Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S04E03, or The Word is ‘Style’ We’re Looking for Here..

After a week of…well, employment, we’ve returned with more unstoppable Series 4 episodes! This one features that imitable duo of Sweeney and Steen, plus Tony Slattery and Paul Merton. This is the kind of lineup you could kill for, and one we’d get again exactly one season later.

Emotion Option: Jim and Steve (policeman interrogating suspect)

Audience member: “CONSTIPATED!”
Clive: “…was that a suggestion or a cry for help?”

Jim starts out by making fun of Steve’s slight speech impediment on ‘chwime’, which definitely owes itself to how comfortable the two are barbing each other.

and then:
Clive: “Jealously”
Jim: “…I wish I could talk like you…I think it’s really BWILLIANT…”

The amount of insane faces made by both parties during ‘constipated’ cracks me up.

And we end on ecstacy
Steve: “Oh, let me just take off all my clooothes…”
Jim: “…OH, BWILLIANT!”
BUZZ

Very quick scene, but still quite funny.

Film and Theatre Styles: Tony and Paul (barman and anguished patron)

Clive, hearing the audience: “…John Sessions one-man-show-OH, THAT’S *EVERY* STYLE…”

After a suggestion of Noel Coward, someone else goes ‘NOEL EDMUNDS!’
Clive: “…the word is ‘style’ we’re looking for here…”

Tony starts this scene…well, as Tony. He does the motion of pulling down a beer handle, repeatedly…then stops, and goes “oh, I’ll just put the cat down…”
AND WE’RE OFF TO A ROUSING START!

To befit Tony’s insane choice, Paul puts down a cactus, and takes a bazooka out of his pocket, as if to try and out-weird Tony.

School play
Paul, sotto voce: “……i don’t want to dooo ittt…”

Dance Hall:
Tony: “You know a song about Baby Jeezuu, don’t you?”
Paul: “I do- do I? OH YES, I DO…”
Tony, backing up, giving Paul what he’s won: “OFF YOU GO, THEN…”

Clive: “One man show.”
Paul, to Tony: “GET OFF.”

As Paul’s trying to keep the scene going, Clive buzzes in with another style…
Paul: “I haven’t even gotten anything going…ya slaphead!”
The whole audience, AND JIM, applaud this.
Clive: “…I’m sad to announce the untimely death of Paul Merton…by my hands…”
Paul: “I lasted longer than your hair did, though…”

Farce:
Tony: “HERE COMES THE REAL BARMAN! I’M ONLY STANDIN’ IN!”
Paul: “oh, standin’ in what?”

Paul: “OH, LOOK IT’S A VICAR…WHAT’S HE DOING IN THAT HORSE?”
BUZZ

That was WILD. The improv wasn’t the focus, but this was absolutely hysterical, with Paul breaking the fourth wall once or twice, and working really well to outsmart Tony (though Tony had him on the ropes).

Letter Changes: Barbeque
Jim: B with F
Steve: S with T

They wouldn’t play this game regularly until the late US era, and here it’s a differently structured game.

Jim, realizing the possibilities of replacing b with f:
Screen Shot 2017-12-22 at 11.40.39 PM.png

Jim and Steve do master this scene though, perhaps Steve more than Jim, with Steve finding some nice possibilities like it comes naturally to him.

Jim: “Have a slice of fread and futter?”
Steve: “Futter, no. Makes me thit.”
Jim:
Screen Shot 2017-12-22 at 11.43.15 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-12-22 at 11.43.29 PM.png

The scene stays funny throughout, ending with Jim going “…what a fastard!”

Very nice one, with enough good work to surpass the silly premise.

Film Dub: Tony and Paul: chat up

The back-and-forth here is to be beheld, with lines going back insanely fast, and really funny ones at that, mostly just Paul and Tony reacting to the set and scene.

Tony, after the characters kiss: “….have you been eating cabbage?”

Very fun, quaint game.

March: traffic jams

Clive describes this perfectly as “a game that’s very, very popular with everybody, apart from those who have to play it.”

Paul, from the getgo, loathes this game, and has to start again nearly through his verse.

There’s something so great about his revised verse, and how he puts on a fake grin as he does it:
“I drive along the motorway, I’m looking everywhere.
and I drive along WITH SUCH a HAP-py EA-sy GO-ing AIR!”

Plus, with a violent and funny last verse, Tony supplies the SECOND Noel Edmunds slam of the night.

Pretty cathartic march, with nothing truly bad, and some funny lines. They’re starting to get the hang of what can be done with these types of games.

Props: Jim and Paul vs. Tony and Steve

Screen Shot 2017-12-22 at 11.55.56 PM.pngSteve: “No, that’s great, doc…can you do another one like it?”

Screen Shot 2017-12-22 at 11.56.36 PM.pngSteve: “Yes, I’m here as part of the Clive Anderson appreciation society as well…”

Jim looks at the prop, srtetches it…realizes he can’t do a goddamned thing with it, and shrugs. Clive, at that, ends the round.

Very funny round of props, though.

Clive: “Don’t worry, Paul, because you still managed to win that game, by not making any jokes about me during your uses of props…”
Paul: “I didn’t make ANY jokes, though…”

Courtroom Scene: stolen lego bricks
Jim: judge
Paul: prosecutor
Steve and Tony: witnesses

Paul, after blankly stating the supposed crime, almost verbatim from Clive
Jim: “…whoopy-doopy, I can barely wait. Carry on.”

