Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S07E11, or but then…I’m Just a Canadian…

Fuck it, I loved that episode so much that I’m going right to the compilation, especially considering that this is a rather good comp.

Also, note that everybody who appeared in an episode this series, even Niall Ashdown, is represented tonight…..except for Eddie Izzard.

Film and Theatre Styles: Colin and Ryan (Two Lumberjacks arguing)
From: E4

Clive mentions the ‘arguing over something’ bit: “…Ryan’s shirt, for one thing…”

Colin: “I’ll do it by MYSELF, I’m part beaver, anyway…”
Ryan: [looks behind Colin]

Clive: “Hugh Grant”
Ryan: “…there’s, uh, good things and there’s bad things. I guess I just did a bad thing…”
This, needless to say, is exactly what the audience was hoping to hear.
Clive: “Let’s leave it there…which I think is what he said to the officer…”

It’s even funnier when two North Americans have to do Carry On film.
Colin, going with the only thing he knows from a Carry On film: “ACK ACK ACK ACK ACK!”
Colin looks at Ryan to say something. He shrugs, motioning ‘do I look like I have a fucking clue what that is?’
Ryan: “…right…”
Colin: “PENIS REFERENCE! ACK ACK ACK ACK ACK!”
Ryan: “Oy, that tree’s got big tits, innit?”
BUZZ
Ryan’s shaking his head, and Colin’s facepalming away from the camera.

A very silly scene, but not without its highlights, like a Hugh Grant joke and Ryan having no idea what the Carry On films are.

Questions Only: Caroline, Ryan, Colin and Josie are at a nudist camp
From: E9

Caroline, immediately: “Is that a penis?”
Colin: “…doesn’t it look like one?”

Ryan, taking Caroline’s place: “…are you Jewish?”

Josie, pointing: “Does that upset you?”
Ryan: “Does it excite YOU?”
Josie, chuckling: “What do YOU think?”

Ryan has a nice streak, but it ends as the game does. Pretty inoffensive one, but still funny enough.

Bartender: Mike
Ryan: in love with his television set
From: E2

Well, for some reason, Greg and Tony’s verses aren’t here, so we just have Ryan’s.

Ryan, quite smartly, sings about ‘getting caught having unprotected sex with my tv’, which is a great twist. And, “before I knew it, I was yanking on his big TV love cable.”

Mike has a really cool extended response verse, which does make me a bit sad he won’t be this excited to be on the show after these comps.

Scene to Music: Ryan and Steve are Jehovah’s witnesses calling at a house
From: E3

Steve: “Listen, when we knock on the door-”
Ryan: “And who’s knocking?”
Steve: “…Jesus is always knocking…”

The music, a courtroom theme, kicks in. Ryan and Steve treat it like a Mission Impossible type theme, and it definitely works. Hell, this could even be a prototype version of Improbable Mission.

The scene ends with Steve and Ryan getting to the customer, with bibles as guns, and Steve yelling “HI…HAVE YOU HEARD THE GOOD NEWS???”

Just silly enough, which seems to be the theme of this show.

Whose Line: Ryan is a gang boss confronting Colin, who betrayed him
From: E6

Colin immediately goes into a stereotypical gangster voice. Ryan tells Colin to shut up.

There’s actually some really good acting here between the two, and it’s definitely well-suited to a lot of the gangster movies of the day.

Colin: “Remember…remember what SHAKESPEARE once said…’wait til you see what I’ve got in my pants.”

A bit lighter than most WL games, but still funny enough, and with some good acting.

World’s Worst: Show Business Routine (Greg, Niall, Ryan and Colin)
From E1

Clive: “…you can do your own one, Greg, if you’d like…”
Greg: “SEE HOW THIN THE LAUGHS WERE ON THAT, CLIVE?”

Greg, with the payback: “Hello, we’re microscopic explorers on Clive Anderson’s head.”
BUZZ
Greg: “We’re looking for hair follicles.”
BUZZ
Greg: “No luck so far-”
Clive, knowing where he’s going: “..yeah..”
Greg: “But we’ll be back in an hour…”

Ryan: “….A. Apple. B. Brontosaurus. C. Cookie. D. Dicky. E. Elephant.”
Then, as he knows exactly where he’s about to go with the next letter, he looks directly at Clive to try and get him out of it.
Ryan: “F…”
BUZZ
Ryan, under his breath: “…fuck…”

Greg: “Hello, I’m Sylvester Stallone, I’d like to read a soliloquy from Hamlet by William Shakespeare…”

Ryan, swallowing all of these objects: “A little flour…some eggs…some sugar…BLEH! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOOOU…”
The audience recoils, but I love this one.

A strange WW, with some out-of-the-box ones from Ryan

Props: Colin and Ryan vs. Steve and Tony
From E3

Screen Shot 2018-04-23 at 12.48.35 PM.pngTony: “Well, Mr. Johnson, your sperm count’s very low, BUT THE ONE YOU’VE GOT IS JUST…”

A fairly basic round. Ryan and Colin were doing easy ones, while Tony and Steve’s were more hit-miss.

Narrate: Colin and Ryan are in a laundromat
From: E6

Clive does his usual ‘do you have a laundromat in America’ type thing, settling on ‘wherever you do your washing.”
Ryan, caveman voice: “Oh, stream! We call STREAM. ON ROCKS, WE BEAT ON ROCKS, IT STREAM.”

Colin: “…he had legs like a stork…and a brain to match.”

Ryan’s first great improv move is, mid-monologue, getting into the dryer, then bobbing around in the dryer for a bit. Genius.

Ryan announces he’s missing a sock, which he probably wanted to lead to an ‘up my ass’ type of joke, but…Colin makes sure it leads somewhere stranger.
Colin: “It was then I noticed the bulge…and then I thought, ‘I wonder where his sock went’.

Colin: “…I didn’t notice the tank until he opened the door. It was a tank! How could you not notice that? Boy…weird, huh?”

Ryan, not even trying to rationalize: “…pretty weird I got a tank in here, huh?”
Colin: “That’s what I thought…but then…[cracks] I’m just a Canadian.”

Then, as Ryan cracks up, Colin, as his next inner monologue, gets into the tank, and comes upstage, not saying anything, but driving the tank around. Clive buzzes, so both can collapse into laughter.

Just a damned funny scene, with nothing going according to plan, but in the best way possible.

EXTRA BITS: 

  • A sound effects playing from E9, where Colin’s driving a car. It suddenly completely runs out of gas. Then, of course, he gets out of the car and it drives off by itself, which is an insanely creative choice by Ryan. Colin has to run after it.
  • They also keep cutting back to a props round from E4, with Ryan and Colin and a big, cornucopia like thing.
    Colin, scooping into the giant cone: “How many scoops?”
    Ryan, stonefaced: “Five hundred.”
  • A F&TS round from E4, where Tony and Caroline do a Thunderbirds scene, which leads to some hands going out of control, and a Tony hand landing on Caroline’s boob. Caroline, unlike Josie, responds by grabbing Tony’s crotch to end the scene.
  • A Hey You Down There round from E1, where Greg narrates Ryan and Colin trying to barbecue. Greg’s HYDT voice is one of my favorites.
    Greg: “THAT’S NOT LIGHTER FLUID, THAT’S GASOLINE. BE CAREFUL WHEN YOU LIGHT THAT!”
    Boom!
  • A round of Picture from…either E2, E5 or E6, as it’s Tony and Mike. Mike’s lying behind Tony, and Tony has a nice gag with “…what’s that poking in the back of my ‘ead?”
  • The Gambling Hoedown, from E6. Colin’s verse, which is classic:
    “I entered the lottery, I bought myself a ticket.
    Watched all the numbers, I saw the people pick it.
    And now I’m very rich…”
    And then his Hoedown voice drops, he stops, and just says, point blank: “Hey, I don’t have to SING. I don’t have to do this. I’M RICH. I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT!”
    And with that, he runs around the stage happily, as Tony and Ryan crack.
  • A F&TS round from E3, with Tony and Steve doing a very intense scene from Eastenders, complete with an ‘I SAAAAAID…LEAVE IT.’
  • Back to Hey You Down There
    Greg: “You’re gonna have to use a shovel to get that goat off. Uh oh, it’s stuck to the grill. [And, in a line that cracks me up in how Greg says it] BETTAH GET THE GOAT SCRAPAH!”
    Ryan gets a chainsaw, and shears the goat off, which backfires and hits Colin’s crotch area. Colin leafs around looking for where it went. Ryan picks something up, shrugs, and throws it aside.
  • Screen Shot 2018-04-23 at 1.07.57 PM.pngColin stands there for like 5 seconds without an idea, then he gets one.
    Colin: “….today on Donahue, Anorexic Witches!”

Old Job New Job: Colin and Caroline try to buy a car from Ryan, who used to be a NYC cop
From: E9

Caroline: “…what d’you think?”
Colin: “…it’s a car.”

Ryan, effortlessly mixing both: “UP AGAINST THE CAR, UP AGAINST THE CAR…how’s that feel to ya?”

It’s actually genius- Ryan uses angry cop tactics in order to give them a full car salesman pitch. For some reason this works really well.

There’s this great running gag about Colin being a former ballet dancer, so when Ryan commands him to get on the ground, he does a full flourish beforehand.

Not a ton to it, but mechanically really impressive.

Stand Sit Bend: Ryan, Colin and Tony are in a fortress being attacked by indians
From: E6

Colin: “Let me get that arrow out of your back.”
Ryan, who’s bending, appreciates this rationalization
Tony: “Wait, let’s see if there’s a message attached….’you’re dead.”
All three: “HMMMM…”

Compared to other recent SSLs, there’s not a lot to this one, except for a moment where Colin and Ryan compete to sit down, which cracks Ryan up.

This scene does get going when Ryan does a motion that involves him standing, then bending, then standing, so that the other two have to react to his ever-shifting rationale.

Colin, as Ryan and Tony have an argument while alternating standing and sitting, just leans over and starts shooting people, though he keeps looking back to see if anybody’s letting him stand again.

There are a ton of funny moments in here towards the end, culminating in someone else shooting Colin an arrow to the head.
Ryan: “Wait, there’s another note attached…oh, sorry it’s just your brain.”

A bit less coherent than the last few iterations of this, but still funny.

Hoedown: Ryan, Colin, Caroline and Tony- Biting Nails
From: E4

Not a ton going on here, sad to say, other than a line from Ryan about “now I’m nibblin’ on my wrist”, and some general Tony foolishness.

Best Performer: Ryan Stiles, as per usual this series
Worst Performer: Niall Ashdown, for only doing one joke, and for it not being a successful one.
Best Game: Narrate. Just really, REALLY good, and capable of withstanding its own weirdness.
Worst Game: Hoedown. Ho-hum.

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Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S07E10, or You’re from Australia, aren’t you?

With nine episodes wrapped for a strong enough Series 7, the producers of Whose Line were desperate to come up with one more show, but were being decreed not to use anymore Mike McShane or Tony Slattery. I can only assume that the last show set to be filmed was supposed to feature either one, and was cancelled after the incident in E6. So…the producers needed a spot to fill, essentially.

So they did something that was, at the time, revolutionary, but has since become a helpful tool for Whose Line to use. They made a second episode from a previous taping.

This episode, E10 of this series, is made up of leftover bits from E8, the Steve & Josie show. Instead of relegating all of that to the compilations (and I can only imagine some leftovers might be waiting in the comps anyway), the producers crafted a second episode out of them. They would do this a few more times over the next two series, though less as series-fillers and more as…time savers, essentially.

Note that this episode does have the same contestant intros as E8, as they didn’t know to film two intros quite yet.

Questions Only: Singles Party

There’s an audible noise from Josie as they line up for this game. It’s less of a groan and more of a nervous noise.

Josie: “Why are the walls painted this color?”
Steve: “Are you pissed?”
Right off the bat we’re onto something

Josie: “Do you french kiss?”
Colin: ‘…with my clothes on?”
Josie: “…do you HAVE a naked body under there, then?”
Colin: “Would you like to see?” [disrobes]
Josie: “….”
BUZZ

Once Ryan enters, both try and get one in at the same time, which catches Ryan off guard.

After a string of Colin getting people out
Ryan: “D’you have any vodka?”
Colin: “Russian?”
Ryan: “…is there any other kind?”
Colin: “…..”
BUZZ

It’s even funnier when Steve gets a chance to redeem himself at the end…and loses, loudly, at ‘how the hell have you been?’. Great way to end the game, too, as it’s a pretty great round.

Film and Theatre Styles v1: Josie and Ryan (pram-pushers meeting in the park)

Clive gets, consecutively, “Richard and Judy” and “German Porno”, which he makes fun of.

Audience member: “Take That!”
Clive, missing the point: “…what? Is that…is that a pop group?”
Audience member: “Kenneth Branagh!”
Clive, losing his wit: “…that’s a PERSON!”

A very Australian voice yells out, clearly: “Australian soap.”
Clive, cheekily: “…yes, thank you, Jason…”

Ryan has to stop and ask what a pram is, which Josie very quickly explains
Clive: “How many years have you been coming here, and you…”
Ryan, self-referentially: “And a park is what, with the trees and…”

Ryan and Josie initially have great chemistry, with Ryan lying and saying the baby’s not his.
Josie: “Ohhh, I know what a tinker you are… [then, in a moment of wall-breaking genius]…do you know what ‘tinker’ means?”
Ryan, going with it: “…is it like a pram?”

Cookery Program:
Josie: “Your baby looks lovely, but it would look so much better with gravy on its head.”
Ryan: “First, let me flip him over, so he’s done on the other side…”

Ryan: “And you’re asking yourself, ‘what goes with baby? white, or red wine?”

