Sunday, March 9, 2014

Pilot Talk 2014: Review with Forrest Macneil

Every TV season, networks bring out a new crop of shows, in hopes that they'll be the next big hit.  Pilot Talk is devoted to figuring out whether these shows are worth your time based on the first episode.

Thursdays at 10:00 PM on Comedy Central

Andy Daly is, without a doubt, one of the funniest people on the planet; you could even see this if you looked hard enough back in his MadTV days.  (In general, I feel like we need to have a cultural re-evaluation of MadTV.  It was funnier than any era of Saturday Night Live!  Wait, where are you going with my critic badge?!)  But you don't even have to look hard to see his brilliance if you listen to Comedy Bang! Bang! or any of the other podcasts where he's crafted demented and hilarious characters like the lecherous theatrical director, Don Dimello.  His new podcast, The Andy Daly Podcast Pilot Project, is only five episodes in and it's already a masterpiece of the medium.  Surely, this is a man whose genius can't be contained.

Thankfully, the long-awaited Review with Forrest Macneil is finally here to allow for a wider audience to experience the joy of Andy Daly.  Based on an Australia show with the same concept, Review follows a man named Forrest Macneil, who goes around reviewing everyday life events that his viewers suggest to him.  In the first episode alone, he reviews such ridiculous things as stealing, addiction, and going to the prom.  The bizarreness of a man reviewing these things is funny enough, but the real hilarity comes from how these bits are played out, constantly elevating the stakes, as Forrest takes each concept to its very edge.  Daly is so good at mixing the darker undertones of his work with his otherwise chipper demeanor, and the show gets a lot of mileage out of the microscopic level of regard that Forrest has for the consequences his actions have on himself and others.  Each of the reviews bleed into one another -- in the addiction segment, Forrest develops a hankering for cocaine that he eventually overcomes, only to succumb to it once more when he faces embarrassment from high schoolers in the prom segment.  It's easy to imagine how much the show can build from here, and I look forward to the hilarious and bleak places Daly will take it.

Grade: B+

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