Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S06E04, or WHO ORDERED PUMPKIN??

Right. Now to pretend like I haven’t seen this one a million times.

A couple reasons why this episode is so great- there’s a panel of Mike McShane, Greg Proops, Ryan Stiles and Tony Slattery, and all four are gonna be rearing to go tonight. Secondly, there are some series-high games, and an energy that couldn’t be stopped. Thirdly…

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Look at it. LOOK AT IT. This is the single most jarring fashion choice in Whose Line history, so soak it in.

Superheroes: An asteroid full of jam is headed for Earth
Greg: Soap Opera Man
Ryan: Itchy Man
Tony: Bad Impressions Man
Mike: Nose Lick Boy

Clive, as usual, immediately asks for a crisis that’s gonna be solved.
A lady in the back:¬†“RICHARD NIXON’S COME BACK FROM THE DEAD!”
Some guy in the back: “AN ASTEROID’S ABOUT TO CRASH INTO THE EARTH!”
Someone DIRECTLY BEHIND CLIVE: “a jam shortage.”
Clive: “A jam shortage.”
Greg:
Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 2.46.45 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-02-21 at 2.46.52 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-02-21 at 2.47.03 PM.png
Clive: “I didn’t hear that one…”
Greg: “WHO ARE YOU LISTENING TO???”
Clive, genuine: “I’VE GOT SOMEBODY GETTING JAM SHORTAGE IN MY EAR!”
Mike, crossing forward, at which point his mic volume gets turned up: “How are you receiving suggestions, from BRITISH TELECOM?”

Clive, trying to move on: “What was that one, then?”
Greg, still stuck: “THERE’S *GOLD* COMING FROM OVER HERE.”
Clive: “WHAT IT IS, THEN? TELL ME WHAT IT IS!”
Greg: “And you’re getting [british accent] THEH’S A JAAAAHM SHOORHTIGE!”
[For some reason, that British accent killed me more this time than it ever had]

Clive, trying to bring it back: “Okay, could all the jam shortage people-”
Greg, easing out of it: “No, no, it’s fine-”
Clive: “And could GREG PROOPS’ FRIEND, WHO HE’S ARRANGED TO SAY SOMETHING…”
Greg: “No, I don’t know him…”
Audience member: “An asteroid’s about to crash into the planet earth.”
Clive, compromising: “There’s an asteroid full of jam about to crash into the planet earth…”

Greg does his Soap Opera man bit, having an intense, romantic conversation…with himself. Mike, who’s in the shot, cracks at this one.

Even better, when Greg goes for the world crisis monitor, Mike gives a whirling, ringing noise to finally give the WCM its fanfare.

Greg: “Oh my god, there’s an asteroid full of jam heading for earth….NIXON’S COME BACK FROM THE DEAD- no time for that now…”

Greg explains to Ryan, as Itchy Man, the crisis
Ryan: “OH MY GOD, let’s have a toast!”
HA.

Tony, entering: “I came as quickly as I could, I was waxing Richard Nixon’s bikini line…”

Tony, as Bad Impressions, brings back Shirley Bassey and Danny “I’ve been in the business FORTY YEARS” LaRue. Greg, of course, goes “WHO ARE YOU DOING???”

Tony, upon naming Mike ‘Nose Lick Boy’, should have known what was about to happen: Mike comes bounding in, and licks Tony’s nose first, then Ryan’s…then the camera’s?
Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 2.57.53 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-02-21 at 2.58.03 PM.png

Ryan, with his cue to depart, not knowing what joke to pull: “Okay, I’ve gotta go….do something….”

Clive: “Double points for Greg for being so sporting and enthusiastic about the suggestions.”

A landmark, hysterical game, bringing in running gags, and giving really funny stuff to every competitor. Greg was edged out for a few Soap Opera man lines, but was still a great proctor.

Song Titles: Mike, Greg and Ryan in an airport

Ryan, appearing: “D’you know the way to San Jose?”

Greg, getting some bonus points from me: “Shine on, you Crazy Diamond.”
Ryan: “Like a Virgin.”

The game culminates in Greg having to choose between Ryan and Mike, with Ryan winning by ending with “I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts…”

Solid game, though, as usual, kinda thin.

Film Dub: Ryan’s picking up the frozen remains of his wife, while Greg helps sort them.

Clive, after the audience is appalled as the scene description: “HEYYY, IT’S A HAPPY SHOW…”
Greg, as Soap Opera man again, to the camera: “Seems unlikely, and yet here we go.”

Greg reveals that a different part of the wife’s body is in each glass.
Greg: “I drank out of one of them, so I have to remember which one it was…”

Ryan’s character goes to grab a bottle
Greg: “Nono, don’t touch that one. That’s strawberry, that’s for later when we have pudding.”

Greg, grabbing a bottle: “Here, try some of these…it’s my uncle Louie.”

Ryan: “You have a fine place here. There’s a fine little door with a knob.”
Greg’s character drops the glass.
Ryan: “Hey, what was that?”
Greg: “You said the word…knob…”

Greg, in front of the spill: “I can’t tell if this is my uncle Louie or some other delicious concoction.”
Ryan, tasting some: “…mmmm, that’s Louie alright…”
BUZZZZZ

A really fun game of Film Dub, with some great lines all around, but mostly from Greg, who had the right morbid sense of humor for it.

Alphabet: Tony tries to help Mike, a scientist slowly turning into a fly. Beginning with W.

Mike, starting off: “WAIT, WAIT WAIT…Don’t clean that dog bin, I wanna have some lunch.”
HA.

A surprisingly fun, fluid scene, that both actors give their all too, and has a ton of really funny moments. It barely feels like a game of Alphabet.

Clive: “500 points to Mike, and it would have been 500 to Tony if he hadn’t left out V at the very end…”
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Song Styles: Mike sings a disco song about a train set

Mike’s song is simple, but really fun, and it definitely gets the audience on his side rather quickly, as they’re clapping along.

Also, note that when they cut to the audience and people singing along to the refrain, and they even sneak a shot of Clive singing along in there:
Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 3.18.11 PM.png

Film Trailer: He Invaded My Chip Shop. Greg narrates, Tony, Ryan and Mike act it out

A new game, one that would recur over the next 2 series, and lead to some very funny moments.

Almost immediately, Greg: “….FROM THE MAKERS OF ‘HE STOLE MY DONER KABAB, IT’S….”

Greg, revising his narration because he remembers that Mike and Ryan are already onstage and that only leaves one person to come in: “BUT THEN THE NIGHT CAME, WHEN A T…SMALL DARK STRANGER ENTERED THE CHIP SHOP AND CHANGED THEIR LIVES FOREVER.”
Tony, getting on his knees: “HELLO.”

Greg: “THRILLING ROMANCE!”
Mike, without options, cradles Tony
Greg: “TERRIFYING CHASE SCENES”
Ryan, Mike and Tony run around stage
Greg: “DISGUSTING BATTERED CHIPS!”
Mike, Ryan and Tony spit out their chips.

Pretty fun game, with Greg doing some more really nice proctoring, and Tony doing some really funny little things.

Clive: “And, into a shock lead goes Michael Jackson, who isn’t even here.”

Helping Hands: Tony is on a boy scout camping trip with Scoutmaster Ryan

Tony picks up a guitar, and asks if Ryan can show him some tunes. Greg grabs the guitar, and nearly smacks Ryan in the head with it. He cracks, keeping the character moving, though.

Ryan: “I’ll play a small little song for you.”
Greg starts patting the guitar, which he’s gotten backwards.
Ryan: “…The other way, of course.”

Ryan grabs a bottle of seltzer, which explodes even before he opens it.
Ryan: “IT’S OLD FAITHFUL!”

As Ryan puts together a beans/weiner concoction, Tony feeds Ryan some beans out of his hands.

A pretty fun Helping Hands, though not to the caliber of some of the other ones.

Party Quirks: Tony hosts
Greg: giraffe
Ryan: on a rollercoaster
Mike: Columbian drug baron

Clive: “Now, is the party in full swing., Tony?”
Tony, motioning around: “Obviously…”
Clive: “No, I know, I’ve been to some of your parties…”
Tony, smirking: “…for the last bloody time, mate…”

Ryan, of course, nails his physicality, going all around, screaming, and doing loops.
Tony: “…are you Lionel Blair?”

There’s an insanely funny visual of Mike, doing a Tony Montana impression, talking to Tony while an inconsequential Ryan flies by the camera.

Pretty nice Party Quirks round, thankfully working in subtle ways after last episode’s…less-than-subtle turn of it.

Bartender: Mike
Ryan: Trying to forget his wardrobe
Tony: in love with an inflatable pig

Clive: “Ryan’s drinking to forget something, what is it?”
Audience member: “TONY SLATTERY!”
Clive: “He’s drinking to forget Tony Slattery? AN UNLIKELY proposition…”

Of course, someone from behind Clive, like in Superheroes, comes in with the real suggestion, which Clive even says “that’s really cruel. Cruel but accurate, I feel. You’re drinking to forget your wardrobe.”
Ryan: [gets up and leaves]
Mike: “Aw, maaaan…”
Clive: “IT WASN’T ME! It wasn’t me, it was the beautiful girl behind me.”
Mike, to Clive, with the immortal line: “…Don’t mess with the neon love chicken, alright?”
The audience loses it at this.
Greg, from the audience:”WHO ORDERED PUMPKIN???”
Ryan: “SHUT UP, EVERYBODY SHUT UP!”
Clive, as the music kicks in: “…it’s the Stiles tartan…wish I hadn’t have said that.”

Ryan has a nice, nervous verse, saying “people make fun of me, because I wear fashions from Sunkist.”

Mike has some really clever lines, even Ryan’s impressed by, like “with a shirt like that, you must be getting your vitamin C”, or “dip your shirt in this vodka and have a screwdriver…”

Mike, as Tony comes up to the bar set, possibly remembering the last Bartender game he did with Tony: “…I’m sorry, WE’RE CLOSED.”

[There is an underrated shot of Tony taking the alcohol bottle from the bar table, opening it and smelling it…and getting a nice amount of blowback once he realizes it’s real alcohol. They cut before he truly reacts to it, though]

Clive, asking for something Tony’s in love with.
Half the audience: “HIMSELF!”
Clive, almost angry: “EVERYBODY ALWAYS SAYS HIMSELF! EVERY TIME! Surely he must love something else…”
Mike, to Tony: “I owe ya 5 bucks…”

As Clive gets the ‘inflatable pig’ suggestion, someone else shouts out ‘THE BARMAN’, which Tony thinks he’s gonna get again until Clive gives him the real suggestion, which he thinks is the most preposterous thing he’s ever heard.

Clive, as the suggestion came from behind him, mutters “THESE GIRLS ALL *KNOW* YOU GUYS!”

Tony’s still facepalming at what he has to sing about.
Clive, to the audience member: “Have you been out socially with Tony?”

Tony’s first line is: “I’ve got a problem I’d like to report, when I see Porky Pig, my pants distort.”
He has another one, which is ‘I see that pig, and I spill my seed.” Ryan and Greg absolutely lose it at this one.

Mike has a pretty nice response verse, ending in “doing too much pork raises cholesterol.”

Overall: At a glance, this episode comes down to its bookends- an uproarious round of Superheroes, and a series-classic round of Bartender. Yet in between, there are so many instances of four landmark improvisers doing some of their best work. Even games like Alphabet, Film Dub and Film Trailer work really well because everybody here is really good. Sadly, a lot of one-note games in the middle keep this from being a 10/10 show, but this is still a fantastic episode, one that proved the show didn’t always have to rely on Ryan Stiles, as he took a less showy approach to the show, letting the California duo of Greg and Mike to win the day.

Show Winner: Tony
Best Performer: Greg Proops, for taking several proctoring roles, as well as working well as an ensemble player and hitting back at Clive throughout the night.
Worst Performer: Ryan Stiles, with slightly less funny moments than Tony Slattery.
Best Game: Bartender. I almost went with Superheroes, but Bartender feels in every moment like it’s live, and Mike is not only doing good work in song, but interacting with the performers and Clive during the interims. It’s already a show-classic, but it’s also just a really well-done game.
Worst Game: Song Titles, by default.

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Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S06E03, or Hey, Tony, it’s only a bit of fun..

The third of three Colin-Ryan-Steve-Tony episodes this series, and the third of the five of them across the entire run. Dan Patterson and co kept using this arrangement because, well, it worked. All four are funny, especially together.

Questions Only: In an Army Recruitment Office

Steve: “Is this the Army Recruitment Office?”
Tony: “HAVEN’T YOU GOT EYES?”

Tony’s using this ridiculous, over-the-top characterization for this, which Clive eventually buzzes him out for. “I’m sorry, it’s just too high-pitched.”

Colin: “Can you climb that rope?”
Ryan: “D’you think that’s TOO HIGH FOR MEEE??”
Colin: “…is Cilla Black?”
Ryan: “…is Barry White?”

Ryan: “Can I come…RIGHT BEHIND YOU?”
Colin: “D’you think this is the Navy?”

Quick game, but excelled mostly by the Colin-Ryan quickfire round.

Film and Theatre Styles: Ryan and Colin (parachute jumper and instructor)

Right when they get the Dirty Dancing style, they start silly-like dancing up against each other.
Then, as Ryan goes on, Colin waves the sides of his hair around. Clive catches this and cracks up.
Colin: “My hair! Blowing in the wind!”
Clive: “I remember..”

Shakespeare
Ryan: “The sky…the sky beyond the door is BLUUUE…”
Colin: “Aye, it is blue.”
Ryan, with absolutely no idea where to take the scene, smirks while coming upstage.
Clive, buzzing: “That’s the worst Shakespeare I’ve ever heard.”
Ryan, playfully, does a brief ‘kiss my ass’ motion, though he knows Clive’s right.

Ryan, for Japanese Noh Theatre, does a full, physical motion of parachuting with a Japanese accent.
Colin, stealing an old Tony joke under the applause: “…No…”

Ghost film
Ryan: “Alright, I’m going to go, but…first, I’m gonna make a clay pot…”
Clive buzzes before Colin can even come over there, though he does make it over with some motions.