Clive, again harkening back to Ryan’s American-ness: “…brilliant Loyd Grossman impression there, from Ryan…”

Australian soap:
Josie: “…I THOUGHT YEW LOVED ME!” [turns, drops accent] “I apologize to all the Australians in the audience”

Then, Ryan pulls up some indecipherable Australian accent which makes Colin start absolutely cracking in the background.

Then, halfway through another line, Ryan’s accent fades on him. He realizes it, nearly cracks, and shrugs it off.

Clive: “I liked that, I just buzzed there to put you out of your misery, Ryan.”
Ryan: “Thank you.”

The German Porn style is even funnier, because Ryan and Josie keep up the accents, and nail the tone…and then, right at the end, Ryan loses his accent, and struggles to keep composure again, right when Clive buzzes.
Josie: “…you’re from Australia, aren’t you?”
BUZZZ
Clive: “If we keep going longer, we’ll get to an accent Ryan can do.”

Agatha Christie:
Josie, in a great Marple accent: “Why…if you say you’re not married, do you have a baby?”
Ryan, absolutely nailing a proper British accent: “…don’t you see?”
The audience, and Steve, applaud this one as Clive buzzes them out.

THAT…was one of the best F&TS games in a while. Yes, it’s similar to a late-career Paul Merton one where he’d go in and out of the scene, but…Ryan and Josie at least kept the integrity of the scene intact, and kept the narrative going while still poking fun at accents and running gags and such. Just a fantastic top-to-bottom game.

Film and Theatre Styles v2: Steve and Colin (stuck in a car teetering over a precipice)

The Steve and Colin combo is an odd one, but it excites me very much.

Colin: “DON’T SHOUT…the excess voice level might push us over the cliff.”
Steve nearly cracks at that line. We’ve only just started.
Steve: “But YOU’RE shouting.”
Colin: “But I’m using a different VOICE!”
BUZZ
Clive, already the MVP of this show: “…you’re going mad, Colin.”

Steve, in Boris Karloff style, is making faces at Colin, looking dastardly, which nearly makes him break.
Steve: “DO MY EYEBROWS OFFEND YOU???”

Emmanuelle:
Colin, to Steve, taking off his clothes for the second time all show: “Could you just empty that ashtray for me?”
Steve, coming directly behind Colin: “Sure’.”
Ryan, in the back, loses it at this.

Batman, in the same position.
Steve: “ROBIN…I’M GONNA TEACH YOU EVERYTHING!”
Colin: “Holy Back Pain!”

Not as good as Ryan and Josie’s, but still really funny, and with some fun interplay between the two.

Secret: Colin and Ryan are jockeys in a stable. The secret is in the hay

Clive has a slight mental lapse, when he can’t understand an audience member going ‘in the hay!’. He thinks it’s ‘IN BEHIND???” The other audience members around her have to clarify for him.
Ryan, not letting that go: “It’s Australian, you probably don’t understand…OUR language…”

Ryan, of course, makes a joke that he’s the first ‘mutant jockey’, and the camera pulls back so the audience can get the joke.

Colin, discovering the secret: “…my god…a tooth fairy costume…”
Ryan, for the first of many times during this game, breaks at the reveal.
Colin: “You’re not only a mutant jockey, you’re the tooth fairy!”
Ryan, casually slipping the costume on: “WHAT IF I AM?”

Ryan does give a complicated rationalization for being the tooth fairy as a jockey. Then, knowing how bonkers it is, he polishes it off with ‘IT ALL MAKES SENSE!’

Then, of course, they get on their horses and go about the race, which is a great visual just to see Ryan’s facial expressions.

A pretty great secret, with Ryan giving great post-reveal work.

Greatest Hits: Ryan and Colin pitch Songs of the Gas Station, while Josie performs the songs

A new addition to the fold, as apparently producers thought that Josie solo singing games weren’t enough, so they just added Ryan and Colin to them.

This is a different GH than we’d get later on, as Ryan and Colin just do plummy, banter-less intros, and Josie just goes ahead and sings then. It’s not reliant on the Ryan-Colin characters we’d later know and love.

Also, the excerpts are super short, as they’re 10 to 15 seconds each, just giving Josie the chorus. And yes, it’s pretty impressive that she can do these excerpts at the drop of a hat, but knowing the future form of the show, it’s a bit off-putting.

The audience gets a kick out of Colin’s song-title ‘Hands of My Muffler’, as well as the actual lyrics, which are pretty funny.

The funniest part of this game, though, is Ryan setting up a song…then realizing he doesn’t have a single good idea, and, at the verge of cracking, passes to Colin.
Colin: “Sure, it’s that great Disco hit, ‘lube up!”
Ryan completely breaks here

For Josie’s last number, Ryan and Colin jump into her side of the stage and start dancing along, which is a nice touch.

A pretty bold start to this game, even though the tinkerings we’d get to it would definitely improve things a lot. Still some fun stuff all around, even with Colin saving Ryan.

Stand Sit Lie: Ryan and Colin are on a sleeper train: Steve is the ticket collector

Steve, as Clive’s explaining the scene, sits down on one of the ‘bed’ structures, which there are two of. Once he hears he’s gonna be the ticket collector, he chuckles, and gets up so Ryan can sit down.

Steve begins the scene by opening the sliding door…giving it a beat, and then closing it again and walking off
Ryan: “I think he’s French.”
Steve, after spitting and walking in: “…yes, I am, actually…”

The best part about that is that the position changes in this scene are insanely natural, thanks to the intricate enough scene description.

Then, when Steve threatens to throw them off, Ryan angrily rises, and Steve, without an option yet so quickly, faints.

Then, in an insanely genius move, Ryan and Colin help Steve stand back up while both going into a lying position. Then, when they both realize what they’ve done, they play a brief simultaneous game of ‘no, I’ll change’, both sitting down or lying back down at the same time.

Once Steve finds something under the mattress chair…Colin and Ryan are standing, and Steve’s sitting, and Clive audibly says ‘…lying’. Steve, again without an option, collapses to the floor.

There’s a nice 30-minute stretch where Colin can’t catch a break, as Steve and Ryan are having a conversation about the diamond-smuggling. Colin will be lying down, then realize someone’s not doing something, race to get to a position then be beaten to it, and go back to lying down. It’s insanely amusing.

Then, in the end, as Steve rises, and Colin quickly lies back down, a standing Ryan realizes he needs to sit down, and both tables are blocked…so he sits down on Colin’s shoulder, which he immediately regrets, audibly yelling ‘OW’, and making both crack up as the scene ends.

One of the best SSLs we’ve had in years, with a coherent scene going on, and so many funny things happening with movements.

Foreign Film Dub: Colin and Josie act out the film ‘The Swahili Aubergine Lost in Space’, while Ryan and Steve translate

Josie starts by doing a weird noise, pointing, and doing a line.
Steve: “I can’t find Radio One on this damned thing.”

Colin’s tactic in this game, instead of faking the language, is doing INSANELY LOUD GIBBERISH. THIS WORKS.

Steve has the funnier lines here, such as ‘who needs aubergines when you’ve got cucumbers like these?’

Ryan translates a line as ‘you know, you’re looking very attractive to me at this moment’.
Then, Colin, holding the cucumber like a gun, strokes it up and down in a suggestive manner. Oh, Colin…

The scene ends with Colin dancing around spouting gibberish with a melon down his pants, which is certainly worth the price of admission.

Not a bad scene, but still very silly when it’s not being funny.

Moving People: Ryan and Colin are cowboys rounding up the herd

Colin: “..have you got the bull to cough yet?”
Ryan, as the audience member puts his fists up against his face: “…WELL…”

Colin has his hand up for a little while, as they’re talking.
Ryan: “Hey…put the margarita down, Jed…”

Then, as Ryan proposes a duel with paces, the audience members have to struggle to get Ryan and Colin to turn around and walk away, which is a very fun visual.
Colin, rationalizing: “Remember, I have arthritis…”
Ryan: “…and I’m a little drunk myself, so..”

Ryan: “ONE…”
Colin, who’s already turned around: “…ONE???”

Then, as they’re doing the paces, the audience members once again struggle to get them to walk or turn around. Colin, already turned toward Ryan, is smirking at this.
Ryan: “TWO…Boy, this is like a bad game of twister, isn’t it?”

Then, as they’re still being moved, they are free to shoot, which leads to a lot of ‘BANG! Oh, I missed ya. BANG!’

Colin: “Oh my god, your shot has started a stampede.”
Ryan, knowing exactly what he’s about to incite: “Oh my god. Run for cover.”

The audience members, instead of getting them to walk away, keep moving them closer to each other. Ryan, trying to keep it together, yells “NOT INTO ME, JED!!!”

The scene ends, and Ryan and Colin, shaking their heads, walk back to the seats. That game…just really worked, maybe because of all the work Ryan and Colin were making the audience members do, and the really funny ending.

Hoedown: Puberty

Steve, as usual, sings himself into a corner, ending with an oddly-prepositioned “his mother walked in and caught us kissing, and….joined in.”

Josie’s is a very well-thought out, cute verse, that’s very well sung, about her lament over puberty. “So, if this is a hoedown, I’ll just docey-do…”

Colin, taking the opposite suggestion and being himself:
“I like going grey, I really really do
I really really really really PLEASE DON’T MISCONSTRUE.
To many it’s a source of conterrrrnation
But I’m quite happy with my hair pigmentation.”
Clive ABSOLUTELY LOSES IT at this verse. He’s dying back in his chair.

Ryan’s is, comparatively, more commonplace, but it ends the hoedown, and the episode, on a fine note.

Overall: An absolute triumph, and the kind of show that makes you wonder why they didn’t just air this one first and have 7×08 come in this lot. Every game was truly hysterical, every performer had something very fun to do, and there was a huge Clive presence in a lot of the games tonight, which was a nice touch. Yes, the Colin and Ryan duo presided over this show, but that’s not especially a bad thing, as the combo is so strong that it’s automatically leading to great games, although the other duos tried this show, like Josie/Ryan and Steve/Colin, were also pretty successful, which owes itself to the durability of this lineup, which would be seen a few more times over the next few series. Just amazing stuff all around.

Show Winners: Ryan and Josie
Best Performer: Ryan Stiles, barely edging out his comedy partner, and giving some really great, commanding moments throughout the show.
Worst Performer: Steve Frost, solely for lacking in standout moments compared to the other three.
Best Game: Stand Sit Lie. I nearly gave this to the first Film and Theatre Styles, but SSL was absolutely masterful, and delivered on story as well as being host to a ton of incredible movement moments.
Worst Game: Foreign Film Dub, just for seeming quieter by comparison.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S07E09, or What Are You Implying, Clive?

Now onto another post-crisis S7 episode of Whose Line. Thanks to the success of Josie Lawrence’s return last episode, the producers gave her another taping, plus a combo with fellow female improv giant Caroline Quentin…along with the now-ubiquitous Ryan & Colin combo

Also, note that tonight, Colin attends with his world-famous lime-green jacket. It’s not neon-love-chicken levels of excessive, but it’s still noteworthy.

Film & Theatre Styles: Caroline & Josie (first two women to cross the Antarctic) 

Someone in the audience shouts of, as a style suggestion, ‘video nasty’…which is very ironic, because I was just watching that exact Young Ones episode before I started this.

From moment one of the scene, Josie and Caroline are on the exact same page, bouncing right off of each other perfectly.

Thelma and Louise:
Josie: “Wait a minute…there’s a man over there who says we can’t have the huskies…”
Caroline: “Let’s kill him!”

Caroline: “…there’s a real good lookin’ seal over there…Hi, Cowboy…”
Josie: “Honk honk HONK…”

There’s a very cute moment where, in Gone with the Wind style, Caroline offers to tighten Josie’s corset, and there’s a fun little exchange between the two as the audience applauds.

They did lose their footing towards the end, as Clive has to remind them of the plot, but it’s still a fun enough scene that works well enough.

Stand Sit Lie: Josie, Colin & Ryan are at the tattoo parlor

This scene does start out very plot based, as people are changing positions out of necessity, not out of trying to screw the other two over. Then, as Josie sprawls across the table, she lands on the floor, lying down, forcing Ryan and Colin to NOT use the table for lying.

Colin: “Wait, I’m a doctor!”
Ryan: “YOU’RE a doctor? I didn’t know that…”
Colin: “…well, not a real one…”
Ha. Might have been a bit meta, too.

There’s also a moment where Ryan angrily stands up from the table, and Colin and Josie both attempt to lie down at the same time. Then, as Colin and Ryan argue, taking turns sitting down, Josie continues to lie down, going “PLEASE DON’T ARGUE, IT MAKES ME TIRED!”

A really nicely fleshed-out playing of this, thanks to some great work from all three, and some alternating between plot and motions.

Press Conference: Ryan, Colin and Josie interview Caroline, the first female pope.

Caroline: “I actually trained four and a half years for this, a lot of it using….uh, weights.”
She has a moment of stumbling, but picks right back up.

Ryan, of course bringing up height: “Are, uh, people gonna have problems seein’ ya up on the balcony?”

Josie: “Are you a Catholic?”
Caroline: “…yes, I am. I actually had to CONVERT, in order to, uh…”

And then, Josie, with the kicker: “Do you enjoy having your ring kissed?”
The whole audience applauds at this one.
Caroline: “Yes, well it obviously depends very much on who’s doing the kissing…”

A really nice game, one that picked up as it went on, both for laughs and for Caroline’s abilities with it.

Clive mentions that she got it ‘suspiciously’ right after the ‘ring kissed’ line.
Caroline: “…what are you implying, Clive?”
Clive: “….I’m not sure, really…”

Duet: Caroline and Josie sing a love song about a beached whale

Note that Josie has appeared in all four of the first half’s games so far. Perhaps they were trying to sell her like they sold Tony.

Literally, as the scene starts, Josie and Caroline are intimately leaning together, making this very cute for both of them.

Caroline, with the first, wonderfully sung line of the song: “Look at the sea….then, look at me.”

