And after a middling-to-bottom-barrel Series 1…lo, a savior appeared, and entered from the sunny shores of California, with his thick glasses and eternal smirk.
For the first time in Whose Line history, there would be no John Sessions in this episode, but a panel consisting of Josie Lawrence, the MVP of S1, Tony Slattery, one of the funnier recurring panelists of S1, Mike McShane, a guy who wowed so much in S1 that his episode was a treasure trove of fantastic material, and said newcomer from San Francisco…the great Greg Proops. This may be the first ‘OH MY GOD’ panel that Whose Line gives us…let’s buckle up and get ready.
First of all, there’s a new, more abstract opening sequence, with actors in mime uniforms going about scenes, which is stylish but very early-90s.
“Oversexed, Over-acting and over here, Greg Proops.” Gotta love him.
Authors: Rambo Had a Sore Toe and was Stopped for Drunk Driving
Greg: Earl Hamner Jr.
Josie: Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Tony: air hostess training manual
Mike: Rosetta Stone
Clive: “Can we have a title for our story here?”
Audience member: “RAMBO!”
Clive: “Yes….could we have a bit of plot in it so we know where we’re going?”
Greg: “Suddenly, Sylvester Stallone came up, bobbing and wheezing the whole way, ‘EEUUUGH…AAUUUGHHH…’, we couldn’t tell he was drunk.”
Tony: “…in the event of Rambo’s biceps exploding…his liver, and most of his other organs, will be situated THERE, THERE AND THERE…”
Quick round, but really good all-throughout, which…honestly, is the first time i can say that about this game, now that John’s off.
Film and Theatre Styles v1: Two Inventors Meeting (Greg & Tony)
Clive: “I might throw a Carry-On in there for you, Greg, just to confuse you. I assume the Carry-Ons haven’t been very big in America…”
Greg: “Oh no, they’re WILDLY popular.” [gives an ‘I DON’T KNOW’ look]
AND SO IT BEGINS…
Interesting that once the Macbeth style begins, Richard comes in with some fitting music, just as Greg comes in with his indecipherable Scottish.
After Greg, Macbeth style, goes on a Scottish tangent about the cheese invention.
Tony: “….you’re pissed AGAIN…”
Tony, taking this a bit literally: ‘OH MY GOD, IT DOESN’T WORK AFTER ALL!”
Greg: “What’ll we do? QUICK- RUN AROUND POINTLESSLY!”
Tony, writhing around: “It’s either an earthquake or I’m developing a nervous muscular disease, I don’t know!”
Quaint enough scene, powered by Tony and Greg working really well together, and having an equal ownership of the scene’s best moments.
Film and Theatre Styles v2- Mike, an agent, discovers Josie
From the getgo, this scene is very well-acted, mostly from Mike playing the gruff agent, completely won over.
The bulk of this scene is pretty standard, nothing really standing out, until the ‘children’s television’ section, where it gets a bit dirty, but thankfully it ends there. Okay scene, not as good as Tony and Greg’s.
Song Styles: hose pipe
Josie: Edith Piaf
Josie has to explain to Mike that it’s just a garden hose.
Clive: “Sorry, we’re having simultaneous translation from the audience…”
Mike: “The delegate from Bulgaria- “EET’S A HOSE PIPE, JA.”
Clive: “Can we, uh-”
Mike: “Clive, it’s not the size of the hose, it’s how much water you can pass through that baby…”
From Mike’s very first song styles, we can already see how masterful he is in singing games, as he NAILS this blues song, going a second verse and ending with the line “come on over and…bring your hose.”
Clive, upon hearing Josie’s style- “Do it in french, Josie, make it easy…”
JOSIE’S, however…absolutely masterful. One of the first Song Styles that could double as a real, heart-wrenching song. It’s a wonderful Edith Piaf, too, nailing the melancholy nature of her performances.
And then, she ends with “why did you go away….JOSE….”
World’s Worst: Person to be Marooned on a Desert Island with:
Greg: “Have ya ever thought about cannibalism?..”
Mike: “LOOK, LOOK, IT’S A BOAT……I LIED! HAHAHAHA!”
Good playing, but was a bit too short for me.
Also, right before commercial, Greg goes over and gives Mike a high-five. Already the Americans are congregating. Soon they’ll have taken over the whole program.
I love the amount of weird dancing in this playing, especially from Mike, Greg and Tony.
Tony: “It’s where it’s at, it’s where it’s been, I’m a pissed chef [drops voice] I’d like a large gin…”
Greg’s is the simplest, possibly funniest, and closest to a much-maligned singing game that would premiere in a season or two.
Tony and Josie: six-year olds
Mike and Greg: construction workers.
I don’t think they ever played this one again, but it’s a simple concept.
Josie, starting: “GOD!”
Josie: “God is NOT a man, he’s a white cloud…”
Tony: “shush, stink-pants…”
Josie: “And the devil lives in HELLL…”
Tony: “…and sometimes in Basildon…”
Mike: “Kay, let’s explain the concept of the trinity, alright?”
Greg: “There’s the father…the son….and the other guy, the fruity one…”
Pleasant enough game, good for pairs, but I do understand why they stopped doing this one.
Making chocolate cakes, flying to Paris, and washing up
After Josie and Mike do a really nice chocolate cake section
Tony: “Hi, I’m Brad, the tap-dancing air-steward!” [flails about]
Also, the whole sequence with Tony speaking french and Mike and Josie reacting to him “Is he Jacques Brielle?”
More than any other playing, this version has a cohesive story, fitting through each segment, instead of just landing one after the other. Greg has a great role as a grumpy French chef.
The game ends on an amusing note, even though the performers think it’s going to go on for one beat more than it does. Pretty nice game, despite some clumsiness here and there.
Also, as an added bonus, we get an appearance from Greg’s Elvis Costello impression over the credits, which is always a nice touch.
Overall: Generally solid show, with some unsteadiness in some parts and some brilliance in others. It’s very hard to pick standout performances, as everyone was on similar wavelengths, but Tony had some great lines, Josie had some great musical moments, Mike, though he came off a bit stronger than he did in S1, was masterful, and though Greg brings up the rear in not having as many standout moments as the rest, he still had a fantastic debut show. I feel like the performers were more masterful than some of the games, though, as many were simply quaint without being top-to-bottom wonderful.
Show Winner: Greg
Best Performer: Tony, for having some great lines and moments
Worst Performer: Greg, but only because the other three had more huge moments tonight.
Best Game: Film and Theatre Styles v1, with some great teamwork from Tony and Greg
Worst Game: Film and Theatre Styles v2, for having the least to it. Nearly went to World’s Worst for being too short.