Comedy Central’s latest scripted series, “Review” (10 p.m. Thursday), is a pretty amusing little show, albeit a one-trick pony.
Andy Daly (“Eastbound & Down”) stars as Forrest MacNeil, a “life critic” who hosts “Review.” He doesn’t review restaurants, books or TV; rather, he reviews everyday life experiences, such as rioting, falling down stairs or rock stardom.
“Whatever life experiences you’re curious about, I’ll review it,” Forrest says.
In the premiere episode, mild-mannered Forrest takes on stealing, addiction and attending the prom.
He begins stealing small (malted milk balls from a grocery store) and escalates (bank robbery) in ill-timed, pretty funny fashion that takes a toll on his accomplice, an intern for the show. Forrest eventually gives theft two stars.
Addiction comes second but also recurs in the prom review because, you know, he’s now an addict.
“Cocaine is amazing, I give it a million stars!” he says while high. That critique gets revised down to a half-star after he sobers up.
In a future episode, Forrest tries on racism and gets into a verbal sparring match with his co-worker, who thinks racism should get zero stars but he insists on a half-star because zero stars is against “Review” policy. (This sort of fighting over stars and reviews rings sadly true.)
The recurring gag is the absurdity of nerdy Forrest reviewing often illegal/immoral activities, and it’s a pretty good joke in the early episodes. It remains to be seen if that joke holds up or grows tiresome over time.
FX seems to be embarking on a somewhat schizophrenic path for its comedies. While some are considered hip and modern (“Archer,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”), the network is going down a second path to get cheap, bad programming.
It’s called the 10/90 model. FX orders 10 episodes of a comedy and if the show achieves a certain rating, then the network automatically buys another 90 episodes. Charlie Sheen’s “Anger Management” was the first series to go this route and now there’s George Lopez’s “Saint George” (9 p.m. Thursday), another mediocre, three-camera sitcom with nothing new to say.
Mr. Lopez stars as George Lopez, a recently-divorced entrepreneur (he markets the fifth-biggest selling energy drink in the country) who is hen-packed by his mother (Olga Merediz) at home and hit on by Concepcion (Diana Maria Riva), the assistant principal at the night school where he teaches to give back to the community.
“In case you’re wondering, I’m wearing a thong,” Concepcion tells George.
“I was kind of guessing big girl panties,” George replies.
And that’s pretty much the style of humor found in “Saint George,” which tries to humanize George by making him pathetic – he hasn’t dated since his divorce 13 months ago and his mother mocks him (“The longest relationship you’ve had is with your hand!”).
The show hints at culture clashes – his white ex-wife (Jenn Lyon) is often around – but never really explores this terrain. The first episode is devoted to George attempting to date and learning about naked selfies from his cousin (David Zayas, “Dexter”) and uncle (Danny Trejo, “Machete Kills”).
With “Anger Management” and “Saint George,” it’s almost as if FX is trying to go the TV Land route – new shows for former broadcast network stars with the same stale situations – only with raunchier dialogue.