The strength of both performers is INSANELY evident, as well as the ability to harmonize, improvise along with Richard’s key choices, and just do some really nice lyrics.

Once the final note hits, Ryan IMMEDIATELY rises and gives them a standing O. Colin follows. Caroline and Josie hug, knowing they’ve just pulled off one of the more impressive numbers in the show’s history.

Clive: “Incidentally, that puts you into a lead, Caroline and Josie…..because Ryan and Colin haven’t scored yet.”

Hats: Dating Service Videos

The old standard for Hats.

Clive: “So this is a quick-fire round. If you don’t do it well, you’ll be fired quickly…”

This isn’t a terrific round, as a lot of them are a bit too drawn out, especially from Caroline. Colin has a great one, in a Marching Band helmet, as he flails his arms around, catching batons and whatnot, and says “…and that’s with my hands…”

There are good moments, mostly from Ryan who gets the game, but not a ton of these hit.

Props: Ryan and Caroline vs. Colin and Josie

Right off the bat, Ryan nearly drops the prop in going for a joke, which leads to Caroline making sure he’s alright.

Screen Shot 2018-04-21 at 4.04.30 PM.pngRyan: “Elephants on cocaine!” [sniffffff]

Screen Shot 2018-04-21 at 4.05.34 PM.pngColin: “First time in an irish nudist colony?”

Caroline, hopping around the prop: “CRAP BARSTOOLS, DARLING!”

Screen Shot 2018-04-21 at 4.06.58 PM.pngColin: “…I’m sorry, Mr. Jagger, we couldn’t save your lips…”

MUCH BETTER Props round. Tons of fun ideas coming from all four.

Party Quirks: Caroline hosts
Josie: in a tampon ad
Colin: a flu germ
Ryan: victim of a voodoo attack

Josie has not missed a game yet tonight. Good work so far, too.

Josie is great, doing a menagerie of strenuous things in an insanely peppy mood.
Caroline, getting it: “I hate to tell you this, but there’s a small stain on your trousers…”
BUZZ

It’s a very clever entrance for Colin: Ryan sneezes, and Colin bounds into the party.

Just the sight of Ryan going into random spasms and positions as Caroline looks on is a silly enough image. I think the fact that Caroline’s so out of it, especially after quickly guessing the other two, makes it even funnier.

Clive does have to give it to Caroline, but this was a swift-but-funny playing.

Prison Visitor: Josie
Colin: stole a pair of pants in Brazil
Caroline: murdered George in Italy
Ryan: got caught with a prostitute in Jamaica 

Josie has appeared in every game tonight, and she’s not even a series regular. Well bloody done.

Josie, getting the suggestion: “Stolen…pants?”
Clive: “I think that might be American for trousers.”
Josie: “…or English for Knickers…”

Colin turns his verse into something truly extraordinary, in a Brazilian accent:
“Oh get me out of here, I’m not having a good time.
They threw me in here for…impersonating a lime.
I needed green pants you see, to go with my whole ensem-bluh…
…what am I going to do, I…can’t rhyme with ensemble…”

Josie’s rebuttal verse is very fun, ending in calling Colin a ‘real brazil nut’. Still doesn’t overpower Colin’s insanely funny one.

Caroline makes her number very heartfelt, and very emotional, but between two comedians like Ryan and Colin, she leaves no choice but to bring up the rear of the game.

When Ryan gets up, he squeezes his head through the bars, so that once Josie turns around, she’s immediately caught off guard and laughs.

Someone in the audience shouts out: “He got caught in a car with a prostitute.”
This is 1995, so there’s only one real thing this could be referencing.
Clive: “RYAN IS A DISTINGUISHED ACTOR. There’s no chance…NO CHANCE…of a distinguished actor getting caught with a prostitute in a car…”

Clive sighs, and intros the scene, saying Ryan got caught with a prostitute in a car, ‘somewhere in Los Angeles, but…it’s the Jamaican quarter…”

Ryan: “the police run up to me one day, boy they rave and rant.
I made the same mistake as my good friend, the actor Hugh Grant.”
Ryan gives a whole stanza for the audience to recover

Josie does give a very funny response verse, eventually signalling for Ryan to ‘limbo under your cell’, which he does at the end.

Very, very good Prison Visitor game, utilizing all four in their own unique ways.

Overall: A brisk, fun, energetic show, with a career night for Josie Lawrence, and a huge-time emphasis on her and Caroline Quentin. This show proved, for the first time since Series 3, that women could get things done on Whose Line, and dominate a whole show. It’s also a blessing that they could do such a great show a few episodes after Tony, a guy who groped BOTH OF THEM onstage during shows, stopped appearing. Yes, Colin had some funny moments, as did Ryan, but it wasn’t about them as much as it was about Josie and Caroline.

Show Winners: All 4
Best Performer: Josie Lawrence, for dominating the whole night
Worst Performer: Ryan Stiles, for sticking to the background more often
Best Game: Prison Visitor, for being the most consistent in terms of laughs. Duet came close.
Worst Game: Hats. Not a ton going on.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S07E08, or Only I Make The Noise!

I don’t think it was a coincidence that Josie Lawrence waited until Tony Slattery had left the program to make her return. The groping may have been in good fun, but…her absence from the series up to this point felt very…obligatory. Either way, she’s back tonight, alongside Steve Frost, and…for the remainder of the show, Colin and Ryan

Superheroes: Peroxide Shortage
Colin: Bimbo Woman
Ryan: Captain Hallucination
Steve: Overindulgence Boy
Josie: Carpet Appreciation Girl (oh dear…)

Clive, in Ryan’s intro, mentions he’s the star of a hit sitcom, which lampshades that The Drew Carey Show had already begun by this point (wonder if the star of that would ever amount to anything?), as well as saying ‘star of 19 series of Whose Line is it anyway’, which…not too far off, Clive.

The audience suggestions for Colin’s superhero name are raucous and overflowing. Some poor guy even shouts out ‘EJACULATOR MAN!’
Clive, without missing a beat: “…Come again?”

After all that, Clive finally picks one: “…Bimbo woman, that’s good.”
Colin: “THAT’S good?”
Clive: “You heard all the others…”

Colin’s INCREDIBLY GOOD characterization cracks me up here, with his higher voice and meticulous arm-flailings. He’s really giving it his all.

Steve nails his quirk by drinking, doing all of the drugs, then landing on the floor. Then Ryan, still hallucinating, paddles him like a canoe

Josie, coming up with a solution: “I’m gonna see if there’s any in Axminster!”
Steve: “…I think there is. I’m gonna go eat them all!”

Then, Ryan at least leaves with a silly line: “I’ll see what I can tell the press, Mr. Nixon.”

A very silly scene, though in the best way possible. I also liked that we saw insight, in the pre-game, into how loose Clive had become, especially in interacting with the cast.

Fixed Expressions: Ryan (shocked) is a policeman who’s stopped Josie (happy) and Colin (constipated) for speeding

From the moment they’re getting up, Ryan and Colin are shaking their heads, not especially looking forward to this game.

Screen Shot 2018-04-08 at 11.58.39 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-04-08 at 11.59.10 PM.png[I’m already gone]

Ryan’s shocked face doesn’t top the one from 6×01, but it’s close.

Ryan: “Ya realize how fast you were going back there?”
Colin: “Uhhh, 60?”
Josie: “HAAAA HA HA HA…”

Colin ends on an easy line: “Aw, this is a real pain in the ass.”

Inoffensive and silly, sort of like the last game.

Film Dub: Ryan arrives to sell lederhosen to Colin and Steve

Colin: “WHAT’S YOUR WIFE DOING THERE?”
Steve, whose character has a giant mustache: “Never mind that, get this caterpillar off me face..”

Just the line of Ryan asking the other two if they have any interest in lederhosen gets a laugh from the audience. Maybe it’s from the juxtaposition.

Colin: “What kind of lederhosen do you have? What’s the price?”
Ryan: “Well we have all types, I’m sure the man over there who looks like a walrus would be interested…”

There’s a funny moment where Steve tries asking Ryan a question, but they keep cutting away from him before he can properly finish.
Ryan: “Yeah, I heard ya, if I throw you a salmon will ya shut up?’
Steve: “HEY, I DON’T LIKE HIM. TAKE HIM OUTSIDE NOW. DEAL WITH HIM.”
Colin: “I’m sorry, you’ve insulted my friend.”
Ryan: “Well, he’s probably not used to living in these warm temperatures.
SLAP

Such a good film dub. Ryan was just thinking quickly and giving good stuff, even at Steve’s expense.

Old Job New Job: Josie and Ryan check into a hotel. Steve, the bellhop, used to be in airport security

Josie and Ryan’s chemistry sell the majority of this, but Steve does give forth a nice laugh once he puts on a rubber glove and asks Ryan to have a look at the ashtray. Steve’s even smirking as he says it.

Ryan goes through ‘this gate’, then Steve sets off an alarm, and starts feeling all over Ryan, which nearly cracks him up.
Steve: “It’s alright, I used to be a german folk dancer.”

Ryan: “LOOK, WE DON’T HAVE TO TAKE THIS?”
Josie: “Darling, can I have a go?”
Then Josie goes through, and sets off the alarm herself, which makes a different sound
Steve: “No, only I make the noise, it doesn’t…”

Picked up as it went along, and became just a well staged and well-acted scene, with great stuff coming from the straight men as well as Steve.

Narrate: Colin is a woman who comes into Ryan’s hardware store

Not everyday you’re given more than just a location in this game, but okay then

Colin: “I’m a hard woman to please…even harder to look at.”

Colin: “I’d like a big hammer”
Ryan, crossing: “I knew she wanted a big hammer…maybe a couple nails and a good screw.”
Annnnd you all can go home now. No topping that.

Ryan: “I knew she hadn’t [had a man] just by looking at that big butt of hers. I knew that there was no man in Essex that’d go after her.”
Second Essex slam in two episodes.

There’s a ton of great moments here, just from what people are doing when the other is monologuing. Ryan even has a great moment where he interrupts a long, passionate monologue to yell at Colin to pay.

Ryan uses Colin pulling a gun on him to play his usual tactic of distracting Colin [by mentioning that the manager’s behind him with a gun] and then grabbing Colin’s gun himself.
Colin: “I fell for the old ‘store manager Phil behind me with a shotgun’ gag…it was the eighth time this week…but what he didn’t know was that Elmer, my pet termite, was slowly crawling up his leg, ready to bite into his jugular.”
Ryan, immediately crossing, channeling Steve Martin: “…what am I? Stupid?”
BUZZZ

Great Narrate. Both were doing fantastic character and scene work, and doing great work against each other.

Hats: Worst Audition Tapes

Normally this round would be ‘Worst Dating Service Videos’, but here it acted as a pseudo-World’s-Worst…but with hats

Steve, in a cowboy hat and John Wayne impression: “…put the wagons in a square.”
[My favorite part of this is Steve looking offstage and going “…no?”]

Ryan puts on a pink hat and instead plays director: “Okay boys, we’re going over that ridge, and we’re KILLING those Germans. KILLING THEM.”

Steve, in a Sailor’s hat, lifting up a shoe: “…Das boot!”
He chuckles and heads off immediately. Somehow, this isn’t the last time he’d do this joke on the show.

Colin, in a shipman’s hat: “…I said ‘all hands on deck!’ Leave Dick alone!”
HA

Ryan, in a different but still camp hat: “…we’re gonna kill ALL the Germans, sir?”

Yes, there were lulls, but this was still a fun round, with a good amount of inter-round runners (Ryan and the Germans)

Props: Ryan & Colin vs. Steve & Josie

Clive throws the prop around Steve, and it lands like a ring toss. It’s a great achievement.

Ryan, setting the prop up like a bed of nails: “Pain…is just a condition of the mind….[running across it] OW! SHIT! AH! FUCK! AIIGH!”

Screen Shot 2018-04-09 at 12.27.21 AM.pngRyan: “Oh my god, the wall of nails is closing in on us!”
Colin: “…this side’s fine!”
[They run off. Clever.]

Steve, pre-suggestion, says out of character ‘actually, I bet I can do this’…and then hula-hoops with the prop, prompting some applause from the audience.

Screen Shot 2018-04-09 at 12.28.50 AM.pngColin: “Only one is my real penis.”

A very fun round of props. Yeah, Colin and Ryan had the more interesting suggestions, but you could tell Josie and Steve were enjoying themselves.

Sound Effects: Colin takes a seat on a plane, Ryan does sound effects

This is a fairly commonplace SFX, right up until Colin closes his barf-bag, it makes a ‘squish’ noise…then ROLLS UP the airplane window and hits some poor guy in the head with it.

Funny, but I don’t think a great deal happened in it.

Party Quirks: Steve hosts (!)
Josie: finds bald heads irresistable
Colin: thinks the room is filling with water
Ryan: lives his whole life in a minute

I think this is Steve’s first time hosting, and as Tony’s gone, he’ll be the primary non-Greg PQ host in this era of the show…until Brad Sherwood comes along, that is.

Josie, of course, nails her quick, becoming instantly smitten with Steve. After a few seconds, she gets on the higher step and licks the back of his head, prompting a huge applause.

I think it’s a pity that Steve guesses Josie right before he lets Colin in. That would have been a golden opportunity, and Steve realizes that right as he does let in Colin.

Ryan manages to do the entire time-lapse thing in under 30 seconds, despite the quirk saying he should do it in 1 minute…which is nice.

Steve does guess everyone, making this a quick game.

Psychiatrist: Josie
Colin: thinks he’s an armadillo in Austria
Ryan: in love with a cameraman in Greece

Clive manages to name the wrong country right before Colin’s about to start, prompting a relieved expression from Colin. They cut over to Richard, and it looks as though even HE’S had a heart attack.

