“Forever” asks a lot of its viewers. It doesn’t require them to have a casual familiarity with centuries of fake monarchical successions or jump through multiple tangled timelines. Instead it tests their capacity for existential dread — but funny. As a unit of time, the concept of forever is inherently unsettling to humans; an idea of which we have a broad working definition, but which none of us can actually experience. On the show, forever is a state that is quiet to the point of being sepulchral, with no electronic distractions (though there is shuffleboard). It is suffused with slowly deepening panic, unhurried but increasingly restless. Most TV shows are something you turn to to escape real life, but this one almost works the opposite way; real life is a pressure release valve for “Forever.”
Like Rudolph, Armisen is mixed-race — a fact to which she partly attributes their closeness. His background is Venezuelan, German and Korean. On “Forever,” their union of blends adds a further layer of ambiguity to the environment; June and Oscar are residents of a nondescript California suburb, but they look as if they could be from anywhere.
“His impression of me is the most upsetting impression I’ve heard,” she said, hunching her shoulders. In a voice that sounded like an irritated version of her own, but colored with Armisen’s intonation, she looked askance and asked: “ ‘Why am I cold?’ ” Everyone, she said, tells her the impression is valid. “Literally, I have more fun working with him than, like, most things in life.” While Armisen and Rudolph’s close friendship inspired them to collaborate again, the result is surprisingly macabre. “Forever” is saturated with death.
“Let’s be honest,” Rudolph said. “I’m afraid of death. But I’ve been more fearful in the past, and lately I’ve been more like, ‘Oh, I hope we all get to go somewhere.’ ” Rudolph said this as we sat across from each other in a pair of human-size bird cages. We’d been wandering around a brand-new outdoor plaza in search of a quiet spot to talk. In classic upscale-California-mall style, that ended up being these bird cages. We each crawled inside one. “The show feels like scratching an itch to me a little bit,” she said.
Rudolph’s performance in the second episode of “Forever” is heart-rending. Without betraying key elements of the plot: Her character is in a consumer-electronics store, trying to make a purchase, when she breaks down in tears. It’s a depiction of grieving that will prick anyone who has ever been caught off guard by a sudden longing for a lost person. It also feels like a distinctly adult moment of mourning. I asked Rudolph if she recalls what grieving was like as a 7-year-old.
“For many, many years,” she said, “I couldn’t even touch this conversation. Like my mom was always — it was such a painful —” She changed course. “I don’t remember if I ever did proper grieving. I know I did, but it came out in ways — like when I was a kid, I went to a new school and I kicked people. I was like the kicker for a year. And then people tell me stories that I don’t remember, like I’d be crying at a roller-skating party, and they were like: ‘What’s wrong? Why are you crying?’ And I wanted to skate with a boy, and they said that I was like” — she quaked with sobs — “ ‘My grandma died.’ Which wasn’t true! But I was [expletive] laying it on thick. I definitely think that children process very differently. And I’m genuinely fascinated by it, so I wish I knew all the ways that I do or did, but I don’t. But I know that the place that I was with it most of my life was more of a, ‘Poor me, why me?’
“Up until very recently,” she said, “it was still, like, a sting to talk about her” — a particularly difficult set of circumstances when you remember that so many of Riperton’s fans took a special interest in her daughter after her death. Even among her acquaintances, Rudolph said, she is regarded as an authority on parental death. “If they lose a parent, even when they’re like, 40, they’re like: ‘I’ve got to talk to you!’ And I’m like: ‘Right’ ” — she nodded resignedly. “This is my department. But I also know it’s why I really wanted to do this show.”
Source : https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/14/magazine/maya-rudolph-snl-amazon-forever.html773