Thursday, September 3, 2015

REVIEW: 'Review' - Forrest Puts Himself in Danger, Then Faces Sudden Isolation in 'William Tell/Grant a Wish/Rowboat'

Comedy Central's Review - Episode 2.06 "William Tell / Grant a Wish / Rowboat"

Forrest wrangles his father into recreating William Tell's bow-and-arrow feat, reluctantly makes his son's birthday wish come true and spends time in a rowboat.

Forrest has lost a lot because of the show. He has lost his family and entire life before he started issuing reviews for the pleasure of others. He destroyed his marriage, got his father-in-law killed, burned down two of his father's houses and got several more people killed. Anyone who interacts with Forrest seems to be injured from the proximity. That's how the show finds humor. Despite all of this, Forrest chooses to forge ahead. The show and the viewers are too important for him to ever see things clearly enough. He gave himself an out this year with the use of the vetoes. And yet, so many of these segments have ruined the world around him. He loses the most but is always game to do more for the name of good informational TV. It's gotten to the point where he doesn't even take the vetoes seriously because he always wants to at least try the review he is tasked with doing. Something very dangerous indeed.

The three reviews that compose this episode are all widely different. Making a wish come true and being alone in a rowboat seem very innocent. But on this show, even the innocent things have a great personal cost to Forrest and great comedic effect for the audience. Recreating the archery stunt achieved by William Tell over 700 years ago is the most outwardly dangerous task Forrest is asked to do this week. It does create a lot of physical pain for Forrest. He is tasked with shooting an apple off of his son's head with an arrow. That is so dangerous. It could go wrong any number of ways. Forrest isn't an expert archer. Even with days of practice, he can only hit the target if he has the best crossbow on the market. He does have a moment of realization and sees just how ridiculous this is that he is trying to do. He should have those realizations more often on this show - even though that would take a whole lot of fun out of it.

Forrest can't subject his son to this very dangerous task. Despite everything that he has done, he can't bare to put him through that. It's nice to know that Forrest does have some kind of conscience left. But that only comes about when he's asked to put his child in harm's way. When he has inadvertently hurt his son in other reviews, he doesn't even realize he's doing it. This big moment of self-reflection only comes about because of that situation. And it still doesn't get him to stop doing the task. He just goes about it in a completely different way. Forrest decides to be the son in this scenario and asks his dad to shoot the apple off his head. It's interesting that Forrest's father has become a part of the office and is aware of the type of reviews Forrest has to do. And yet, he still chooses to participate. Not just once either. Forrest's father shoots at his son three times and doesn't hit the apple once. Instead he shoots Forrest twice in the heart, and Lucille, the executive assistant, once in the arm. Both of them clearly went through an experience. It's one that Forrest is able to adequately review for the show. But it still ended with even more injury for Forrest and the people around him.

But as Forrest has pointed out, he has built up a tolerance to physical pain based on everything that has happened to him over the course of the show. His psychological and emotional state, however, is much more fragile. That's what the next two reviews of the episode target. It sounds exciting to be able to grant a wish to someone. It has the potential to truly uplift Forrest's spirits after his latest physical energy. He chooses to make his son's wish come true at his birthday party. It's a nice gesture coming from a man who a few days ago was planning on shooting an arrow at him. But a nice gesture nevertheless. Forrest hasn't earned back the love or respect of Suzanne. And yet, he remains hopeful that any sign of goodness will be enough to bring her back into his life. Instead, Forrest enters a situation where Suzanne is happily building a new family - something entirely of his own making. The pro baseball player from the previous Catfish segment has actually taken up a real relationship with Suzanne. Sure, he's a horrible person who has the potential to hurt her in a very personal way because he's not loyal at all. But Forrest still feels the need to grant his son's wish and bring this new family together in an even bigger way.

That's so devastating to Forrest. Not because he knows the pain that's coming for their future but because he knows everyone else in his family is happy without him - including his own father who decides to move into the mansion as well. That leads to a totally depressed state for Forrest. A spiral that he can't work out of before issuing his review. It's a sad one that doesn't delve into the joy that comes from granting someone's wish. But it's how he felt about the situation. It's also want makes the next request that AJ Gibbs delivers so enticing. Being alone in a rowboat away from society is the exact kind of thing Forrest needs to escape from how horrible his life is right now. Of course, even that quickly goes awry.

It's impressive how much time this show actually covers throughout its episodes. Forrest falls asleep during his venture out on the rowboat and finds himself lost at sea. The isolation is much more unbearable than he ever expected. He is abandoned with no one else near and with nothing to attempt to find land. He is adrift at sea forced to embrace whatever he finds out there. It's a quick review with a series of very carefully placed cuts thanks to the sole camera documenting this adventure. It shows what Forrest desperately wants most in this world - Suzanne and his family back. But it also shows just how crazy one person can become in such an isolated state. He is saved by a wave of trash bundled together. That's a horrible prospect. But it saved him nevertheless and allowed the audience to see a glimpse of his life out at sea. Forrest thought things couldn't get any worse for him. They did - in spectacular fashion too. There's no telling how his three months alone at sea will effect him moving forward. But they are bound to have an impact on the rest of the reviews for Season 2.

Some more thoughts:
  • Forrest's review for this episode are: Doing a William Tell - 2 Stars; Granting a Wish - Half a Star; and Being Alone in a Rowboat - Half a Star.
  • The excitement Josh and Tina expressed as Forrest got better and better shooting an arrow at a target made to look like his son was hilarious. They were proud that he was getting better while all he saw was the parts of his son's body he was dismembering.
  • Forrest actually tried to get a new son just in order to do the William Tell stunt. Something he quickly realized was just too ridiculous even for the show.
  • Forrest also mentions that Lucille is taking legal action against him and the show. That could snowball into something bigger this season.
  • How long will Joe and Suzanne be living together? The sudden creation of a family unit in one house could make them much stronger much more quickly or it could destroy any sense of happiness either one of them has.
  • Forrest: "On my first day of practice, I didn't come anywhere close to my son's face which was alright by me."
  • Forrest: "I don't know if it's the cool breeze or the sound of lapping water or the double dose of oxycontin or the crisp salt air, but I feel at peace."
  • Forrest: "I am sorry I disrespected the sea!"