Colin ends his verse by going into nonsense-talk and barely making a rhyme with armadillo [“oh, what a nice pillow”]

Josie and Colin’s is very silly and quick…as per the theme.

Ryan’s number does get everyone snapping rather quickly, which is a nice ability to have.

This is another quaint number, but it ends with Ryan lunging in to kiss Camera 3, which is a great visual.

Overall: A very fun show, but also a very basic, silly, and uneventful one. It didn’t do anything too obnoxious or offensive, which may have been the point post-Tony. Everyone had a lot to do. Ryan and Colin, as the producers wanted, did most of the heavy lifting, and had the funniest moments, though Josie had a late-show boost in some very characteristically fun improv moments, and Steve had a few games to carry himself. It was slightly devoid of classic moments (and while Film Dub was very good, I wouldn’t call it a classic one), but still an incredibly breezy and fun watch, and it definitely seemed like all 4 were having a great time.

Show Winners: All 4
Best Performer: Ryan Stiles, for dominating all of his games, and getting the best of Colin in their matchups
Worst Performer: Steve Frost, but only for taking a more passive approach in the few games he was in tonight.
Best Game: Narrate, which just narrowly slides across a fantastic film dub simply for being a bit more consistent, and having a TON of great Colin-Ryan improv moments.
Worst Game: Sound Effects, for being pretty bland.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S07E07, or The Crew Seems to be Happy About it..

So. How do you follow the departure of two of the series’ finest improvisers? Well…with quite possibly Whose Line’s most ambitious guest starring appearance since Jonathan Pryce was on.

Eddie Izzard, at the time of this taping, was not only one of the foremost stand-up comedians of the time, but he was also becoming a panel-show staple, appearing on Have I Got News for You in Paul Merton’s absence, and taking the UK comedy world by storm. Having him on Whose Line was an UNBELIEVABLE get, and one that would need to keep the show relevant after the Tony incident in E6. Luckily, stacking the panel with people like Ryan, Greg and Steve, who would supplement or compliment Eddie’s bizarre sense of humor, was an inspired, trusted idea.

Remote Control: Lobsters
Steve: The Bill
Eddie: NewsNight
Greg: Game Show
Ryan: Cookery Show

Clive asks for a general topic all these programs can be about
Audience member: “HUGH GRANT!”
Clive: “Hugh Grant, nice idea, but…I don’t think we could do more than 5 minutes with him, could we?”

Greg: “HELLO, GOOD EVENING, and welcome to OUCH, stop pinching my butt!”

Steve: “We’ve got a crayfish in the third cell, Sarge. [Smirking, coming up with the best pun] It belongs to the Kray brothers.”
BUZZ
Steve’s laughing at that one

Greg: “Oh, I’M SORRY! That means YOU’RE going into the pot of boiling water!”

Ryan, referring to the other suggestion that almost made it: “While cooking lobster, it’s important not to set your oven too high because of global warming.”

Steve, with another one: “Alright, sargeant, take him into the interview room and, uh, grill him for us please?”
BUZZ

Simple game, with some people, like Greg and Steve, going for sillier jokes, while Eddie went for more satirical, longer bits.

Film and Theatre Styles: Eddie and Steve (Hannibal and his elephant keeper)

First of all: HAHA, EDDIE’S PLAYING HANNIBAL HERE, AND IN 15 YEARS HE’D BE ON THE *PROGRAM* HANNIBAL, HA HA HA. There. Got that out of our system.

Steve, picking a Northern voice for his elephant keeper: “I’ll tell you…they’re not gonna go up those bleedin’ mountains, they’re KNACKERED!”

And then
Steve: “How you gonna get an elephant up the alps? You can’t even get one in a ski lift, can you?”

For Ivor the Engine, Steve and Eddie go into fun, campy Scottish accents, much to the delight of the audience.

French with subtitles
Steve: [says something in french, then dubs below] “the elephants can’t go up the mountain.”
Steve: [says something else in french] “It’ll be okay.”
[Ahhh, that’s such an Eddie thing, too]

Captain Scarlet:
Steve: “You’ll never get my elephants up there…the strings won’t take them!”

Very fun scene, helped by a really nice Eddie-Steve dynamic, and some great lines from Steve.

Film Dub: Ryan and Greg have forgotten to do something

Ryan, getting up to see his wife: “…Ohhh my GOD, but you’re ugly!”
Greg, matching a random character motion: “If you think I’M ugly…well, look at the floor!”

Greg: “You’ve forgotten to put your robe on!”
Ryan: “Yeeeahhh, I should put it over my head so I don’t have to look at that ugly mug of yours…”

The scene ends a bit clumsily, but it’s still kinda funny, even if it is one-note.

Old Job New Job: Ryan is a dental nurse, Eddie is a patient, and Steve is a dentist who used to be a builder

Steve, as with the last time he was an ex-builder, enters with his ass-crack in full view. The audience response to this is OVERWHELMING.

Steve also spends the scene ordering around Ryan as the nurse, first asking for more sugar in his coffee, then whistling at him halfway through an Eddie line.

Ends a bit too soon, but still another great Steve scene.

Clive: “Steve shoots into the lead there, with some clever witticisms, and one of the funniest cracks I’ve ever…”

News Report: Gulliver in Lilliput. Greg and Eddie in the studio, Steve and Ryan in the field.

The ‘what are they doing while the music plays in’ bit this week is Eddie opening his mouth and Greg looking in it. It might even be a callback to the last game, but Greg goes “is it an abcess, d’you think?”

Greg, immediately: “GOOD EVENING…I’m Red When Excited.”

Greg, smirking as he delivers the blow: “We have a doctor here, who’s both an expert on diminutiveness…”
Eddie:
Screen Shot 2018-03-23 at 5.57.13 PM.png

Greg: “…and the condition of being GARGANTUAN…”

Eddie: “Tall people have always liked to be strapped down, and that’s what that story is all about!”

Steve, noting the obvious with Ryan: “…you’re pretty big for a small person.”
Ryan: “..I’m Jojo, the mutant small person.”

Greg, to Eddie: “Now, Gulliver also went to Brogdavnia, where he was the smallest person there. How does that feel?”

Eddie lets off that small people really rule the world
Greg: “How do small people rule the world, then, doctor?”
Eddie: “By pressing buttons.”

Ryan, as Gulliver: “i love the little people! I like to paint them all different colors and play snooker!…Tie ’em onto long pieces of rope, and use them as a sexual aid, if you know what I’m saying…”

Greg: “Doctor, any safety tips for the children out there who might travel to places where they might end up being tied down by small people.”
Eddie: “Yep. Take scissors.”

A really nice News Report round, with Eddie doing some really silly work from the studio, and Ryan doing great character work from the field.

Props: Greg and Ryan vs. Steve and Eddie

Eddie, using his props as guns: “Okay, I know you’re not loaded, but I’m gonna kill you anyway!”

Screen Shot 2018-03-23 at 6.04.44 PM.pngGreg, doing a David Attenborough impression: “…TO MY LEFT…you can see the exotic Irish Elk…”

Ryan, with the prop between his legs: “Not only do I have blood in my urine, but it’s damn cold out here…”

A better Props round than the last few, with some silly choices all around.

Sound Effects: Ryan and Greg are on the beach

Yes, this is another ‘canned sound effects’ round, but wouldn’t it be cool if Eddie was doing Sound Effects for Ryan or Greg?

Ryan: “How do I look?”
Greg: “I can’t turn, my neck is too muscular.”
Ryan, chuckling: “WHAT neck?”

Ryan says he’s leaving the lifeguard business, “perhaps pick up a new line of business”
As he says this, heavenly church organ music plays
Ryan: “…maybe become an organ donor.”
HA

Ryan dives into the water, expecting to prompt a sound
“…RED ALERT, RED ALERT.”
Ryan: “…I’VE GOT A SUBMARINE!”

Ryan hangs onto the hull of the sub as it surfaces, and there’s a maniacal laugh.
Ryan: “…the crew seems to be happy about it!”

As close as we’re going to get to an audience members SFX, as Ryan and Greg’s responding to these sounds were pretty great.

Film Trailer: The Creature from Essex. Greg narrates, Ryan, Eddie and Steve act it out

Greg, starting: “Just outside of London is a place where women with enormous hair and white stilletos go to bars and dance around their handbags. It’s called…ESSEX!”

Narratively, this is more advanced than previous ones. More than just Greg saying things and then they happen- there’s a conscious story, with Ryan creating Eddie in a lab, which is a very silly sequence, and Eddie going around and killing men.

Greg: “The first man she met, was the first man she wanted to make love to!”
Steve, entering: “HELLO, DARLING!”
Eddie then grabs chest balls and punches him in the nuts.
Greg: “BUT IT ALL WENT HORRIBLY WRONG!”

Greg: “She only stopped twice. Once at an off-license, and later at a cosmetic counter to pick up some white lip gloss.”
Eddie, in a move that always cracks me up
Screen Shot 2018-03-23 at 6.16.07 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-03-23 at 6.16.20 PM.png

Greg: “Who can forget that night on the cliff, when Tracy found her second victim?”
Steve enters, and Eddie does the exact same crotch grabbing move, which cracks up Steve…and Eddie.
Greg: “YES, SHE REPEATED THE SAME ACTION OVER AND OVER AGAIN.”
Steve: “You’re from Essex, inn’t you?”
Eddie:
Screen Shot 2018-03-23 at 6.18.04 PM.png

Then the actor intros. For Ryan’s, he walks onstage looking at Clive, takes a long pause, then quickly turns to the camera. This is enough to get the audience laughing.

Greg: “And introducing Fiona Lamb, as Tracy. She was the woman who had only the language of love at her fingertips.”
Eddie: “…….Hello.”
[I die every time]

Arguably the funniest top-to-bottom Film Trailer we got on this show, as this was (I think) the last one that aired. It was more of a coherent story than just a mixture of setups and scenes. Plus, Eddie got more opportunity to shine here, having a ton of fun, and smiling more than he has in the earlier games.

Moving People: Ryan and Steve are two firemen at the scene of a fire

Screen Shot 2018-03-23 at 6.21.55 PM.pngClive announces the scene as they’re in this position. “You’ve captured the atmosphere already…”

Steve, to start: “…I’ve forgot me bleedin’ helmet! I can’t go in there without me helmet.”
Ryan: “…what a coinky-dinky…”

Ryan gets the movers to get he and Steve to high five…by saying ‘HIGH FIVE’ for 5 seconds until they get the picture. Steve’s mover gets the bright idea to hit Ryan in the face instead, which is a great move.

Steve shushes Ryan for five seconds
Steve: “Listen…I think I can hear gas escaping…”
Ryan, who’s in the same, bent over position: “…I wish I could be of some help to you..”

Ryan: “Look, I thought if I use my OWN hose, then we can put out this fire quickly…”
Steve: “It’s not a very long hose, is it? I’m not getting personal, but it’s not fair…”
Ryan’s mover puts his hand around his crotch area.
Ryan: “…well, there ya go…”
BUZZ

A really funny Moving People, made better by the fact that the movers actually helped the scene get funnier, while Ryan and Steve knew when to react accordingly.

Party Quirks: Greg hosts
Eddie: child come to play in the playground
Steve: getting on the tube
Ryan: circus parade going by

Clive: “Is the party in full swing?”
Greg: “Yes, it’s a come as Greg Proops joke party. ‘OCELOT, OCELOT’ ‘NYEEEEEHHH’ ‘God, you’re bald, Clive…”

Steve’s physicality is pretty great here, being yanked around the stage, and occasionally being crammed between people.

Eddie, however, is just really good, and nails the innocence the quirk’s going for, sort of hanging around in the background.

Ryan’s quirk always cracks me up. He starts with a count off, then comes in as a marching band, racing around Greg, then turning into an elephant, then doing a juggler. Greg finally guesses him, he rolls his eyes and goes back to his seat. It’s the slack-faced-ness that kills me, sort of like his ‘all the dogs in a dog show’ one from US S5, just tiredly doing faces and motions until someone guesses it.

Greg manages to nab Eddie at the last second, which gets some cheers from the audience.

Overall: A great, fun little episode to lead us out of the dark times. Everybody was putting up great work, with a surprising emphasis on Steve, for just having great lines and showcase games all night, and carrying as well as helping others. It was a tough competition though, as Ryan had great moments in Sound Effects and Moving People, Greg had great News Report and Party Quirks rounds, and Eddie, while maybe a show or two away from being completely immersed in what this show was, still was decent enough in his only appearance, having funny moments in News Report and Film Trailer, and being himself as much as he could. Very watchable, very fun show.

Show Winners: Ryan and Greg
Best Performer: Steve Frost, for being in a great mood and working well with everyone
Worst Performer: Eddie Izzard, only for being outshone a bit by the other three.
Best Game: Film Trailer. Hilarious all the way through, and more successful than previous playings.
Worst Game: Film Dub, which was kinda one-note.

Whose Line Watchdown: S07E06, or It’s My Party, and I’ll be Crap if I Want to

(Deep exhale)

It’s at this point in the Whose Line journey that we must discuss the tragic downfall of Tony Slattery. A performer who was synonymous with the show in its early era, evolved with the Americanization of the show, and thrived alongside both John Sessions AND Ryan Stiles. Around the end of Series 5, however, his cocaine habits began to take hold, and awaken the more drastic aspects of his burgeoning bipolar disorder and general anxiety. Tasks that were once so simple to Tony, like guessing people in Party Quirks or getting through a singing game, were approached with nervous giggles and a general unfit nature.

Simply put, in Series 7, Tony Slattery was a shell of his former self. Everyone knew it. The performers knew it. His comedy partner, Mike McShane, knew it. The producers knew it. And, with Episode 6, the audience would know it too; this would be Tony’s final episode of Whose Line (not counting compilations). It would also be the last appearance for a few years for Mike McShane, who would leave the show out of respect for his friend Tony.

