Explaining Review — really, truly explaining it — is impossible. Here’s my best crack anyway: Review is a Comedy Central series that stars Andy Daly as Forrest MacNeil, a TV show host who reviews life experiences the way a critic reviews art, on a scale from one to five stars. The topics for his reviews come from the show-within-show’s viewers, and include things like traveling to space and public speaking. Things get very funny. Unfortunately for Forrest, the suggested topics also include things like leading a cult and catfishing someone and taking a human life. So things get very dark, too. Even the simple reviews usually go terribly awry, almost always in a way that you couldn’t have possibly seen coming. It’s a remarkable television program.
To date, the show has aired two seasons. The third, final, abbreviated season debuts on Thursday, March 16. Comedy Central has made every episode of the show available on its website, and you really should consider taking some time to watch some or all of them, whether you’ve seen them before or not. Below, I’ve made a list of some of my favorite reviews from the show (along with abbreviated YouTube clips of each), to give you a starting point if you’re just jumping in, or so you can yell at me for forgetting your favorite if you’re a devoted viewer. I’m fine either way as long as it means we’re discussing the show.
The brilliant thing Review does, almost all of the time (more on this later), is structure its two or three reviews in an episode so they become pieces of a whole, and then structure all those episodes together to tell one ongoing story. It’s like doing one puzzle every week and then taking those individual completed puzzles and placing them together to create one huge Voltron puzzle. So this review, from episode one of season one, introduces us to Forrest’s commitment to his show (by having him get addicted to cocaine), but the payoff of it all actually comes in another review from the episode about attending a prom. Still, there’s a soft spot in my heart for a deranged, coke-fueled Forrest shouting “COCAINE IS AMAZING. I GIVE IT A MILLION STARS,” so I think this is the proper place to start.
Being a little person
Everything about this is wrong. Forrest is asked to review what it’s like to be a little person and… oh God, it’s so wrong. But it’s also so perfect, because Andy Daly plays Forrest with this naive can-do cheer that makes it clear that he’s an idiot, and that the jokes are on him, not the group he’s portraying. This is an important theme in the show, as it’s what keeps it fun instead of making things mean. At one point Forrest lets a house burn down because he is too committed to reviewing the experience of being a little person to stand up and prevent it. That sentence becomes much funnier when you see it happen, I promise.