There’s been a trend of late on QI where they’ll have a panel of three women and Alan Davies. They did one a few years ago, it was Sandi Toksvig, Sue Perkins, Susan Calman and Alan, and a more recent one with Sandi, Susan and Aisling Bea.
This episode is Whose Line’s version of an ‘3 Woman and Alan’ episode- Josie Lawrence, Sandi Toksvig, and Canadian comic Denalda Williams make up the 3 women, and Mike McShane, essentially the regular of S3, is the Alan Davies here.
Emotion Option: Josie and Denalda (traffic warden and ticker receiver)
Interesting that they’re doing this one, essentially F&TS with emotions. Did Denalda admit that she wouldn’t get many of the styles?
On ‘Panic’, Josie goes into sort of a nervous babbling.
Denalda: “AAAAAAAH….I can’t understand you!”
Nice moment where Denalda, in ‘Paranoid’, finishes a sentence with ‘you back off, you little traffic warden monkey’.
Josie, after the buzz, breaks slightly to sort of cringe, and sort of shush Denalda, as that may have been a bit too far over the line.
Clive: “And edge into Embarrassment?”
Josie: “…I’m sorry, but you shouldn’t call me a monkey…”
This game has a really nice ending with ‘ecstasy’, with surprisingly sensual work from both Denalda and Josie, and Josie polishing it off with a really nice, literal line.
Slightly odd variation, but the performers made it work.
Film and Theatre Styles: Sandi and Mike (5 minutes before their daughter’s wedding)
Mike: “Honey, I have no cufflinks! Where are my cufflinks?”
Sandi: “NEVER MIND ABOUT THE CUFFLINKS, WHY ARE YOU NOT WEARING ANY TROUSERS?”
Mike: “OH MY GOD!”
Sandi: “I mean, for goodness sake, I have TOLD YOU, YOU CANNOT GO BUFFO UP THE AISLE!”
A style ends on this image:
Clive: “How about a bit of Biblical epic?”
Mike: “BUT WOMAN, HANDS OFF MY LOINS!”
Sandi does so amazingly well in this style that she overdoes the buzzer by about 10 seconds.
Sandi: “I’m sorry, just…I saw the light, and I kept going…”
Clive: “How about James Bond movie to end it.”
Mike: “Moneypenny…I must tell you, I’m a man…the BEST man…”
Sandi: “…I hardly know what to say, but later on I’ll show you my gold finger.”
A really nice scene, even if it had a quieter middle. Sandi and Mike are just terrific at working with each other.
Expert Translation: Sandi translates for Denalda, a Polynesian drain expert
This is my least favorite playing of this game. Not due to lack of trying from Sandi, but mostly because Denalda’s fake polynesian is very slow and drawn out.
Sandi does have a really nice way of powering this game, as her first big line is “…took me forever to get here from Polynesia, and I think it’s partly because I swam.” She’s very quick in her dialogue, and very matter-of-fact. Unfortunately, it contrasts with Denalda’s slower delivery in a less-than-favorable way.
Sandi doesn’t get to talking of drains until the end, but it’s less literal, more on the subject of bodies of water and such. Some of the details (“I said ‘thanks very much’ in the only way I could think if, and put my hand straight down his swimming trunks”) do crack up Denalda a bit.
Clive: “…and one mark for Sandi, for mentioning drains once in the translation.”
Funny, but not to the caliber of shearing one’s entire body, getting the yak to go to the toilet, having sex with a horse or Albanian Postman Pat (which we’ll get to next episode)
Denalda: scared of peanut butter
Mike: obsessed with easter bunnies
The fact that Mike is at the receiving end of this game proves that Bartender would be greatly needed on this program quite soon.
The first number is pretty good- Denalda’s first song is very basic, but Josie saves it for mentioning she should use the crunchy peanut butter instead of the smooth ones.
Mike’s number is with the sort of manic energy he became known for on the show, with high tempo and low sanity.
Pretty solid round, without any highlights or lowlights.
Props: Mike and Denalda vs. Sandi and Josie
You can hear Mike, as Sandi and Josie are handed their shark-fin-esque prop, go, to Denalda, “look what THEY got”, as maybe Denalda was nervously pessimistic about the number of suggestions they had.
Sandi: “He must have been a very unusual husband.”
Josie, over the buzzer: “Yes, he was FINNISH.”
Sandi, as a witch, to Josie: “I have made you the ugliest woman in the world!”
Josie, pointing to Sandi: “BAR ONE!”