All of this being said, I think the episode does deserve to be looked at on its own, aside from the controversy surrounding it. This still has a great matchup, with Tony and Mike taking on Ryan and Colin. Colin and Mike hadn’t worked with each other since Series 3, so this was a nice change of pace.

Superheroes: Hole in the Ozone Layer
Colin: Tight Trouser Man
Ryan: Jilted Lover Boy
Tony: Obscure Reference Boy
Mike: Coquettish Slut Man

Colin’s opening physicality is fantastic, GETTING INTO said tight trousers, and having all sorts of struggles. Hell, the tightness even affects how he moves, as he sort of wiggles about without being able to move his legs very much.

Ryan, entering and noticing the elephant in the room: ‘Sorry I’m late, I couldn’t OHHHH MY GOD…”

Ryan: “…I would have been here earlier, but the BITCH HAD SOME ERRANDS TO DO!”
[Thankfully this is the type of character Ryan plays very well]

Ryan thankfully gives Tony something he can excel at. After Colin mentions the crisis again, Tony goes “And not the first time. REMEMBER? …Yes…” With a wink and a thumbs-up to the audience.

Mike: “WELLLLL, that’s a mighty-big hoooollleee…”
Ryan, outraged: “I KNOW HER! I KNOW HER!”
Mike: “Oh, you know me baby…”
Colin: “DON’T GET TOO CLOSE, MY PANTS ARE TIGHT ENOUGH!”

Ryan can’t think of a good exiting line, so he pauses, goes “…yeeeahhh”, then exits.

Colin, trying to wrap up: “Well, thank god that….[feels around his back]….the HANGER’s still in here!”

A really successful Superheroes, giving its best moments when everyone is interacting, especially Mike and Ryan, who had a really nice moment.

Secret: Ryan and Colin are prisoners. The secret is in the curtains

Finally, the debut of this simple but classic game.

Clive, getting the secret placement suggestion: “In the toilet??? They don’t have toilets in prison cells. Those are buckets!”
And then, “Between the curtains? You’re a frustrated theatre director, aren’t you? You can see it all…this prison cell with TOILETS and CURTAINS…”

Ryan starts the scene playing darts. Which reestablishes the ‘ridiculously high-end prison’ thing.
Ryan, then: “Wanna have a jacuzzi?”

Ryan and Colin actually do some really great acting pre-secret, with high tempers, and really nice lines about life outside prison. Proof that scenes like these could really bring out the best in them.

Colin, finally opening the curtains: “…My god…a HAMSTER WITH EXPLOSIVES AROUND ITS WAIST!”
Ryan: “…That’s Jerry. See, they don’t put bars in this prison, they just…wire up small animals. Same with the trip-mines. Like, anywhere you walk, you could set off a squirrel…or, a rhino could go off right in front of ya!”
[That’s some really bizarrely funny stuff from Ryan right there]

Colin: “THAT’S IN…HUMAN!”
Ryan: “I know it’s inhuman, but we’re saving money, don’t you see? People are tired of paying for prisons…and they hate small animals!”

Colin: “BUT WHAT ABOUT THE LITTLE ANIMALS??”
Ryan: “WHO CARES? It’s not just the LITTLE animals, Phil.”
With that, he rips off his mask and pulls his arms up to his chest as Colin shrieks. Of course, that’s when Clive buzzes, as the scene can’t really top that.

Whoa…my god. That was some really bizarrely funny stuff right off the bat for this game. It was also surprisingly well-acted, and had some great serious moments for both guys.

Clive, postmortem: “How would you describe that improvisation. Surreal or drug induced?”

Foreign Film Dub: The Russian film ‘The Death of Boris Simpsinsky’, acted by Mike and Tony, dubbed by Colin and Ryan

Someone, when asked by Clive for a Russian film title, yells out ‘The death of Bart Simpson.’
Clive: “…That’s very big in Russia, isn’t it? Could we do the death of somebody else, somebody a bit more Russian, maybe?”
Another audience member: “Bart Simpson in Red Square.”
Clive: “…No, make the PERSON a bit more Russian…you’ve peaked too early with your suggestion there…”

Ryan, after a passionate Tony line: “Tell me, are you a man or a woman?”
[Both Mike and Tony crack a smile at that one]
Colin: “Today’s Tuesday,…So I’m a man…”

After Colin suggests they drink a celebratory shot “out of these Mickey Mouse cups”
Tony, abhorrent: “DAAAHHH”
Ryan, taking him literally: “…Yes!”

Colin takes a Mike line and translates it as “Why don’t you do that limerick you always do?”
Tony smirks, realizing that he has to do that now, and sighs.
Tony: “NYET!”
Ryan: “…there once was a nan from Chernobyl…”
BUZZ

A MUCH BETTER Foreign Film Dub than the last few, made funnier by Tony and Mike both being really serious in acting, and Colin and Ryan moving the scene along AND being really funny.

Sound Effects: Colin is a barber, Ryan does sound effects

Clive announces the scene to Colin: “You’re at the barber’s. Obviously not an everyday activity for you OR me, but you ARE the barber…”
Colin:
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The first great gag is Colin raising the chair so high that the patron bonks their head on the ceiling. Then, there’s the bit where Colin sprays until he thinks he’s run out, then sprays it towards himself as IT SUDDENLY HAS FLUID IN IT AGAIN, as Colin winces.

Then, there’s the obvious:
Colin: [does first shaving motion]
Ryan: “AGH!”

There’s a great amount of physical comedy done here, which ends with Colin just knocking the guy over the head after he struggles. It’s a really nice scene, even though I didn’t always know what Colin was doing.

Animals: Mike has brought bad news to Ryan and Colin. All are dinosaurs.

The first few seconds of this is pure joy- all three roaming around the stage as dinosaurs. Obviously Colin’s is the silliest, but Ryan and Mike don’t do too badly. They’re just sort of goose-stepping in circles.

The best part of the scene is the fact that all three sort of play their characters as paranoid, sort of jittering around at any second. Ryan hears that a friend of theirs has gone extinct, and begins to wobble over there before Mike calls him back.

Colin does throw in a great sight gag, with a dinosaur trying to smoke a cigarette with such small arms.

Then, right after a serious Mike-Ryan discussion
Colin: “UGH! Laid an egg.”

Mike and Colin just keep laying eggs. Ryan even does the same motion.
Ryan, after a moment: “Oh, uh, that’s not an egg.”
BUZZZZZ

Down a bit from the last few scenes, but still funny, and with enough silly physicality to keep people laughing.

Old Job New Job: Tony and Colin are waiting for their builder, Ryan. All three used to be models.

Tony and Colin are great in the first portion, using all sorts of excuses to strike various poses, looking dapper at any point.

Ryan: “I brought all my tools, including my hammer. It’s reversible and comes with a matching scarf.”

It sort of turns into a game of Stand Sit Lean, where all three pick various moments to pose with each other, in all sorts of positions.

Harmless but fun game.

Party Quirks: Tony hosts
Mike: in love with cameras
Colin: All 7 dwarves
Ryan: animals crossing the road

Ooof. Okay. This is where it begins to get hard-to-watch.

Mike, immediately won over: “….Nice cameras. Where’d you get ’em?”
Tony: “…are you Lionel Blair?”

Colin immediately gets the audience on his side, shifting into each dwarf after a second or so, doing all the obvious ones, giving a ‘fuck off’ sign for Grumpy, and, most cleverly, smoking a joint for Dopey.

The whole time, Tony is just watching bewildered. Without even trying to guess. After a while, the nervous laughter begins.

Then, Ryan comes in with his first of many silly animal quirks. It works as such- he comes in as an animal, glares at the camera, then tries to get across the stage. To be honest, if I were Tony, I’d be laughing at this too.

Tony does manage to get Colin, which is nice.

Mike starts pontificating about ‘early cinema’ and cameras…to the camera. Meanwhile, in the background, Ryan runs across, doing his fish impression. Tony can’t take any of this.

Tony: “Oh, Erich von Stroheim.”
Clive: “NO, BUT WHAT DOES HE LIKE?”
Tony: “DON’T RUSH ME!!!”
Mike, desperately trying to give it to Tony: “D’YOU KNOW WHAT I LOOOOVE???”
Tony: “You shut up, it’s MY PARTY…And I’LL BE CRAP IF I WANT TO!”

The sight continues. Mike points out the exact cameraman, Peter, and talks about wanting to see him buck-naked behind this exact camera, as Ryan’s running around in the background doing more animal impressions.
There’s a moment’s pause as Ryan gets back to the step. THEN HE COMES BACK AS A MONKEY, giving the PERFECT TIMED BEAT.
As Tony stares, bewildered, overwhelmed, Ryan gets on the ground and does a snake impression.

Then, once Ryan has been run over, flat on the ground, Tony points and goes “IT IS LIONEL BLAIR!!!”

Mike starts aggressively humping and kissing the camera. We cut back to Tony and he’s completely lost, and mentally drained. Yes, the audience laughs, but they think he’s doing this for a joke. He’s not. He’s completely overstimulated.

Tony, still trying to guess Ryan: “I said ‘a menagerie of animals’
Clive: “Yes, but what are the animals doing?”
Tony: [furrows brows]
Ryan, desperate: “LOOK OUT FOR THE THING ON FOUR WHEELS THAT RUNS ON UNLEADED GAS!!!”
There’s a serious of looks after that line that always kills me:
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It gets to the point where Clive literally has to give Tony the card.
Tony: “They’re animals crossing the r-GET YOUR HAND OFF! They’re animals crossing the road!”
He then looks completely disappointed as the audience applauds for the end of the game. He smiles, then walks back to his seat, still overwhelmed and crushed by that entire game.

Clive’s postscript doesn’t help any: “Well done, Tony, you’ve finally got it…just from the skin of the improvisation of me showing it to you, written on a piece of paper. So, no points to Tony, in fact I don’t think we’ll have him on the show ever again.”
Yes, that is Clive being Clive, but…if you know what happens, it’s incredibly harsh and too mean-spirited even for Clive. I don’t know if Clive knew what Tony was going through, but you’d think he’d at least have a hint.

Still, from an improv standpoint it was still a funny game. All three quirks were hilarious, the way Mike and Ryan kept going even as Tony looked dumbfounded was still funny, and even Tony gave an intentional laugh with his triple-take at the end. It’s a BIT hard to watch, but it’s not by any means an unfunny game. It’s not like the Rizzle Kicks episode of NMTB. I can still watch it and laugh, without COMPLETELY feeling bad.

Bartender: Mike
Colin: Angry about being jilted
Tony: in love with cats
Ryan: is celebrating being invited to the Queen’s garden party

Colin shakes his head in coming up first.
Clive: “…always strong on the singing ones, Colin…”

Colin does well enough, but eventually falls back to his own tricks:
“It wouldn’t happen ordinarily
But…la la la lee lee…”

As Mike sings his response verse, Colin takes a swig of the bartender bottle, and recoils immediately.

Mike sings a very fun verse, which Colin happily sings along to. As Colin leaves, he yells back a thank you to Mike.
Mike, under applause: “AND PAY FOR YOUR FUCKIN’ DRINK!”

Tony, upon entering, IMMEDIATELY takes a swig of alcohol, and he doesn’t seem to recoil as much as Colin did, though he does seem a little shocked by the blowback of whatever’s in that bottle.

Tony, immediately back to his best singing mojo:
“I’ve got a passion that can’t seem to be swerved
I’m like Mrs. Slocombe from Are You Being Served…
You may think that I’m some kind of wussy
But I can’t get enough of daily pussy so…”

Mike, immediately: “You’ve got a problem on your hands.”
Tony: [sniffs hand]
Mike: “I can smell it, it’s those kitty love glands…”
Tony: [bites lip]

Surprisingly cool stuff from Mike and Tony there, as Tony had left the strain of the last game completely behind him, it seems.

Ryan takes his suggestion and, because he doesn’t really know what the Queen’s Garden Party entails, twists it a bit:
“I got some kind of extraordinary news today
A special person’s called me over…for a little play
She’s the best one that I’ve ever seen
Unfortunately it’s not that same queen
that you’re thinking about…this girl’s name is Roy.”
Mike, as well as the audience, takes another bar to recover from that one

Mike does agree that Queen Roy’s parties are legendary
“There’s naked men…on a trapeeze
Nicholas Parsons covered with cheddar cheese
Singing from the balcony chandelier!”
Ryan: “Sounds like it’s great!”
Mike: “You’re just in time for the vomit fountain of beer.”
Ryan: [runs offstage]

A pretty fantastic Bartender, with all four getting moments to shine, and Mike having one last jovial singing game in his prime.

Overall: Well, there was exactly ONE hard-to-watch moment in the show, and that was the end of Party Quirks. Everything else was really, REALLY funny. A few games like Old Job New Job and Animals stop this from being a flawless show, but the rest of it? My god. Insanely funny stuff all around. It’s so funny that, aside from Party Quirks, Tony didn’t show too many other moments of anxiousness throughout the show. He was really funny in games like Old Job New Job and Bartender, mostly because he wasn’t being overwhelmed by having to guess people there. It was only the overstimulation of Party Quirks that did him in. In terms of the rest of the panel, nothing but gold stars all around for Mike and Colin for some solid work, but especially Ryan, for dominating another episode and even being a great supporter in games like Superheroes and Party Quirks. For such a monumental, end of an era episode, this one was a little sad, as Tony and Mike did make the show great, but mostly just a satisfying, truly funny show.

Show Winners: Ryan and Colin
Best Performer: Ryan, for doing some heavy lifting in big places tonight
Worst Performer: Tony, for showing improvement but still limping through Party Quirks.
Best Game: Secret, just beating Bartender simply for having some more consistent laughs, and less fear to go to more bizarre improv places.
Worst Game: Old Job New Job, just for having the least to it.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S07E05, or Don’t Bring Clive James into this!

