What I really want to know about Review is what A.J. Gibbs (Megan Stevenson) has been up to this whole time. While her boss Forrest MacNeil (Andy Daly) continues to sink ever further into the depths of ruination, has she been taking up new hobbies, dating, writing a novel, perhaps? I have always imagined her leaving work each day, laughing with just a hint of concern about the humiliation that Forrest has put himself through, and then promptly forgetting that he even exists until she clocks in the next morning.
But let’s not forget Forrest’s travails. With the cliffhanger ending of the season two finale behind us, it’s time to look back at his moments of greatest abjection, in case he never returns to the show. Forrest is living proof that life is pain and that consequences cannot be escaped. His rare moments of exhilarating joy—having orgy, eating the best ice cream in town—are always weighed down by despair. Here are the five most humiliating reviews of Forrest’s career which, at this point, seems certain to end in his death if he’s not dead already:
5. Review: “Getting Kicked in the Balls”
There are more elaborate, life-altering reviews than this one but there’s something to be said for the brief brutality of “Getting Kicked in the Balls.” Tasked with doling out a six-star review, Forrest must create a new show called Evaluate in which the only possible rating is a six-star rating. And, of course, his first and only evaluation for Evaluate is to suffer a swift kick to the testicles. A.J.’s eagerness to deliver the blow is the best (because worst) part of this review. And because this is Review we’re talking about, Forrest can’t get off that easy. He has to get kicked again because A.J. somehow only managed to hit one ball. His final humiliation: He has to give his gonad pain the most stars he has ever awarded in the history of the show.
4. Review: “Happiness”
The schadenfreude of Review stems from knowing that Forrest feels compelled to complete his assignments, no matter how difficult. “Happiness” takes that a step further by requiring him not just to do something he doesn’t want to do, but to like it as well. His ex-wife Suzanne’s (Jessica St. Clair) decision to approach Forrest about giving up his visitation rights just so happens to coincide with his review of being unrelentingly happy. Forrest is a pro. There are hints that he isn’t pleased by her request—his wan laughs and forced smiles—but he never stops sounding chipper, even as he loses what may be his last tie to the love of his life and, ultimately, gets arrested for homicide.
3. Review: “Quitting”
“Quitting” shouldn’t be one of the most humiliating reviews. But it is. Forrest has lost both of his wives, accidentally ended his father-in-law’s life, and landed in both a mental institution and a prison. But there’s something about him telling off his elderly employer at the lobby coffee cart that is almost impossible to watch. Perhaps it’s because we so rarely get to see anyone in the universe of Review display real affection for Forrest that his forced rejection of his adoring boss is so cringe-worthy. Forrest has done awful things—he’s killed someone, after all—but this somehow feels worse. Forrest’s shame when his coworker decides to depart with him after shouting, “Who’s with me?” is one of the most devastating moments in the series.
2. Review: “Granting a Wish”
Making someone’s wish come true should not involve convincing the cheating boyfriend of your ex-wife to move in with her and your son but, in the world of Review, of course it does. It makes it all the more unwatchable that Suzanne only fell for Joe Dale, Jr. because he was Forrest’s surrogate in a catfishing scheme. In the middle of this review, Suzanne tells Forrest that “[Joe] loves Agatha Christie”—he doesn’t, Forrest only told him that she does—and she asks “How cool is that?” Forrest’s face in that moment is a perfect Review moment: He attempts to look pleasantly surprised but he can’t help letting the unbearable pain of his task show in his eyes.
1. Review: “Divorce”
Stars: N/A; Forrest walks away without assigning a score
“Divorce” is the catalyst for all of Forrest’s subsequent misfortune. It marks the moment when his commitment to Review starts to take an irrecoverable toll on his life. Up to that point, his life is fairly elastic. Forrest is able to bounce back from an aborted armed robbery and a brief cocaine addiction without any noticeable impact on his family life. But once he stands in his kitchen and yells, “Enough of being married!” there’s no going back. Forrest has been through some harrowing stuff since getting divorced from Suzanne but nothing that compares to this pivotal moment.
It is heart-wrenching to watch Forrest detonate his marriage for no reason, with no way to inform Suzanne of his assignment without breaking the rules of his show. Everything about the review is soul-crushing: Suzanne reacting to him as if he’s joking, his sudden realization that the divorce will also affect his son, and, of course, his insistence in the face of his now ex-wife’s confusion that there doesn’t have to be reason for him to leave. But Forrest’s loss is our gain. Review owes everything it has become to his split from Suzanne.
May Saunders is a professional dog walker living in Minneapolis and an occasional freelance writer. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging out with her cat, who does not need to be walked. Follow her on Twitter.