There was a moment of awe, like the hero had arrived, when Tony Slattery first appeared. I imagine there’s a similar moment of awe now that his comedy partner and soon-to-be S3 regular (sort of), Mike McShane, has arrived at Whose Line. Alongside Tony, Josie, and….you know, the git…he’ll try to bring some balance to this rocky season of Whose Line.
Already Mike looks jolly, optimistic, and surprisingly clean-shaven. The S3-era McShane beard will be upon us very soon. John, meanwhile, still has his hangover stubble, which will, I imagine, be a permanent fixture at this point.
Authors: Night of the Crumpet
Mike: Louis L’Amour
Josie: Brothers Grimm
Tony: Dr. Alex Comfort
John: William Faulkner
I love how the other three do more sophisticated choices, and Tony always does a more bawdy one, like this week, where he’ll be playing Authors as the guy who wrote The Joy of Sex.
Josie and Mike are doing a great job in connecting and storytelling, and then Tony…
“The elf was little, but, of course, size doesn’t matter.”
There’s a nice applause for this.
Just as Tony’s about to continue, Clive buzzes
I’ll mention that Mike’s the first person other than John Sessions to get more than 20 seconds of time before the buzzer. The narrative could be shifting.
Josie’s great in this, doing some very good-natured fairy tale stuff, but she goes on for about 10 seconds, setting the scene, then drops her plummy fairy tale voice and goes ‘when are you going to buzz the-‘
Tony’s second time, he doesn’t get more of a sentence out either.
Film and Theatre Styles v1
Mike and Josie- a wife tries to murder her husband
Mike has to explain to Josie who Russ Meyer is right before the scene starts, so when Josie makes like having large bosoms, you can tell she’s got at least a piece of his appeal.
This scene works because Josie and Mike work quite well off each other. The film noir scene shows this the best, as Josie sets Mike on fire, and Mike keeps the style going, and walks into the next room for a drink, while still on fire.
And then, with Gilbert and Sullivan, the back in forth between them is even better, culminating in Mike’s sung ‘why is the doberman in my bed/he’s gonna kill me and bite my head’, and a final, melodic note held by the both of them.
Film and Theatre Styles v2
Tony and John- borrowing coffee from a neighbor
The scene actually starts on a really nice note, with John establishing he’s a very posh, wacky neighbor.
Tony: “You’re doing tai-chi, aren’t you?”
John: “…no, I’m just a wanker, that’s all…”
Clive: “Stock exchange information film”
Tony: “Of course, the price of coffee can rise and fall, and here to talk about that, is…John Sessions!”
This one also works, because John, despite no-butting a few times, is actually working really well here, switching accents and building character, while also building Tony’s by contrast, during the Escape Film segment, and playing off Tony really well in the Restoration Comedy section.
Tony, after John has spent all of the Restoration section talking: “RRRRather would I spite thy…blongy…[realizes how ridiculous this has gotten]…WHAT??”
Came close to going off the rails, but John, to his credit, owned that scene
World’s Worst- person to receive an Oscar.
Mike: “I don’t deserve this award…so I’m gonna club myself to death with it on live TV…”
Josie: “…I’d like to thank everybody I know, really, it begins in 1905…”
Tony, no teeth: “…I’ve waited tho long for thith award….and it maketh me want to THING! THEEEEER’ETH NOOOOOO BUTHINESS LIKE SHOOOOW BUTHINESS…”
Josie, pointing at the statue: ‘WHERE’S HIS WILLY???”
Tony: “…….GUESS WHERE I’VE HIDDEN MY AWARD?!?!?!?”
Really, REALLY good stuff all around. At this point, it feels like Tony, Josie and Mike just have a shared energy that sort of wilts whenever John comes on.
Remote Control: Hedgehogs
Mike: Miami Vice
Josie: Treasure Hunt
Tony: Game for a Laugh
John: Floyd on Fish
There’s good work all around here. John just keeps falling over after every buzzer, which…only works if you’re an australian soap opera actor (for a credit reading). Tony is already at his peak of black humor, which definitely helps.
American Musical: Waking Up, Playing Football, and Getting Stopped by the Police
This one starts out with Josie and Mike, so it’s starting at a musical high, which is nice. Mike misreads the suggestion a bit, and sings of his dream of passing and throwing a sewn pigskin.
Josie, of course: “Darling, d’you know what this means? You’ve just invented American Football!”
Mike, realizing what he’s done: “THANK GOD!”
Tony comes in, as the arrested son, and…he’s a really good singer, which I often forget. And then, he has that immortal line: “I was walking down to street, I was on my way to luncheon…when I was stopped by a policeman…and he abused me with his truncheon.”
Because what the hell else can you rhyme that with?
Mike: “Did he beat you?”
Mike: “Did he whack you?”
Josie: “Did he make you drop your pants?”
Tony, horrified: “…NO!”
John does make the scene stumble a bit by bringing back the ‘waking up’ motif at the end, and not really listening to what’s happened, but…he does have one good line.
John: “I just remembered…I have tuberculosis.”
Tony: “That’s GREAT NEWS!”
This was actually a really good playing, miles better than the E6 one because everything fit together, and even if John definitely brought up the rear, he still contributed a nice line at the end.
(Also…Mike’s Jimmy Stewart impression at the end is pretty good. Not necessarily Ryan’s, but good.)
Overall: A phenomenal show, topping even E5 for the best of the series. Everyone was on the same level, and Mike came out of the gate with a performance that made it look like he’d been doing this for years. Tony had a great show, Josie had some great musical moments, and John…you could tell he knew that he wasn’t cutting it on the show, and tonight just didn’t work at ALL for him.
Show Winner: Mike
Best Performer: Mike McShane. First of many show wins for him.
Worst Performer: John
Best Game: American Musical, for having some fantastic moments and working all the way through. World’s Worst came close.
Worst Game: Remote Control. Just had the least amount to it.