Most online reviews of upcoming TV shows are intended to be read. That only makes sense. Nothing about this endeavor is supposed to happen in a vacuum. Either a critic has a desire (or obligation) to write about a certain program, or a network has a desire to have said show be publicized. I don’t write about shows in my spiral-bound notebook because I think there’s value in sharing my thoughts on certain shows. I don’t think everyone should agree with them, but after doing this for roughly a decade, hopefully I’ve built up enough of a body of work so long-time readers can accurately judge whether or not something might be for them based on past writing.
I say all this because I don’t want you to read this review of Comedy Central’s third and final season of Review.
Seriously. Stop. What are you doing? Why are you still here? This isn’t a trick! Just watch it! It premieres Thursday, March 16 at 10 pm. Do yourself a favor and don’t read a thing about it.
Ugh, this probably isn’t working at all. You’re waiting for the bait-and-switch, the reveal of the bit, the revelation that there’s something else intended by my words. After all, the review would have stopped two paragraphs ago if I had truly meant it, right? By telling you not to do something, I’ve only made you want to do it more. After all, you’ve read articles to completion for as long as you can remember. Doing so makes sense. Why would you stop now? Wouldn’t that call into question everything else you’ve done online up until this point?
And if you started to question that, then you might question a whole other host of things. Pretty soon, the very foundations of your life might start to shift at an almost exponential pace. If we can’t rely on what we know to be true about the universe, that’s pretty much the more terrifying thing in the world. So it’s better to dig in and double down rather than consider the alternative: No matter what I say or do, you’re going to read the rest of the words that I have typed.
Think about everything else you could be doing, though! You could be engaging with society. You could be calling your mother. You could be productive at work instead of reading this with one eye on your boss’ door. Even though you’re sure with every sentence that getting this far was probably a mistake, the past is the past, and the future could be different. It definitely won’t be the same. People aren’t doomed to make the same mistakes as they have in the past. They learn, grow, and evolve.
Ugh, this definitely isn’t working at all. You’re still waiting for the bait-and-switch, the reveal of the bit, the final lift of the curtain to reveal the man behind it. After all, the review would have stopped four paragraphs ago if I had truly meant it, right? You’re now even more compelled to keep going, and even if you’re frustrated, there’s little you can do to express it. This is a solitary, voluntary act that someone feels compulsory at this point. You had a choice at some point, probably, although you can’t remember at which point there were two doors instead of only one, and even if you can see the second door, it’s so far away and so hard to get to that it’s probably not worth the effort at this point.
You’ve wasted your time reading this. Of that, there can be no doubt. But you’ve come this far, so come a little further.
I want to show you what you’ve denied. I want to have you see there were other truths in addition to your absolute certainties. I want you to consider the fact that your firm beliefs in the benevolence of both the universe and your fellow man are falsehoods, and that while grace isn’t impossible, it’s often something we are not worthy to receive. Even when I present these facts to your face, you will not accept them. Doing so upends everything you’ve thought or done, and facing the yawning chasm before you would break your mind into a million pieces. So don’t worry, everything I said can’t possibly be true, because meaning itself would be meaningless were it so.
Just remember you had the choice to do whatever you wanted to do this whole time, and chose to do what you did. Those choices have consequences, and even when we’re lucky enough to get the Get Out Of Jail free card that miraculously grants reprise from their repercussions, we rarely see that card for what it is. We often boldly take a stand against our own salvation, and trudge off the side of the cliff with a smile on our face.
Again, I refuse to review Review. But if a television show could address any of those questions above and make me laugh so hard I need to repeatedly pause for fear of missing the next verbal/visual gag, I’d say that show was one for the ages and should be required viewing by anyone interested in the most damning indictment of being alive in 2017 on any network.