Very silly ending, but still a great F&TS scene, with enough great work from both performers to keep it going.

Clive: “Fifteen points there, with a contract for the Royal Shakespeare company to you…”
Ryan, mockingly: “The skyyyy is BLUUUUEE…”

Film Dub: Tony and Steve are angry about the state of the flat

Steve spends the first 30 seconds of the scene absolutely reaming out Tony
Tony: “Look, I just dropped a couple of tabs and I’m not sure where I am…”

Steve: “Look, my names on all the eggs in the fridge, every last one of them-”
Tony, finally agreeing to take the scene somewhere: “Look, we’ve been lovers for ten years now…don’t you think I love you even though I’m completely out of my head?”
Steve, taking a pause with the character: “……YES!”

Steve, as Tony gets up: “Are those your real legs, or somebody else’s?”
Tony: “…OH, THEY’RE *MINE!*”

Another great Film Dub scene, though not as good as the last one Steve and Tony did.

Song Titles: Steve, Ryan and Colin are in a garden center

Ryan: “NUMBER NINE…NUMBER NINE…”
Steve: “…all right now…”

Steve: “GET BACK!”
Ryan: “That’s the way, uh huh uh huh, I like it!”
Steve: “REMEMBER, you’re a womble!”

And then, restating the classic from last time:
Colin: “Where have all the flowers gone?”
Steve AND Ryan: “Oklahoma…”

Better than the last few, but still would improve once it was given the Questions Only treatment

Stand Sit Lie: Ryan, Colin and Tony in a POW Camp escape committee meeting

Ryan, first line of the game: “Annnnd that’s why the French don’t wash…”
This gets SEVERAL seconds of applause

Tony and Ryan treat this as a spectator sport of Don’t Let Colin Get The Table. Every time The table opens up, Colin needs to be blocked. One point, Colin’s about to lie down on it but Ryan, at the last second, blocks him by laying down upside down.

Tony: “QUICK, HERE COME THE DOGS, ACT NATURAL!”
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Then, at the last second, Colin SNEAKS ONTO THE TABLE FINALLY, when Ryan and Tony are distracted. The audience even applauds this.

Then, as Colin stands up and Ryan sits on the edge of the table, Tony has to knock over one of the stools in order to get onto the table.

Then, after a moment where Tony leaps onto the table in order to satisfy the title, Colin faints, and lies on the floor, while Ryan and Tony have to help.

Phenomenal game, with so much going on, and so many really funny moments.

Sound Effects: Colin is a cook at a fish restaurant, Ryan provides Sound Effects

Relatively solid game of SFX, with the highlights being Colin flipping a fish and it not landing, and then him scraping it off the ceiling, pouring some sauce on a fish, drinking from the bottle then spitting it onto the grill, then Ryan, in the midst of a fire, doing ambulance noises as the buzzer went off.

Props: Ryan and Colin vs. Tony and Steve

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Ryan: “You distract Gulliver, and I’ll slap on the cuffs…”

Tony, pulling the rubber prop up his hand: “Your first time through customs, eh?”

Solid round of props, with silly stuff coming from all directions.

Moving People: Ryan is being fitted for a suit by Colin

The first game to actually use audience members onstage, and the debut of an improv staple.

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Ryan: “I think these pants might be a little too large.”
Colin: “Are they? I wish I could help, but, uh, my arm’s broken.”

This also leads to the ‘wait until I do this motion, HERE I AM ABOUT TO DO THIS MOTION, AUDIENCE MEMBER’ sort of thing, where Colin says he’s going to point to his tie, and keeps saying this until the audience member gets the point.
Ryan: “I can see it right from here.”
Colin: “Okay, then I won’t point.”

Ryan, staring directly at Colin’s chest: “Tell me something. You’re not a hispanic man, are you?”
Colin: “Why don’t you look into my eyes.”
Ryan, as the audience member FINALLY moves his neck up: “Because I can’t-OH MY GOD.”

Colin, looking right down at Ryan’s crotch: “This is a very fine material.”
Ryan: “Thank you, it’s suede.”
Colin, his mind elsewhere: “It certainly is…”
Ryan, as nobody’s moving them: “…I COULD STAY LIKE THIS ALL DAY!”
BUZZZZ

Great game, as Ryan and Colin were already pros at prompting an audience, even if these particular members weren’t as receptive.

Party Quirks: Tony hosts
Steve: Mentions a body part in every sentence
Colin: experiencing too much gravity
Ryan: jockey in a race

Annnnnnd here we go…Tony is gonna have one hell of a time tonight…

Colin nails the physicality of the quirk immediately, landing on the floor within 5 seconds.

Then, as Ryan starts running around on the horse, the nervous laughter comes in from Tony. He’s already a bit overwhelmed, because he couldn’t guess people as they came in, and now all three are interacting, giving him some major anxiety.

Steve keeps trying to help him as Tony keeps getting wrong.
Steve: ‘You’re making a right tit of yourself…”

Tony guesses Ryan, but Steve asks which leg of the party we’re on.
Tony: “Ohhhhhhh…WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU?”

Colin, who’s been silent for sometime, pounding across the stage: “WHERE’S YOUR BATHROOM!”
Tony breaks once again.

Tony guesses wrong again, and Clive buzzes in, exclaiming “IT’S THE WORST GAME OF PARTY QUIRKS EVER!!!”

Clive has to explain both the quirks to Tony, and after he explains Steve’s, which may have been the trickiest quirk anyone’s ever had to guess, Tony, immortally, yells “….OH, WELL FUCK OFF!
The entire place comes crashing down. Everyone’s in hysterics, including Clive.

Tony gets back to the seat, shaking his head, still a bit shaken. Ryan’s still laughing.
Clive: ‘Hey, Tony…it’s only a bit of fun!…Don’t take it seriously, it’s only your living…”

Clive: “Let’s go on…having robbed Tony of all his points he’d ever won in the game…for swearing on air…”
Tony’s still going over to Colin and going “What WERE you?”

Not a bad Party Quirks scene, but obviously a classic because of Tony’s exclamation, and of the way everyone reacted to it.

Helping Hands: Tony’s attending a barbecue held by Ryan (ft. Colin’s hands)

Tony asks for a lager right off the bat, so Ryan, ever the smartass, has Colin flail it around for a while until it’s all shaken.

Tony: “Ryan…I’ll have a sausage.”
Ryan: “Okay, then I’ll have a lager myself.”
The can spurts slightly, but enough to hit Ryan in the face a little.

After some cracker discourse, Ryan starts doing impressions with pickles, which is a very Ryan Stiles sort of set-up.

Ryan, realizing the jar’s on tight: “could you get this open for me?”
Tony, still emotionally fried, but still wanting to see Ryan suffer: “…no.”

Tony does eventually open the jar, as Ryan’s growing more and more manic, and Tony eventually spills the pickle juice all over the table.

Ryan, finally with the pickle: “My impression of…the channel.”
[spits out pickle]

A step up from last Helping Hands, solely because Tony, even after a catastrophic Party Quirks, was so great at screwing with Ryan in this game, as well as the pickle thing not going as well as planned.

Hoedown: Vasectomies 

Steve, still sucking at Hoedowns: “I went to the doctor, and he said to me…
WHAT YOU NEED IS A VAAAASECTOMY..
Gonna cut your balls off, and put em in a jar
[BREAKS] THEN HE TOOK HIS HEAD OFF and went ‘HA HA HA HA HA'”
At least this one landed mostly on the ground

Colin, going from the firefighting suggestion: “I fight fires in Germany, they really are the worst. I will now sing German, in my next verse.”
And, true to his word, Colin sings about an exploding mansion and rescue by trampoline, all in German. Clive loses it at this.

Ryan: “Everybody thinks that it’s a job that really stinks, but I save up all the spare parts and I make up cuff-links.”

Tony’s is dirty, but surprisingly the weakest of the four, despite an ending line about ‘shooting blanks’.

Overall: Third really solid show in a row, despite Tony having a mental breakdown in Party Quirks, and a bit of a boilerplate SFX game. Everything tonight was really nice, from physical games like Stand Sit Lie, to new games like Moving People, to games that have usually sucked this series like Hoedown and Film Dub. It was very much a Ryan and Colin show, as Steve was a bit underedited, and Tony was beginning to wane, though he did give some really good material throughout the night. Heading into a landmark, series-defining show, this one certainly wasn’t bad.

Show Winners: Ryan and Colin
Best Performer: Ryan, for giving Grade A material in his games, though Colin did come very close
Worst Performer: Steve Frost, who we didn’t see a ton of throughout the night, and got less showcases than a startled-but-still-funny Tony Slattery
Best Game: Stand Sit Lie over Moving People, for being ridiculously funny all the way through, and for Ryan and Tony’s plot to keep Colin away from the table.
Worst Game: Sound Effects.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S06E02, or YES, MISTER PATRONIZING BARRISTER, WE HAVE IT IN AMERICA

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the only episode of this series that does not feature Tony Slattery. Considering who they DID book, it’s not a terribly big loss: Mike McShane, Josie Lawrence and Greg Proops all make their first appearances of the series, next to basically-regular-at-this-point Ryan Stiles.

Film and Theatre Styles v1: Ryan and Josie (racehorse owner and trainer)

Some guy in the audience shouts out “THREE NUNS AND A BABY!”
Ryan and Josie:
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Clive: “…did you say ‘Three Nuns and a Baby’? You’re a sick man…and it’s a sunday as well. [beat, remembers when this goes out]…and it’s a Friday as well. I don’t…”

Josie: “Jake, why isn’t this horse growing? I paid quite a lot of money for this horse, and I’d like to get her on the track as soon as possible.”
Ryan, absolutely serious: “I know…perhaps I should feed her.”
BUZZ

Chinese Horror:
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Ryan says things in a goofy Japanese voice in this style, but the biggest laugh is from Josie, hair still like this, going “…WHA?”
Even Ryan cracks at that, as the buzzer goes off. “WHA INDEED.”

There’s a great moment where, as the horse grows at ‘an inCREDIBLE RATE’, Ryan keeps following the horse’s growth upward, while Josie points to where the horse’s snout was…sees where Ryan’s looking, then revises her point, smiling.

Ryan: “QUICK, STAND BEHIND ME!”
Josie, clinging directly behind Ryan: “…oh, alright then…”

It ends in a very silly Chase Movie sequence, but by the end, it’s been a very funny, very great scene, as usual with these Josie-Ryan pairings.

Clive: “With 17 points each there, this puts you comfortably ahead of the guy who suggested ‘three nuns and a baby’.”

Film and Theatre Styles v2: Greg and Mike (fixing a motorbike)

After 1 minute of Greg and Mike doing biker vernacular, Clive buzzes in
Clive: “Let’s now do it in English.”
Greg, sarcastically turning to Clive: “Where’s that famous pluck?”
Clive: “Is that rhyming slang?”

Starsky and Hutch
Mike: “Hutch, your wife wants to talk to you” [holds up bike]
Greg grabs the bike, thinking it’s the phone, then Mike has to re-state himself.

Greg: “COVER ME!”
Mike:
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Mike holds this for a few seconds, and Greg and Mike start whispering.
Clive: “DON’T YOU…”
Greg:
Screen Shot 2018-02-17 at 12.14.54 PM.png
Clive: “I don’t know what you’re doing over there, but…stoppit…and do…biblical epic”
Mike, stepping back with the jacket: “YOU ARE HEALED!”
BUZZ

Mike announces, in Disaster Movie, that the bike is starting to tick.
Greg: “Quick, I’ll hide behind you…”

Note that Mike, in mentioning any hasbeen actor from the 70s who Greg can call, namedrops O.J. Simpson. By the time this episode aired, O.J. would be more relevant than Mike would ever have dreamed.

Another nice scene, though not as good as Josie and Ryan’s.

Old Job New Job: Greg and Josie’s car has broken down. Ryan, the AA man, used to be an astronaut

Clive: “Ryan is an AA man, over here, what you call-”
Ryan: “an alcoholic…”
Clive: “Yes, an ex-alcoholic..”

Ryan’s first move is to pop the hood, plant an American flag and wave to the camera.

Ryan then checks the oil, only for it to spurt up in zero-g, and Ryan to try and salvage it.

Greg, who’s been very helpful to the setup, throws a wrench at Ryan, which hits him in slo-mo, prompting him to crack a bit. You can tell he didn’t really know what to do with the scene.

Greg, still helping: “QUICK, GRAB HIS CORD!”
Ryan: “…that’s not my cord…”
BUZZZZZZ

Solid enough scene, though Ryan seemed like he didn’t really know what to do with the scene description.

Funeral: Frederick the trampoliner

A new game that would appear sporadically on this and the US version.

Clive gets the hobby, trampolining, internally wonders if he wants to do the ‘Greg, do you have that in America’ joke, gets to ‘d’you have’, and then aborts it, leading to
Clive, looking at Greg: “D’you have…yeah.”
Greg, who knows exactly what he was trying to do: “Yes, we have it in America…..YES, MISTER PATRONIZING BARRISTER, WE HAVE IT IN AMERICA….”

Clive: “Okay, now you take over from this and introduce everybody-”
Greg: “CHEERS, MATEY.”

Greg: “After this, we’re going to have a TWISTER PARTY, MARDI-GRAS THROWDOWN…[back to serious] BUT FIRST…”

Ryan: “Yes, I knew Frederick for many years, I…met him at a club when he was a bouncer…I think the…[pauses for audience laugher] I think the one mistake that he made was renting that basement suite…”

Then, after a few more lines, Ryan, quietly, goes to Greg “…is it time for Twister?”

Josie, mourning: “…and he use to have this way of lying on-”
Greg, knowing exactly where she’s going to go: “THANK YOU, TANISHA…”
Ryan: “I’d like to hear a little bit more of that..”
Greg: “No, that’s…”
Mike: “After the Twister!”

Greg, saying more than he could have realized: “Randall, you knew Frederick better than anyone, you were his twin.”
Ryan, realizing where Greg went with how Frederick died, breaks a bit.

