Savior is a strong word, but Comedy Central’s Review certainly marks the welcome ascendancy of a very specific brand of elite. All hail Forrest MacNeil, a new kind of critic.
As jobs fall away, old economies collapse, and a fascination with strangers becomes our occupation, who better to guide us into the unknown than a man predisposed to erratic over-analysis? MacNeil’s reviews of real-life experiences are second only to experiencing real life, and that’s a somewhat dirtier endeavor. Better to let a pro do it.
But who reviews the reviewer? Lest this new era lack accountability (or you lack an excuse to watch Season 1 over again), we’ve conducted an exhaustive appraisal of each and every one of MacNeil’s Season 1 reviews. Enjoy, and feel free to comment with a review of our review of Review’s reviews. Assuming you’re meta enough to unravel it all. And definitely tune in to Comedy Central tonight for the Season 2 premiere at 10/9 central. There’s no telling where Forrest will take us in this brave new world.
Season 1 Stealing While MacNeil illuminates the social and fiscal boons of thievery, his grasp of the psychological risk/reward paradigm (and the accompanying sense of strength that it engenders) lacks a single, full thrust of insight. We also wonder why he’d rob a bank when cybercrime is so wide open to bespeckled, middle-aged men. 2 Stars
Dan Rather did heroin. MacNeil did cocaine. Only the greatest media professionals will do whatever it takes to sift through lies until the streak of truth emerges. God bless our fourth estate. 2 Stars
Going to Prom
While I’d emphatically agree that prom is the spiritual equivalent of jock-mixed, pee-spiked punch, MacNeil’s dance disaster ranks low on the continuum of our awful experiences of the same event. Now, let us never speak of prom again. 3 Stars
Making a Sex Tape
Sex is scary, and post-marital coitus is cloistered in more mythology than a dodo mounting a dinosaur. We’re impressed by MacNeil’s acumen with wife and doll alike. As to the act of love, we wouldn’t recommend it. Very messy. Very messy, indeed. 4 Stars
Being a Racist
We’re not sure which is harder, holding your tongue in front of a nazi or sitting through a day-long training seminar. MacNeil gets top rating for somehow keeping his cool in front of a swastika and a PowerPoint presentation. 5 Stars
Hunting In this review, MacNeil broke the first rule of reviewing: a good critic should ALWAYS be planning an attack. Or, if you’re unsure, fire wildly into the night until you hit something solid. Otherwise, you get what you get; in this case an entirely unsympathetic tiger attack. Out here in the wild, we simply can’t abide amateurism. 2 Stars
Eating 15 Pancakes
Any brunch scientist will tell you that the number of pancakes a person can ingest is directly proportional to the number of tequila shots done the previous evening with Brittany and Becky (I know, right? Don’t you just love them?). MacNeil clearly wasn’t drinking enough. 1.5 Stars
Getting Divorced No rating.
Eating 30 Pancakes
Any brunch scientist will tell you that the number of pancakes a person can ingest is directly proportional to the amount of sadness in the darkest corners of one’s soul. It takes a sturdy soul to eat 30 pancakes, just as it takes a sad man to sing a sad song. In this review, the sound of MacNeil’s syrup clusters echo into eternity. 5 Stars
Sleeping With a Celebrity
Ashley Tisdale did exactly the same thing to me when I reviewed “sleeping with a celebrity.” Take heart, my man. You deserve a B-list actress who appreciates you for YOU. 4 Stars
In a city that knows only darkness, the warped machinations of a rogue reviewer are all that stands between us and the bleakest version of ourselves. Wielding that power comes with risk, but, as MacNeil knows, unnerving resolve is its own reward. 3.5 Stars
Having a Best Friend It’s not that critics don’t want to have best friends. They’re simply better at maintaining enemies. Better to embrace that and channel the sense of rejection into a meta piece about a meta show making fun of inane attempts at post-meta analysis. After all, people are awful. Really, just the worst. .5 Stars (lowest rating allowed)
Going Into Space
+5 for going into space and making the best of a bad situation (space corpses can happen anytime, to anyone). -2.5 for going in a shuttle instead of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s ship of the imagination. Have you heard him talk about space stuff? He’s so cool. 2.5 Stars
Road Rage New York-based bloggers only take cabs, so we don’t feel qualified to review this one. Instead, we’ll refer you to these fascinating and eloquent pictures of secret subway stations.
Being at a Sex Party/a Swinger
New Yorkers absolutely attend “exclusive, elaborate, and totally ball-draining” orgies, so we do feel qualified to review this one. I’d suggest that anyone who considers the “awesome pleasure hell” that MacNeil attended a paragon of emptiness has never been in an East Village singles bar at 4am. 1 Star
Revenge is a dish best served cold, but MacNeil absolutely convinced us: when optimal temperature isn’t an option, poop jokes (and explosions) are always a suitable substitute. 5 Stars
Getting Rich Quick There’s nothing more American than suing your way into riches, so we won’t rake MacNeil over the coals for his lack of a million dollar idea. 4 Stars
‘There All Is Aching’
In this review, MacNeil is subjected to tortures experienced by any spiritual progressivist attempting to communicate with those lower on the ladder of enlightenment. While he finds himself institutionalized for his inscrutable Zen garble, it’s worth noting that Apple execs are known to say VERY similar stuff. ∞ Stars
Marrying a Stranger
While I’ve never married a stranger, I have answered a number of Craigslist personals, and can confirm: strangers inspire ecstasy and terror in relatively equal order. 2.5 Stars
Running From the Law Who’s Bonnie and who’s Clyde? Thelma? Louise? We like our running with even more references. 2.5 Stars
Being ‘The Life of the Party’
Picture the Native American forming a single tear as the foolish white man ravishes the environment. Now replace the Indian with Andrew WK. No one’s ever “stuck” in a bathroom, MacNeil. Just knock the door down. It’s what both the Kool Aid man and WK would do in the same situation. 1.5 Stars
Quitting a Job
Nothing feels better than sticking it to the man (or woman), and Forrest manages to tell off a well-meaning office worker and an old man with undeniable aplomb. Like I’ve always said, “Damn the man! You can take this job and shove it!” Though my job is to do fake reviews of fake TV reviews while eating the last ¼ of a Hershey bar in my underwear. So, you know, maybe the new millennium “man” is me? 5 Stars
Living Your Last Day Combatting sexual rejection with increasingly sized firearms. Last day or not, that’s what we call cultural criticism of the very highest order. 5 Stars
Blood sausage is underrated. Being Irish isn’t. 1 Star
To see where Forrest MacNeil takes us in Season 2 of Review, tune in tonight for the premiere episode on Comedy Central at 10/9 central (or anytime on the CC app).