‘Total Forgiveness’ TV show review
By Jacey Gibb, Distribution Manager
The jokesters over at CollegeHumor launched their own comedy streaming platform Dropout TV. I’m here to tell you if their exclusive content is worth the subscription fee.
As the reader of this student newspaper, what are the chances that you currently have—or will at some point in the future incur—student loans?
The cost of post-secondary has been steadily on the rise, and the reality is that savings, scholarships, and part-time jobs are no longer enough to cover the costs of tuition, textbooks, et . Yet from a young age, most of us are ingrained with the idea that we need education beyond high school. We need that degree, certificate, or other vague description of what legally amounts to a piece of paper to secure a decent-paying job.
The premise behind Dropout’s latest offering is simple: Two friends give each other weekly challenges to beat, with an increasing amount of money on the line to pay towards their own student loan debts. If someone fails the challenge given to them, the money is forfeited to the other person, potentially doubling the money they earn in an episode.
Total Forgiveness gets squirrely quick. The pilot episode follows Ally Beardsley and Grant O’Brien as they both conduct half-hour-long interviews, with their own twists; O’Brien interviews a student loans expert while covered in leeches, and Beardsley video chats with an ex while having to wolf down spicy takeout food. Both are wildly uncomfortable to watch, for obviously different reasons.
A few articles online have compared Total Forgiveness to stunt shows like Jackass or Fear Factor. However, the truer sister show would be Kenny vs. Spenny, the infamous comedy show where real-life friends Kenny Hotz and Spencer Rice challenged each other to ridiculous feats, with the loser suffering a “humiliation” like being completely covered in cow manure.
Total Forgiveness only debuted this month, so it’s yet to be seen if Dropout’s latest offering reaches the same absurd heights as Kenny vs. Spenny. Where Total Forgiveness manages to surpasses it, however, is the message behind the show. Both programs deal with friends competing, but Total Forgiveness highlights the increasingly important issue of student loans. According to the show’s closing credits, student loan debt in the United States is increasing by $3,000 every second, and Canada isn’t that much better. Statistics Canada reports that Canadian students collectively owe more than $28 billion. Generations are entering the workforce with a debt they’ll be paying off for 10 to 15 years, assuming they land jobs that pay enough.
Relevancy aside, Total Forgiveness is also simply hilarious. Beardsley and O’Brien use their pre-existing friendship as a basis for ways to torture each other and it’s mighty enjoyable to watch. Other CollegeHumor cast members also make regular appearances, popping in and out to either help conjure up challenges or provide emotional support. It’s a cool sneak peek, seeing the CollegeHumor crew interacting with each other outside of scripted sketches, and it helps ground some of the absurdity of Total Forgiveness by reminding us that these are just two regular people, competing in weird stunts.
The show’s structure also promises that things will only escalate from here. In the pilot episode, the show establishes that the prize money will increase each week, so the stakes are meant to adjust upwards accordingly. If they started out with such a banger for only $500 in the first episode, you can imagine what the finale holds for O’Brien and Beardsley.
Total Forgiveness is funny, relevant, and a wonderful showcase for its two talented leads. If nothing else, the show can offer a momentary distraction from your own dogpile of student loans, or give you an insight into how far people are willing to go for a fresh start in life.
Previews of Total Forgiveness can be found on YouTube, but full episodes are only offered through Dropout TV.