On Paul’s first witness, Boppo the Clown, Jim cracks up a bit when Paul announces it, and when Tony bounds onstage like this:
Screen Shot 2017-12-23 at 11.12.46 AM.png

Tony dances around, drops his hat, does some incredibly goofy movements, and goes back to this stance, sort of like a Bobby Moynihan character on SNL.
Paul, after a beat: “…..no further questions, my lord…”

After a compelling statement from Steve as I. Claudius
Jim: “OBJECTION!”
Paul: “..what is the objection?”
Jim: “No idea- CARRY ON.”

Tony enters as Sissy Fairbanks, crosses to Paul and goes “you left your underpants in the kitchen…”
Paul: “…I would like to take this witness home and roger him.”

Quicker than last playing, but still pretty funny.

Helping Hands: Paul buys things in a shop from cashier Jim (ft. Steve’s hands)

This is a short, spry game, with an ironed-on set-up and formula (paul hands Jim foods, Jim either weighs or eats them). This is the first time in Helping Hands where someone shoves food in their mouth (it will become a staple of the US version).

Steve shoves half a banana into Jim’s mouth…then Paul shoves the other half in…then, looking back at the cart, goes “these mushrooms look nice, don’t they?”

There’s a struggle between Jim and Paul as to whether or not Paul will shove the mushroom into Jim’s mouth- Jim protests, but Paul eventually goes ahead with it.

that’s essentially the rest of the scene- Paul seeing something on the cart, Jim saying no with his mouth full, and Paul throwing it in his mouth anyway. I’d be lying if I said this didn’t amuse the shit out of me.

Of course, the scene ends with Paul going: “…oh, this is a nice cash register”, and Jim throwing up his arms in protest.

This succeeded far more than I was expecting, once Paul took the reins and started throwing the entire cart into Jim’s mouth. It wasn’t a great Helping Hands scene, but it was truly funny.

Party Quirks: Paul hosts
Steve: Thinks he’s mucking out stables
Jim:railway station announcer
Tony: thinks he’s King Arthur

Steve: “Oooh, you’ve got a lot under ‘ere, haven’t ya? I’m surprised the neighbours couldn’t smell that…”

Jim immediately nails the inaudible nature of his quirk, which gives him early applause from the audience.

There’s a nice amount of time where Jim, Steve and Paul interact with each other as Paul’s trying to guess. There’s some great stuff in the dynamics, too.

Tony, upon entry: “…oblong table, can’t have that, I’ll knock the edges off…”

Tony, after some great physical work, gives what may be one of the worst puns in Whose Line history: “This is, uh…this is a very old, and defunct can of non-caliber beer…it’s…it’s EX-CALIBER.”
The audience: [GROANS]
Paul: “Oh, yes, uh, you’re King Arthur.”

Really nice game, with good performances all around.

Scenes from a Hat: all four

Clive: “Party in a goldfish bowl”
Steve, circling around Jim and Paul: “Haven’t I seen you two somewhere before?”
Paul: “I dunno, I can’t remember…”

Clive: “Message in a bottle.”
Tony, doing the more obvious joke, pulling the message out:”…STING’S CRAP!”

The Prison Nativity Play is great, because Jim’s just head-butting everyone onstage, even Steve, as he goes “DON’T YOU START, MARY!”

Clive: “A cartload of monkeys”
Tony, again taking the obvious joke: “DAYDREEEAM BELIEVER…”

Clive: “Blind Date”
Paul, walks into Tony: “Sorry…”
Tony:
Screen Shot 2017-12-23 at 11.52.47 AM.pngScreen Shot 2017-12-23 at 11.52.24 AM.png

Clive: “Why don’t we end on ‘beetles making love on a leaf’
Paul, going for the gold medal: “…I’ve always liked you, Ringo…”
BUZZ

A good playing, though the obvious reference was definitely in mind on many of the scenes.

Overall: Step back from the first two shows, but still a very funny show, with four guys in peak condition, and a lot of great games. I’m putting it lower than the first two shows because there were less standout moments, and a few more lull-games than them. There’s still stuff like Helping Hands, Party Quirks and Film and Theatre Styles that really worked, but a lot of games were either too short or not consistently memorable. This show also completed Paul Merton’s S4 renaissance, as he’d only appear in one more show after this one, and he was insanely strong here, just as strong as last show. There weren’t many weak links in the show, though- Steve did well in games like Change Letter and Props, Tony had some great slams throughout the night, and Jim was his usual, energetic self.

Show Winner: Steve
Best Performer: Paul, for his second strong show in a row.
Worst Performer: Steve, only for having less masterful moments throughout
Best Game: Film and Theatre Styles, just for being insanely funny all throughout.
Worst Game: Film Dub, for having the least to it.

Advertisements

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S04E02, or What Are You Doing With That Squeezy Bottle???

This show is sort of like the turning point in this show’s history- Paul Merton and Josie Lawrence, two people from the very first episode of the show, perform with Ryan Stiles and Greg Proops, two people that are still performing on the program to this day.

Greg, by the way, is wearing a Nine Inch Nails shirt under his jacket. And this is pre-Downward Spirl NIN we’re talking about. Go Greg.

Clive describes Ryan as ‘failed entrant of the Danny DeVito lookalike contest’. He’s playfully shocked at this…and then he gets it, and rears back laughing.

Film and Theatre Styles v1: Ryan and Greg (painting a bridge)

Clive gives them the style. Ryan, being himself, nods “no.”

