Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S01E05, or ‘Yes, you’ve got it right, I’m a complete imbecile!’

It’s the ultimate game of ‘one of these things is not like the others’. Let’s see, we’ve got Josie Lawrence, Paul Merton, CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED ACTOR JONATHAN PRYCE, and SERIES REGULAR John Sessions. Which one d’you think would be an out-of-left-field choice to be on Whose Line?

BESIDES John Sessions…

At this point, Jonathan Pryce had already been in his most renowned film, Brazil, so…what he had to gain at this point I’m not sure, but he would appear on the show three times, twice in this Series. I honestly don’t even remember how well he did, too…

Some foreshadowing in the intros, as Clive says of John, “without whom, this program…would probably have someone else in it…”

Authors: A Day in the Life of a Horny Llama
Josie: Agatha Christie

Jonathan: King James’ Bible
Paul: DIY Manual
John: Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Clive, on Jonathan’s choice: “That’s very appropriate for a sunday…unfortunately, the program airs on a friday, so…less appropriate, possibly, for the show…”

Also, for once John actually has to dig to find a tougher author, instead of doing a safe bet like the last 4 weeks. Also, as it gets no response, Clive goes ‘and apparently very popular with the audience…”

Already, I must applaud Jonathan for taking Josie’s offering, continuing it in the style, and making it extremely funny, rather than making it about himself…JOHN…

At least John brings the subject back to llamas in the end, rather than going on about Argentinian silk for too long. All in all, solid playing, first time I can really say that about a game of authors.

Film and Theatre Styles v1
Josie and Paul- Jack and Jill

Clive, reading the audience: “German art film….from John Sessions’ friend, we’ll give him that later on…”

Possibly the greatest start to a scene in the show’s history:
Josie: “Seems only a few years ago since we went up that hill, Jack…and here we are, married, with 42 children. And all because I took you home, to bed, and poured vinegar and brown paper on your sore head.”
Paul, almost immediately: “Yeah, not much of a contraceptive, was it?”

Spaghetti Western:
Paul brilliantly: “Don’t call me Jack, I, as you know, have no name…”

Paul: “I am the man who stands on top of a hill with a brown paper head.”
Clive: Pantomime.”
Paul: “AIN’T I, BOYS AND GIRLS?”

Paul: “Now I want all the ladies to sing the brown paper song, and I want all the men to go down to the bar and order a glass of whiskey.”
Clive: “German art film.”
Paul: “Or a lager, whichever’s easiest…”

As soon as I think it’s gonna end with a whimper, the last style, James Bond, leads to Paul and Josie concocting a helicopter made out of a cigarette lighter and a toothpick comb.
Josie, after Paul has mimed the helicopter taking off: “…we should have gotten in it, don’t you think?’
BUZZZZZZ

That was absolutely brilliant, even better than Paul and Tony’s from last episode. You could tell they work off each other extraordinarily well, and that Josie and Paul could both add a TON to the scene. I can tell that Paul’s inclination is to underplay his characters, which doesn’t always work, but it worked here, especially in the Spaghetti Western and German Art Film styles.

Film and Theatre Styles v2
John and Jonathan- reporting a crime.

You can tell Jonathan’s good because John assumes a specific type of accent…and Jonathan is able to locate it and provide the same accent himself. He’s that good, folks. Unlike Peter Cook, he’s impressive at improv AND sober.

Also…John AND Jonathan doing Beckett is something I didn’t know I wanted until I got it, because obviously both men have a grasp of stuff like Endgame and Godot and such, so the absurdity is definitely present.

John, ‘Pirate Movie’- “I’m made out of saturated technicolor, you can’t stab me!”

Their Commedia Dell’Arte is very similar to the Beckett (again, bravo to them for brushing up on theatre histories and such), especially in terms of physicality. My gripe with this scene, like most of John’s, is that there’s less emphasis on the plot and more emphasis on the styles.

And then, with Le Carre, the plot reenters the scene…just as Jonathan’s doing a very muted and low-key George Smiley (so…so Alec Guinness, then). The whole time, John’s trying to needle Jonathan into confessing, or saying something, and Jonathan doesn’t need to do much more than raise his eyebrows and change facial expressions.