The last time we had this matchup, of Ryan, Greg, Mike and Tony, it was a nearly immortal show, S06E04, the Neon Love Chicken show. Now we have everyone back, but Tony’s not himself, and Mike, as well as Tony, is beginning his first of two final-ish shows (what show in Series 9? Such a show doesn’t exist!) The dynamic may be a bit different, but damn if these guys won’t try.

Note that there’s a random guy sitting behind Clive in a Cleveland Indians hat. Didn’t expect to see that until Drew Carey got the reins.

Film and Theatre Styles: Ryan and Greg (person with odd insect bite ‘that’s going weird’ and friend)

Greg, after a ton of animated show suggestions: “Evidently we live in cartoon world! Has anyone ever seen live actors do anything?”
Clive: “…Once they’ve seen you, that’s enough.”
ADV. – Anderson

Greg: “Oh, you weren’t kidding, look at the size of that thing!”
Ryan, directly evoking the scene description: “IT’S GOING WEIRD!”

Charlie’s Angels
Ryan: “Oh look, it’s spreading to my beautiful breasts!”

The Beavis and Butthead style is just to confirm that Ryan and Greg have really, really good Beavis and Butthead impressions in their repertoire.

Greg, in the baseball movie style, uses this rough, squeaky voice for the team doctor that’s so ridiculous that it cracks up Ryan
Ryan: “…I can’t understand a bloody word you’re saying!”
BUZZZ

A quaint, inoffensive, but still alright scene.

Animals: Mike, Tony and Ryan act out a soap opera as penguins

There’s not a ton of physicality deviation here, as all three are just acting and walking around stiffly with their arms at their sides. Ryan, in doing these movements, nearly cracks after a bit.

Ryan and Mike start trying to head-butt Tony
Tony: “Stoppit, both of you, this is no time for a penguin three-way!”

This does get sillier as it goes along, as it’s revealed that Mike’s also pregnant. Then, in jealousy, Tony starts headbutting/having sex with Ryan from behind to end the game.

Very silly, but definitely picked up as it went on, and got funnier once the performers knew what they were dealing with.

Film Dub: Ryan is a briefcase salesman trying to sell to Greg

Ryan: “What are you working on there?”
Greg: “Oh, just drawing pictures of my eyebrows, they’re extremely large!”

Ryan: “If you sign those papers immediately, it could also come with a free negligee!”
Greg: “Negligee? How do I know it’ll fit?”
Ryan: “HEYYY, IT’LL FIT! It’ll rip those caterpillars right off your eyelids!”

Greg ends the scene by throwing Ryan out, but Ryan keeps going
Ryan: “But you can try the negligee on for me anyway! [as the character turns around] Look, I’ll turn my back!”

Fairly funny scene, though not as consistent as the last Greg-Ryan one

Let’s Make a Date: Greg chooses
Ryan: Greg’s ex-husband
Tony: Noddy
Mike: hard-bitten army sergeant 

As LMAD games go, this is pretty basic, with Ryan doing some great, bitter work on the end, but Tony and Mike are pretty on-the-nose with theirs.

Greg: “Number 2, how big is your house?”
Tony: “…not as big as my friend’s ears!”

There’s a nice moment where Tony and Clive are both trying to give Greg the answer, but he’s so unaware that he misses it.

Greg, amusingly enough, doesn’t get any of them, but I owe that more to this being the first iteration of this game.

Clive: “People often ask me ‘do games ever go wrong on a taping of Whose Line’…and there’s your answer.”
Greg, still not over it: “NODDY???”

World’s Worst: Thing to see while flipping through TV channels

[Immediately upon hearing the suggestion, Greg gives Clive a look]

Mike: “Ooh. Oh baby. Oh yeah. …..MOM!”
Tony: “It’s Anne Diamond.”
Mike: “It’s the OJ Simpson trial, year 2526…”
Greg: “MY NAME IS JOHN MAJOR…”

Greg comes up as an alien, and absolutely cracks up right in the middle, for no reason.

Then Greg comes up with his shoulders hunched, as Clive…which Clive notices IMMEDIATELY, buzzing before Greg can even say a word. Greg, hurt, audibly reacts and comes back to the step

Tony: “Oh, it’s that show where Clive patronizes lots of different people around the world!”
Clive: “Don’t bring Clive James into this!”
Tony: “No, I meant Clive Anderson!”
Mike: “It’s the OJ Simpson trial- HEY, HE’S BEING DEFENDED BY CLIVE ANDERSON! HAAAH!”

Tony: “And we’re back to round three of saliva darts…[spits across the room]”
Mike, under the audience applause: “YES!!!”
He even high-fives Tony as they walk back

A really, REALLY GOOD round of World’s Worst.

Props: Ryan and Tony vs. Greg and Mike

A ton of snafus mark the first bit. Ryan struggles to get the prop under him as a sumo wrestler, while Mike, acting as a human croquet ball, knocks both of the props over, much to Clive’s delight.

Plus, Ryan and Tony struggle get the props in place for another one.
Clive: “This better be good.”
Ryan, throwing the prop on his head: “HAVE YOU EVER BEEN OUT WITH A Q-TIP BEFORE??”

Of course, all this zaniness does result in a truly funny moment between the two:
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Ryan: “That looks like a german U-Boat”

Screen Shot 2018-03-21 at 4.23.35 PM.pngMike, immediately: “NO…*THIS* LOOKS LIKE A GERMAN U-BOAT!”

The right amount of zaniness in this one, even if there were a few haphazard moments throughout.

Film Trailer: Jelly Wars: Greg narrates, Ryan, Mike and Tony act out

Greg, remembering last time: “Are we into a jelly like Jello situation, or a jelly-like jam?”
Clive: “It’s up to you, Greg…go crazy…use the word ‘jelly’ in any case”
Greg: “This is the nuttiest game that could ever be, Mr. A!”
Clive: “Could you not give a two-syllable word, it’s confusing our American friends…”

Greg, eyeing Clive: “FROM THE PEOPLE WHO BROUGHT YOU JELLO WARS, and the people who brought you ORANGE MARMALADE WARS…”

Greg: “A gigantic floating vessel is built, and the rebels must destroy it.”
Mike, as the vessel, floats onto stage, as Tony and Ryan fling jam at him.

Greg: “And introducing that new hero of the screen, Harrison SNORD, as Luke Nimnamber.”
Ryan: “I wish I had a condom.”

Then, as Greg signs off, going ‘NO ONE WILL BE SEATED DURING THE LAST 15 CONFUSING SCENES’, MIke, as the vessel, floats right towards the camera.

Silly, and not as good as other recent Film Trailers, but still fun.

Party Quirks: Tony hosts
Greg: Tony’s good and bad angel
Mike: thinks he’s come to a 19th century whorehouse
Ryan: has come to ride Tony’s camel

The first of two straight Party Quirks designed to completely break Tony Slattery.

Once the game’s announced, some bloke in the audience goes ‘EY!’ Tony, knowing what he’s ‘ey’-ing for, nods, wincing.

Greg: “This is wonderful, Tony. This is the most wonderful party that could EVER BE- [switching shoulders]- ARE THERE GONNA BE PEOPLE WE CAN HAVE GROUP SEX WITH?”
Tony: “…well, it’s just a normal party for me…”

Mike, entering: “I’ll take my hat and coat, my sexual appetite is that of a JAGUAR, and I need something to quench my engine.”
Tony: [breaks]

Ryan, entering in a frenzy: “I’VE JUST WALKED A MILE AND I’M READY TO HOP ON THE SUCKERRRR!”

Then, as Mike talks to Tony, Ryan jumps on the camel, and starts bobbing up and down, going ‘WEE-HAAWW’, repeatedly. Even as Tony’s trying to pay attention to Mike, he can’t help but notice Ryan.

Tony then gets the camel out from under him, and puts him on the other side of the room. Then, as Tony offers up twiglets, Ryan runs over and hops back on the camel, continuing. At that exact moment, the sight of Ryan turns Mike on. If I were Tony in this situation, I’d be cracking up too.
Ryan: “DON’T GIVE ‘IM ANY WATER, DON’T GIVE ‘IM ANY WATER! YEEHAAWWW!”
Tony: “…You’re from Wales!”
Ryan: “….” [continues riding]

Tony finally gets Ryan, after another 10 seconds of laughing.

Clive: “What’s Mike?”
Tony: “Yes, alright, I’m getting there!….Uh, I don’t know!”

Clive, finally giving it to Tony: “Mike thinks he’s in a 19th century whorehouse…which is surprisingly similar to riding a camel…”

Helping Hands: Mike has a high-powered business lunch with Ryan (ft. Greg’s hands)

Mike starts the scene by calling an offscreen boss. Ryan, grabbing another cell-phone, jumps onto the call himself.

Ryan snaps the cork off of a bottle of wine, seeing it’s a September 1995 wine (not very old, I guess). Then he pours an overflowing amount of wine into the glass. And then he sticks his tongue in the glass like a dog. Nobody like Ryan Stiles.

A bit more frenzied and haphazard than this game usually is, but still pretty amusing just for Ryan.

Overall: Third ‘okay’ show in a row. Yes, some games, like Party Quirks and World’s Worst, elevate from the alright-ness, but a ton of games didn’t really get off the ground, and a lot wasn’t as realized as it could have been. Ryan, once again, had a really nice show, Greg’s arguing with Clive made for good TV, and Mike’s usual energy gave for some great moments. Tony…ONCE AGAIN…succumbed to his anxiety and drug use. This was becoming a perennial problem, so much so that next episode would illuminate completely the full extent of it.

Show Winner: Ryan
Best Performer: Ryan, again doing what he does best without effort
Worst Performer: Tony
Best Game: Party Quirks. Literally everyone made me laugh in this game
Worst Game: Helping Hands

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S07E04, or Well, it’s Mother’s Day…

We move along with the last few Tony Slattery episodes. This time, the producers come up with the ill-fated idea to put Tony up against another woman. Seeing as it went so well the last time (I imagine post-groping, Josie said no to further Tony matchups), the decision to bring Caroline Quentin, improviser and ex-girlfriend of Paul Merton, into the fold now may have been suspect, but better now than later. She, like Niall Ashdown, would establish herself rather quickly.

Press Conference: Tony, who had his head transplanted onto the body of a dog, is interviewed by Ryan, Colin and Caroline

Like last time, Tony fields and answers questions very quickly, but it’s at an even quicker pace this time. Maybe he’s having a better night, as he seems more wry, and more unflappable than usual this series.

Ryan, finally with something that trips Tony up: “You finding that you, uh, smell things better now?”

Caroline: “And do you find that you can smell, for instance, your own private parts better?”
Tony: “Yes, and I think that’s a great advantage.”

Caroline: “Why exactly did you choose Corgi?”
Tony, after the laughter wears off: “Because that’s my favorite, er, resort…”

Tony essentially gets it, but Caroline, as they head back to the seats, explains the rest of it to him, which he understands.

Pretty nice game, though a bit lighter than the last one.

Clive: “Scoring this is pretty much neck and neck…which leaves me out…”
Ryan feigns laughter at this as the audience cracks up

Stand Sit Lie: Colin comes home to find his wife Caroline in bed with Ryan

The very first second of the scene, Colin, thanks to the camera angle, pulls a bouquet of flowers out of Ryan’s ass. Man, I love this show.

Ryan: “Look, there’s nothing happening here. Nothing at all.”
Colin: “NOTHING? I SEE YOU NAKED WITH FLOWERS IN YOUR BUTT?”
Ryan: “Well, it’s Mother’s Day…”

As the arguing intensifies, which is all great, all three swap positions rapidly, while it ends up being a fight for the table, with all three trying to squeeze on at one point.

A great SSL scene, with great work coming from all three.

Foreign Film Dub: The Hungarian Film “The Masked Onion”, acted out by Caroline and Tony, dubbed by Ryan and Colin

Colin: “Boy, this broccoli is hard.”
Ryan: “That’s an onion, ya dope!”

Ryan uses a shorter Caroline line to do an entire monologue, sort of like the Josie scene from last scene. They even cut to him going on and on, while Colin just looks at him, bewildered.
Caroline, as Ryan finally finishes, looks relieved.
Tony: “…Da?”
Colin: “…yeah?”

Slightly haphazard, but damn if everyone didn’t give their all.

Moving People: Drill Sergeant Ryan puts Colin through the ropes

When Clive tells the audience members to move Colin and Ryan as they fancy, Ryan, playing a trick on his audience member, reacts like the guy just touched his ass, going ‘HEY!’ and moving his hips forward. He then turns back to the guy and chuckles.

Clive keeps giving Ryan’s audience member crap for coming in camouflage, saying he’s ‘a member of the SAS’. Once he realizes what the scene is, he exclaims “Oh, this is fantastically lucky!”

The audience member puts Colin’s hand, with a weapon in it, into Colin’s head.
Ryan: “Never thrust a bayonet into your head…because the enemy WINS when you do that!”

Colin: “Let me climb the obstacle course!”
Ryan: “You can’t climb the obstacle course! You climb the rope IN the obstacle course. THAT’S WHY I’M THE SERGEANT!”
Colin: “i HAVE A BAYONET IN MY HEAD!”

An incredibly successful Moving People scene, spurned on by a LOT OF Ryan screwing with the guy moving him, especially when he’d hold a position instead of having him move. Lots of great comedy here.

World’s Worst: Person to Sleep With

Caroline: “Hello…my name’s Clive Anderson.”
Colin: “maaa”
Colin: “Then after you shave my back, I want you to get the cherry whip……no need.”
Tony: “D’you mind using marmalade as a lubricant?”
Ryan: “I hope you don’t mind if I scream my own name.”

