Review has come to an end, which is news that’s worth a half star. But the fact that this weird, sad, painfully hilarious comedy was in our lives for three seasons (even if the final one only lasted three episodes) is worth five stars. I spoke with Review star Andy Daly about the series’ conclusion, reviews they never got to do (and reviews he wishes they had never done), how they decided on the right way to end poor Forrest MacNeil’s story, and more, coming up just as soon as I’m suspended in the ice for centuries…
So, as you just saw, Forrest was given the perfect opportunity to leave the show forever when ex-wife Suzanne asked him what it’s like to stop being a life reviewer and be with his family again, only for evil producer Grant to talk him out of it (with a guilt trip about the crippling injury he suffered at Forrest’s hands). So Forrest vetoes the review, keeps going, and right after he’s been asked — by an Australian man played by Phil Lloyd, creator and star of the original Review with Myles Barlow — what it’s like to be pranked, the show gets canceled out from under him, even as Forrest is convinced this is all part of the prank review.
While Forrest may be stuck in that studio forever, convinced that Grant will eventually pop out and yell, “Surprise!,” Andy Daly is very much aware of his own show’s end, and we talked about it here.
How close did it come to there not being this season?
I don’t know. The second season was done and it had aired and I wasn’t hearing anything. Then I finally, we got a call to go in and talk at Comedy Central. I really don’t know, but what I think happened was that Kent Alterman, who has always been the greatest champion of our show, didn’t want to let it go out at the end of season two like that. Really, really wanted to give us the best possible end to the show that we wanted to do. So I doubt there was ever a moment where Kent gave up on that.
So the deal was finally finalized and you’re going to have three episodes, which is not a long season. What did you and Jeff and Andy and everybody else put your heads together about what you wanted to accomplish over these three episodes?
At that point, we spent the first week throwing out every great idea that we could possibly wanna do in this amount of time. Crazy guest characters who would come in and interact with Forrest, all kinds of story lines. We started out week two saying, “Look. This actually translates to about 63 minutes, 66 minutes. We need to have a really streamlined, focused story about Forrest versus this show. And to just know where we’re ending and have everything feel like it’s servicing this story, which is a very basic story about the same conflict that it’s been from the beginning between Forrest reviewing life and Forrest living a life.” That moment of focusing on that and the conflict between the show versus Suzanne was very helpful to us in just cutting out all the chaff and just being left with the wheat, if you will.
Did you have from the previous two seasons, a list of unexplored review ideas you hadn’t gotten to yet?
Absolutely. There’s an accumulating giant box of them that is probably somewhere here in my office: Reviews we’ll never get to. There are so many cards. I don’t understand what all the cards are. Some of them are inexplicable, like one of them just says “What does Dr. Conrad Murray think?”
I don’t know. I don’t know what that means. One of the cards just says that. “What does Dr. Conrad Murray think?” Another one says “Pillow fight/blow job.” I don’t know what that means. We did end up doing pillow fights.
Is there one you were frustrated that you were never able to figure out how to actually put it into an episode of the show?
Yeah. I had this very vague notion that it would be fun to see Forrest take on a human project: that Forrest was just going to find somebody whose life to improve, and it would be horrible what he would do to this person’s life in the effort to try and turn this guy’s life around. But that was one. We talked about it a bunch, and I don’t know why we never did that one.
Are any of these ones in the final season ones that had been on the bucket list? Or were they all newly dreamed up for this?
Putting a pet to sleep was, actually, that was, for sure, a card that was just kind of on the wall for a while. What else? I’ll bet you there’s been a card lyin’ around for a long time that said “Helen Keller” on it. That one doesn’t sound brand new. And actually “cryogenic freezing” as well. I think, ’cause we started off the season by breaking open the box of old reviews and just pinning them up on the walls and then talking about the story we wanted to tell, staring at these cards on the wall and saying, “Well, maybe this review segment goes into this spot of the story like this.”
I’ll tell you one that was on the board for a long time this season and, thankfully, fell off the board at some point was “bestiality.” We were close to doing it.
What would that have involved, exactly?
Weirdly enough, I can’t really explain why, but this season we didn’t want to rent offices to write the show in. We rented an Airbnb in a neighborhood in Burbank that’s an equestrian neighborhood, where people are allowed to essentially keep horses in their backyards. So this was a house that was surrounded on both sides by horse houses and there were just horses running around while we were writing it. So it definitely would’ve involved horses. That’s where the idea came from, and God, we were stuck on that for a while because we were looking — it was in the spot that is currently occupied by “being struck by lightning” — for something horrible for Forrest to have to do in that moment. There were a few horrible things that were in there. “Getting hit by a car” was in there. Bestiality.