After some nice silent/sfx work, Ryan, to Greg: “…it’s gonna take all day with a brush…”

Clive: “Greek tragedy”
Greg, stomping upstage: “AND LO…THE BRIDGE DID FALL…AND MY MOTHER WAS KILLED UNDERNEATH IT.”
Ryan, borrowing from Shakespeare: “If I were like your mother, I would be a woman.”
Greg: “AIIIIGGHHH”

Clive: “Woody Allen”
Greg, going into his perfect Woody: “Perfect…I’ve been trapped on a bridge with a member of the SS…”

On ‘early talkies’, Ryan and Greg get the idea to try and throw their voices and performances toward an obviously hidden microphone above them, which is a nice way of going about a relatively thankless style.

The scene ends with a great visual, of Greg taking off his glasses and giving a truly deranged expression…and Ryan screaming in terror. Very nice scene, with some great work by both of them.

Film and Theatre Styles v2: Josie and Paul (at a seance)

Paul brings Clive’s attention to someone yelling ‘porno’, which Clive scolds him for.
Paul: “I mean, we’ve done Thunderbirds before…”
Clive: “Yes, but we’ve done PORNO before…”

Paul: “Is your husband dead?”
Josie: “…well I hope so…he hasn’t been home for 4 years…”

Josie, for Western, does an escalated motion of getting on a horse.
Paul, to Clive: “…it’s porno already…”

Paul and Josie nail the Thunderbirds style, with Paul falling over in the middle of a line of dialogue.

Terminator film style
Paul, Arnold voice: “I will not be destroyed…except by a linguist coach…”

After the Clangers style, which confused Clive in announcing it
Clive: “I STILL have no idea what that is…”
Paul: “It’s PORNO!”

They finally get what they want: Clive allows for ‘gangster porno’
Josie, feeling Paul’s arm: “Say…have you got any scars?”
Paul: “No, but I can take me trousers off…”
BUZZ.

A very funny scene, even if it didn’t always go within the rules.

Video Player: Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison
Greg watches: Josie, Ryan and Paul act out

Not only is this one of the greatest standalone games in Whose Line history, but it might be one of the single funniest games of this era of WL.

Greg, grasping the concept, starts with the ending, with Paul and Ryan laying out the resolution of the scene first, and setting up the wrap-up of the rest of the scene, with excessive thanking.

The scene gets hysterical when Greg cuts to the beginning, where Josie calls Paul and Ryan to stage:
Josie: “Oy, lads. C’mere. I don’t like the governor, I think we should have a riot and kill him.”
Paul, knowing where the scene’s going: “I AGREE, WITH SUCH A PLAN, HOW COULD WE POSSIBLY FAIL?”

Josie: “Listen, I’ve made these guns out of squeezy bottles…”
Paul: “Oh, no…I’d got it wrong, I’d been making squeezy bottles out of guns…”
Josie: “You fool!”
Paul: “I’ve been doing loads of washing up, though…”

Josie suggests they “jump on the wardens”, they do, and, after a 10-second beat…
Paul: “Well, that’s got soap in his eye…”

Greg replays that scene, which causes Josie struggle to remember the beginning of the scene, cracking. Greg, saving her ass, fast-forwards to the squeezy-bottle line, which plays to…diminishing audience response, but possibly more from the novelty of seeing it again.

Josie: “Right, let’s go and get the warden, he’s over there.”
Paul, pointing out a plot hole: “Should we jump on them?
Josie, internally going ‘oh shit’: ‘….YES!”
Paul:”…Seeing as we did the last time…”

Greg fast-forwards to the riot, which allows Ryan to do something funny in this scene.
Ryan: “WE WANT THIS WOMAN OUT OF HERE!”
Paul, with his first Josie slam of the night: “Yeah, we want a prettier one!”
Josie: [glares daggers at Paul]

After this, Josie: “I can’t stand anymore of this…”
[Does a shooting motion]
Paul, and Ryan, slowly realizing: “…WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH THAT SQUEEZY BOTTLE???”
BUZZ

My god. Maybe it’s the amount of times I’ve seen that one, but I absolutely love that scene. How absurd it gets, how it gets Josie to break, how everyone has something to do, how gosh darned FUNNY IT IS. It’s a shame we never saw this game again.

Scenes from a Hat

Ah yes, the first appearance of a game that’d be etched in Whose line’s history. This one, unlike the Drew version, jeopardized on basic scene descriptions, and were done sort of one-by-one, rather than the later ones that’d take most of the round.

“Something stirs in a scientist’s lab”
Paul: [stirring motion]Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 5.09.28 PM.png

The other thing is these scenes can go on a bit long, but for ‘buying a sandcastle’, it works, as the longer the scene goes on, the more Ryan deducts from Greg’s sandcastle: “UP- WAVE. FIFTY POUNDS. TWENTY FIVE POUNDS. TEN POUNDS.”

Clive: “Elephants packing to go on holiday.”
Paul, with the pun ready, motions for Josie to come over
Clive: “…packing their trunks, I suppose?”
Paul: “aww…”
And they both disgustedly walk off.

“A weight watcher’s party”
Paul, to Josie, WITH HIS SECOND JOSIE SLAM OF THE NIGHT: “…No luck, then?”
Josie: Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 5.12.35 PM.png
She then carries him over to his step, goes “I’m gonna fuckin’ kill you”, and then returns to hers. Man, you wonder why this was the last Paul & Josie episode…

Clive: “Inside a microwave”
Josie, with a nice rebuttal: “No, honestly, Paul, it does get you dry…”

Paul and Josie have a nice, funny little physical thing for “people who can’t stop moving”….and then repeat it for “a morris dancing convention”.