After Mike says his piece about Frederick being on the top bunk in their old bunk bead.
Greg: “Yes, and he left you out of the will, now…”
Ryan, to Josie: “…and the tutu was all…”
Greg: “NOW…”

The centerpiece of the game is all four singing together, in one voice, a hymn for the deceased, which is usually haphazard, and usually just one guy leading and the other four following. Here, you can tell Ryan’s leading. It’s a simple enough one, no ‘NOW I SLEEP WITH HIS WIFE’, but it ends the incredibly funny game in a graceful way.

Stand Sit Lie: Greg is a patient, Ryan’s the doctor, Josie’s visiting.

A variant on Stand Sit Bend, now featuring a table to lie down on.

Beginning of the send-up, Greg and Ryan argue about who’s gonna sit down. Greg finally agrees to get the table.

Ryan, already putting the game at a high-concept level: “I don’t think you have anything to worry about, looks like 3 nines…”

I love that Ryan and Josie are having a conversation, switching positions while Greg’s just roaming around possessed, and they don’t seem to notice him.

Josie faints, and Ryan tries to help her up.
Josie, cracking: “OW, YOU STOOD ON MY HAIR…”

Ryan sits down on the table, pontificating, while Greg and Josie realize someone needs to lie down…so they lie down on each other.

Ryan: “Maybe it’s not…my god, it’s three sixes, I WAS WRONG!”

A very, very silly scene, but still incredibly funny. The table element makes it a ton harder for them to fluidly change positions, and it leads to very funny moments.

Props: Greg and Ryan vs. Mike and Josie

Screen Shot 2018-02-17 at 12.40.33 PM.pngJosie: “…Hello, I’m Roger Moore!”
That’s a very clever reference…

Ryan, drops prop from air: “…Gulliver’s sharpening his pencils again…”
Greg, as the buzz goes, to Ryan: “Well done…”

Screen Shot 2018-02-17 at 12.41.53 PM.pngMike: “Hello, welcome to Clive’s dream.”

Josie, as she’s doing a Coco Chanel joke, accidentally hits herself in the face with the prop, which is a great way to end the scene.

Great round of props. Ryan and Greg’s felt very similar to US-era suggestions, while Mike and Josie’s were more idea-based and similar to UK-era suggestions.

Duet: Josie and Mike sing a love song about a cat litter tray

Mike, top of the song: “…I wanted to show you something…”
Josie: “What?”
Mike: “Come into the hallway…look what she did!”
Josie: “It’s beautiful…”

Mike says that Josie and he are great because they love everything about cats, then goes into
Mike: ‘I LOVE WATCHING THEM SQUAT ON THE EDGE OF THE TRAY…’
Josie: “I LOVE WATCHING THEM DO THEIR LITTLE BROWN POOOOO…”
[Greg, in the background, is shaking his head]

Mike: “Whoever thought that feline defecation could such a swell and singular sensation.”
Josie, with the line of the century: “Whoever thought that our love would glitter, just standing her looking at shit and cat litter.”
[The whole audience is gone for days at that one]

Not only is this a beautiful song, one of their best duets in years…but goddammit, this is one of the funniest singing games we’ve had in a while, just on every letter, in terms of lyrics and earnesty. Probably one of the best Song Styles/Duet games out there.

Mike, as he sits down, motions to Josie for the audience’s delight. Josie, in return, looks like she’s gonna motion to Mike but just strokes Ryan’s hair.

Clive: “I think that’s the best song about cat litter I’ve ever heard.”

Helping Hands: Josie orders ice cream from Ryan (ft. Greg’s hands)

Clive, explaining the scene: “You’ve come to this strange, double-backed creature…to get some ice cream…
Screen Shot 2018-02-17 at 1.32.20 PM.png
Clive: “…apparently from someone who’s been in the American Air Force, but…”

There’s 15 seconds where Ryan has to grab a cone, but Greg keeps grabbing random things that are not a cone. Ryan comes close to ‘no, you idiot’ levels, but stays solvent.

This is a little less put-together than other Helping Handses, because absolutely nothing seems to go right in terms of where Greg is aiming. Ryan drops the ice cream cone in order to make a whipped cream gag work, and then abandons a banana before he has to use it. There’s definitely some dissonance between Ryan and Greg here.

Ends before it gets going, and doesn’t have a ton of the best Helping Hands stuff, but Ryan and his accent are good enough.

Party Quirks: Greg hosts
Josie: olympic ice skater (TOPICAL AS OF FEBRUARY 2018!)
Mike: thinks he’s a car
Ryan: going down the plughole

Greg, starting the party: “Hmm…Clive Anderson spoken word on CD.”
[BOOTS OUT WINDOW]
Greg, putting on a Slade (or Quiet Riot but probably Slade) CD: “Boy, that was a close one. ‘come on, feel tha noise…”

Greg, as Josie skates in: “…did you step in something on the way over?”

Greg, as Mike sticks his ass in Greg’s direction: “…is it your birthday again???”

Once again, Ryan’s quirk is where the fun really starts, as his physicality and movements are 100% perfect, and the audience knows it.

Even better, as Ryan keeps doing these insane motions and noises, Greg sort of stands there, half-watching him go, and half-confused out of his mind. It’s not like a Tony ‘chuckle to meltdown’ type thing, but Greg is just bewildered.

Greg finally gets it when Clive gives it to him, to which he looks into Camera 1 and goes ‘…thank you.’

Overall: Lost momentum late, but in its highest point this show was absolutely insane, with some great performances from people I’d counted out, and great games from people I’d thought were going for ‘okay’. Josie, Ryan and Greg all had tremendously great shows, and all worked together really, really well. The edge goes to Greg Proops, though, for being a bright spot in all his games, hitting Clive all night, and narrowly edging out Josie for the show win.

Show Winners: Mike and Josie
Best Performer: Greg, for some hysterical and biting material all night.
Worst Performer: Mike McShane, who, aside from Duet, didn’t do a great deal all night.
Best Game: Funeral. Everyone shined, and everyone made me laugh
Worst Game: Helping Hands, for just not working as well as other playings have.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S06E01, or Are You Danish?

When BBC America began airing reruns of Whose Line, which is how I stumbled upon the UK series, their starting point was Series 6. You would not see any John Sessions, or Sandi Toksvig, or even Jim Sweeney, but Series 6 was a nice enough starting point, as you’d get a taste of Tony, Steve and Josie while also basking in the beginnings of the Colin & Ryan duo.

It works out, because Series 6 marked a change in Whose Line, now completely banking on its American influence, but also still emphasizing their British laurels. For instance, this series included 2 regulars, both of whom would only miss one episode: Ryan Stiles, and Tony Slattery. This would work well for the former and ultimately doom the latter, as Tony was beginning to fall victim to his bipolar disorder and drug use, and whose anxiety would be PARTICULARLY EVIDENT starting in this series.

Tonight features the immortal lineup of Tony, Steve, Colin and Ryan. This is the second of five shows with this lineup, matched only by a similar matchup, only swapping a profane, cheeky brit for a tall, suave primate enthusiast.

It’s also the first episode to include the famous ‘line drawing in front of a red background’ opening, arguably the more famous one.

Clive’s intros are Bond-themed. Colin is ‘from Canada with love.’ Ryan is ‘the man with the Golden Retriever’, which he gets a kick out of. Tony is ‘our very own Pussy Galore’.

Film and Theatre Styles v1: Ryan and Colin (skier and instructor)

Ryan starts the scene by nearly stabbing Colin with a ski-pole. God I love these two.

Ryan explains that they’re going to go down the slope.
Colin, in a simple read that makes me laugh hard: “waaaaait a minute.”

Colin: “Down the hill?”
Ryan: “Yes.”
Colin: “Is that really necessary?”
Ryan: “Easier than going up.”

Ryan and Colin in the Japanese style is hysterical, being even more curt and fast-paced, emitting slight grunts, and doing really great fighting motions as they go down the hill.

Clive: “Science fiction>”
Colin: “Why don’t we just stop here, earthling? I MEAN….”
He realize he doesn’t anything better, shrugs, and stops.

Colin ends the scene with the little alien thing on his head, keeping it there with the buzzer.
Clive: “Hitchcock.”
Ryan: “Don’t move…there’s a bird on your head.”

Film and Theatre Styles v2: Tony and Steve (dustmen sifting through rubbish)

Tony, picking something up: “Cor, have you seen somethin’ this size before?”
Steve: “I wasn’t pointing at that, I was pointing at THIS…”

Steve squeezes his hand, to say “IT’S STILL MOVING”
Tony, taking him literally: “Well, don’t do THAT to it, then…”

Disaster style
Tony: “…let’s run about for no reason!”

After 15 seconds of Tony and Steve doing goofy cartoon noises to each other, an exasperated Clive looks to the audience and sighs.

Steve, for the Busby Berkley style, says to Tony “we have to lie on the floor”, so Tony lies on top of Steve as the scene ends.

Surprisingly, Ryan and Colin’s gets the edge here, for doing more with the scene, and progressing more, despite some laughs in Tony and Steve’s.

Old Job New Job: Ryan and Tony are airline passengers. Steve, the steward, used to be a bus conductor

Ryan: “…how many Whose Line episodes can they SHOW on a two-hour flight?”
IS THAT A META-REFERENCE FROM THIS SHOW? We weren’t supposed to get those until the Drew Carey era.

Steve, outraged, to Tony: “WHERE DID YOU GET ON?”
after the applause dies down: “I GOT ME EYE ON YOU. YOU SHOULD HAVE GOT OFF IN BANGKOK.”

Steve, to Tony: “May I see your pass?”
Tony, confused: “My PASS?”
Steve, not helping: “Yeah, you heard me the first time…”

A really nice game, proving how great Steve was at this sort of character-work.

Changing Emotions: Ryan and Tony are losing players with their coach, Colin
Drink Bottle: paranoid
Towel: conceited
Bag: angry

The first of four game debuts in a row. This was a new game as of then, but one that’s been retooled, and made into an impression showcase for the US version.

Tony begins the game by rubbing himself with the towel, then going: “…my nipples are like chair legs.”

Then, when Colin enters, Tony goes ‘watch out, your eye might get poked.’

Tony, switching from the bottle to the bag: “Well, maybe, maybe it was me, maybe I shouldn’t have been on the team at all- OH YES, I BLOODY SHOULD!”

Colin: “TWENTY-FIVE PUSH-UPS!”
Tony, back with the towel: “Hey, I don’t need to be pushed up, by anybody…”

Ryan, landing the towel without anyone realizing: “Am I the only one not yelling?”

Colin, with the bottle: “That’s right, with last place there’s no one behind us” [looks behind him]

Very, very fun game, that would only get better as the series went on (“BEFORE I DIE…JUST GIVE ME ONE LAST SHAG!!”)

Questions Only: Front desk of a hotel

FINALLY this game is converted to a quick-fire round. FINALLY.

Steve, hesitating: “…isn’t this the Ramada?” [holds thumbs up to camera/audience]
Ryan: “Aren’t you Steve Foster?”
Steve: “…no, Steve Frost, you’ve got it completely wrong-” [Smiles as the buzzer goes off]

Ryan: “Smoking or non-smoking?”
Colin: “…what’s the difference?”
Ryan: [walks off]

Tony: ‘D’YOU REALIZE THE MESS YOU’VE MADE IN YOUR ROOM?
Colin: “Where’d the other guy go?”

Ryan, after Tony’s buzzed out: “…REMEMBER ME?”

Ryan, looking over Colin’s ID: “…why aren;t you wearing any clothes?”
Colin: “Do you have to ask?”
Ryan: “How could something be that small?”
Colin: “have you heard of showering?”
Ryan: “Are you danish?”

Really, REALLY funny game, with all four getting moments to shine.

Fixed Expressions: In a barbershop as the circus comes to town
Steve: devastated
Ryan: shocked
Colin: happy
Tony: anxious

LITERALLY TOP OF THE SCENE I’M GONE:
Screen Shot 2018-02-16 at 4.13.43 PM.png
[it’s not getting any better]

Screen Shot 2018-02-16 at 4.14.23 PM.png

The best part of this game is having the dialogue contrast with the expressions- Colin can say angry things while looking happy, Ryan can say optimistic things while shocked. Tony still opts to be anxious as well as look anxious, which does work really well for him.

Tony: “D’you know what the tickets are?”
Ryan, taking him literally: “Yeah, they’re those little paper things ya use to get in!”

Ryan: “Anybody care for a shot of the green stuff we keep the combs in?”
Tony: “yes, please!”

Colin, smiling: “THAT’S THE WORST HAIRCUT I’VE EVER HAD.”

Narrate: Colin and Ryan are hunting

And, on top of all that, this game premieres as a Ryan-Colin showcase (after sort-of working for Jim and Steve), which is one of my favorites in the show’s history.

This one, unlike later UK playings of Narrate, does use the traditional, US film noir music track, rather than the old-fashioned one.

Colin, with one of his characteristically great opening lines about Ryan: “He was skinny as a post, and twice as thick.”

And then, Colin goes back for the jugular about Ryan: “He wasn’t a handsome man…he had a face like a collapsed lung…”

Ryan: “I knew that he was nervous. I’d seen that he had urinated not five minutes ago…”

Colin: “I could tell, by his doggy brown eyes, that he had a secret, a secret he didn’t want to share…because you don’t usually share secrets, otherwise they’re not secrets anymore…..my head hurt…”

The game does end prematurely, and the hatchet discourse took away from the strong barbs, but this was an impressive start to this game’s history.

Film Dub: Tony and Steve are surgeons waiting for the anesthetic to take effect

Steve: “All the buttons are missing off me shirt. Me tie’s gone as well.”
Tony, as the nurse: “Yes, I know, I find it rather attractive.”

The two characters have a long kiss, which Steve and Tony insert smacking and burping noises into.
Steve, afterwards: “Well, me tie’s not in there, then…”

Tony: “You’ve got a tongue that would take five gondolas to-”
Steve: “I know, I’ve been sniffing the anesthetic, I feel a bit bonkers, d’you know what I mean?”

Steve, checking his controls: “Wait…that’s Radio 4!”
Tony: “Yes, I know, I put Jimmy Young in the special isolation unit…”

Steve, going into the room: “I’ve got to, I’ve got-”
Tony: “NO, I WANT SEX!”

