Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S01E08, or WHERE’S MEL??

Two newcomers join Paul Merton and…sigh…SERIES REGULAR John Sessions. First is Richard Kaplan, an American comic that…to be honest, Wikipedia hasn’t heard of either, and Griff Rhys-Jones, who John so effortlessly did an impression of a few episodes back, comedy partner of Mel Smith and future eater of socks.

Already, Clive is 100% at ease in the host’s chair- none of the awkwardness of Episode 1 is present, and he’s ready to take on the world.

Tonight also marks the first appearance of John’s hungover stubble, as it’d be present for the rest of the series.

Authors: Kurt Waldheim’s War Diaries
Richard: Raymond Chandler
Griff: John Milton.
Paul: Sunday Sport
John: Friedrich Nietzsche

Griff, as he hears the title suggestion: “Is that what we’re gonna do?”
Clive: “Yeah…why, d’you have a problem with that?”
Griff: “No no, I…”
Clive: “Milton used to write a lot about that sort of thing…”

This is a pretty good playing of Authors, by the way. All four seem to be better at emulating AND connecting, especially Griff and Paul.

Griff, by the way, has the look of Rob Brydon and the sound of Jared Harris. Not the worst combination, by the by.

Film and Theatre Styles v1
Paul and Richard – businessman wanting to buy a sandwich shop.

Audience Member: “RUSSIAN CONSTRUCTIVIST SEMINAR IN THE 1920S!”
Paul, of course: “CAN YOU BE MORE SPECIFIC?”

Clive: Spaghetti Western
Paul, taking Clive literally: “D’you want that with bolognese?”

Richard: “If you cut my sandwich…i’ll have to cut you.”
Paul: “I’ve got a fistful of ham, here…”

Really good scene, if a bit quick. Richard and Paul were great at emulating the Monty Python style (Richard even went into a pepperpot voice), and the horror ending was great, if a bit frenzied.

Film and Theatre Styles v2
John and Griff- explaining how to use the nuclear button.

Immediately as Arthur Miller is suggested by the audience, Griff muddles over to John, worriedly. I don’t think he knew who that was.

John and Griff work really well off each other, as evidenced by the Laurel and Hardy style and the Arthur Miller style- John starts off doing the Crucible, and through Griff, works into more of a Death of a Salesman-style domestic drama.

As Clive interrupts John and Griff arguing about the button.
Griff, to Clive: “DON’T *YOU* PRESS THE BUTTON…”

Another nice scene. I have no idea how Griff is taming John (maybe it’s out of admiration?), but it’s definitely working.

World’s Worst: Person to be U.S. President

Griff, with the obvious answer right off the bat: “Hi, I’m George Bush.”
Richard, with the other obvious answer: “Hi, I’m Michael Dukakis.”
Paul: “I, LEE HARVEY OSWALD, DO SOLEMNLY SWEAR…”
Griff, a la Reagan: “I’m a bad actor too…”
John: “HELLO, I’M GRIFF. SO IF YOU’RE GONNA ASSASSINATE HIM, YOU’VE GOT TWO OF US!”

Lots of good stuff in this one, though a ton of dated references.

Props: John and Griff vs. Paul and Richard

Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 4.18.36 PM.pngPaul: “I’m afraid this is all that’s left of your wife.”

Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 4.19.40 PM.pngPaul: “D’you get bored at Christmas? Why not try a foam rubber bum?”

Solid enough, though John’s, again, went on for too long.

Remote Control- Traffic
Richard: American game show host
Griff: One man and his dog
Paul: American cop show
John: Noggin the nog

Griff didn’t even have to say a word to make his bit funny, doing a dog getting hit by a car. It just friggin’ worked.

Very light, but it sort of worked. Richard was playing it a bit too intense, I think. Griff’s worked. John’s…I did not get, though I think that may have been the point.

Party Quirks
Richard: from Mission Impossible
Griff: a bad ventriloquist
John: from the future

Richard, quick to disarm something: “…listening device.”
Paul: “Yes, it’s my telephone…”

Griff, as a bad ventriloquist, cracked me up…because he just started strangling Paul halfway through, and it worked.

People don’t like Richard, and I do understand that the way he sort of gives himself away in this game can definitely rub people the wrong way, as it rubbed me.

John, examining Paul’s table: “You mean to tell me you DON’T break these down now and use them as contraceptives?”
Paul: “…..not the twiglets, no…”

Clive, postmortem: “I was gonna give [Paul] points for not mentioning Twiglets this week, but as you managed-”
Paul: “When in doubt, go for the Twiglets laugh…”

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that the credit reading this week was John reading the credits as Griff…WITH Griff. The impression definitely stands out, and having Griff next to him as he does it leads to a classic one. What happens is that Griff starts doing it straight, and John’s going over the top…and Griff, in jest, starts going over the top, as it’s evidently how he sounds.

And then, as John finishes reading the credits: “…….WHERE’S MEL???”

Overall: Better than the last few, but still flawed. Having Griff brought out the best in John, Paul, and especially Griff. John had some nice moments, Paul had another traditionally nice show, and Richard…while he had some good moments, never really stood out in the right way. I was rooting for him, and he had a few good lines here and there, but, while he wasn’t THE WORST, he wasn’t anything special either.

Show Winners: John and Griff
Best Performer: Griff. He was just on tonight, and his humor worked with the show.
Worst Performer: Richard. Didn’t really work out too well for him.
Best Game: Both Film and Theatre Styles. Both worked really well and I can’t pick one specific one.
Worst Game: Remote Control, solely because it had the least to it out of every game.

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