A few thoughts on tonight’s Review coming up just as soon as these glasses are at war with my face…
“Co-Host/Ass-Slap/Helen Keller/Forgiveness” is the kind of episode ideally suited for the final season of a show. Its introductory review — or, really, pair of reviews, since AJ has to learn about slapping asses while Forrest is discovering what it’s like to be a co-host — is a fun role reversal for the show-within-the-show’s two on-camera personalities, and one that finally sheds some light on what AJ’s life is like when she’s not smiling and pushing buttons. A part of me wishes we had seen a full-length version of “Ass-Slap,” but that would be outside the format of Review itself, where the thing we care about is seeing how Forrest responds to the less exciting job, and we get enough glimpses — AJ has a lot of friends and an active life outside the show, and has a healthy enough sense of perspective on life that when her boyfriend tells her not to slap an ass, she doesn’t — to satisfy, even as Forrest is acting befuddled about the whole thing. It’s also great to see that both of them are terrible at each other’s job: Forrest doesn’t understand how the equipment works and doesn’t even read everything properly (so “Mark” comes out as “Mork”), and of course AJ doesn’t actually complete her assignment, despite not having used a veto already.
And the concluding review of “Forgiveness” is the kind of emotional one that builds on all we’ve seen in the previous two seasons of the dissolution of Forrest and Suzanne’s marriage and the enormous toll the show has taken on both their lives. It’s painful, because — like the dream come true review from last week — Forrest’s interpretation of the question takes a review that could have vastly improved his life and instead makes things worse, by angering Suzanne just when she thought there might be some hope of being able to communicate with him again. And the glimpses of some of the awful things he did to her for the show functioned as a mini clip-show as we prepare for the impending conclusion.
As for “Helen Keller,” that was just Grade-A silliness that — like “Batman” in the first season and “Little Person” in the second — featured Forrest taking on another persona at the worst possible time, and not being able to get out of it (in this case, because he literally didn’t know what was happening, and Josh didn’t tell him before sending him into court wearing the helmet and the Helen Keller drag(*).
(*) When the wardrobe person told Forrest in “Co-Host” that he would have to change because AJ always wears different outfits for the intro and outro, I briefly wondered if we might see Forrest in a dress. Instead, they were saving that for the next review. Probably the better choice.
So good. So painful.
What did everybody else think?