The clip ends with a shot of a rapidly enlarging finger, which Steve, with no choice, just goes “….OH MY GOD….”

A very funny Film Dub, with Tony and Steve working together well.

Party Quirks: Tony hosts
Steve: tabloid headline writer
Colin: hamster
Ryan: Attached to the door with elastic

Tony, as he stares at Clive during his intro: “…I want to be like Clive…”
Screen Shot 2018-02-16 at 4.31.18 PM.png
[I think that’s the first ‘Clive has no neck’ joke we’ve gotten. There’s gonna be hundreds more over the next few series, mostly coming from Greg Proops]

Steve, with a pretty great pun upon entering: “GOTCHA!”
Tony does get it in two lines, but Steve did sell the shit out of it.

He guesses Colin’s easily as well, but Ryan comes in and SELLS HIS PHYSICALITY, coming right back to the door after entry.

Tony goes through a few different guesses, while Ryan just keeps doing the same thing.
Tony: “…BLAST!”

Tony: “Ohhh, it’s this WIND that rushes through my party?”
Ryan: “IS IT?”
Tony: “….NO!”

Tony, upon hearing the quirk from Clive, drops his arms and smirks. Not at ‘OH, WELL FUCK OFF’ levels yet, but close.

Hoedown: Donkey riding

This would be the first of many problematic hoedowns for Steve, but he has a cheeky joke, still:
“I was riding my donkey, up a stony pass
I fell off….[smirk] onto the grass…”

Also, this one he actually ends pretty well, so…it’d get worse over time

Colin, for the first time in this particular game, cops out:
“I like to ride my donkey, I ride him all day long.
He is very very very very very strong.”
Then, not having another verse, he just smiles and nods for the remaining bars.

Tony, before his verse, audibly yelps in agony, which should say a lot about how much he enjoys this game.

Tony does land on his feet about filming ‘certain videos’ with this donkey, putting a capper on a frenzied but good Hoedown.

Overall: Incredibly solid all the way through, a sort of standard for this era of whose line. Both pairings had great showcases throughout the night, capitalizing on new games as well as reviving once-dire ones (Film Dub was better tonight as a two-piece game than it’s been in years), and letting ensemble pieces power the show. Ryan and Colin just barely rose above Steve and Tony in this one, with an emphasis on the goofy nature of Colin’s performance tonight. No games truly stood out as ‘landmarks’, but there was nothing terrible, which is expected with this crowd.

Show Winners: Colin and Ryan
Best Performer: Colin, for giving great performances even when surrounded by equally funny people.
Worst Performer: Steve Frost, just for being slightly-less put-together than the rest of the pack, though still doing great throughout the night.
Best Game: Questions Only, topping Changing Emotions just by having more consistent laughs.
Worst Game: Film and Theatre Styles v2, only by default, for being slightly less funny than the rest of the show.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S05E09, or I haven’t got a FIRST guess..

Onto the final show of this very short series of Whose Line, the compilation. Note that, according to the listing, no sign of Paul Merton, Steve Steen, Russell Fletcher, Steve Frost or Jim Sweeney, which is kind of sad, as I imagine we saw the best of E3 and E7 (which kinda makes sense seeing as those shows are fantastic).

Superheroes: World leaders have been in an Air Crash
Greg: Jelly Man
Ryan: Orangutan Boy
Tony: Male Model Guy
Colin: Continuous Unfunny Pun Man
From: E4

Clive, for the first of several times, twists an audience suggestion from nothing. When asked for a crisis, someone shouts out “Sun lowers its prices!”
Clive: “…and there was major in an air crash- World leaders in an air crash.”
Greg, as usual, does his “A-HAHAHAHAHAHA”-drops expression.

Clive: “Jelly man’s good, let’s go with Jelly Man.”
Greg, being a smartass: “You got a different jelly here.”
Clive: “Well, what d’you call it in America, then?”
Greg: ‘We call it jell-O.”
Clive: “Oh, then simultaneous translation there, in fact. Anytime I say Jelly, it means Jello, in America.”
Greg, in a moment of sheer genius: “…and anytime I say ‘Naff Git’, it means Clive Anderson!”
The audience applauds at this one.
Greg: “Thank you, I’ll be here the rest of the night. [motioning to the rest] These are my friends.”
Clive: “D’you wanna sit down now?”
Greg: “I’m pretty much done, yeah.”

Ryan, with the pun of the century: “Hello, Jelly Man, I see you’re set!”

Ryan nails Orangutan Boy, because it goes back to his way of easily replicating almost any animal perfectly. He can just break into the physicality.

Tony¬† jumping in: “I’m here, just in time…whoever the bloody hell I am…”

Colin’s means he has to come up with puns as often as he can, so there is obviously some lag
Greg: “look, the plane’s going down!”
Colin: “…darn.”
and then, finally: “Well, of course it’s going down, that’s PLANE to see!”

Tony: “I’VE GOT A BETTER IDEA, I’LL POINT THE WAY THEY DO IN CATALOGUES!”
Screen Shot 2018-02-09 at 11.34.57 PM.png

Ryan, with one more good joke up his sleeve: “I’ve got to go, there’s a new Charlton Heston movie out…”

Very, very funny game, that was also as strong as the banter preceding it.

Whose Line: Ryan goes to private detective Colin because he suspects his wife is cheating on him
From: E1

Clive, in introing the game: “This is, um, obviously the game of the, uh, album.”
Ryan cracks up at this.

Clive has a lag where he forgets which game he’s introing, then gets into it and Ryan AND Colin look ASTONISHED as to what game they’re playing. Ryan tilts his head in amazement. Then, Clive realizes that he has to hand them lines, right as Ryan’s eyes are popping out.

Colin: “Your wife screwing around?”
Ryan: “How’d you know?”
Colin: “I’m a dick.”

Ryan: “I saw there, on the door: “Phil Blazer, detective….”Never put sticky tape on hairy places…”
Colin: “That’s my motto…I may change it because it doesn’t seem to bring in the people…”

Colin: “My, uh…mentor…”
Ryan: “JIM Blazer?”
Colin: “Right, he always used to say to me…’I hope you remember to take the cat out of the fridge.”
Ryan: “That’s important, I guess.”
Colin: “It is for the cat.”
Ryan: “Wonder if they ever put tape on ’em.”
Colin: “That’s…beside the point!”

Colin: “What does your wife look like?”
Ryan: “Well, she’s…tall…blonde hair, brown nose…”

Colin: “Well, I have to say something, because I am the man for you…”when did you learn to limbo dance?”
Ryan, as Clive buzzes, limbos suggestively.

Another funny Whose Line scene, owed to the Colin-Ryan duo.

Song Styles: Josie sings a love song about secateurs
From: E2

An alternate take.

Clive: “How about secateurs, that’s a nice easy rhyming thing, isn’t it?”
Josie:
Screen Shot 2018-02-09 at 11.59.26 PM.png

Clive: “Garden shears, and/or secateurs. I’ll give you the choice.
Josie: “Thank you, Clive.”

Josie does eventually dig up a great rhyme: “I’m sick of you, and i’m sick of tears/secateurs.”

Very fun song, though not a career highlight for Josie.

Alphabet: Mike and Tony are two pilots landing a plane, beginning with Q
From: E7

Mike: “Quentin, can you open up the flats, we’re coming in pretty fast.”
Tony, without an option: “…right.”

This is a very silly scene, as both participants are close to losing it, but Tony narrowly avoids it with his X and Z choices.

Tony suddenly completely loses it: “BLOODY HELL! The petrol’s….falling out of the back of the plane!”
Mike: “….COR BLIMEY, GOV, WE’RE GONNA CRASH!”

Tony: “….HELP! HELP!”
Mike: ” ‘In case of an emergency, scream real camp’ yeah, that’s gonna help.”

Tony: “JEANETTE! Quick- [loses it again] SERVE US SOME COFFEE!”

The scene ends right as Mike and Tony are about to die laughing, which makes this a very funny scene even if it wasn’t a good playing of the game.

Film Dub: Josie goes for a lead part in Ryan’s opera
From: E2

This is more of a well-done scene than a funny one, though Josie launching into a Cilla Black impression is definitely a highlight.
Ryan: “Welll….that’s not very good, is it?”

This game improved once Ryan’s character started taking his clothes off, and asked for lederhosen rubbed down with vasoline, so it at least took a strange turn, but still a lower-tier film dub.

Stand Sit Bend: Colin, Ryan and Tony are at the dentist’s office
From: E8

Colin and Tony have a moment pre-game where they’re both deciding who gets to lean, and neither can make up their mind. Colin takes it, but Tony cracks a bit.

Ryan: “It’s just your nurse looks a bit tense…”
Colin: “No, I just ate some bad garlic today..”

This game does feature quite a bit of ‘screwing over someone else’ type of humor, prescribing someone else to bend over, or telling someone else to explain, usually initiated by Ryan.

Plus, this is the kind of matchup that can switch positions uniformly, so the initial lag wears off quickly, and when Tony bends, Ryan stands, and then back again. It’s a well-oiled machine.

Of course, then, at the end, Tony sits down to make a point to Ryan, also sitting down. Colin, not knowing what to do, alternates rapidly between standing and bending until Ryan, FIVE SECONDS LATER, realizes he forgot to stand and completely cracks up.

Then, in retribution, Ryan keeps changing positions, standing to sitting to standing again to leaning, just to screw up the other players.

A fantastic SSB game, one that had more energy and comedic value to it than any one of these in a while.

Props: Ryan and Josie vs. Greg and Mike
From: E5

I think that Ryan and Josie’s prop may be one of the most ineffective ones ever given out on the show. From the moment they’re handed it, none of them know what to do with it.

Not a great Props round, but Mike and Greg had some nice ones.

Questions Only: Colin tries to buy a motorcycle from Ryan
From: E8

Colin: “DOES THE NAME ‘POPE PAUL’ MEAN ANYTHING TO YOU?”
Ryan: “Is that who you are?”
Colin: “Am I catholic?”
HA. That’s a nice subversion of Colin’s usual rhetorical question.

Ryan hops on the motorcycle behind Colin
Colin, worried: “…what’s that?”
Ryan: “…haven’t you felt one of those before??’

Amusing, but not necessarily a highlight. These would get better once it became a quickfire round.

Party Quirks: Tony hosts
Greg: Jewish mother
Colin: thinks he’s a crab
Ryan: Olympic tobogganist
From: E1

Tony: “Well I’m expecting my party guests soon, but I can’t tear myself away from Good Morning with Anne and Nick!”

Tony, after Greg kvells about standing out in the cold: “…you miserable GIT, come on in…”

Colin’s crab motions, especially in grabbing food, are fantastic, and allow for some easy laughs right when he enters.

Ryan’s motions with Tony are pretty great, sitting him in the bobsled with him (‘HEY, DIP….CHIPS….DIP….CHIPS!”)
Tony: “…I don’t know who you are but it’s a lot of fun…”

Tony has no idea who Ryan is, even as he gives obvious clues, so Ryan just keeps saying things, like “I LOVE ICE…SLIPPING AND SLIDING ON ICE…”
Clive: “Come on, last guess, Tony…”
Tony: “I haven’t got a FIRST guess…”

Clive, putting Tony out of his misery: “I’ll give you Cardinal Richelieu, he’s an olympic tobogganist.”
Tony: [breaks]

Pretty fun round, even if Tony was losing it as it went on.

Bartender: Josie
Greg: Angry about being made redundant
Ryan: drinking to forget his wife
Mike: has bad breath
From: E5

Greg: “I’m a plastic surgeon/ it is the pits.
I just got fired for/cutting off too many tits.”

Josie’s return verse is pretty cute, ending with a suggestion to ‘come back to the bar and give me a facelift’.

The track for Ryan’s verse is a very Police/Smiths-esque alt-rock tune, and Ryan’s singing actually matches that, which is nice.

Josie, turning the game on its head: “WELL YOU KNOW, SOME HUSBANDS ARE LYING, CHEATING, BRAZEN UTTER SKUNKS.
SOME HUSBANDS ARE PEOPLE WHO SIT IN BARS, AND ARE BLEEDIN’ LOUSY DRUNKS.”
Ryan, getting the twist, recoils with the bottle of alcohol in hand.
Josie: “Your wife should have left you, that’s easy to see.
And I’ll tell you why, cause that wife was me.”
Absolutely fantastic verse, one that changes the meaning of Ryan’s, and should be a ton more remembered than it is.

Mike, getting his, with a smirk: “God, all these weight references, I’ve never heard them before…original material…”

Mike’s first bit is genius. He closes his mouth for the entire leadup, even to drink, and then right as his first verse starts (“..HHHHALITOSIS…”, he sharply turns in Josie’s direction. Josie’s already hiding her nose.

After Mike’s fantastic verse, directly in Josie’s face
Josie: “…well you ha-” [exhales]

Josie has a fantastic, elongated return verse, ending in the advice to ‘always keep your mouth shut’. Putting a capper on a really nice game of Bartender.

Best Performer: Ryan Stiles by a hair, but I easily could have picked Colin, Josie or Mike
Worst Performer: Tony, who had the most amount of flaws across the clips.
Best Game: Stand Sit Bend over Bartender, for being a bit more wholly funny.
Worst Game: Props. Not even close.

