Thursday, September 17, 2015

REVIEW: 'Review' - Forrest Enacts His Vetoes and Is Then Faced with a Horrifying Review in 'Murder/Magic 8 Ball/Procrastination'

Comedy Central's Review - Episode 2.08 "Murder / Magic 8 Ball / Procrastination"

Forrest allows a Magic 8 Ball to dictate his decisions for a day, runs into a paradox when faced with the task of procrastinating, and faces his toughest review yet.

In "Murder/Magic 8 Ball/Procrastination," Forrest does something smart, then something dumb and then something horrifying. This season has really pushed the boundaries of what he is willing to do for the show. Nothing exemplifies that more than his review of murder. All season long, Forrest had the option to veto two reviews. It was pretty apparent early on that Forrest would seriously misuse those options. He is always game to tackle the things that his audience asks of him. There are certainly a few times that he would have passed if he knew what was being asked of him - like the William Tell stunt. But he has always found a reason to persevere and issue his review for each of the tasks. And now, the time has finally come for him to meet something that he simply cannot do. It's delightful to see him take control of his own life while things only get even more tragic and horrifying later on.

Forrest smartly knows that he cannot review murdering someone for the show. He has certainly gotten many people killed over these two seasons - notably Suzanne's father and Mrs. Greenfield. But those were all unintentional consequences of his actions. He has never purposefully killed someone even though his actions are the reason so many people are dead. The person asking the question, Gina, is so matter of fact about her request too. She really just wants to know what it would be like - without sugar coating it at all. She asks it bluntly and Forrest reacts in horror. He is a life reviewer. He views this show as giving him experiences best to embrace life. How could he reasonably bring someone else's life to an end just to fulfill what the show asks of him? This question crosses a boundary. He has no problem vetoing it. It's a quick and painless endeavor. He's able to move onto the next question without worrying too much about what's on the horizon now that he's used one of his two vetoes.

The next review is much simpler and a more reasonable request - what's it like to live your life ruled by a Magic 8 Ball? Whenever Forrest is faced with a choice, he will ask the ball what to do. It's something that starts out rather innocently. He goes out into the world and starts chasing squirrels. It's a pleasant experience. But as soon as the reality of his life creeps in, it starts to turn devastating. The hilarity of Forrest carrying the ball in a fanny pack that makes it look like he is masturbating is a hilarious visual that never grows tiresome. The show gets plenty of mileage out of it too. But that is not all that this review sets out to do. Suzanne finally calls Forrest back. She wants to know if he is sorry about his public display at her recent wedding rehearsal dinner. After a day of him getting to do largely pleasurable things, the ball turns against him. He has to say that he isn't sorry at all. He desperately reached out to her to make things right. And now, he is finally given the chance only for the show to once again get in the way of his happiness and family.

But things continue to get darker as Forrest continues on his day with the Magic 8 ball. He eventually winds up in a shady neighborhood where he witnesses a drug exchange. He is forced into the situation by the ball. When things turn violent, he is incapable of fleeing the scene because the ball forces him to stay. It's hilarious that Forrest stays there shaking that ball for hours but it keeps coming up with negative or postponing answers. It's frustrating to Forrest but hilarious to the audience. A man was beaten right in front of him and the perpetrator was able to escape. When the police finally find him, Forrest can't even ID him without consulting the ball. Once again, Forrest has ruined someone else's life just because he interacted with him.

Next, Forrest is asked to review procrastination. It's a simple request. And yet, Forrest gets into his head too much. He doesn't see how he can eventually issue a review of procrastination if he is procrastinating from doing the review. He thinks he's in a situation that simply can't be done. He has been in this situation earlier but eventually found a way to do the review. The segment on doing a six star review comes to mind. But he fully believes he can't experience procrastination from a task. It is something that could easily be done. And yet, Forrest doesn't think so. So in the span of one episode, Forrest has used up both vetoes for the season. That's a hilarious prospect. He started the episode confident knowing that he still had control over the show. He ends it just as defeated and lost as he was at the end of the first season. That moment was inevitable ever since he decided to come back. However, it is still highly satisfying to watch as his life continues going down this horrifying path.