Not as good as Josie and Paul’s, and even Clive mentions that they sort of lost the plot halfway through, but still nice just for the chemistry, and for the obscure theatre references.

World’s Worst- people to audition for Romeo and Juliet:

Paul: “So…this Juliet’s 15, then, isn’t she???”
John does his as Bob Hoskins, which…must have been a hoot for Jonathan, who’s worked with him.
Josie: “Well, I think I’d be naturally for the part, actually. Shackesspeare is my favorite writer…”

Again, very quick round, but better than the last few playings of this.

Song Styles: Television
Josie- Heavy Metal
John: Folk

I’d like to mention that we FINALLY HAVE RICHARD VRANCH ADDRESSED BY NAME THIS SHOW. It only took 5 episodes…

In setting up the heavy metal music, they’re a singular bleep from Richard’s guitar.
John, from the background: “What’s that, Danish music?”

The second the guitar riff starts, Josie goes right into action, licking the microphone and prancing around angrily.

If I can nitpick, the riff/vocals are less heavy metal and more, like, hard rock, similar to Led Zeppelin…but by god, the sheer power Josie brings to this is impressive as all hell.

The second Josie finishes the last long note, she clutches her throat and mouths ‘oh, FUCK!’ Amazing number, but it must have done a number on her vocal chords…

Clive: “Well, we better have something meaty for John to do it in the style of, now…”
Audience member: “FOLK!”
There’s a nice ironic reaction here.
Clive: “I think that was a style…and not just a comment…”

There’s a great moment where John realizes that he’s going to have to do this folk song acapella, as Richard doesn’t even come in with a cue, he just sits there, nodding.

John’s folk song has a ton of effort put in, and is pretty nice considering how these usually go, with a ton of really good, funny details, even though the song overstays its welcome by a bar or so (then again, don’t most folk songs?)

Film Dub: Paul books a hotel from Jonathan

For one of the only times, Clive mentions what the source material is from, the film Plan 9 from Outer Space (the audience groans at this.)

I applaud Jonathan giving his character a scottish accent, as well as Paul’s 2-second realization that he is, in fact, playing two characters.

Rather good scene, even if there were a few bits where neither was sure who was supposed to talk. Jonathan made a bold choice by turning this scene into a denial halfway through, but he managed to make it work.

Party Quirks:
Josie: a superhero
Jonathan: an exorcist

John: Thinks he’s underwater

I’m still giggling at Jonathan’s entrance. He goes right in with enthusiasm and vigor, but forgets there’s a huge drop-off between the step and the ground floor, reacts, and then continues enthusiastically.
Jonathan: “HI-…oh, fuck…..HI, PAUL!”

Even better, as Jonathan’s COMPLETELY selling his exorcist, he gets Paul’s head to spin around, and you can hear Paul’s neck crack on his wireless mic.

John, of course, has THE John Sessions moment, muzzing in, in mid-monologue: “We were, of course, French…our long navels going in and out, under the water….”
It takes John 2 seconds to realize what he’s done.
John: “….OH, SORRY.”
He cracks, limping back offstage as Clive buzzes him out.
John: ‘YES, YOU GOT IT RIGHT, I’M A COMPLETE IMBECILE!”

Overall: THIS…was our first truly fantastic Whose Line. The first of many. Not a single bad game, not a single bad participant- even John Sessions behaved tonight. I was very impressed by Jonathan Pryce, how good he was tonight, and how he wisely chose to not hog the spotlight (John was already doing that). Josie had a show even better than her last two, and Paul did pretty well himself, though he was definitely downplayed this week. Surprising amount of classic scenes, and proof that John was not the centerpiece, as the show even went on at the behest of him.

Show Winner: Josie
Best Performer: Josie, though this was very tough. She excelled in every game she was in.
Worst Performer: John, who still had more missteps than successes today.
Best Game: Film and Theater Styles v1. A classic game that should be taught to prospective improvisers.
Worst Game: World’s Worst, but only by default, and for having less good points than the others.

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