SERIES 5 SUPERLATIVES

Best Episode: Episode 7. Possibly one of the best of the series, putting it up against S04E02. Everyone was on, every game mattered, every performer had moments that made me laugh, the series finally decided to embrace running gags, and Mike McShane took the reins of the show like it was 1991 again.
2nd Best Episode: Episode 3, the other Sweeney and Steen show, and one that soared thanks to the presence, one last time, of Paul Merton, having a great time after composing himself, and jelling well with Tony, especially during Film and Theatre Styles and an uproarious Party Quirks.
3rd Best Episode: Episode 5, the other Mike McShane show, and the one where everyone, including a vindicated Greg Proops, a stronger Josie Lawrence, and the show’s new staple Ryan Stiles, were on the exact same page, culminating in some great teamwork, some really fun moments, and a News Report playing that made me die laughing.
Worst Episode: Episode 6. Greg, Ryan, Colin and Josie couldn’t put it together, Superheroes notwithstanding.
Best Performer: Ryan Stiles, for continuing his reign on the UK series while still knowing when to act as a team player. Mike McShane was considered.
Worst Performer: Russell Fletcher, for being very ‘meh’ in his only appearance.
Most Improved: Greg Proops, who had never really excelled on the show very often before this series, now picking fights with Clive, establishing chemistry with Josie and Ryan, and having some funnier moments.
Performer We Wish Wasn’t Done After This Series: Paul Merton. He would have done so well working with Ryan, Colin and Steve.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S05E08, or …I think I’ll have a shower

Series 5 of Whose Line is its most compact, clocking in at only eight original, non-compilation episodes, one lower than the series that follows. The brevity works, but at the same time, as this has been a pretty solid and light-on-disasters series, it robs us of some more combinations of all of these people at their prime. We could have had a Ryan & Colin vs. Sweeney and Steen episode. We could have had Colin Mochrie work with Paul Merton. We could have had Steve Frost work with Greg Proops instead of Tony Slattery.

Instead, this is the last of the Series 5 shows, and it’s the first of five episodes featuring the classic lineup of Steve Frost, Colin Mochrie, Ryan Stiles and Tony Slattery. It is, in hindsight, the closest thing we ever got to Colin and Ryan vs. Sweeney and Steen, because from here on out, Tony and Steve turn into a rather impressive comedy duo. This is Steve’s only appearance of the year, and one that would cement his status as a usable figure in the show’s future series.

Tony is wearing a fringed jacket that makes him look like someone off of Rawhide. The Doc Holliday jacket gets all the publicity but this one doesn’t??

Film and Theatre Styles: Ryan and Colin (galley slaves)

Clive asks for some American styles for Ryan and Colin
Audience Member: “NEIGHBOURS!”
Clive: “…Neighbours. That’s VERY American…still taking the o-level Geography, are you?”
(Russell Fletcher would be proud)

Clive: “Dougie Howser [looks at Ryan] I think we’d have an unfair advantage there.”
Ryan, the spitting image of Neil Patrick Harris, cracks, not knowing he’d have to endure these jokes for the rest of his career.

Clive: “School play”
Ryan: [feebly waves to someone in the audience]
Colin: [giggles, and whispers to Ryan]

Clive: “Somebody suggested Neighbours, why don’t you do AMERICAN Soap Opera”
Colin: “I think I’m pregnant.”
Ryan: “…came a little close to the oar, didn’t you?…After all, this ship is FULL of seamen, you should have known better.
BUZZZZZZ
Ryan:
Screen Shot 2018-02-09 at 3.56.36 PM.png

It ends with a very silly ‘chase movie’ scene, with Colin and Ryan chasing each other with galley pieces. Good enough scene, though, with enough fun touches.

Film and Theatre Styles v2: Tony and Steve (fairground rifle range)

Clive: “…unfunny commercials?”
Tony: “Oh, I’ve done quite a few of those…”

Tony comes in bobbing like a child.
Steve: “How old are ya?”
Tony: “…I’m 42…”

Tony and Steve’s ‘kitchen sink drama’ is a prelude to their Eastenders round from a season or so later, with overlapping dialogue and flaring tempers, culminating in Tony grabbing a gun.

Tony, holding up Steve: “Yeah, who’s in charge now? You, and your grown up…pants?”
Steve hides his crack-up at that.

Clive: “Horror.”
Steve: “…THAT’S THE GUN….*SHE* USED!”
Tony:
Screen Shot 2018-02-09 at 4.03.42 PM.png

Steve: “Notice the way the blood is drippling- DRIPPLING? Would you like some gin?”

Tony: “That teddy is beginning to move in a weeeeeird way.”
Steve: “Look, it’s driving the dodgems by itself now!”

B-Movie
Steve: “Not since that flash in the sky while you were asleep last night.”
Tony: “Yes, which was…filmed very cheaply, in a quarry…”

Tony, gesticulating towards Steve’s chest
Tony: “JANET, DON’T! You’re a woman, and-”
Steve, noticing where Tony’s hands are: “…well take your hands off me tits then…”
BUZZZZZ
Tony and Steve are gone.

Funnier than Ryan and Colin’s, solely because the scene went on with more sophisticated jokes and less moving around obviously.

Old Job New Job: Colin buys drugs from Ryan, joined later by Steve, ex-greengrocer

Colin somehow nails the jittery, neurotic nature of someone buying drugs perfectly.

Ryan: “What are you looking for?”
Colin, still shaking uncontrollably: “…downers.”

Steve spends the whole scene shouting, which is an amusing contrast.
Steve: “YOU TELL ME WHAT HE NEEDS, I’LL TELL YOU WHAT I’VE GOT.”

And then, inevitably, Steve: “IIII’M NOT ASKING 5 POUNDS. IIIII’M NOT ASKING 4 POUNDS. I’M NOT ASKING NOTHING- IT’S FREE.”

Ryan: “Wait a minute, you can’t give stuff away for free, this-”
Steve: “Oy…push off, bruv, this is my patch.”
BUZZZ

Really well done, amusing scene, with great work by everyone.

Whose Line: Colin and Ryan are at a school reunion.

Colin: “YOU HAVEN’T CHANGED AT ALL!”
Ryan: “YOU HAVE! You’ve, uh, gained a lot of weight and lost a lot of hhh….top…”
Colin, nodding, used to it, “…yeah…”

Colin: “Last time I saw [my ex-wife], she was hanging onto the back of the milk truck saying “take it to the bridge, Mr. Brown, and someone will be along shortly.”

Ryan: “I mean, in your yearbook, under your picture, it said… “quick, let’s rub noses like the eskimos do!” Did you ever get up there, to Alaska?”
Colin: “Yeah, I went up there for 5 years…well, two weeks, their time.”

The last bit is hysterical, because Ryan and Colin attempt singing a song in one voice, which, as you know, never ends well. They end up going with strained, barely-coherent words, the last line, which is ‘a dead duck will never fly backwards’, and finishing off together. A very amusing ending.

I’d put this below a few of the other Whose Lines, as this one was meant to be quicker and we didn’t get a full scene, but it was funny enough.

World’s Worst: Person to be a weather forecaster

Tony: “Hello, my name’s Michael Fish.”
Ryan, stoner voice: “Word is there’s some acid rain headed in over the weekend..”
Steve: “And if the piece of string mooooves….IT’S-A GONNA BE WINDY…”
Colin: “Well, let’s check with the weather snake [beats down]…it’s COLD out there…”
Ryan: “Word is things will be heating up over the weekend, much like that BITCH WHO TOOK ME FOR EVERYTHING I HAD!”

Nice enough round.

Props: Ryan and Colin vs. Steve and Tony

Screen Shot 2018-02-09 at 4.24.39 PM.pngColin: “…would you like a cup of tea?”

Screen Shot 2018-02-09 at 4.25.17 PM.pngRyan: “What d’you mean ‘what kind of shark am I?'”
That took me a moment, but very impressive

Screen Shot 2018-02-09 at 4.26.37 PM.pngSteve: “…Pinocchio, it’s gone wrong!”
THAT made me laugh.

Very nice Props round, with the edge going to Colin and Ryan

Song Titles: Ryan, Colin and Steve (in a restaurant)

Colin, as a waiter: “Yes, we have no bananas.”
Steve: “Ah, I heard it through the grapevine.”
HAAAAH.

Colin, looking at the table: “Where have all the flowers gone??? ANGIE!”
[Ryan comes back in]
Colin: “WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE?”
Ryan: “Oklahoma.”

Funnier than the last one by far, but definitely operated at a stop-start function.

Film Dub: Tony does a new VO track for an advert on shampoo

This is the single greatest Film Dub of all time. I’m not sure if I can give it justice here, but I’ll try.

Tony, going off a waterfall which dissolves to a mermaid abruptly: “Imagine the freshness of a -OH HELLO, IT’S A WOMAN!”

Screen Shot 2018-02-09 at 4.32.27 PM.pngTony, on the verge of laughing: “Do you want your entire family…to smell of haddock? Well…you…I’m sorry, a bird’s just dumped on my head.”

The rest of the ad goes on, with Tony haphazardly trying to incorporate the random words into the pitch, before cutting back to the woman.
Tony: “Yes, that haddock smell lingers.”

The ad then cuts to a split-screen of two different cups, for a compare/contrast thing. Tony just goes right to work
Tony: “For instance we took…these liquids. One, from an unknown passerby [pause for audience laughter] and the other from the seeea. What’s the difference? One smells of a dirty old man. The other? Smells….OF FISH!”
[That entire excerpt will never not make me laugh. Especially the way he says ‘OF *FISH*”

The last shot is of the woman taking a sniff of something, and smiling.
Tony: “MMMMM, HAD-DOCK!”
BUZZZZ

That was a golden achievement from Tony, who made every second of what could have been a thankless film dub (like the GLEEN one from 5×02) absolutely hysterical. One of my favorites to this day.

Superheroes: probe heading toward Uranus
Colin: Suction man
Ryan: leg-humping man
Steve: erotic film director guy
Tony: Royal Procession Commentator Man

Obviously the audience laughs at the crisis suggestion.
Colin: [scrubs out his eyes]
Clive: “…you’ve been working on that, haven’t you?”

Clive, describing the crisis to Colin: “A spaceflight is going out of control near Uranus.”
Colin:
Screen Shot 2018-02-09 at 4.39.41 PM.png

Clive, after Colin’s superhero name suggestion: “I, uh, hope the suction doesn’t get anywhere near Uranus, but…”

Colin, reading the world crisis monitor: “OH MY GOD, THERE’S A PROBE HEADING FOR A BLACK HOLE!”
[pause]
Colin: “OH, NO, IT’S URANUS!”
[I laughed HARD at that one]

Ryan bounds in, attaching RIGHT TO COLIN, confused
Ryan: “…I WASN’T EVEN PLANNING ON COMING OVER!”

The first few seconds of Ryan’s quirk is hysterical, because the force of Ryan’s leg-humping just sends Colin bobbing along with him, and there’s this great shot of Ryan and Colin swaying slightly back and forth together.

Sure enough, Colin adds more and more suction to Ryan as it goes on.
Ryan: “MY GOD…URANUS IS IN TROUBLE!”
AND THEY JUST…KEEP…COMING.

Steve comes in and starts directing Colin and Ryan
Colin: “BUT WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT THE *PROBE?*”
Steve: “…lick your lips.”
Nobody caught that, but I did.

Tony, upon getting his: “And, as we move…towards Uranus, we can see…”
Steve: “LICK YOUR LIPS, LICK YOUR LIPS!”

Steve is about to say an exiting line, but Ryan’s still humping him, so he freezes, panics, and cracks up. Ryan just looks desperate as he does.

After Steve exits
Ryan: “NO, GIMME ANOTHER 15 SECONDS, WHY??”

Colin, after everyone’s left and the hysteria has lifted: “….I think I’ll have a shower.”

That was an incredible Superheroes game, as everyone was insanely funny, there were several great moments of physicality, and Colin and Ryan alone just cracked me up the entire time.

Helping Hands: Tony learns about wine tasting from Ryan (ft. Colin’s hands)

Ryan: “Bonjour my friend, or as we say in France….’HELLOOOOO…”

After the ceremonial putting-on of the berets, Tony strikes at Ryan first: “I hear there’s this wonderful trick you do, where you put an entire brie in your mouth.”
Ryan takes his moment to recover. This used to be what he’d do with Tony in Expert, so he’s finally on the receiving end.

Ryan: “YOU SEE, THE SECRET OF BRIE, MY FRIEND-”
Tony: “yes, hurry up.”

Ryan, in putting the brie down, knocks over some bottles.
Ryan: “Oh, I have become intoxicated by the CHEESE KNOWN…AS BRIE.”

Ryan: “Would you like a little wine? ‘HOW COME IIIIII DON’T GET TO GO TO MIAMI?” There, a little whine, d’you like that?”

Ryan, pouring: “NOW, WHAT WE HAVE…IS A LITTLE RED WINE FOR YOU, MY FRIEND-”
Tony: “It’s white, you blind twit!”

And then, Tony, realizing there’s still time to screw with Ryan: “I’d love to see…THE BRIE TRICK AGAIN!”
The audience even applauds.

Then, for the last beat of the scene, Ryan throws the brie in his mouth while also pouring wine on it. Clive must have buzzed because he’d seen enough.

A really nice helping Hands, with great Ryan work, and Tony finally fighting back and screwing with Ryan.

Overall: A show that got way better as it went on, with some fantastic work from everyone, and the last-third that did not let up in terms of humor. Obviously the two brands of humor were better when they mixed, as the F&TS rounds exposed how different their humor was, but everything after, especially after a middling 2nd act, was golden, from a top-tier Film Dub from Tony, to an uproarious Superheroes from everyone, and finishing off with a pretty great Helping Hands. Yes, it did take a bit to get to the good stuff, but the mood was pretty electric all night, with some short spurts in Old Job New Job and Props teasing us for what’d come. The workflow was pretty even, though Ryan narrowly edged out Steve and Colin with some great work all night, and a great performance in Helping Hands. Meanwhile, this episode marks the beginning of Tony’s descent into addiction, as he was noticeably less put-together, and cracked up slightly more often than usual, though that didn’t detract from his abilities in Helping Hands and Film Dub. He was still very funny, but his patience was beginning to wane.

Show Winner: Colin
Best Performer: Ryan, once again giving the best performances this series.
Worst Performer: Tony, for being quieter and less put-together than the other 3.
Best Game: Superheroes. Top-to-bottom hysterical
Worst Game: Song Titles, by default.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S05E07, or Come Again?

Another turning point. This is the last Sweeney & Steen episode, and the penultimate Ryanless Whose Line. Sweeney and Steen were supposed to keep the uK reign of the show going, but now they’ll be bowing out as the show focuses more on Ryan and Tony. This one also features Tony Slattery and Mike McShane, a truly magical combination.

This is one of the last chances for the so-called old-guard of WL to take over, and seeing as the last time we had a show like that it was the best of the season, it’s a wise idea to do it again.