Picture: Tony and Caroline are on their honeymoon

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Tony: “…I know what you’re looking at…”
Caroline: “…I wish I did…”
Tony: “It’s cold, that’s all.”
Caroline: “SHUT THE WINDOW!”

Tony: “I can satisfy you more than any other man can.”
Caroline: “…you SURE?”
Tony: “Yeah, d’you want me to cough?”

Tony: “Anyway, don’t go on about my size, you look like two asprins on an ironing board…”

Caroline starts crying after some harsh Tony lines
Tony: “Don’t cry, you stupid bitch!”
Caroline: “Oh, that’s rich comin’ from you, ya tosser!”

A really nice scene, thanks to a surprisingly fun Caroline-Tony dynamic, and some great rising and falling action.

Narrate: Ryan and Colin have breakfast in a diner

Oh, thank god we finally get this game back

Colin: “He sat there, like a big boil on nature’s back…”

Surprisingly, a lot here is done with miming and not with back-and-forth dialogue. Like with the Steve-Jim playing, a lot of the game is also one performer setting up the other one to do something.

A very one-note game, but still kind of silly.

Old Job New Job: Caroline is giving birth, Tony is probably the father, and Ryan, an ex-hostage negotiator, is the midwife.

Clive gives Caroline the direction to give birth to a baby.
Caroline: “Anything for you, Clive.”

Tony, in turn, sits on the table right on top of Caroline.
Screen Shot 2018-03-21 at 2.45.50 AM.png
Clive: “No no, it’s the ending, it’s…nine months.”
Caroline:
Screen Shot 2018-03-21 at 2.45.57 AM.png

Ryan, entering: “It’s alright. We’re trying to raise the 3,000,000 dollars, and I’ve got the parachute right here.”

Ryan, yelling into the vagina: “LOOK, WE’RE DOING IT AS FAST AS WE CAN!”

Ryan: “Now, I’m risking my life…and I’m gonna go in there and try to bring ’em out.”

Then, Ryan, to Caroline’s legs: “…ALL RIGHT…I’M COMING IN…I HAVEN’T GOT A GUN! I’LL KEEP MY HANDS…IN THE AIR!!”

A tremendously funny scene, with just some great work from Ryan. Tony, sadly, couldn’t really get a word in edgewise.

Helping Hands: Ryan, ft Colin’s hands, is a lounge singer. Caroline’s an audience member.

The great thing about this one is that, as Ryan’s a lounge singer, we have a Richard Vranch element to this Helping Hands, which is a nice change of pace. Ryan, on a whim, starts to improvise a song about Earl’s Court.

Also, this scene plays out really naturally, mostly because of the lower-key setting, and Caroline’s willingness to interact.

Of course, once Ryan’s about to sing a song dedicated to Caroline, he looks over…and Richard’s left.
Ryan: “Oh…apparently my piano player’s taken a bit of a break…”

Ryan, nevertheless, sings it acapella, which he does fine with…suddenly, Richard comes back in with the backing music, which he shrugs off.

Ryan, twirling the microphone: “SOMETIMES….I FEEL…”
Suddenly, Colin drops the microphone onto the ground.
Ryan: “I CAN’T SING, I’VE LOST IT! I’M NO LOUNGE SINGER ANYMORE! GIMME THAT BOTTLE!”

Ryan, heartbroken, throws back a beer, then spits out the gigantic sip he just took as he talks.

Ryan, in mid-smoke: “I used to do cruise ships. I USED TO BE ALLLLLLL OVER THE WORLD!”

The scene ends with a rejuvenated Ryan throwing a bunch of peanuts in the air and seeing how many he can catch in his mouth. This sort of works.

A really, really well-formed scene, with more back-and-forth and development than most Helping Hands games. For once it wasn’t ‘let’s see what silly things Ryan can eat’. There was a story, an arc, and an actual scene going on, in between a mic drop and some peanuts flying. Some fantastic stuff here.

Hoedown: Being Stood Up

Caroline has an admirable, seamless, well-thought out Hoedown. On her first try, no less. Impressive!

Colin takes an extra stanza to think things over, which gets a laugh from the audience.

Colin: “I met a girl, I really really liked
I hoped that she’d come over but she didn’t, CAN’T YOU BELIEVE IT?
….you know, I’ve been WAITING…….I’VE BEEN WAITING!
….NO CALL! NO PHONE CALL!”
And with that, he storms off.

Ryan has a really nice topical slam:
“I just run around, I scream and I rant
I guess I should just pay money like my friend Hugh Grant.”
HUGE RESPONSE FOR THAT.

Tony starts pretty well, talking about a night in a bar
“And then no one turned up in the end, and I thought ‘oh no’
and then I kissed a labrador, and then I…[completely cracks]”
Ryan even tries singing the ‘AND THEN I’ refrain, but the hoedown just sort of ends.

Surprisingly a really great hoedown all around. Funny, too.

Overall: Started slow, picked up in the last third. There were a lot of very one-note games throughout the first half, and only in the one-two-three punch of Old Job New Job-Helping Hands-Hoedown did this episode seem fully realized. Ryan returned to form after a few episodes of ensemble work, while Colin and Caroline also had some great moments throughout. Caroline had a nice debut, though there were a few VERY SMALL moments where she stumbled. She still acted like she’s been doing this for years, and wasn’t intimidated by Tony, Ryan or Colin. Tony, by the way, was slightly better than last two shows (especially in Picture), but still kind of shaken and anxious.

Show Winner: Tony
Best Performer: Ryan Stiles, for his series of really funny lines throughout the night, and for lifting games like Old Job New Job and Helping Hands
Worst Performer: Tony, yet again
Best Game: Helping Hands, which was more fully-formed and impressive than it’s been in weeks, with a ton of great moments not always owing to funny prop jokes.
Worst Game: Foreign Film Dub, for not working as well as other games.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S07E03, or “….SUSTAINED!”

Frost. Mochrie. Stiles. Slattery. Together for the last time. Ohhh, this could be pretty epic.

Film and Theatre Styles: Ryan and Colin (two people in a canoe in the Amazon)

Clive, fielding suggestions: “GRANGE HILL? Yeah, that should sort out our trans-atlantic cousins…”

Then, some genius audience member shouts out “WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY?”
Clive: “…but that’s what we’re DOING now, isn’t it?”

Colin: “DAMN PIRANHA!”
Ryan: “You know, the hippos can be quite fierce here. You wouldn’t think of them as a mean animal, but they can a man apart.”
Colin: “…what about a woman?”
Ryan, smirkingly taking this the other way: “Welll, a woman can rip a man apart too, but…”

Mission Impossible
Ryan, as the tape: “Hello, gentlemen. Your mission is to canoe up the river. Should you choose to-” CHH, It self-destructed early!”

Colin, making a cheeky pun: “Let’s go to the bank there…I have to get some money anyway…”

Star Trek
Ryan, nerve pinching Colin: “…I didn’t know you thought of me that way…”
Colin: “It has been 7 years..”

Ryan: “There seems to be another canoe coming into our zone.”
Colin: “…MY GOD, IT’S A HIPPO!”
Clive: “…Dinosaur movie.”
Ryan: [nearly cracks, not expecting that]

Then, to end the scene, Colin, FOR THE FIRST TIME ON WHOSE LINE, rolls out his velociraptor impression and starts roaming around.

A very good, well-improvised, and quite silly F&TS scene.

Animals: Steve, Ryan and Tony act out a scene from Brookside as dogs.

For the second episode in a row, Tony has to do a Brookside scene, and my god does he ADORE that show. He WINCES when he discovers this has to be a Brookside scene.

Tony and Steve get this off to a great stuff, mixing the Northern shrieking with dogs noises seamlessly, and mixing in conversations about drugs with occasional leg-lifting. The contrast WORKS.

Ryan comes in and calls the characters by the wrong names (again, he doesn’t watch Brookside), but it’s forgiven when all three run around sniffing butts.

The scene ends and Steve immediately breaks. It was better than the last one, but so goshdarned silly that everyone involved cracked at least once.

Old Job New Job: Colin’s getting an operation from Ryan- Steve, a fellow surgeon, enters, but he used to be a hairdresser.

Ryan: “It’s a boy……you, I mean-”
Colin: “Yes, yes, I am a boy…”

Steve, entering: “Wait a minute, has he asked you if you want a cup of coffee yet?”

Steve asks Ryan for the tongs. Ryan gives it to him, Steve yelps in pain, then motions for him to give it to him the other way. That’s a nice little comedy detail.

Steve: “So, d’you go anywhere nice on your holidays?” [stabs Colin]

Another very silly scene, though not exactly bad. Steve definitely sold it.

Press Conference: Tony, the first man to make love in space, is interviewed by Ryan, Colin and Steve

A welcome premiere for this game. I find it odd that Tony’s guessing, as it’d later become a Colin showcase game.

Colin: “Was there any special equipment involved?”
Tony: “A certain amount of flour and eggs…and a snorkel…”

Colin: “How long did it take you before you could reenter?”
Tony, after the applause dies down: “Well, my wife’s very understanding…”

Ryan: “Have you ever seen Uranus?
Tony: “Many, many times, yes…”

Tony: “And last question, I think.”
Clive: “No, last GUESS, I think…”
Tony: “Look, this is MY BLOODY PRESS CONFERENCE…SHUT IT!”
Ryan: “Is this the first black hole you’ve encountered?”
Tony: [dials back laughing]

Clive: “Strange thing is you got everything but the sexual innuendo, which we thought would have been a gift for you, but there you go…”

A pretty nice debut round, helped by some funny questions and Tony being very sharp with responses.

Hey You Down There: Gardening, narrated by Steve, featuring Ryan and Colin

Another new game, though it feels odd not being narrated by Greg (or Denny Siegel)

Steve: “But wait a minute! What about that shovel you’re using! Shouldn’t you unwrap it first?”
Colin: [facepalms]

Ryan, in cleaning his shovel, smacks Colin in the face with it. This game is great because it’s a great source of casual slapstick and good miming.  Immediately after, Colin nails Ryan in the balls, and Ryan goes searching around for a missing testicle.

Steve: “Let’s put those seeds in!”
Colin: [throws some down, smiling]
Steve: “That’s right! We want some decent marijuana next year, don’t we?”
Ryan: [mimes smoking a joint]

Steve: “But don’t forget to disguise it so the police don’t see it.”
Ryan: [oh right’ signal]
Steve: “What do we use?”
Colin and Ryan start moving stuff in front
Steve: “That’s right, GIANT GARDEN GNOMES…No wonder they smile all the time…”

A surprisingly fun scene, with Steve really impressing as narrator, nailing the style completely, and with some fun mime work from Ryan and Colin.

World’s Worst: ad campaign

Clive: “You don’t have to include any you’ve appeared in, but away you go.”
Steve, regardless: “Carling Black Label gets you pissed.”
The audience applauds this one. Steve takes several beats, before going back up.
Steve: “Oh, and it pays rather well as well…”

Ryan: “Jimmy’s patented leather shoes. They’ll fit up your ass!”
Colin: “Many people think it’s in bad taste to advertise for an insane asylum….BUT COME ON DOWN. WE’RE GOING CRAAAAZYYYY!!!”
Steve, Australian accent: “You take HOW MANY dildos into the shower???”
Tony: “…FOUR.”

Picked up as it went along. Pretty good stuff all around, save for Tony, who was only good when he supplanted other jokes.

Courtroom Scene: “Case of the Stolen Chicken”
Colin’s judge, Steve’s the prosecutor, Ryan and Tony are witnesses.

Colin starts the scene by banging his gavel right by Steve’s hand, then immediately apologizing for it.
Steve: “OBJECTION, THAT BLEEDIN’ HURT!”

Steve: “Could you please raise your right hand…put it down, that stinks…”

Tony announces his character name.
Steve, just at that: “HA HAAAAH!”
Colin, commenting on the laughs that Steve got for that: “Sustained!”
Steve turns and gives him a ‘good one’ expression.

Steve asks Tony, wearing this thick fur hat, where he was on the date of the murder
Tony: “I was inserting myself into this badger.”

Colin: “PLEASE CALL YOUR SECOND WITNESS then call your mother, she worries.”

Ryan: “I raise chickens, I kill ’em, I freeze ’em and I eat ’em!”
Steve: “Sooo, this man would have EVERY MOTIVATION TO STEEEALLL THE CHICKENNN!”
Ryan: “Not really, I own the farm.”
Steve: “….NO FURTHER QUESTIONS YOUR HONOR! I made a complete prat of m’self on that one!”
Colin: “YOU BETTER COME UP WITH SOMETHING MORE SUSTAINING…I’m tired, go ahead!”

After Tony prattles with Steve
Colin, banging his gavel repeatedly: “OBJECTION! SUSTAINED!….THIS COURTROOM IS A MOCKERY!”
[HAAAAAAHHHH! A legendary self-referential pun]

Colin, still banging: “I WANT MY NEXT WITNESS!”
Suddenly, as if by magic, the top of the gavel flies off, and Colin watches as it arcs and falls to the ground.
Steve: “I’m sorry, your honor. Where’s the end of your gavel?”
Colin: “It’s immaterial!”

Top to bottom hysterical, with great lines coming from all ends, and some really good comedy throughout, intentional and no.

Helping Hands: Steve is training boxer Ryan (ft. Colin’s hands)

The first big laugh of the scene is Ryan attempting to throw his mouth guard in by putting it in the boxing glove. He peers around with the mouthguard hanging from his teeth. It’s pretty amusing.

Then, Steve hands Ryan the squeeze water bottle, which Ryan takes some of…then puts the bucket in front of Ryan, which he immediately spits it back into.

Steve starts training Ryan, and tricks him, by bopping him with the pad whenever he doesn’t aim the right way. Steve is quick enough to be right up there with Ryan, actively leading the scene, which is a relief for Ryan, who usually has to carry it.