Very solid SFAH round, though the longer ones didn’t work as well.

Expert: Josie interviews Ryan, expert on pigs and karate

Ryan, hearing the combination, inwardly chuckles.
Clive: “…this is a bit of a fluke, as I happen to know that Ryan is, in fact, an expert on both karate and pigs…”

Josie, on the type of pig Ryan uses: “And they make good pets, do they?”
Ryan: “Oh, good pets, and a great side dish…”

After Ryan reveals he speaks to his pigs
Josie: “So, if I were to give you my pet budgie, would you be able to speak to it?”
Ryan: “…well, let’s not be foolish…”

Josie, getting Ryan to speak the pig’s language: “Imagine i’m a sow”
Ryan, going into the THIRD JOSIE SLAM OF THE NIGHT: “…I have been!”

Ryan, as Josie and he go back to the seats: “Let me have your stool, I deserve to put that up there…” At least he’s bashful about the obvious slam, unlike Paul.

Party Quirks: Paul hosts
Josie: masseusse
Greg: rap artist (oh no…)
Ryan: thinks he’s a reptile

Greg’s reaction to his quirk:
Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 5.20.54 PM.png

Paul gets Josie’s in about 15 seconds, and even Josie’s going “that one was too easy.”

Ryan’s so good at this because he’s excellent at portraying animals. His reptile stuff is really good, especially in physicality. Not to the caliber of his gazelle, but still.

Ryan, looking at Paul’s feet: “THOSE SHOES…..DAD!!!!”

Paul gets them all easily, and while it’s a quick round it’s still funny enough.

Helping Hands: Paul goes over baby protocol with Ryan (hands by Greg)

They use Helping Hands in every episode of this series. I didn’t think we’d gotten to the Aisha Tyler era yet…

Clive gives Paul shit about not guessing the scenario head on, with a baby prop on the table, and it looking very obvious.

Paul, top of the scene: “I’ve come to see how you feed and change a baby” [turning to Clive] “…apparently…”

Greg’s more cheeky motions, like playing around with the baby, throw Ryan for a loop: “You wrap it around the baby…AS IT DANCES ON THE TABLE…”

Ryan and Paul are actually great at working off of each other here, as Greg moves the baby around. Both seem to be equally befuddled.

Paul, after mistaking the baby powder for cocaine: “…that’s worth 20 quid of anybody’s money…”

This is also a great round, because there are some early examples of Ryan’s hands not cooperating. We’re not at the point of ‘no, you idiot’ yet, but Greg definitely adds some dissonance, which is hysterical.

The ending is also great- Greg has to grab the baby bottle, but Paul keeps moving it before Greg can register where it is, and it ends in this lunge to get it as it rolls off the table.

Fantastic game, possibly better than last episode’s round of it.

March: Giving Birth

Greg: “A woman came in yesterday, she was oh so very fat
it turned out, she didn’t have a baby, she’d swallowed a cat.”

Paul, starting off: “My wife just had a baby yesterday
I was so happy…I decided to go away!”

One of the first one of these to actually have consistently good stuff across the board, even with Paul, usually afraid of these sort of games.

Overall: Better than Episode 1, which means a new all time high for S4…and possibly the series in general. Everyone was not only in great form, but giving their most hysterical material, and some of the games in this, like Helping Hands, Scenes from a Hat, Video Player and the Porno F&TS, are well-regarded in history. Paul Merton excelled tonight like he hadn’t in a while, and Ryan and Greg had great showings working with each other. I’d give the lowest standing to Josie, because I feel like the amount of barbs she took from everyone slowed her down, and she didn’t have as many moments where the joke was hers.

Show Winner: Paul
Best Performer: Paul, for being his S1 self and working well with the new breed
Worst Performer: Josie, for sticking to straight woman roles and not having as many hysterical moments as the rest of the group
Best Game: Video Player. Nearly gave it to Helping Hands, but Video Player is one of those games that makes me laugh whenever i watch it
Worst Game: Party Quirks, simply because it was the shortest.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S04E01, or THIS PARTY’S CRAP!

Onto Series 4 of Whose Line, which…did things a little differently.

For some reason, Patterson and co wanted to emphasize the US invasion, so as the season was truncated to 13 episodes, he gave 6 to the US tapings and only 5 to the UK ones. This would be the last season with such a split, but this influence would eventually push all the burgeoning UK comics off the table. Also, after what I can only imagine was fatigue from appearing in nearly every show last series, Mike McShane took the year off.

We start S4 with a pretty nice lineup- Tony Slattery, Sweeney & Steen, plus a debut appearance from a guy who’s gonna be one of the heroes of the next 5 or 6 series’ of the show, former Laughing Man and frequent collaborator with Atkinson and Edmondson, Stephen Frost! In this tenure, he’s Stephen, but once Steve Steen leaves, we’ll be alright with calling him Steve again.

Emotion Option: Jim and Steve (soldiers in the trenches)

Once again, they’re doing a round of this, then a round of F&TS, which is fine.

Jim is already in a great mood, ‘mmm’-ing to Clive’s suggestion that he’s recieved all the emotions from the audience, and a cheeky ‘yeeees?’ to the scene description.

