We may not know just how many episodes there’ll be in this final season of Review, but of the first two episodes of the season they prove that Review is willing to push its character to the brink of self-destruction in the name of his occupation.
In the first episode back from the brink of death, Forrest MacNeil gives us a brief glimpse into the fallout from last season’s finale. While he survived unscathed, the show’s producer Grant has become paralyzed from the waist down. In a grand gesture of forgiveness, Grant allows Forrest to stay in his posh home. Returning to work with his co-host A.J. Gibbs (Megan Stevenson), Forrest returns with aplomb to his passion for reviewing. Though the show’s producers have granted Forrest unlimited veto power for some of the more troubling reviews, the enthusiastic host swears off rejecting any proposal even though he’s currently on trial for murder due to one of his reviews last season.
The first review that Forrest undertakes is to try a burrito from an upstart chain of Mexican restaurants. There’s just one little complication – they shut down all of their locations six months ago. Undeterred, Forrest is able to track down one of the burritos, purchasing it from a hoarder. He then proceeds to eat the rotten piece of food to his own detriment, creating problems that leave him sick on the bathroom floor and lingering complications that arise when he’s in court for his murder trial. It’s rare that Review goes into this absolutely disgusting direction, but the effectiveness of the comedy in this scatological lunacy is undeniable.
The other reviews attempted by Forrest MacNeil in his triumphant return include living your dream, which the naïve host takes a bit too literally, and the unfortunate task of euthanizing a pet. The way that Forrest attempting to live his dream is rooted so deeply in the character’s straight-laced approach that he can’t even fathom it meaning anything else than living out what his subconscious reveals as he sleeps. I don’t want to give away how this dream-like reality ends, but needless to say it doesn’t help Forrest in the reconciliation process with his wife, Suzanne (Jessica St. Claire). As for euthanizing a pet, Forrest at first lurks around a veterinarian’s office in the hopes of taking the task away from someone else, eventually securing a lizard which he quickly becomes attached to.
Each of the tasks that Forrest is charged with in the season premiere highlight why Review has been such a brilliant piece of manic comedy as the lead character enthusiastically dives into these horrible situations and watch in awe as his life crumbles around him. What makes the show so entertaining is the way it toes the line between making us root for and against Forrest depending on his assignment, and the fundamental tragic way that this man is incapable of taking away the right lessons from any review.
In the second episode of the final season, Forrest undertakes what it’s like to be a co-host. Being a co-host, Forrest stands idly by as A.J. takes the show by the reins and proceeds to conduct her own review. The life reviewer is appalled at A.J.’s lax approach towards her task as she clearly has boundaries that have never hindered Forrest. While A.J. undertakes the task of slapping a stranger’s ass, Forrest uses the free time afforded to him to practice his testimony for his murder trial as well begin to understand the fashion restrictions that his co-host is constantly under.
When it comes time for Forrest’s murder trial, he’s moved on to his second review – being Helen Keller. Wearing a special helmet that prevents him from hearing or seeing, Forrest tries to navigate the world without using sight, sound, or speaking. However, this becomes a disastrous review when he’s called to testify at his murder trial. This is a classic Review moment, one that sees Forrest’s commitment to his reviews no matter what cost it may have on his mental or physical well-being.
Wrapping up the second episode, Forrest is assigned to review forgiveness. In his myopic vision, Forrest travels to the home of his ex-wife and proceeds to tell her that he forgives her. He’s unable to see that he’s the one that should be seeking forgiveness and not issuing it, yet there he is sincerely thinking he’s doing the right thing. Throughout the entire journey that Forrest MacNeil has gone through on Review, he’s incapable of understanding the impending consequences of his actions, and it all has culminated to this moment where he just can’t understand how his professional exploits have led to his personal failings which Suzanne is quick to remind him.
It’s been fun watching Forrest MacNeil’s live unravel as he enters into a variety of ill-conceived reviews in what is one of the funniest shows on television in Review. Now that it’s entering its conclusion, Review has presented no signs of going easier on its main character, allowing to fall further from grace than he already has in the previous two seasons. No matter where Forrest ends up at the conclusion of Review, it’s been a comically twisted journey that I give five stars.
The final season of Review premieres Thursday, March 16th at 10pm only on Comedy Central.