Inessential Guide to Review
Andy Daly’s Weird, Wonderful Dark Comedy
Andy Daly seems the nicest man around, whether in print or on a podcast, he just exudes decency and good humor. Andy Daly has created one of the darkest, funniest shows on television. His character, Forest Macneil, has non threatening looks and sincere love of reviewing, with the misguided belief that his reviews of life itself, he will improve, life itself.
In the first episode, he steals groceries from an old lady, a dog (which becomes a regular character), gets addicted to cocaine and goes to prom, where he subsequently does cocaine with a bunch of high school kids. This sounds awful--it is awful--but while watching, it seems all so good natured, but so dark.
The first two seasons are available to stream, and with a third and final abbreviated season coming soon, I thought I would highlight some of my favorite things about the show.
“Cult; Perfect Body”
You could credibly create a tv series from this 22 minute episode and have the same story arc. The writing is tight, the editing amazing and the humor is painfully funny. With everything packed in, it never feels rushed or anything is missing. His first review is being a cult leader, which his assistant warns him, “Always leads to rivers of blood.” Like many episodes, this early foreshadowing is called back to in the most unexpected ways. How the Perfect Body is added to this is so clever and there is even a really good dick joke to end the episode.
Least Essential Episode
Curing Homosexuality; Mile High Club
As a stand alone, this episode is fine, it is funny enough. On a lesser series it wouldn’t stand out. There is nothing objectionable about it and there are some funny jokes. It is the one that just doesn’t move much of the story arc. And, yes, Review has a story arc--an impressive one at that. It really speaks to how well done the show is that this episode is the worst.
Favorite Moment of Uncomfortable Clarity
In Season One episode two Sex Tape; Racist; Hunting, The moment when his neighbor Gene says to him, “You have decided to become an overt racist?”
Eating Pancakes has never been so sad.
Best Guest Star
The always-awesome Alison Tolman is fantastic as Forest’s nurse and eventually love/blackmail interest. She is good in everything and the heartbreak with Forest manages to convey is devastating and still funny.
Honorable mention: Jason Mantzoukas.
Zukes being Zukes and you can see how great Daly and he play off each other.
The editing and timing of the bits of physical humor are fantastic. From the silly:
To the plethora of startling gags:
There All is Aching
This is the most surreal review.
Problems with Understanding the Internet
Throughout the show, MacNeil's ignorance to all things internet are a continual theme. In order to make his character naivety plausible, he doesn't understand a thing about how it works, if he did, his ability to review would be compromised.
Bonus: Funniest/Awful Podcast
For a season on Earwolf Podcast network Daly ran has improv series about people trying out to do podcasts. The craziest episode was Eye On Theatre with Don DiMello, a character who shows up on Comedy Bang Bang (tv show and podcast) and Bajillion Dollar Properties. Guest starring Mantzoukas and Jessica St, Claire (who criminally I haven't mentioned as the recently divorced wife of Forest, the show has such a deep bench), Daly's DiMello is unbelievably awful, and like the other performers causes you to giggle throughout.