Scenes from a Hat:

Clive: “Now, the MORE WE DO…the more…we will have done, now..”

“Things the stewardesses should really tell you about safety features…”
Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 2.52.33 PM.png
Jim: “Now, if the plane goes down, kiss THIS goodbye…”

Clive: “The worst job in the world.”
Mike: “I’m here to buff Clive’s head.”

Clive: “Olympic sports we’d like to see.”
Tony: “AND NOW THE-
Steve:Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 2.54.41 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 2.54.12 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-02-07 at 2.54.50 PM.png

Mike: “IT’S THE HUNDRED-METER FREESTYLE CRUNCH!”

Clive: “I, uh…I think Humping the Tony is in it already.”
Mike: “Ya oughta see the SYNCHRONIZED HUMPING THE TONY…”

Clive: “A Kiss-o-gram with bad news.”
Mike, to Steve: “SHE’S LEFT YOU, SHE’S LEFT YOU, SHE’S NEVER COMING BACK AGAIN-”
Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 2.58.07 PM.png

Clive: “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
Tony, without a better idea, to Jim: “…that’ll be two pounds fifty, please…”

Clive: “What you didn’t expect to find at the end of the rainbow.”
Jim: “JEREMY BEADLE!”

A fantastic round to start the show with, as the energy is already electric, and people are going for silliness right off the bat.

Film and Theatre Styles: Mike and Tony (desert island castaways)

Audience member: “EL DORADO!”
Clive: “…we’re doing amateur dramatics already.”
ELDORADO SLAMS: 1

Tony: “…I spy…”
Mike: [begins nibbling on Tony’s fingers]

Tony: “This is hopeless. We must build a fire!”
Mike: “WITH WHAT??? WE HAVE PLENTY OF THINGS TO PUT A FIRE *OUT* WITH! BUT WE HAVE NOTHING TO BUILD A FIRE WITH! I’M buck naked, YOU’RE buck naked, the TREE’S gone, the dog’s been eaten, we have SAND. A BIG…LUMP…OF SAND.”
Tony, knowing his place: “….oooOoOoOoOoOoOOOOHHH!”

Eldorado:
Tony: “There is lots of sand here, yes, that’s because it’s a crappy film set.
ELDORADO SLAMS: 2
Mike: “If we dig deep enough, we may find some talent, but I don’t know.”
ELDORADO SLAMS: 3. WE’RE ON A ROLL.

Science Fiction:
Mike: “In fact, I fear we may begin mutating.”
Tony stands up, and there’s a PFF sound.
Mike: “You’re mutating already, sir!”
Tony: “I’m sorry about that. Play some of that music and I’ll walk up to the camera, weirdly”
Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 3.10.13 PM.png

A pretty fun game, even if it lost the plot a bit in the middle. The Slattery-McShane combo is at a high already.

Authors: A Day in the Life of a Nursery School
Jim: Lewis Carroll
Steve: Jackie Collins
Tony: TV ads for the Sun
Mike: Dr. Seuss

THE LAST EVER AUTHORS. A game that was a staple of the show for 2 seasons, finally dying out with the Ryan/Colin era.

Jim: “It was a perfectly normal friday, but somehow she felt a bit stoned. “Don’t bogart that joint, bitch” said the big caterpillar in the corner…pass the dutchie on the left hand side.”

Steve, as Jackie Collins, describes the empowered, female caterpillar, “her proud breasts standing out like pink grapefruits…”
BUZZ
Tony: ‘AN’ YEW CAN SEE ‘EM ON PAAAGE THREE! THERE’S ALWAYS MORE NUUUDE CATERPILLARS…IN THE SUN!”

A really fantastic game of this. At least they ended on a good note, where everybody could actually continue the story without being selfish, or without being John Sessions.

Song Styles: Mike sings a Busby Berkley song about soap

Mike: “i’ve got that bar in my hand again.
I’ve got that bar, and I’m gonna lather up, my friend.”
And we have liftoff.

This is a really nice song by Mike, with some cute lyrics and really nice melodic work by both him and Richard. It’s incredibly silly and passionate, and you can tell that Mike’s enjoying the hell out of it.

World’s Worst: Person to be auditioning for Hamlet

Jim: “i mean, because basically he’s a man on the edge, isn’t he?….I KNOW HOW HE FEELS…”
Steve: ‘See, my contract with Eldorado is just fineeshed….”
[ELDORADO SLAMS: 4]
Tony: “…Tobe…or not tobe?”
Steve, doing an accurate John Major impression: “To be or not to be, that’s a good question, a FAIR QUESTION, AND ONE I INTEND TO DEAL WITH…”

Bad start, but it picked up as it went along.

Props: Jim and Tony vs. Mike and Steve

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 3.22.55 PM.pngTony: “ALRIGHT…I’m not a natural brunette…”

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 3.23.58 PM.pngSteve: “….YES…YES…I WILL FERTILIZE THE EGG!”

Tony: “Hello, and welcome to the not-terribly-convincing torture chamber. GET DOWN! [hits feebly with prop]”

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 3.25.32 PM.png
Steve: “Hello, I’m an extra on Doctor Who.”

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 3.25.37 PM.pngMike: “Hello, I’m an extra on Eldorado. THEY’RE DESPERATE.”
ELDORADO SLAMS: 5

Fantastic round of props, and you can tell, because Tony and Steve are still laughing as they head back to the seats.

Scene to Music: Steve waits for Jim, his secretary

This is the last Sweeney & Steen scene in regulation, and proof that the producers were phasing them out, as they did Meskimen and Smith, for not matching up to Colin and Ryan.

The music is, again, very film-noiry, so Steve turns it into another game of Narrate. Why not just do Narrate again?

Jim: “Is it me or is it hot in here? [aside] It wasn’t me, it was hot in here, the building was on fire.”
Steve: “Yeah, it was hot, she was a walking sauna, and I was ready to sit down on her bench…”

A very fun scene, better than their last Scene to Music.

Party Quirks: Tony hosts
Steve: Beethoven
Jim: In love with the carpet
Mike: Confederate soldier

Tony: “Yes, the party is ready, and the theme of this party is 60s dance crazes [flails wildly]”

Tony: “Hello, Steve, come on in.”
Steve: “PARDON??”
[HA HA HA HA.]

Jim, the second he enters, nails his:
Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 3.34.28 PM.png
For obvious reasons, they didn’t trust Jim with physicality too often, but he nails it here, going above and beyond.

Jim: “How could you just stand there?”
Tony: “…you’re not Eleanor Bron, are you?”

This is one of those party quirks where everyone comes in and Tony writhes around trying to guess everyone, and he’s beginning to get more unhinged with it. Obviously what he’d be dealing with in Series’ 6 and 7 was controllable here, but he’s growing more manic, especially in guessing everyone when they’re all just going at it.

Tony does nail everyone’s, especially an energetic Steve performance, which he jumps up and down when he finally gets. The audience even hits fever pitch when he guesses Steve.

Great game, just crazy enough to be controllable.

Clive: “The yelps of pleasure were worth waiting for…as they often are with Tony.”

Bartender: Mike
Steve: Angry about constipation
Jim: trying to forget his impotence
Tony: in love with the barman

A very Scottish voice shouts out ‘CUNSTIPEESHUN.”
Clive: “That was a good suggestion, or possibly a cry for help.”

Steve’s verse is good, but, possibly thanks to his character choice, it’s not sung as much as it is talked. Mike does save it, though, going “I don’t wanna see you get any meaner, so here, take this vacuum cleaner.”

The same scotsman, for Jim, yells out ‘IMPOTENCE!’
Jim:
Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 3.43.23 PM.png

Jim’s first line, above fun, funky guitar music, is “I’ve got a problem that’s making me sick.”
Everyone knows what’s coming, no pun intended, and cracks up prematurely.
Still, instead of subverting the expectation, like people usually do in singing games, he goes for it: “Frankly, I’ve got a useless dick.”

Mike starts with the obvious joke: “COME AGAIN? I’m sorry, let me rephrase that…”
Jim:
Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 3.45.42 PM.png

Mike: “I take those problems seriously.
Lack of orgasms can make you deliriously…..upset.”

Mike finishes off his verse with ‘here’s a stiff one, that’ll do.”

AND THEN WE GET TO TONY’S. Which may be one of the best musical moments of this entire series.

Tony, completely won over by Mike, starts with the immortal line of:
“I’m the bacon…and you’re my chips.
i’d like to shipwreck in those…standy-out nips.”
Note that he cracks up at that one, though he sells it.
And he ends with “If you weren’t a big butch man, I’d ask you to be my wife.”

If Tony’s wasn’t heartfelt enough, Mike has what’s basically an aria, going into great melodic notes and really selling the mutuality of the situation…and then…he takes everything off the bar counter, and goes “You see through me, then do me…RIGHT HERE!”
Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 3.50.09 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 3.50.38 PM.png

What I love about this, in least in particular, is that this is one of the first times you can see the people at the seats absolutely losing it with laughter. Jim and Steve absolutely break down once Mike throws himself on the table, and start applauding and laughing as the scene ends. I don’t think a game had gotten a fellow-improviser reaction up to that point.

Still, the capper on a fantastic game of Bartender.

Overall: Not just the best of the series so far, but possibly one for the pantheon. I mean it when I say that almost every game was not only a success, but a hysterical highlight. Everyone was giving their all, even Steve Steen, usually the limp noodle of the panel, who was giving big character performances all night tonight. Mike McShane, like in E5, performed like no time had passed, and Jim Sweeney did his usual ensemble work, while Tony allowed himself, yet again, to the funnier moments of the night. The number of memorable moments from this show is a nice one- from the Humping the Tony, to all the Eldorado slams, to Steve as Beethoven, to Tony mounting Mike during Bartender. And oddly enough, those moments don’t define or overpower the show. It’s a very well-rounded, very even episode of four WL legends giving their best material. How could that not be a 10/10 show?

Show Winners: Steve and Tony
Best Performer: Mike McShane, for being a fantastic moral center for the show, and providing the most memorable moments
Worst Performer: Jim Sweeney, oddly enough, for being outdone by his comedy partner in the number of breakthrough moments in scenes.
Best Game: Bartender. How can I not?
Worst Game: World’s Worst, just for its slow start
Best Runner: Eldorado Slams (we had 5).

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S05E06, or IT’S ME AGAIN, MARK!

You can honestly sum the bulk of this season of Whose Line up with this episode’s tactic- a bunch of North Americans and Josie Lawrence. That’s honestly most of this season’s episodes, a solid 3/8, if we can somehow include Australia as part of northern America (which seems like something the current US president would think of).

Tonight is a fairly simple S5 matchup- Josie, Greg, Colin and Ryan. That’s honestly as basic as it got during this stretch. Eventually we’d get to the point where it’d just get to ‘which matchup will perform with Colin and Ryan this week?’, but here it’s fresh, and an entertaining enough matchup. Also, note that this is the last show of the season for both Greg and Josie, who’ve dominated the bulk of the run. The rest of the series is lined with Tony Slattery episodes.

Ryan’s camera-pattern shirt is very similar to the kind of wacky shirts Colin would start wearing around S3 of the US run.

Scenes from a Hat:

Clive: “The ultimate pop-up book”
Screen Shot 2018-02-04 at 1.29.28 PM.png

Clive: “The four horsemen of the apocalypse.”
Greg: “Sorry, pestilence couldn’t be here today, I’m Nervousness.”

Clive: “A convention of wrestlers.”
Josie: “NICE TO MEET YOU” [Gets Ryan in a headlock and takes him down.]
You can even hear Ryan emitting a gargled, shocked noise as he goes down.

Clive: “Dog parties.”
Colin immediately starts humping Ryan’s leg. Ryan cracks up so much that he nearly loses his balance, and has to fight with Colin to make sure they both don’t tip over.

Alright round, though thin in the middle. A lot of these were pretty basic.

Whose Line: Mugger and victim

Clive: “…you do have that in America, right?”
Colin and Ryan: “YES!”
Ryan: “it’s like our church…”

Ryan: “Give me your money…sorry, I’m new.”

There’s a great Colin-Ryan sequence where Colin tries to teach Ryan to be more aggressive in mugging, and it backfires, as Ryan’s just goofy-loud going “GIMMEYEEHMONNEEYYY” as Colin facepalms.
Ryan: “Show me.”
Colin, taking the gun: “GIMME YOUR MONEY.”
Ryan: “Here.”
Colin: “Thanks.”
GENIUS.

Colin: “I have one piece of advice for you: “I must now return to my own time.” D’you want to come with me?”
Ryan: “I noticed the Nazi outfit, I was wondering about that…”

Colin’s silly but plausible rationalization here is one of the first few times in one of these games where the performers aren’t afraid of bending the narrative and going to stranger pastures with the scene, rather than just basing completely in reality. Colin brings this to a world where a Nazi got caught in a time warp and travels to the future, and he says it in a straight face.

Ryan: “I remember him dying on his deathbed, and he said to me…”your cheeks look so cute when you smile’…funny, I was…facing away from him at the time…”

Colin: “Well, I also don’t have any money, being a…Nazi General caught in a time warp…”

Ryan: “I mean, after all, isn’t the Nazi slogan “i’ve been flying my helicopter naked’?”
Yes, it is.

Then, Ryan swings something around below his legs, demonstrating, going “HIMMLER! REMEMBER HIMMLER!”, all while Colin’s denying it. This is such an insane but hysterical scene.

Colin: “No, we have a new motto: “it makes a bigger noise if you hold it the other way around…”
And then Ryan does so, turning the gun the other way around and killing himself, which is a very silly touch to an incredibly silly scene.

Song Styles: Josie sings a drunken auntie song about snails

Josie cracks up when she hears this style, probably the more creative one we’ve gotten lately.

Then, immediately, as Richard starts up, Josie motions to an unseen person “I KNOW THE WORDS, I KNOW THE WORDS!”

Funnier than a lot of the Josie songs we’ve been getting, and more memorable even, as she still sings really well while playing this drunk, strange character.