Ryan, looking at the headgear: “I dunno if that’s gonna fit around my waist.”

Steve, ringing the bell: “Oh, dinner’s ready! No, wait…”

Another very silly scene, with some more great work from Steve Frost, leading the game and putting Ryan through stuff.

Party Quirks: Tony hosts
Steve: mime artist
Colin: parachutist
Ryan: a fish being reeled in

Tony, within 5 seconds of Steve’s: “…oh, not another boring mime artist…”

Tony also guesses Colin’s within 10 seconds. I’m guessing, given the theme, that Ryan’s is going to give him some trouble.

Ryan flops around on the ground, bobbing his head up and down with the hook. Tony just stands there and watches. For 15 seconds. Ryan just stays in this exact position, as Tony struggles to think of something, eventually going “…is it Dan Quayle?”

Tony does eventually get it, which may be one of the last few times he gets everyone in a game of Party Quirks.

Hoedown: Reading the Will

[Colin is the most unenthused of the four to do this particular hoedown]

Steve manages to do a really nice verse for once, after hearing he got 3 million quid
“So I went out and bought a horse, AND THIS IS WHAT I DID!”
[Mimes riding a horse]

Ryan has a pretty nice one, about using his dead brother in his ventriloquist act, which has Colin and Steve confusedly laughing.

Tony, as usual, goes for a blue one that isn’t very funny.

Overall: Probably the weakest of this particular matchup’s episodes together, but still a relatively good show, featuring one of Steve Frost’s best showings, a great rendition of Courtroom Scene, and some generally nice Ryan-Colin stuff. However, the show is brought down a bit by a ton of games in the middle that skewed more silly than funny, and another disappointing Tony Slattery performance.

Show Winner: Steve
Best Performer: Steve Frost, for dominating all of his games, and proving he’ll be able to survive without Tony
Worst Performer: Tony Slattery, for being a bit off yet again
Best Game: Courtroom Scene, for just being a really seamless, line-by-line hysterical scene from everyone.
Worst Game: Hoedown, for having the least amount of good stuff.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S07E02, or Hey, Who Invited the Chicks??

Onto an episode I remember BBC America rerunning quite a bit back when I was younger, the much-heralded grouping of Greg, Ryan, Mike and Tony, four guys who, together, did the infamous Neon Love Chicken episode, and have had many a many laugh together. Unfortunately, this would be the start of the end of Tony’s run on the show, as his drug use and anxiety would come to a head as the series went on.

Clive: “Featuring this week, the Buddy Holly of mirth, Greg Proops.”
Greg: [gives a ‘fuck off’ sign]

Tony, after some more comparisons, is waiting for his- he’s the ‘Hugh Grant of slapstick’, which in 1995 was an insult. He chuckles and winces at that one.

Film and Theatre Styles: Ryan and Greg (two high-tech thieves breaking into a gallery)

Clive, getting suggestions: “‘Valerie Singleton? Are you pointing out that she’s over there, or are you…OH, SHE’S OVER THERE? Well, welcome Valerie!”

The entire first part of the scene is Ryan and Greg testing out their gadgets and trying to go about a very dangerous motion.
Greg, rationalizing: “…my god, the door’s already open, Bill…”

Greg, Baywatch style: “I’m gonna start running, and the faster I run, the SLOWER I GO…”

Cable Shopping
Ryan: “How much would you pay for that 69 pounds?”
Greg: “Oh, way more than that.”
Ryan: “89 pounds?”
Greg: “Oh, much much more than that.”
Ryan: “How about your first born male child?”
Greg: “Why, I’d kill him!”

Then, for an obligatory reference, Ryan, in the second ‘much more than that’ gag, offers up ‘ALL MY AUTOGRAPHED PICTURES OF CILLA BLACK!’
I feel like he does this simply because he’s not sure who Cilla Black is…or maybe he does know, and he hates her.

A quick but silly enough F&TS, with great teamwork between Greg and Ryan

Remote Control: Earthquakes
Greg: Oprah
Mike: WWE
Ryan: ER
Tony: Brookside

“…one of these things is not like the other…one of these things isn’t on American TV…”

Ryan’s initial reaction to having to do ER is ‘oh, no…no no no.” Perhaps he’s in the UK filming this show so much that he hasn’t seen it yet…or maybe he just doesn’t want to.

Tony’s reaction to getting Brookside is a BIG eye roll. There’s a limited opportunity to see this, but we will get some moments of seeing Tony’s absolute hatred for Brookside on this show.

Ryan: “He needed a-”
BUZZ
Mike: “HE NEEDED A SOLID FIST IN THE HEAD. AND I, CAPTAIN CASUALTY, WAS THE MAN TO GIVE IT TO HIM. BRING HIM IN HERE. HE WON’T NEED A STRETCHER, HE’LL NEED TO BE UNSTRETCHED.”

Greg, working in the PMS suggestion: “Today on the program, PMS, the bastards that inflict it on women, earthquakes and stuff that falls down.”

Then, when Clive buzzes to give it to Tony, Greg, still as Oprah, goes “DON’T BUZZ ME, I AIN’T DONE TALKING YET…GET YOUR BALD, ENGLISH CANDY ASS, BACK IN THE HOUSE.”

Tony: ‘ARTIE, ARTIE, NOO NOO, THERE’S AN EARTHQUAKE AND BROOKSIDE’S FALLING DOWN, EY, EY…”
[i don’t think he even breathes through any of this]

Then, right after Tony finishes, he cracks up, realizes he was doing a bit of Cilla Black instead. Making this the SECOND Cilla Black reference on the night.
[Under the applause, you can vaguely hear somebody, probably Ryan though possibly Tony, go ‘what does Cilla Black do?’ So maybe this came before F&TS, which is why he brings her up in the first place? Or not?]

Clive lets Ryan go on for so long that, after he’s done what he imagines ER might be like, he, near-panic, looks over at Clive to buzz him out.

A pretty fun round, even though Tony was a bit short-shifted, and Ryan’s wasn’t nearly as fun to do as the others.

Film Dub: Ryan and Greg are compulsive gamblers

Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 1.47.32 AM.pngGreg: “Hey, where can a guy get some fun around here…and what is this enormous tit you have your hand on?”
Ryan: “IT’S NO TIT, NO…”

Greg, responding to random cigarette smoke: “my god…my chest, I think it’s on fire!”

Then, heading back to the tit, Ryan: “…heyyyy, that looks a lot like the nipple of my ex-wife…”

Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 1.49.45 AM.pngGreg, with some amazing timing: “…HEY, WHO INVITED THE CHICKS?”
BUZZZZZ

Not as good as last Film Dub, but still pretty funny, and worth it for that last line.

Song Styles: Mike sings a German drinking song about a little red triangle

You can tell that Mike’s semi dreading this, but Mike powers through this, with this diaphragm-aided side-of-the-mouth German singing. It’s a quick song, but the audience applauds all the way through it, and it’s definitely a fine effort from Mike.

Clive: “Suddenly we’d been transported to a cabaret in East Berlin.”
Mike, pulling out a grade-A reference: “Yes, you’ll see me in the Gert Frobe men’s dance troupe later on tonight…”
Clive: “…I always do. In my dreams.”

World’s Worst: Person to be a cub scout leader

Mike: “Now what you do is take these plants here and you let these plants dry. Now give me the skins.”
[The WHOLE audience applauds this one. Greg even nods, triumphantly. He’s definitely had some of those plants]

Tony: “Now, the first rule of cub scouting is that you must, MUST, learn to accept pain…”
Ryan, in a similar vein to Mike: “Okay, we’ve put a little something special in ALLLL the cookies we’re gonna sell this year…”
Greg: “I spent a lot of time making those frilly pink uniforms, and I expect you boys to wear them.”
Ryan, squatting: “And now we, uh, look for some leaves.”

A pretty great WW round from everyone except, as per the theme tonight, a quieter Tony.

Props: Ryan and Tony vs. Greg and Mike

Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 1.58.57 AM.pngRyan: “Today, we say goodbye to Orson Welles.”
Tony flat out cackles at this one

Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 1.59.56 AM.pngGreg, with an inspired amalgamation: “I said this Kabuki play ain’t big enough for the both of us.”
Mike: “ALRIGHT, PARTNER-SAN…”

Greg: “I just thought the flashlights were a tacky way to bring the planes in…”

Really fun round of props on both sides. Even Tony was throwing in some fun ideas.

Scene to Music: Mike’s about to get married, so he asks his flatmate Greg to move out.

Clive, after the scene description: “I’m sure we’ve all been through this life experience…trying to get rid of Greg.”
There’s a few ‘AWWWs’ at that from the audience.
Greg, to the camera: “SEE? SEE HOW THEY SIDE WITH *ME??* If we held an election right now, WHEEW. LOSER!”
Clive: “Yeah, we’d get someone as good as Clinton, wouldn’t we?”
The audience OOOOOOOhs at this, while Mike and Greg are just amused.
Greg: “Why the bitterness, you HAVE a job?”

The music is sinister-sounding, so Greg, as the roommate, crosses toward the camera.
Greg: “I’ll be really happy when she…moves in with us Mike. Heheheheheh…”

Mike, matching the tone completely: “You can’t…stay here anymore. You’re scaring the dogs.”
Greg starts making these shocked, off-kilter facial expressions. It’s pretty perfect.

Greg eventually regains control of Mike’s head, gets him to cluck like a chicken and tells him to leave while laughing. It’s hysterical, but the scene is just…GOOD. Like, it almost doesn’t succeed at being funny, it’s just really good suspense and acting.

News Report: Three Little Pigs. Greg and Mike in the studio, Tony and Ryan in the field.

A switchup, as usually Mike’s the field guy and Tony’s the expert, but I’m fine with this change-up.

Greg: “Good evening, I’m unusually thick.”
GREG is actually the one to nearly crack at this.

Mike: “Well, the pig and the wolf problem goes as far back as early pig and early wolf.”

Ryan, playing a rather camp Big Bad Wolf: “That’s right, I’m gonna huff, I’m gonna puff, and i’m gonna blow them…DOWN! DOWN!”
Tony: “…well, I just need a couple of minutes alone with the big bad wolf…”

Greg: “…I’m afraid I’m going to have to cut you off even though you weren’t talking…”

Tony gets another remote, and says to Ryan, without an idea, “we haven’t been properly introduced, who are you?”
Ryan, finger in ear: “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m covering the Little Red Riding Hood story…”
THAT is perfect.

Mike, with a final thought: “It’s better to have a pig in a poke than a wolf in a convertible.”

A very swift, fun News Report, even though it was down slightly from recent GREAT ones.

Helping Hands: Mike helps surgeon Ryan (ft. Greg’s hands) during an operation

This is a very frenzied one right off the bat, with Ryan having gloves barely on and a mask falling off, while spurting the anesthetic in the air.

Mike: “Doctor, you’re gonna want to use some gas.”
Ryan: [puts gas mask on self.]
Mike: “No, I mean…”

Ryan, grabbing a prop heart from the body: “Ahhh, looks like I’ve taken out the spleen!”
Mike: “I think that’s the heart, but-”
Ryan: “HEY, WHO’S THE DOCTOR HERE?”

Ryan completely uncovers the fake body and pulls out a little shark toy. “WELLLLLL THERE’S THE PROBLEM!” he says, showing the toy to the audience.
Mike: “He’s been to a Japanese restaurant!”
Ryan: “Too much sushi for this man! It’s known as the flipper complex!”

Ryan then pulls a rubber duck out of the body.
Mike: “Awww, isn’t it cute?”
Ryan: “CUTE? LET ME TELL YA SOMETHING. If you’ve got a duck blowing on one of your bladders, you’ve got troubles, my friend! TROUBLES!”
He bops Mike on the head with the duck. Mike, in a rare moment, is coming DAMN close to breaking mid-scene.
Ryan, losing it as well: “Let me tell ya something else. You’re the most unattractive nurse I’ve ever seen in my life.”

To cap off the scene, Ryan literally STICKS HIS HEAD IN the open hole in the body, then lifting it up and flinging the body up with him. It’s a very amusing ending.

Just really, REALLY funny. The Mike-Ryan interplay was just on fire, and there were a ton of funny lines and moments.

Hoedown: Excessive Drinking

Clive: “Can we have a human vice this hoedown can be about?”
Audience member: “frogs.”
Clive: “FROGS??? WHAT??? That is a SURREAL suggestion…”

Greg, however, sings about licking frogs for trips, which is a nice ‘F U’ to the suggestion guy.

Tony’s verse is…something else. He’s singing while slowly pulling his handkerchief out of his mouth. He does this for 7/8ths of the song, growing even more Tony as he goes along, finishing finally with “AND THEN I CUT IT OFF!”
It succeeds, but…it’s an odd choice from a noticeably down Tony.

A clumsy Hoedown all-around, without nothing truly standing out, but things still ending up funny.

Overall: Definitely a step up from E1, with some really fun games all around tonight, and some great performances, mostly from the Americans. This marked the umpteenth fantastic show in a row from Greg Proops, a return to domination from Ryan Stiles, some fantastic work from Mike McShane (even if he looked several times like he was getting very tired of putting up with Clive), and…well, Tony tried. But it just didn’t seem like he was in a good mood at all tonight, and it didn’t look like any of the proceedings could salvage that. His lack of presence didn’t destroy the show or anything, as his fun moments were still there in Remote Control and News Report, but it was definitely not the usual Tony Slattery.

Show Winners: All Four
Best Performer: Greg Proops, for giving inspired choices and funny stuff all throughout
Worst Performer: Tony Slattery, for looking very glum and uninspired.
Best Game: Scene to Music, just edging out Helping Hands, for being a really, REALLY good scene, and for emulating the style perfectly well with some great acting. I would have gone with something like Helping Hands or Remote Control any other night.
Worst Game: Hoedown. Not as good as the rest of the show.