Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S02E09, or I’M STARTING THIS TIME, SESSIONS!

Ah yes, now we come to the ‘Series 2 trying desperately to be Series 1’ portion of the show. Paul Merton and John Sessions, featuring another Archie Hall appearance, and a return from a balder, more clean-shaven Jonathan Pryce. After a few episodes of progress, this may lead us back a bit.

Authors: Death of a Dog at the British Grand Prix
Archie: Alice Walker
Jonathan: Diaries of Noel Coward
Paul: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
John: J.R.R. Tolkien 

Authors is back, because so is John.

‘British Grand Prix’ is suggested
Paul: “….features quite heavily in Sherlock Holmes…”

There’s already an effort to keep the story going, mainly driven by Paul who brings the dead dog into the picture, spoiled slightly by John.

Jonathan, building off his first go-around: “Tuesday……Binky was there……..carrying a dead dog under his arm…”

Paul: “If I’m not mistaken, said Holmes, we had this dog last week, didn’t we?”

Very concise game, without many missteps. Also, John finally gets as much time as everyone else, which is refreshing, and FAIR.

Film and Theatre Styles v1- John and Jonathan (interrogation prisoner)

[this could be a scene from Brazil!]

There’s a glut of audience suggestions here, so Clive doesn’t get them all. Jonathan hears someone yell out Chekov, and tries subliminally getting it in: “*COUGH*CHEKOV!*”

Jonathan, as usual, is having a grand old time- given the scene suggestion, he ties his hands behind his back and goes, to the audience, ‘guess which one I am!’

Already, you can see, as usual, how great John and Jonathan work together, and how much tension they can build between each other.

Open University
John, to the audience: “If you’re going to talk to a prisoner, the…essential thing that you must first of all do is wear 1973 clothing, and talk to him in a very bad camera position.”

Jonathan, doing aggressively compassionate Chekov, grabbing John: “What happened?”
John: “I don’t know!”
Jonathan, realizing: “…that was your mic…”

Jonathan, after John’s gone on for a while: “…gosh, if I’d have known this part was going to be so small, I’d never have taken it…”
Buzz
Clive: “you’ve, uh…clearly not worked with John before.”

Clive: “Let’s go into a science fiction b-movie.
Jonathan: “Right, I’M STARTING THIS TIME, SESSIONS!”

That was a very, very loose scene, which cracked Jonathan up a few times, and lost the plot a bit (Jonathan was out of his shackles out of nowhere), but you can tell that Jonathan and John still work well together, and Jonathan knew how to work with him.

Film and Theatre Styles v2: Paul and Archie (person seeing an undertaker)

As Clive writes down Thunderbirds, Paul explains to Archie what that is, complete with marionette movements.

Paul, as an undertaker, on coffins: “We have chip-board, hard-board or solid oak. If you go for chip-board, their ass will be out of it inside a fortnight.”

Archie, on the Batman style, goes for a Jack Nicholson impression
Paul: “I know that face, with that weird smile and white makeup…it’s Barbara Cartland! The coffin’s for yourself, then, right?”
Archie: “No, it’s not, it’s-”
Paul: “Should be!”

On the Thunderbirds style, Archie does the puppet movements just as Paul told him…and then Paul does it ten times better than Archie did.

Very fun scene, with back-and-forth work from both, though Paul, as the better improviser, did a bit more than Archie, despite his efforts.

Props: John and Paul vs. Archie and Jonathan

Screen Shot 2017-11-09 at 4.39.09 PM.pngArchie: ‘Ah yes, we had to remove your stomach, you had a rather bad ulcer…”
Screen Shot 2017-11-09 at 4.39.49 PM.png
Jonathan: “YA DIDN’T HAVE TO TAKE EVERYTHING!!!”

Good enough game, though rather short.

Sound Effects: Archie supplies sound effects while Paul starts his car.

This is a really funny one. Archie’s constant not-starting noise of ‘NO-NO-NO-NO-NO-NO’ is frigging great, especially when Paul turns on the radio, Archie does 3 seconds of ‘I Started a Joke’ by the Bee-Gees, then goes right back to ‘NO-NO-NO-NO-NO’ when Paul tries the ignition again.

Even better, Archie does an impression of a radio being switched to different channels, then lands on…a Thatcher speech (“I…think the internal problem can be solllved…”)

Paul eventually has to let the other cars go around him, which is a really nice twist (he’s on the road???). After the third honking card, Paul throws in a ‘fuck off’ and lets them go around.

There’s a nice ending with Paul getting into a helicopter, but it ends up a bit clumsier than the rest of the scene. Still nice enough, though, as Sound Effects was one of the few games Archie truly excelled at.

Interview: Archie, from a hard-hitting documentary, interviews John, as Moses.

Archie: “And so, as I understand it, you claim to be the leader of your people…”
John: “….I didn’t CLAIM, they just came up to me, you know…”

Archie: “Alright, now we have to go back in time, back to the mount. YOU WERE HANDED *TWENTY-FIVE* COMMANDMENTS, NOW WHAT HAPPENED TO THE OTHER FIFTEEN?”
John: “Well, it was all the BASIC things, like ‘never wear green and grey’…”

There was a very defined ending, as there was a moment where John took a great opportunity from Archie and said no. Archie then looked to Clive, going ‘please end this thing.’

Film Dub: Paul and Jonathan are in a Supermarket

This wasn’t a GREAT film-dub, but Jonathan and Paul did well at reacting to the scene’s goings-on, and were great in working off each other. Paul’s best moment was threatening to do something, Jonathan calling out to his men to watch, and Paul going “I HAVEN’T STARTED IT YET!”

Party Quirks: Paul hosts
Archie: A jealous lover
Jonathan: A pirate
John: A Sumo Wrestler

First of all: Haha, Weatherby Swann has to play a pirate. There. We got that over with.

Archie: “Shall I come in, or shall I just FORCE ENTRY?”
Paul, after Archie has already walked in: “…..I think you better come in…”

Paul: “Well, [Archie], it’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other, and I don’t know what you’ve been up to….but I can guess….”

The second Jonathan bounds in, full pirate stuff, Paul goes: “I’ve got a friend for you, he’s over there!” [Pointing to Archie]

Archie, on Jonathan: “WHO IS *HE?*”
Paul: “That’s, uh, that’s an old friend from school! That’s Alan!”
Archie: “HAS HE HAD YOU???”
Jonathan, who can’t resist: “OHHH ARRR, I’VE HAD HIM, ARRRGH!”
Paul: “He seems to think so, I can’t remember…”

Really nice Party Quirks, even if John was a bit too wordy with his.

Overall: Surprisingly good, and surprisingly full of laughs, despite some improv faux pas here and there. Jonathan was a bit less put-together than last time, and broke a bit too much for me. John was, as usual, not great at getting laughs, or respecting other’s improv. Paul Merton was good, but…dare I say it…Archie Hahn was even better tonight, excelling in a number of games, working well with people, and culminating in a really nice role in Party Quirks. Paul’s definitely not far behind though, even if this is the part where his role in the show begins to slide downhill.

Show Winner: Archie
Best Performer: Archie Hahn, for coming in when no one expected it and taking charge.
Worst Performer: Jonathan, who, despite having fun, couldn’t keep things together.
Best Game: Party Quirks, narrowly edging out Sound Effects on account of making me laugh slightly more.
Worst Game: Film Dub, for being a bit too haphazard for my tastes.

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