7.5

Review Review: "Quitting, Last Day, Irish"

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<i>Review</i> Review: "Quitting, Last Day, Irish"

As much as I’ve enjoyed Andy Daly’s comic, cocaine-fueled retelling of the Book of Job, I haven’t always been sure the show could stick the landing on its high-flying story arc. Given the constricting nature of Review’s three-segment structure, it often felt like the show struggled to tell a coherent story within each episode, much less over nine of them. Thankfully, last night Review finished its first season with about as satisfying an ending as we could have hoped.

The two underlying conflicts of Review finally came to a head last night and both were handled expertly. Asked point-blank by his estranged wife if he’d torn their lives apart for the sake of the show, Forrest MacNeil’s couldn’t drop his Lucky the Leprechaun Irish brogue to answer her, even if it meant losing his family. It was the kind of perfect tragicomic moment that you rarely see on television, with few shows willing to go either that dark or that whimsical and definitely not both.

Equally brilliant was MacNeil giving the same “take this job and shove it” speech three different times in three different contexts, first indifferently, then agonizingly and finally with righteous anger against his manipulative producer. The show has taken its time building up the villainy of James Urbaniak’s Grant, but watching him emotionlessly run through rationales to appease the heartbroken MacNeil really revealed Grant’s fundamental sliminess, making the final confrontation feel especially rewarding.

I’m not sure where MacNeil ran off to after punching his boss, and Review isn’t giving any clues, but I’d like to think he’s back at Lobby Java, serving up fair-trade organic coffee with the old man and Charlie Kelly’s uncle. Presumably the creators of the show intended to leave the finale open-ended for the possibility a second season, but “Quitting” still serves as a fitting end to Andy Daly’s ambitious but flawed experiment in dark comedy. Ultimately, Review could have used a few more gags to really succeed as a sitcom, but as a character study, the finale placed it among television’s best in recent memory.