Superheroes: Earthquakes
Greg: Hamster Man
Ryan: Fidget Man
Josie: Woman who’s shocked by everything
Colin: Rhyming Couplet Kid

Some poor schmo in the audience, when asked for a crisis, yells out ‘HE’S LOST HIS DINNER MONEY’, which cracks up Greg AND Clive.

Clive mentions there’s an earthquake going on, “probably in your hometown of San Francisco the way things are.”
Greg:
Screen Shot 2018-02-04 at 1.52.22 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-02-04 at 1.52.30 PM.png

Greg’s hamster motions crack me up. Even while pissed off, he can still deliver great improv.

Greg: “Oh my gosh, it’s an earthquake, and it’s in [looks right at Clive], OAKLAND, RIGHT NEXT TO SAN FRANCISCO!”

Of course, from the moment her name is announced, Josie absolutely nails hers.

Josie: “OH, IT’S THE RHYMING COUPLET KID!”
Screen Shot 2018-02-04 at 1.55.57 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-02-04 at 1.56.14 PM.png

Ryan has a great line, as Fidget Man, pointing out on the world crisis monitor of the earthquake: “EVERYBODY LOOKS LIKE ME!”

Very fun game, though the banter beforehand did definitely factor into it.

World’s Worst: Person to sit next to on an airplane

Josie: “WE’RE GOING TO CRASH WE’RE GOING TO CRASH WE’RE GOING TO CRASH WE’RE GOING TO CRASH!”
Colin: “….tickticktickticktickticktick…”
Greg: “I’VE BEEN DRINKING WITH THE PILOT FOR HOURS!”
Ryan: “Some guy’s been drinking with me for hours!”
Colin: [repeatedly vomits]
Josie: “…I’ve got a tub of margarine in my bag.” [no one laughs, so she shrugs and goes back]
Ryan: “I’VE GOT LOTS OF MARGARINE DOWN MY PANTS.”

Another fantastic round of this, with everyone contributing something funny.

Props: Josie and Colin vs. Greg and Ryan

Ryan is given a long, colored stick. He smirks. EVERYONE IN THE AUDIENCE KNOWS EXACTLY WHERE HE’S GOING.

Josie: “And now, I will leap through the flaming hoop of fire.”
Colin, holding the hoop of fire: “AAH! AAAH!”

Screen Shot 2018-02-04 at 2.05.22 PM.pngColin: “My GOD! WE HAVE TO STOP THE SNAKES FROM SWALLOWING THEMSELVES!”

You can tell this isn’t a very inspiring bunch of props when Colin does an Ironside impression…and then comes back later and does another Ironside impression (‘IT’S ME AGAIN, MARK!’)

A noticeably weaker Props round, but not without funniness.

Scene to Music: Colin is someone who always borrows Ryan’s clothes.

Colin: “Well, I didn’t know you were taking a shower.”
CUE THE MUSIC: Like a Western/Epic theme
Ryan: “I was…right here in this booth.”

Ryan, with the spaghetti western lip lag: “But you’re good…very good…”
Colin, contrasting: “…thanks.”

Film Dub: Greg has come to Ryan for advice with women- Josie is a woman.

Greg, looking over Josie’s character: “Boy, you sure are a woman…JEEEESUS CHRIST…”

Greg: “Nice smoking jacket.”
Ryan: “Thank you very much it’s, uh…….”
Greg, as his character leaves, cutting off the silence: “So long.”
Ryan, thankful: “See ya.”

Another not-great film dub. I’m not fretting, as I know the very next film dub we get will be a classic.

Clive: “50 million points awarded to Tony Slattery, AND HE’S NOT EVEN *IN* TONIGHT’S PROGRAM!”

Helping Hands: Ryan (ft. Colin’s hands) teaches Greg how to make pizza.

From moment one, Ryan’s italian accent is wonderfully goofy.

Colin does the herculean task of catching dough while not being able to see his hands.

Ryan attempts to start rolling the dough. Colin takes the rolling pin and slams it down so hard that it tips over and cracks a bowl of tomato sauce. Greg jumps a mile.

Ryan is doing an admirable job wading through the chaos and keeping in character
Ryan: “These little things here, they swim in the ocean, they’re called….olives. Now…”

Ryan: “A lot of people throw the pizza at the beginning. I like-a to throw it up in the air at the end!”
Just as Colin attempts a mild launch, Clive ends things.

Not as good as the Helping Hands standard, and a bit more haphazard, but still entertaining.

Party Quirks: Greg hosts
Josie: showjumper
Colin: Mr. Universe contestant
Ryan: thinks he’s a moth

Josie: “Come on, Greg-boy, let me mount you…”
Greg, as Josie gets on his back: “Josie, we’re not even dating…”

Greg, as he has to get the doorbell while Josie’s still on his back: “…could you just get the door, I’m holding your thigh.”

Also, a rarity, Greg gets to use the old, patented twiglet line, as he hands Colin “one of those reeealllly big twiglets…”

Ryan, upon entry: “D’ya mind turning off the outside light?”

Ryan’s physicality is fantastic- nibbling on Greg’s shoulder, frantically hovering around a candle.

Overall: Very, very okay. Not a ton stood out, but not a ton was truly bad. If it weren’t for Whose Line we’d be in some dire shape, but everyone did fine, and there were funny moments throughout, but…not enough of them. Josie had a down show after some great episodes this year, and, once again, this show was fastened to Ryan Stiles’s shoulders. He did most of the heavy lifting yet again.

Show Winner: Ryan Stiles
Best Performer: Ryan, for doing his usual excellent work
Worst Performer: Josie, for having less put-together work with the Americans.
Best Game: Whose Line. Just hysterical.
Worst Game: Film Dub. Not a lot going on.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S05E05, or WELL CLAP, GODDAMMIT!

Andy Parsons: “It’s like Friends, isn’t it? They call them ‘The Sunbed Episode’, or whatever. This is gonna be ‘The Cow Jacket Episode’
Dara O’Briain: “Yeah, ‘The One with the Cow Jacket’…”

Don’t get me wrong, there are entertaining things to be had, like another episode with Greg and Ryan interacting with Josie Lawrence, plus the RETURN, AFTER A SEASON AT BAY, OF THE GREAT AND POWERFUL MIKE MCSHANE, but to be honest, this episode can be summed up with one article of clothing:
Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 5.18.58 PM.png

Yep. There it is. Take it in. Ravish in it. Because that’s one of the most eye-catching fashion statements we’ll have until Ryan rolls out a certain orange shirt.

Also, note that Clive marks his monologue by making an El Dorado slam, which will have some siblings in about two episodes.

Also note that THIS is what Ryan’s wearing:
Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 5.20.24 PM.png

and THIS is what Mike is wearing:
Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 5.20.53 PM.png

And the fact that, on top of all of that loudness, the black-and-white cow jacket is the one that gets picked up by the fans…that says something.

Film and Theatre Styles: Ryan and Josie (visiting in hospital)

This is new, but because of the scene, Ryan brings a chair down with him, which is an odd touch but one i’ll take.

Clive tries to decipher the suggestion of ‘weepie drama’
Clive: “Sort of a three-tissue drama or something…or is that a different sort of film?”

Clive reads out the scene description, saying “that’s why the chair is there…that or NHS cuts…”

The first moment of genius happens when Josie throws the alcohol in Ryan’s IV right as we hit ‘disaster movie’, and it starts overflowing and spurting out of Ryan’s mouth, which is a fantastic visual, even for early in the game. Hell, he even has some spurt out of…another place on his body.

Clive: “A bit of Bolshoi ballet.”
Ryan, in getting up, pulls up his pants, which is a nice move. Then, as a ballet move, still has the alcohol spurting out his ears.

Then, after three jumps assisted by Josie, Ryan looks over to Clive, nearly breaking, begging for him to stop. He does, thankfully.

Clive: “A sort of weepy, sort of sad movie.”
Ryan: “…You pulled my groin…”

Josie’s acting gets the right kind of melodramatic once it’s revealed that Ryan might die. There’s even a point where Josie has another loud declaration, and Ryan whips his head away to shield from her acting.
Ryan, in and out of tears: “…I will STAY with YOU here….forEVEERR…”
BUZZZZ

A pretty fun F&TS, with good work on both sides, even if it was kind of basic for the most part.

Song Styles: Josie and Mike sing a love ballad about a paperweight

Ah yes, the return of the famed Mike & Josie duets. Very nice.

In the very first moments of this game, the chemistry between Josie and Mike is already so strong that I immediately realize how much I missed Mike McShane on this show.

Josie does have the great line of “come on, baby, put your weight on me, and treat me just like paper”, which works so well for these two.

Very fun song, where Mike and Josie hold a nice last note, as Mike, ironically, lunges downward a bit on it, before he cracks a smile along with Josie.

Clive: “That’s funny, you’ve just seen, improvised, the next entry for the Eurovision Song Contest….that should win, shouldn’t it?”

Whose Line: Greg and Ryan (recruiting from the trenches)

A rare Colinless Whose Line, with Greg playing nice foil to Ryan, as he usually would during this era.

Ryan: “I’m a marine! And in the Marines, our motto is… ‘I demand to have some booze!'”
He’s not wrong.
And then a second later, as Greg makes a point, Ryan sneaks a flask.

Greg: “I remember when I first joined the marines, my recruiting officer said to me…’lick my earlobes and call me mama!’…You wouldn’t mind doing that right now, would you?”
Ryan: “You were in the Navy!”

Ryan: “There’s only one thing you can say to stop me.”
Greg: “What?”
Ryan has a moment where he thought Greg was gonna do his line, but now he has to pivot and read his…and then panics when he can’t read it, before going “…DIP IT IN GIN AND REDUCE THE SWELLING!”
There’s a moment where Ryan feels ashamed of saying that, stepping back, worriedly.
Greg: “I like you, Simpson, but there’s no time for that, we have to go-”
Ryan: “COME ON! WE’VE GOT THE BOOZE RIGHT HERE, WHY NOT??”
Greg: ‘I KNOW WE’VE GOT THE BOOZE!…We’ll dip it in gin later!”

Greg: “But now, our battle cry, before we go out- ‘PUT ON THE WETSUIT AND COVER ME IN TRIFLE.’
Ryan, shrugging, begins to put on a wetsuit.
BUZZZ

Another fantastic game of Whose Line that definitely picked up as it went along, and had a truly hysterical moment with the ‘dip it in gin’ line.

Stand Sit Bend: Josie, Ryan and Greg are at a singles bar.

Greg: “Hi…My name’s Phil.”
Ryan: “Hello…I’m Gary.”
Those are the only two names Ryan ever uses.

There’s a wonderful moment- as Ryan and Greg are trying to hit on Josie, Ryan sits down, and Josie and Greg are left standing…then both try to lean at the same time, which also doubles as a pass. Very funny moment.

Plus, as Greg reintroduces Ryan as Gary, ‘my newfound friend’, he playfully kicks Ryan, who high-fives his foot. It’s such a wacky, wholesome moment.

The scene reaches a natural end when Ryan asks Josie to dance, but Josie sits this one out, so Ryan and Greg dance with each other, each volleying for positions, which gives a fun visual to end on.

Quick game, but very successful, and very funny.

News Report- Little Bo Peep- Greg and Ryan in the studio, Mike and Josie in the field.

The intro zoom-in, which now makes me crack up just by hearing the music, is set to Greg trying to pop a zit, or a cold sore, on Ryan’s lip, before seeing the camera. Fantastic stuff. And then…
Greg: “Good evening, I’m Tongue Deeply.”

I love Ryan’s expression when Greg says ‘we have an expert on SHEEP here today’. Ryan winces, but internally goes ‘alright, I’ll go and do this…’

Ryan: “Well, I, uh, I know it wasn’t virgin wool, I’ll tell ya that much…”

And then, the immortal line from Greg:
Greg: “Oh my gosh I have someone coming in my ear right now…”
The audience cuts him off before he can continue. Even funnier Ryan confusedly checks his pants to make sure it’s not him, and then resumes, realizing it was an idiom.

Mike, as Bo Peep: “It didn’t happen at all. I went out back to take a piss, I come back…[annnnd he breaks]…I don’t believe I just said that…I’m sorry, I was drinking with the sheep, I found them in a pub…”

Greg, to Ryan: “What about leaving them alone and letting them come home wagging their tails?”
Ryan: “Would you come home wagging your tail if a 300 pound woman was pissin’ on ya?”
[AND I’M DEAD]
Ryan, under applause: “I think the sheep are gone, my friend. THEY’RE GONE. BERMUDA. THEY GOT A TICKET. They’re not coming back.”

Mike, as Mary Mary Quite Contrary: “Well, I know how to take care of sheep, I understand them, I talk to them, I read them stories, and I make the right kinds of foods for them. Bo Peep…you know, we’re talking about ritual abuse, we’re talking about stunted childhood, we’re talking about shaving corn circles on their backs, and it’s not a very nice thing to do.”

Ryan’s final comment is “Uhh, SHEEP SHEEP, WHERE ARE THEY?”
Afterwards, he looks directly at Clive. I feel like his original ending line was too racy [I know, a game with ‘someone’s coming in my ear’ and ‘a 300 pound woman pissin on ya’ got racier?], so Clive had him redo the last bit, and Ryan did so at gunpoint. Or maybe he just couldn’t think of a better line, and thought it was odd that Clive laughed at it.

And then, right as the camera zooms out, Ryan checks Greg’s ear, referring to the earlier comment.

That scene…was perfect. Absolutely perfect. And I laughed hard at the entire thing. I’ll say that Josie had the least to do, but even she had little things like ‘see you later, Tongue’, and very subtle jokes that the audience didn’t get. Mike had some fantastic lines, piss or no, Greg was a fantastic proctor, and Ryan just pulled the scene over the edge. I don’t know how they did that.

Song Titles: Greg, Mike and Ryan are in a laundrettes

One of the toughest games to make work on the show, one that the US version would make into a quickfire elimination game (that Brad Sherwood would excel at). Here it’s just a scene game.

Greg: “Dirty laundry.”
Mike: ‘Ah, let it be…”

Rather unspectacular, but, to quote George Carlin, “….they DO get better…”

Party Quirks: Greg hosts
Josie: thinks she’s a cow
Mike: riverboat gambler
Ryan: President’s bodyguard

First of all…someone who isn’t wearing a cow jacket thinks they’re a cow???