And things do get more terrifying and traumatic for the final segment. Gina resubmits her question to kill someone. And now, Forrest actually has to do it. It's hilarious that the show doesn't have a system in place to keep reviews from being repeated - especially if they come from the same person. It basically renders the entire veto system moot. Forrest has to actually do this review now. It rocks him to his very core. He no longer has any vetoes left. It's a horrifying prospect for him. He cherishes life. He can't purposefully take that away from someone else. And yet, that's exactly what he has to do. There's no way to work around it. Forrest is so rigid when it comes to the rules of the show. He was able to add the veto function in between the seasons. But now, he can't change anything about how the show is run. He sees no choice but to do this review. It's a daunting prospect. One that could have much more serious consequences than any of his previous reviews. But he feels the obligation to do it nevertheless.

However, agreeing to do the review is a whole lot different than actually doing it. Forrest is not mentally handled to kill a person. It's a horrible act that should question the sanity of any person willing to do it. Forrest has caused so much devastation over the course of the show. His professional obligations have turned him into a horrible and destructive person. His insistence on over-committing to each review has destroyed his entire live as well as the other people around him. And now, things are going one step further. Forrest has killed before. But now, he's being explicitly asked to do it. Grant and the show's legal time go through the motions of telling him he can't legally do this. And yet, Grant is still baiting him into doing it as well. It's a brilliant moment of comedy that expands the concept of the sequence while also making sure Grant covers himself should all of this go terribly wrong.

Forrest does have an easy target for this murder - the man beaten half to death by the drug dealer in the previous segment. And yet, he is an innocent man who got caught up in drugs and paid for it with his life. Forrest can't justify killing him. However, he can justify killing the person who put that man in the hospital clinging to life. It's the kind of rationalization that only the anti-heroes use in some of the best cable dramas. And now, Forrest has become just like them. He is controlling a man's future for his own personal gain and responsibility. He has determined that this man no longer deserves to live. Of course though, Forrest actually gets to know the man before he goes through with the deed. He learns of his plans to turn his life around. That makes this so much more difficult for Forrest. He went to the apartment with one goal. He still succeeded as the guy soon attacked when he discovered Forrest was wearing a wire. But that doesn't mean Forrest isn't riddled with guilt and plagued with nightmares over what he has done. This is one of the most horrifying acts Forrest has ever done for the show. He realizes just how foolish it was to have just two vetoes. This show will continue to be so destructive for him. He may never be able to come back from this. The show itself is cleared of all legal responsibility. But this could destroy the remainder of Forrest's life. That's a huge moment for the character. Two episodes remain this season and they will see Forrest in a very different state of mind than the previous reviews this season. That's a very promising development.

Some more thoughts:
  • Forrest's review for this episode are: Living Your Life by a Magic 8 Ball - One Star. Killing Someone - Theoretically, Half a Star.
  • AJ's reactions to Forrest using the veto continue to be priceless and absolutely amazing. Megan Stevenson is so fantastic on this show.
  • Forrest's dad enlisted for the Vietnam war but never actually saw combat because he was hospitalized for two and a half years over a really weird case of diarrhea.
  • Forrest: "Life is a trip. This show is my passport."
  • Forrest: "Gina, I will do many things. But to take a life is wrong beyond all reason. As a man who reviews life, I simply have too much respect for it to end one. And so, for the first time in Review history, I hereby enact the power of the host veto!"
  • Forrest: "If I crash into the rocks of life, I want it because I steered the ship there myself." 
  • Forrest: "A link will take me to a Tumblr? That right there will take most of the afternoon."
  • Grant on Forrest's legacy: "He had that show where he barfed up pancakes."
  • Forrest: "But then, I realized there was someone who was much more deserving of my murder."
  • Forrest: "There should have been another veto!"