Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: UK S01E02, or Not Funny, but Clean!

Well, I’m here, so I might as well do another whose line. This one…less friendly pastures, but still reasonable enough lineup-wise.

Tonight’s show features Archie Hahn, back for more after a more-pleasant-than-expected first show, Rory Bremner, a few seasons before his semi-regular-ship on the show would be begin, Jimmy Mulville, the…uh, producer of the show?…..and, our SERIES REGULAR, John Sessions. A bit more uneven than show 1, but still…effort is shown.

Clive, at moment one, fucks up, by saying “a series of improvishal-NO, IMPROVISATIONAL!”
The audience even catches him on this.

Clive also calls this week’s bunch of performers as ‘a collection of deadbeat entertainers, stand-up comics and friends of the producer.” Jimmy, actual producer…has no response.

The contestant intros are a bit more biting this week, and you can tell Archie is a ton looser here, if at all possible. John’s is my favorite: “John, who only today was described in these words: “A genius, with a talent matched by any young contemporary…in fact, I’m absolutely marvelous.”

Archie: Truman Capote
Rory: Clive James 

Jimmy: Dylan Thomas
John: James Joyce
Title: A Day at the Seaside

Archie announces he’s doing Capote by doing, well, a Capote impression (which to me, sounded a bit more like Droopy Dog)
Clive: “…but you’ll do it in his voice, will you?”

Jimmy: “Erm…who was it?”
Clive: “Have you read ANYBODY?”

This is Jimmy after Rory finishes his:
Screen Shot 2017-10-07 at 4.18.18 PM.png
For about 5 seconds. Man, he really wasn’t cut out for PERFORMING improv, was he?

This round is a bit quicker than last episode’s, with more than one round, quicker pace, and, well, more accents. John’s James Joyce is, well, as meandering and repetitive as Joyce himself.

Also, Jimmy’s very unprofessional, making a few too many cheeky asides for my tastes.

Film and Theatre Styles v1
Archie and Jimmy- boss tells an employee they’ve been sacked.

It’s different here, because Clive is skeptical about putting down ‘Godfather’, as he was sticking to specific styles of film, but this would get more and more loose as the series would go on.

Jimmy and Archie do a bit of plotting pre-scene…which is kinda awkward and vocal.
Clive: “…and we’ve got up to nine hours to go about it…”

Archie’s move to become Marlon Brando at the drop of ‘Godfather’ as a style is a great one, as he does the cheek-kiss to Jimmy.

Okay, as bad as Jimmy’s improv is, I’ll give him credit for this:
Archie: “I’ve known you 22 years, I’ve raised you since you were a lil baby…”

Clive: “Let’s go Aussie Soap”
Archie: “…alright mate?”
Jimmy: “Yep?”
Archie: “You’re fired.”
[It’s that simple.]

It’s exciting to me that the scene ended with Jimmy getting blown in the head with a rifle, as he sort of kept the scene from truly getting going, and, again, was a bit too cheeky.

Film and Theatre Styles v2
John and Rory: buying from a used car salesman

Clive gets a suggestion of ‘Brazilian Soap Opera’
Clive: “…Are you on any particular medication right now?”

Rory and John have such a good time doing ‘Amateur Dramatics’, that they bypass like 5 or 6 buzzers. Also, Rory tries doing a Noel Coward accent and asks himself ‘what the hell am I doing?’

It was more evident here that John and Rory could work together…and yet John, whenever he could grabbed the scene and couldn’t stop talking. Rory had to fight the buzzer to get a word in edgewise.

World’s Worst:
Person to confront someone on their deathbed
The highlights:
John: ‘YOU HAVEN’T SEEN STAR WARS? Well, um, Ben Kenobi arrives back from the planet…”
Jimmy: “I bet you feel stupid bein’ a bloody atheist now, don’t ya?”
Jimmy, LUNGING at the camera: “….FUCK ME, YOU LOOK TERRIBLE!”

Jimmy and Rory vs. Archie and John
Screen Shot 2017-10-07 at 4.45.38 PM.png
Jimmy: “Well, I went in, and I said ‘I want one like Michael Jackson’s…”

Screen Shot 2017-10-07 at 4.47.24 PM.pngJimmy: “For the mono-ped who wants to be seen at night!”

After a few more, in desperation, Jimmy just stares at the camera and goes “and if you’ve got any more ideas for uses for this, send them in on a postcard…CAUSE I CAN’T THINK OF ANY!”


Sound Effects:
Archie and Jimmy- mowing the lawn.

Quick game, without many real takeaways. Archie’s good at sound effects, and Jimmy did alright.

Rory and John- in the laundromat

This is basically Film and Theater Styles, only with impressions. So, if they have Rory, they might as well use him.

It’s also a nice way of reminding me that Rory does a fantastic David Attenborough impression, and John, who just simpered a bit instead of doing his Richard Attenborough, isn’t great at teamwork.

Rory, as Prince Charles, pointing to the laundry machine: “…d’you think Harry’s having a nice time in there?”

And then, once the time is right, John goes into an absolutely PERFECT impression of Griff Rhys-Jones, who’d be on the program…seven shows later. Rory’s Mel isn’t too bad.

Clive, getting the suggestion of Torville and Dean: “Oh, brilliant…it’s gonna take us 5 hours to get the ice rink set up…”
Rory, without any options, mimes slipping on ice.

Overall: A very uneven show, with different people on different planes of improv existence. Jimmy was not cut out for the show, John still isn’t good at teamwork, Rory only excelled when he was around impressions, and Archie, though he had some good moments, was down from the last show.

Show Winner: Rory
Best Performer: Rory, by default, for keeping the latter half of the episode afloat.
Worst Performer: Jimmy, for being very bawdy and bad at improv.
Best Game: Couples, which had the most good moments, despite losing the scene.
Worst Game: Sound Effects. Just had the least to it.


3 thoughts on “Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: UK S01E02, or Not Funny, but Clean!

  1. Congratuwelldone on starting your Whose Line Watchdown, I think we’re going to have a lot of fun with this as the analysis of how something coming from humble beginnings in Britain can make an impact in America.

    Jimmy Mulville was not a producer at this point, he was still a performer, being a co-star and co-writer of Channel 4 sketch show “Who Dares Wins” and sitcom “Chelmsford 123”, but he did indeed found the independent production company Hat Trick Productions with his then-wife Denise O’Donoghue and Rory McGrath, and is the only one of the three still there (McGrath was sacked in 1992, O’Donoghue and Mulville divorced in the mid-90’s but continued to work together for a decade) He also found time to star in the sitcom “That’s Love” which ran for four series between 1998 and 1992.

    A couple of things I noted during the end credits – Richard Vranch is seen and credited despite the lack of a singing game making it to the episode, a curio which would not be repeated until later series. Also, in some close-up shots of Rory, you can see props behind the other performers, which tells me they played Panel, which also didn’t make the final cut.

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