Jim starts the scene off strong, throwing in the twist that they’re opposing soldiers, and his character is German. Steve, however, makes his character German as well, which…isn’t the mood I would have gone with, but whatever you want, Steve.

Jim: “Then we shoot zhem.”
Steve, over-the-top: “SHOOT ZHEM VHEEERE?”
Jim: “Oooh, vandering accent, uh…vith the gun…”

Clive: “paranoia”
Jim: “Those soldiers! They’re all lookin’ at me!”
Steve: “VAIT A MINUTE…VHERE HAS YOUR ACCENT GONE?”
Jim:
Screen Shot 2017-12-13 at 1.43.18 PM.png

Steve: “YOU’RE NOT GERMAN, YOU ARE ENGLISH, AREN’T YOU?”
BUZZ
Clive: “Hate.”
Jim, dropping the accent: “….YOOOOOOOOOOU GIT!”

Jim: “One little slip in your throat-”
Steve: “Two little slips! The slip you had on last night, YOU BITCH!”
Jim:
Screen Shot 2017-12-13 at 1.45.36 PM.png

Clive: “End on horror.”
Steve: “….AAAAAAIIIIGGHHH-”
Jim: “YES, I’M NAKED….AND COVERED IN CLING FILM!”
BUZZ

Absolutely hysterical, with great teamwork, and a hysterical way to start S4. You could tell it was great because of how many times Steve threw Jim for a loop, and how many times Jim had to visibly recover.

Film and Theatre Styles: Tony and Stephen (customer and fortune teller)

Screen Shot 2017-12-13 at 1.48.43 PM.png
Tony: “I came to you last week, and you didn’t say anything about the revolving door…”
Stephen: “Well, you didn’t cross my palm with silver like you promised to do…”
Tony: “I’ll cross your mouth with my signet ring if you don’t shut up…”

Stephen, in the melodrama style, starts accentuating his mustache.
Tony: “MY MUSTACHE IS BIGGER THAN YOURS!!!”

Stephen, in ballet style, starts spinning Tony around by his ring finger.
Tony, to Clive: “…this is prison brutality…”

Then, literally, the last moment of the scene is Stephen LEAPING INTO TONY’S ARMS, as Tony has to regroup and realize what’s going on, then catch him. It’s a hysterical visual.

Not quite to the heights of Emotion Option, but still a great first scene for the inevitable Tony-Stephen duo.

Old Job New Job: Jim and Steve are surgeons- Stephen’s the head doctor who used to be a dustman

Ah, the debut of this game, a standard improv touchstone, and Stephen gets to be the showcase for it.

As great as Stephen is in this, Steve and Jim do a lot of the heavy lifting, bridging the dissonance between the two jobs (“THAT’S HIS SPLEEN! PUT HIS SPLEEN BACK!”)

After Stephen yells to someone offscreen
Steve: “That’s the anesthetist, and she can hear you perfectly well-”
Stephen: “She’s a what?”
Steve: “Anesthetist!”
Stephen: “…she shouldn’t drink so much…”

And then, within the applause for that joke, Stephen high-fives Jim and Steve, who both have entrails on their gloves. This scene is so silly that it’s working.

There’s a nice repetition of everyone scrubbing up in one motion. Steve, as he does, thinks of an incredibly good rationalization-
Steve: “D’you realize that the patient’s been lying in the sink this entire time???”

Courtroom Scene- Murderous Affair. Jim judges, Stephen prosecutes, Tony and Steve are witnesses

Another new scene, one that wouldn’t get played terribly often but had its moments.

Stephen: “Crime of passion, as you know, is the most common crime committed…involving…passion.” [breaks]
Jim: “WELL PUT, SIR, WELL PUT…”

Tony comes on as an airline pilot who claims he’s Princess Margaret. Stephen, in starting the questioning, bows. Tony takes this as an advance, and headbutts Stephen.

Stephen brings Steve on as the deceased’s son, and asks what they were arguing about
Steve: “It was all about you…it was about you…coming in between them, the way you did…”
Stephen, not at all ignoring a golden opportunity: “WELL, IT WAS ONE OF THOSE NIGHTS!”

Tony enters again as a panto actor, whose timing is so quick that he slaps Stephen without a moment’s notice. His energy doesn’t fit with the game, but he’s definitely making it funnier.
Jim, post-slap: ‘SPLENDID, WITNESS! Ask him to do the pussy joke, would you?”
Stephen, under laughter: “I think not, my lord.”
Tony: “NO, I WANT TO DO THE PUSSY JOKE!”
Stephen: “NO YOU CAN’T DO THE PUSSY JOKE!”
Tony: Alright.”

A really funny game, with everyone contributing something, and a ton of really nice, funny jokes.

World’s Worst: Person to operate on you

Jim, sticking his hand down the front of his trousers: “..where’s the patient, then…”
Tony: “I’m terribly sorry, I’m not the surgeon, I’m a xylophonist..”

Very funny, despite me not writing everything down

Props: Tony and Steve vs. Jim and Stephen

Screen Shot 2017-12-13 at 2.10.21 PM.pngSteve: “Well, this is the first photograph we HAVE of a black hole…”

Screen Shot 2017-12-13 at 2.11.26 PM.pngStephen: “So, have you ever been an air traffic controller before…”

There’s a ton of funny stuff here, including a bunch of topical references, and Jim and Stephen unwittingly doing the same prop suggestion twice.

