Comedy Central’s Review is the most insane and insanely funny show on TV. It has a premise – an overcommitted nerd reviews audience-submitted life experiences, from eating a truly upsetting amount of pancakes to using a glory hole to staying in a haunted house to eating even more pancakes – that seems naturally suited for a series of sketches. And while each episode is basically structured as a triptych of largely self-contained reviews, there is a continuity tracking the utter destruction of host Forrest MacNeil’s life, and that of his loved ones, as well as any number of unfortunate bystanders, in this pursuit. It’s this continuity that makes the show into a shockingly dark, stealthily insightful satire of the risks of disassociating ourselves from our own experiences, as these crazy modern times wut we lives in makes it easier and easier to do.
As someone who spends much of his free time dissecting and criticizing what should by all accounts be leisure activities, Forrest’s position as a reviewer who destroys his own life by dissecting and rating it resonates with me on a rather specific level. While having an intermittent TV blog does not put me in much danger of being stranded on an oceanic trash flotilla or shot by my father with a bow and arrow, I do sometimes worry that, for example, I may have soured myself on True Detective’s universally-beloved first season by forcing myself to put each episode under the microscope on a weekly basis. I love Game Of Thrones to bits, which I why I’ve chosen to write extensive analyses of its last 30 episodes, despite literally no one asking me to do that. But does forcing myself to adopt a pose of semi-objective even-handedness, to obsess over the bad parts and vivisect the good ones, actually make me enjoy it any more?
“Life: it’s literally all we have. But is it any good?” Forrest asks at the beginning of each episode. But the season 2 (series?) finale closes with his chipper, vaguely sociopathic co-hostess opining “Life! You’re already living it! Ain’t it great?” It is at that, AJ. Even when it’s horrifying, and hilarious, and random. Kind of like your show.