OF COURSE, JOSIE GOES RIGHT FOR THE JUGULAR:
Josie: “Hello Gr-…what are you wearing that waistcoat for, are you taking the mickey?”
PERFECT.

And then, of course, Josie asks if anyone wants milk, and…squeezes her udders.

Ryan’s done this sort of thing a bunch of times, so of course he nails it, running around, finger in his ear.

Ryan: “Has the sax arrived yet?”
That is a very nice, 1993-era reference, and I’m glad it exists.

Pretty nice game, though nothing truly eye-popping happened outside of Josie delivering a joke that had her smirking the second she read the card.

Helping Hands: Ryan (w/ Greg’s hands) mixes a cocktail for Josie

Ryan sees all the alcohol in front of him and smiles. This is gonna be a fun one.
Clive: “You’ve got all the accouterments there, plus Greg strapped to your bottom.”

Ryan starts the scene by spitting ice cubes up in the air and attempting to land them in a glass. This works on the second try.

Ryan throws a few nuts into the glass with bacardi already in it.
Josie, not wasting an opportunity: “It’s a peanut colada.”
Ryan, impressed: “YES!”

The best part of this one is Ryan saying ‘a very carefully poured-out amount’, and greg just spilling alcohol all over the table.

Then, Ryan shakes it by using the successful method of having Greg clasp his hand over it and shaking it from there.

The scene ends with Ryan downing the entire glass as Greg keeps forcing it towards his face, and Ryan taking it all in as the rest of it runs down his chin. Then, immediately, he spits everything back into the bowl of ice.

Musical: Teaching a business course, going to australia, and coming third in a rock and roll championship.

MUSICAL? IN THE POST-SESSIONS ERA? WELL ALRIGHT THEN! This may either be THE last of ONE OF THE last Musicals done on the show, which is a pity because I did come to enjoy this game when they did it (right).

Mike: “I’ve got one more business to take care of, but after that, let’s get our guitars and go to AUSTRALIA….HOME OF ROCK AND ROLL!”

Mike, as a part of the awesome rock-led first segment with Greg: “We live on a diet of sour milk and koala turds…and we make up all the words.”

Ryan comes in with an australian accent, and has to wedge around a song where he doesn’t know where it’s going. He still comes out admirably though.

Josie comes in as the third member of the band, and gets us to the rock competition, which starts the third, rock segment.
Greg, after a second: “…WELL, CLAP GODDAMMIT!”

This last number is a really exciting one, with everyone having something to do, a cool motif, and a dance break from Greg to end it all.

Not perfect, but a pretty solid Musical, and I’d be fine if this was the last one ever.

Greg and Ryan’s credit read is a pretty funny one, as they heckle the crew, but it ends with the immortal line, from Greg: “HEY, DAN PATTERSON….oh, no, he’s the producer…”, followed by Ryan and Greg stopping in their tracks, absolutely cooked.

Overall: Surprisingly much more than ‘the one with the cow jacket’. A recovery from last show, and a pretty solid show all around, with some truly funny moments (All of News Report, Josie in Party Quirks, Greg and Ryan dancing in Stand Sit Bend, Greg catching the ice, the last bit of Musical) balancing out minor flaws (Song Titles). There was this really fun vibe the whole show, that got everybody loose, and made sure everyone was giving their all. I can’t really think of people who stood out as the best or the worst, because everyone had games where they excelled, and nobody made any bad improv moves, and I’m glad that we’ve reached a point in this show’s history where I can say that. Still, I may have to give an edge to Mike McShane, for standing out in every game he was in, and giving some amazing musical moments back to a show that’s been largely surviving without them lately.

Show Winners: Ryan and Greg
Best Performer: Mike McShane, making an astonishing comeback
Worst Performer: Greg Proops, for mostly taking an ensemble approach despite some great lines
Best Game: News Report. Top to bottom hysterical
Worst Game: Song Titles. Not great yet.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S05E04 or BREASTS!

Well, seeing as the Greg-Colin-Ryan-Tony matchup worked so well the first time, let’s do it again!

Film and Theatre Styles v1: Tony and Greg (sculptor and model)

A very confused Clive getting suggestions: “Rocky Blossom? BLOSSOM?”
Tony: “…the Rocky Blossom Horror Show…”
Clive: “What is Blossom? Is that shoe polish or something?”
Greg: “It’s an American sitcom, homeboy…”
Clive: “Right, jolly good, Blossom. We’ll start with that, I think.”
Greg: [winces]

It’s great, as Greg does monologuing in the Tennessee Williams style, he goes further and further upstage, closer and closer to the camera.
Tony, coming from behind Greg and grabbing his chest: “You’re not married anymore..”

Clive buzzes while Tony is still grabbing Greg.
Clive: “Let’s try a bit of Blossom.”
Greg: “…well I am a 13-year-old girl coming of age…”
BUZZ
Clive: “That’s quite enough of that, then.”

A quick game of this, with some funny moments but an overall truncated feeling about it. I could have gotten more out of each style.

Film and Theatre Styles v2: Colin and Ryan (snorkeling teacher and new snorkler)

Clive: “Noh theater…oh, so films then? Nono…”
Ryan chuckles at that one.

Clive: “Amateur dramatics. That’s essentially what’s going on before your eyes already, but…”

Ryan: “Before we go underwater, Phil, I want you to review the snorkeling equipment with me. Now, this is?”
Colin: “A SNORKLE?”
Ryan: “Right. This is?”
Colin: “A TANK.”
Ryan: “AAANNND THIS IS?”
Colin: “…My bathing suit!”
BUZZZ

The first style is John Wayne, so it’s an excuse for Ryan to use his John Wayne impression for the first (of MANY) times. Colin does well as an ornery bystander in a western.
Ryan: “THE POINT IS, PUT ON THE TANK AND WE’LL…..GEEEET IN THE WATER…”

Erotic Thriller:
Colin, jumping into the water: “…splash.”
Ryan, following him, even more sotto voce: “…splish…”

Romantic comedy style, Colin and Ryan start splashing each other, to the point where, by the end, Ryan’s splashing Colin using only his butt.
BUZZ
Clive: “…Ryan, do that movement again…”

The scene ends on Biker Movie, where Ryan tries revving up a motorcycle but falling back into the water, which is a great visual.

Much better scene, with much more funny moments in it, and the whole burgeoning Colin-Ryan duo.

Old Job New Job: Tony and Colin are Kindergartners. Ryan, an ex-cowboy, is their teacher.

Tony, top of the scene, to Colin: “If you’re…5 years old…why are you losing your hair?”
Colin: [starts crying]

And then, without a word of dialogue, Ryan enters, throws a lasso, ties up Colin and starts trying to brand him. It’s the silliest goddamned thing.

Tony, as Ryan is instructing Colin, winds up kicking Ryan in the behind. Ryan immediately turns to Tony,…then cocks his gun.

Short scene, but incredibly funny.

Film Dub: Ryan and Greg are on a date gone wrong

Greg: “Darling, it’s tuesday night, it’s hot dog night! Cover me in mustard like you usually do…”

There’s a moment where Greg’s character reenters in a gown, and Ryan’s character is still sitting down.
Ryan: “Not at all, come and have a seat on the admiral.”
Clive laughs at this for 10 to 15 seconds. It’s the hardest I’ve heard him laugh in years.

Not a great Film Dub, but that one line had Clive in stitches.

Sound Effects: Colin arrives at the office. Ryan supplies sound effects.

The scene begins with a great lowbrow joke- Colin presses a button for the elevator, which emits a ‘frrrt’ noise. Colin then airs himself out behind him.

They’ve already gotten good at this game- Colin has learned to not supply as much dialogue, and Ryan has perfected his patented ‘SQQQUEAKY’ noise. There’s a whole running gag where Colin greases the door, runs up a whole flight of stairs, opens another door…and another ‘SQUEAKY’ noise…which he has to oil again.

Colin: “Hello Ms. Buxley.”
Ryan: “BOING.”
(Somewhere, from 20 years in the future, Aisha Tyler starts howling)

The scene ends with the copy machine going out of control, and Colin nearly getting his foot stuck in it. We’re nowhere near the amount of destruction we’d get to with this game, but we’re getting close.

Pretty great playing though. This game’s beginning to come into its own.

World’s Worst: Clip from a Nature Documentary

So now we’re just getting into Scenes We’d Like to See territory..

Ryan: “…We followed the wild antelope for almost 3 weeks…HOW D’YOU WANT YOURS DONE, PHIL?”
Greg: “Tonight on World of Nature, we explore the act of human procreation…with my wife and I. GET READY EVERYBODY!”
[Clive: “No, go ahead…”]
Ryan, back to the camera: “BAAAAAHHH”
Tony, channeling Frankie Boyle: “One of the best things you can do to these charming chihuahuas…is to set fire to them…”
Colin: “Now. How do you put the leopard back together?”
[I always laugh at that one]

Fantastic round, very indicative as to the quick-fire, all-funny places we’d go to with this game once SFAH dies down.

Props: Colin and Greg vs. Ryan and Tony

Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 3.56.09 PM.pngColin: “…LAAA…”

Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 3.56.50 PM.pngRyan: “…Flintstones…MEET THE FLINTSTONES…”

Very nice round, as the answers have become the right amount of bizarre.

Scene to Music: Ryan and Greg are in a supermarket

…kinda similar to last episode’s scene description, eh?

The music that kicks in is, well, the music that will eventually become the theme to Mission Impossible once they start playing it. Once it hits, Ryan starts furiously throwing items into his shopping cart, as if he’s racing Greg.

There is a motion Ryan does…where he grabs an object, puts it in the cart, and has his leg wide open, that he just does for 5 seconds and it cracks up the audience. It’s just that simple.

Not a ton of substance, but just a fun, amusing as hell scene.

Party Quirks: Tony hosts
Greg: character in a video game
Colin: thinks he’s an ant
Ryan: motorbike stunt rider

Tony starts by putting his hand to his ear.
Clive: “Up- party’s ready?”
Tony: “…OF COURSE IT’S READY, I’M WAITING FOR THE GUESTS…”

Tony, as Colin comes in with his antennae, cracks up audibly for the first time in the game’s history. It will happen on a regular basis starting next series.

Ryan does something brilliant- he gets tony and Colin to crouch on all fours right next to the party step…then LEAPS OVER BOTH OF THEM with his motorcycle. It’s not only a great improv move, but it’s great that he was able to do that without hurting Colin.

The second Tony gets back to his seat after guessing everybody, he says something to Ryan, then does the antennae thing Colin was doing all game. He was still genuinely amused by it.

Helping Hands: Greg learns to conduct a picnic from Ryan (ft. Colin’s hands)

This game very quickly goes into the usual Helping Hands formula- Greg mentions a food, then Colin picks it up and attempts to shove it into Ryan’s mouth. Ryan eventually has a bite of hard boiled egg with a bit of shell in there, which puts us at a great start.

Of course, immediately afterwards, Ryan spits it out and throws it behind him, for the first of many times in this game’s history.

Then, Ryan grabs the chicken, starts pulling pieces apart…and dances with it as the pieces dangle from each other.

This actually gets really funny once Ryan loses complete control of things, mixing champagne with chicken and egg, and then juggling random things around.

Greg: “How about a banana to close things off-”
Ryan: “What do you mean by that?”

The ending is the piece de resistance- Colin slowly, gently peels the banana, and Ryan goes for a seductive performance, with the banana in hand, throwing the peel away like a striptease. Greg even starts fanning himself.

Then, right as Greg’s about to eat the banana out of Colin’s hand…the banana breaks in half and drops to the floor. Clive thankfully buzzes after that.

A Helping Hands game that definitely got better as it went along, once Ryan realized how batshit insane things were getting.

Hoedown: Motorways

Clive introduces the game, ‘which is probably called High-down in America for all I know…”

And then, upon getting the subject, Clive turns to the panel and goes “Motorways. ‘Big roads’ I think you call them in America.”
Greg already looks done.
Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 4.14.41 PM.png

Greg’s verse is, well, in response to all of that:
“When I was in England, I met me a man,
He was shining bald his name was Clive Ander-saaan
There was some confusion, I said where’s the freeway
He said ‘NO, YOU SILLY TWAT, IT’S CALLED A MO-TOR-WAY”
And THAT is how you get back at Clive for all the America jokes. That had been building since the episode began.

Then, Ryan does a ‘sign of the cross’ over his chest before his verse, which, if anything, sums up how much he despises the Hoedown.

Ryan’s verse ends in typical Ryan fashion:
“I love to watch the bugs as they splat against my glass
The last thing that goes through their mind is their big fat ass!”

Tony’s starts pretty well:
“I like the motorways where the things go splat
I look outside my window as I run over a cat.”
He ends by cursing out the ‘stupid bastard who designed the M25″

Really nice hoedown from everybody, even if it’s being fueled by hate.

The credit reading as great- Colin, Ryan and Greg win…and have to read the credits AS Tony Slattery. Greg prances across the stage and grabs onto Colin. Ryan spends most of the time fixing his mic. After a while, Greg just starts saying dirty things about the crew while Colin continues prancing. Ryan, finally done fixing his mic, just yells “BREASTS!”

Overall: A very okay show. I feel like there were more funny moments and more consistency the first time these four got together. The funnier moments were in the middle bit of the show, usually reserved for the quick-fire games- World’s Worst, Old Job New Job, Sound Effects and Scene to Music had great moments, but weren’t very fleshed out, while the more showcase-y scenes weren’t completely great. It’s not the fault of the cast, as nobody outright made any faux pas, but I feel like there was probably better stuff on the cutting room floor.

Show Winners: Everyone but Tony
Best Performer: Ryan, for getting back to his S4-era dominance.
Worst Performer: Tony, who had a more passive show, and was overshadowed by the three north american talents.
Best Game: World’s Worst. Phenomenal all the way through. Sound Effects, Hoedown and Film and Theatre Styles v2 were considered.
Worst Game: Film Dub. Other than the admiral line, nothing too great.