Mike: “EBENEEZER SCROOGE. LOOK UPON THIS TOMBSTONE. WHAT NAME DOES IT SAY???”
Denalda, after a beat: “….YOURS!”
Mike: “…oh, shoot…”
A very, very silly round, as both sides had a ton of fun with the props, and working with each other.
Song Styles: stapler
Josie: Irish jig
Josie’s is good, if quick, with the addition of Richard on the recorder. I forget sometimes that Richard was a multi-instrumentalist, as opposed to Laura Hall, who was primarily a pianist and would get Linda Taylor to do guitar parts. Richard has played keyboard, guitar, recorder, AND HE’S AN IMPROVISER AS WELL!
Mike’s may be a new career high for him, as it’s an incredibly well-done song by him and Richard, something that could be taken seriously as a contemporary song.
News Report: Little Bo Peep: Sandi and Mike in the studio, Denalda and Josie in the field.
Yeah, second show in a row where they give the field assignment to the Canadian while the Dane gets the desk job. If I were Colin or Denalda, I’d cry xenophobia.
Sandi does the heavy-lifting for everyone tonight, even giving Denalda the personality of being not especially bright. She takes this wholeheartedly, asking Josie “UHHHHHHH HOW DO YOU LIKE BEING A SHEEP?”
Josie: “BLOODY AWFUL. We HATE having Bo Peep as our boss, we think she’s a real BAAAAAAAAAstard.”
Like last show, a very tight ship, but Josie had some nice highlights as a miffed Bo Peep. Sandi may have been a wee bit too controlling with the timing, but it worked out, for the most part.
Alphabet: Sandi and Josie (encouraging the other to parachute)
Ah yes. The infamous Alphabet round from this taping. This one seems to be the later version of it, as the original would end up in the compilation.
Even as Clive tells Josie and Sandi to come down, Josie’s gritting her teeth and not looking especially confident. I imagine they’d just done the first, and more ill-fated Alphabet round. Sandi reassures her as they get to the stage.
This one goes a bit better, though Josie does get stuck at H. Sandi does give her a visual clue, which gets Josie back on her feet, crying with a ‘HUH-HUH-HUH’ noise.
Sandi: “….I wish I’d thought of that…”
When Sandi gets to Q…she smirks, and goes “Queen’s Regiments are taking us up’, which is the exact line that was supposed to start the ORIGINAL playing of this game (that’d make it to the compilations). This gets a nice amount of recognition applause from the audience, and it gets a laugh from Josie.
The game ends clumsily, but better than the alternative- Sandi does give Josie the clues to help her with those last few pesky letters, and Josie kisses Sandi on the head for her services.
Good enough game, though I’m not sure that it has the same impact without the context of Josie’s failures at this game immediately beforehand.
The energy in this game is there from the start. Denalda’s verse gives some vocal enthusiasm and finesse that’s been mostly absent from the rest of the show.
Sandi takes a different approach entirely to Gospel- she does a sort of ‘fire and brimstone preacher’ way of talking through, getting the audience to recite ‘I AM A PIECE OF WOOD’.
Sandi: “……and therefore I won’t sing, although maybe I could…”
A pretty nice Gospel, with no real bad verses anywhere in it, and high energy all around.
Overall: Better than E5, and better than I’d previously given it credit for, but still not to the caliber of the first four shows of the year. I do feel bad for Denalda Williams, because her situation was very similar to Colin’s last episode- she couldn’t always compete with the three semi-regulars. Unlike Colin, there would be no second chance for Denalda, and it’s kind of a shame, as she had moments in Gospel, Emotion Option and News Report where you can see her potential. Mike, Josie and Sandi all had equally impressive nights, all excelling in several things throughout the show.
The reason why it’s not quite as good as Episode 4 or 2 is that even the highest heights of this show don’t really square up against something from E4 or E2, which were more consistent, not a bad game on the night type of shows. There wasn’t anything truly bad here, but a lot of the show skewed more ‘middle of the road’.
Show Winner: Sandi
Best Performer: Josie Lawrence, for bringing some insane energy and performances to the show, and for grinning and bearing it through what may be her least favorite Whose Line game of all time.
Worst Performer: Denalda Williams, only in comparison to the other three.
Best Game: Film and Theatre Styles. This was very tough, and Props and Gospel nearly went in this space, but the Mike-Sandi duo was too strong to compete with anything else.
Worst Game: Expert Translation, but only because it was one of the few games that had any true flaws in it. I still laughed, but it didn’t exactly work as Translation.