Tony, holding out the prop: “NO…JEREMY BEADLE, JUMP!”
[Pulls it away, goes ‘hahaaaah!’]

Party Quirks: Tony hosts
Steve: James Bond
Jim: Thinks it’s a class reunion
Stephen: bus conductor

Tony starts off as a ‘Come as Michael Jackson’ party, writhing around grabbing his crotch. The buzzer doesn’t happen. He stops, and looks at Clive, going…’well come on’
Clive: “No, I was rather enjoying that…”

Tony gets Steve’s in approx. 5 seconds.  He then realizes he should have given more time, looks around, and goes “…THIS PARTY’S CRAP!”

Jim rolls off a long list of all of his classmates, then waits for Tony to say whether or not they’ve arrived
Tony, after a beat: “…I think you’d better go…”

Jim, not competing with Steve, suggests everyone competes for “who can pee highest up the wall!”
Tony: “THAT WAS A GENUINE CHAGALL, THAT WAS…AND IT’S MARGINALLY BETTER, NOW…”

Tony, once Clive gives him Jim’s, reacts, then confusedly wanders back to the seats.

Great round, with Tony interacting with everyone, and having great lines.

Film Dub: Tony is seeing Stephen, the bank manager

Tony’s character sits down
Stephen: “You just sat on my pet hamster!”

This one’s pretty funny, because the film keeps cutting to the horses, and Stephen and Tony have no choice but to react. Not quite as funny as casting Paul Merton as a dog, but still…

Tony’s character punches out Stephen’s, who falls.
Stephen: ‘AGH! YOU MISSED!’

Picked up as it went along, though it was just a really silly scene altogether.

Helping Hands: Jim (hands by Steve) talks to Tony about a robbery

They finally improved this game by giving it a prop table, so Steve has more to do than just wave his hands around and react.

Already, Jim sells this scene by giving his character a hilarious voice and stutter, which powers the first half of the scene just from sheer ridiculousness.

Tony demonstrates a fake beard, which is hysterical.
Jim, responding: “i’ll be wearing these, I’ll be wearing this, uh…THIS GUN!”
And then he wears it as a mustache

Tony, inspecting the table, cracking up: “What are we gonna do with…WITH THE BLUE KNICKERS!”
Jim, catching onto what Steve’s gonna do: “These I’ll be…wearing on my head…”

Tony, seeing a golden opportunity: “What about…the secret microchip which is in your pocket?”
Jim, knowing exactly where this is about to go, drops all the props Steve’s holding.
Jim: “OF COURSE…OF COURSE…WHAT A FOOL I’VE BEEN…”

The scene ends with Steve fiddling around in Jim’s pockets, and Jim awkwardly glaring over at Clive to end the game. A hysterical one, with a ton of innovations that’ll give this game legs for years to come.

March: Weddings

Jim nearly stumbles, but lands on his feet with a great ender (“as soon as I get rid of this bloody…hangover”). Richard, still knowing Jim from the Comedy Store, even waits a half second to nail the final note as Jim stalls.

Steve, as typical, doesn’t do especially well in a singing game, but like everyone else, comes out on top.

Also, Tony gets to do the key change verse, which is what happens when Mike McShane doesn’t do a series. He does a great last line: “I don’t like her, I like…the best man…”

Overall: SMASHING SUCCESS. Not a single bad game, a ton of hysterical moments, some of the strongest dynamics we’ve seen, and an insanely great way to start S4. Tony, Stephen and Jim were all equally amazing, even if Steve didn’t have as many standout moments. Incredibly rewatchable, with a ton of great games.

Show Winner: Jim
Best Performer: By a nose, Tony Slattery, for having some hysterical moments and proctoring some games in the absense of Mike McShane
Worst Performer: Steve Steen, for having less amazing moments than the rest
Best Game: Helping Hands. There was a massive four-way tie between that, Emotion Option, Courtroom Scene and Party Quirks, but Helping Hands was, to me, the most successful because there wasn’t a dry moment, and everything built on each other until that last moment.
Worst Game: Film Dub, by default.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S03E17, or Is That ‘Get Away From Those Hamsters’?

One more compilation and we wrap up S3. The UK shows were way better than the US ones, but if it weren’t for the US ones, we wouldn’t have gotten Ryan and Colin’s duo solidified.

Note- John Sessions, Archie Hahn and Mark Cohen don’t make appearances in this comp. I am thankful for this.

Authors: Three Men and a Duck
Greg: Zane Grey
George: The Bible
Ryan: National Geographic
Mike: American Greeting card
From: S03E15

This is a nicely-threaded authors through-and-through, even George playing along.

Mike, after some story’s gone by: “….to a very special waterfowl…”

Mike does evoke an early buzz from Clive because Clive thinks he’s gonna go with the obvious rhyme for ‘duck’, but he edges it, and goes with “cause there’s a lot to pluck” right as the buzzer sounds.

Song Styles: Josie sings a country song about a refrigerator
From: E16

This literally begins with Clive being accosted with styles by the audience, getting ;country’ after a few seconds of cacophony.

Very quick number, without anything too standy-outy, but not especially bad either. I sort of see why it was cut.

News Report: Greg and Mike in the Studio, Ryan and George in the field
From: E15

Oh, so they DID do more of this one during the US tapings. Good.

More hand-motions from Greg and Mike, with Mike sticking something in his mouth as a demonstration. I always adored those. And then they whip around once the camera zooms all the way in.

Greg: “Kids; water; it’s tragic and it happens…”

Unlike the earlier UK playings of this game, this one’s oddly blocked, with a random cut back to Mike and Greg as Ryan’s still going on a rant. Perhaps they should have flown some cameramen out?

Greg, to Mike: “Broken crowns and girls: is it a problem?”
Mike: “Vell, once the crown has broken, ze woman will come tumbling after…”

Mike ends this with a fun-but-bad pail pun, but overall this is a pretty nice one.

Helping Hands: Mike goes to Fortune Teller Ryan (with Colin’s hands)
From: E12

Ah, I’,m glad we get another one from this taping, because the one that made the show was very weak, and didn’t allow for a lot of hand-using.

This one definitely has more hand action, with Colin already getting a taste of how far he’d go in this game in the future, and with Ryan doing a very goofy, Jim Carrey-esque character.

Ryan is describing the woman that left Mike, and Colin makes a…thrusting motion with his hand.
Ryan: “…she likes to box!”

This scene does end up going somewhere nice, as Mike gets Ryan to channel his grandmother.
Mike: “WHERE DID YOU HIDE THE MONEY YOU OLD TROUT?”
Ryan: “…I put the money in a place where you’ll never find it.”
Mike: “Yeah, great help, that’s why I killed you in the first place.”
BUZZ

That’s a really nice, well-formed scene, that worked a ton better than the one we got in the episode.

World’s Worst: Person to sit next to at the cinema (Josie, Chris, Jim and Ryan)
From: E10

Ryan: “You know, we saw the same movie for years when I was in jail…”
Ryan, chuckling: “help yourself to some more popcorn…”

Not a great round, but Ryan had some good ones

Psychiatrist v1: Mike counsels Ryan, who’s obsessed with men
From: E15

I love Ryan’s crestfallen expression when he hears the suggestion Clive’s going with. Greg, from the seats, fans himself and adjusts his trousers.

Ryan, singing about why he hates women: “it’s their fault…having no penises are their losses…
I like guys…big strong men…sometimes I go to bed with eight or nine or ten…”

Mike caps off a decent rebuttal verse with “if you feel that you’re overwhelmed, then date Jesse Helms…”

Expert: Greg interviews Ryan, an expert on aerobics
From: E15

So…half of this compilation was material from E15, one of the worst episodes of the year. So then…why didn’t any of these really good games from it get in???

Greg: “Hello, I’m Dirk Anderson, Clive’s younger, cuter brother.”
Sadly, this gets no audience response

Greg: “Now, I was reading your book earlier, and you have a thing where you jump over hurdles, and then small animals come running at you…”
Ryan raises an eyebrow, and rebounds by talking about the fact that it used to be larger animals, but it cost a lot of trainers. I forget how good he is at this game sometimes.

Once again, Ryan ends up getting Greg in on the physical exercise at the end, saying ‘it’d be much easier if I had someone to play the hamster for me’. Ryan just succeeds at slapping back whenever someone screws him over.

Really nice game, and it works well as a Ryan-Greg scene as well.

Party Quirks: Ryan hosts (!?!?!?)
George: sleepwalker
Mike: cannibal
Greg: newspaper vendor
From: E15

Not only is Ryan hosting again, but this is the other Party Quirks from E15, which they probably got for coverage.

The best part of this is that it comes directly after Expert, and it starts with Ryan flipping onto a channel…and doing the exact same aerobic exercise from Expert. Folks, we may have discovered one of the show’s first running gags.

This one is slightly better than the first one because Ryan at least gives the players time before he guesses, and also he’s wrong on George, as he has to reroute and figure things out when he thought it’d be easier.

Mike, noticing the TV: “I’ve seen that. Is that ‘Get Away From Those Hamsters’?”
Ryan agrees, and they both do the running motion from the last scene.

It progresses more because Mike slowly lets things go, and he and Ryan have a final moment where he’s being very cordial to Ryan…while salt-ing and pepper-ing his fingers. Ryan of course nabs the final guess.

I would have very much preferred this one, AND EXPERT, in the final cut of the episode. Hell, if we would have swapped out most of the George-favoring stuff, we’d have had a better show…

Psychiatrist v2: Josie consoles Jim, who’s obsessed with James Brown
From: E10

Jim takes it a bit too over the top here, which…given the subject, is welcome, but given the comic, isn’t.

Josie’s rebuttal is cool enough, and puts a nice bow on the scene, but Jim was a bit much for me.

Film Dub: Ryan and George argue about the best song of all time
From: E15

There’s the expected bit of ‘who’s talking now’ for about 10 seconds, but once it gets going, it’s hysterical.

George: “Uhhh…HELLO DOLLY! HELLO DOLLY!”
Ryan, forgetting the song even exists: “Hello Dolly, that’s not…[remembering]…OH, HELLO DOLLY, EH?”

The scene eventually ends in a denouement involving a Madonna song.
George: “…Uhh…PAPA DON’T PREACH! PAPA DON’T PREACH!”
Ryan: “IT’S LIKE A VIRGIN. IT’S LIKE A VIRGIN, YOU KNOW IT AS WELL AS I DO!”

Not a perfect scene, but I always had a soft spot for it.

Props: Josie and Chris vs. Ryan and Jim
From: E10

Shower curtain rings and a rubber glove. Man, isn’t America great?

Screen Shot 2017-12-12 at 10.48.52 PM.pngRyan: “And this is a cow from chernobyl…”

Screen Shot 2017-12-12 at 10.49.48 PM.pngJosie: “….oh dear, I’ve lost the baby…”
Ryan even takes a moment to laugh at this once we cut back to him

Surprisingly fun Props round

Rap: George, Mike,Ryan and Greg rap about stamp collecting
From: E15

This comp should have just been called ‘the best of Episodes 10 and 15′..

Also, rap is back, in the event that Hoedown didn’t work. It didn’t, and it still made the show.

Mike, as Clive wraps up the setup, motions for an audience member to toss him his hat, and by the start of the game, is wearing it.

Also, the drumbeat has improved vastly, with more of a backbeat than just the one we’d got for the first 2 seasons. Maybe they figured the American audiences would know the difference.

Mike, Ryan and Greg made this a surprisingly nice finale for this…much-maligned game.

Best Performer: Ryan, for proving his mastery in S3 by edging out anybody else in the compilation.
Worst Performer: Chris Smith, narrowly edging out George McGrath
Best Game: Party Quirks, for being WAY better than the one we got in the show, and continuing a great runner from Expert
Worst Game: Psychiatrist v2. A bit too over the top for me.

SERIES 3 SUPERLATIVES:

Best Episode: Episode 3, for not having a single bad game, emphasizing the strength of Jim Sweeney, solidifying Mike and Sandi’s places in the season, and even letting a struggling Paul shine in Expert Translation. One for the pantheon.
2nd Best Episode: Episode 1, another Jim Sweeney episode, for re-structuring the show, introducing a ton of new games, and bringing a fresh take that really paid off, with all four performers in nice form.
3rd Best Episode: Episode 12, the first appearance of the Ryan and Colin team-up, and the home of some really nice dynamics all-around, with even Josie and Mike doing great work with either of the two.
Worst Episode: Episode 14. Just atrocious, with Archie and John bombing their scenes, and Ryan and Mike doing their best to save it but ultimately failing.
Best Recurring Performer: Mike McShane, for proving why he was essentially a regular this season, stepping up big time and being the glue of every great scene, as well as establishing a great dynamic with everyone. Ryan Stiles’ late-season kick brought him very close, though.
Worst Recurring Performer- Chris Smith, for being a straight man…and an unsuccessful one at that.
Best Guest Star- Julian Clary, E4, for coming in for one episode only and bringing out the best in not only Paul but the whole show.
Worst Guest Star- George McGrath, E15.
Best Newcomer: Jim Sweeney, for owning his first two episodes and bringing a new energetic presence to a show that was just getting better.
Performer We Wish Had More Episodes Later On: Sandi Toksvig, whose tenure on the show came to a close with her well-attended S3. Thankfully, she moved onto bigger and better things (such as QI).

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S03E16, or You Never Stop, Don’t You?

If anything, Series 3 of UK Whose Line has been a wild ride. The UK run was one of the most consistently funny sections of the show we’ve seen, recapturing the energy from a very middle-of-the-road S2. The US run was more scattered, with less highlight shows, and more manic, uncontrollable energy. If the UK shows were focused, the US ones were scattered and all-over-the-place. Other than a miraculous comeback show from John Sessions, and the first appearance of Ryan and Colin together, we haven’t had a lot of truly great shows from this stretch.

However, tonight, WL attempts another ‘summation’ show, bringing four of the stronger acts of the series together to recapture the spark. In S2, this kind of show…sort of worked, but all the good stuff ended up in a compilation. Tonight’s show features the four people who made the flight from the UK together- Josie Lawrence, Mike McShane, Sandi Toksvig and Greg Proops. This would be Sandi’s last show, which is sad, but I’ll be missing the personality rather than the improv.

LITERALLY FROM THE TOP OF THE SHOW, there’s this fellow in the audience who seems to think he’s on the set of Arsenio, wooping and hollering from the back. A very confused Greg and Josie, from the seats, return the gesture.

March: Taxidermy

We’re STARTING WITH MARCH??? OKAY THEN…

Already, the quality of verses has vastly improved, as Josie and Greg’s are really well done and very sweet.

AND THEN SANDI…
Sandi, after missing a cue: “…god almighty…”

Sandi does stumble briefly, but lands on her feet with a good enough rhyme. For a game that always worried the hell out of Sandi, she sure knows how to leave it on a good note.

I do see why they did this early, because this game had a ton of energy tonight, rather than coming at the end and getting burned out, semi-coherent verses.

Alphabet: Greg and Sandi (at the optician’s) starting with X.

The scene starts well, as both of them are really good at this game. I’d also like to point out that Greg going “EEEEEEEEEHHHHHHH” sounds an awful-lot like a certain round-headed science-loving comedian from Ireland.

Greg: ‘Say, uh…what are you doing after this appointment?”
Sandi: “…tea time?”
Greg: “….Umbrella time? I open up, you get under…”

Very charming and fun scene, as you can see Greg and Sandi got along well on the show.

Tag: Greg and Mike start, Sandi and Josie enter later

The audience suggests Greg get down on all fours.
Greg: “…thank you…”
Clive: “get down, Greg…”
Greg, seeing this the other way, grimaces at Clive. “You never stop, don’t you?”
Clive, without missing a beat: “Well, you never start.”

Someone in the audience says Mike should be on his back.
Mike, pointing to Greg: “On HIS back?”
Greg, adjusting his glasses, flips off the audience.

Sandi, under Mike’s legs: “…well, it might be fun for you, darling, but I’m not enjoying it…”

Screen Shot 2017-12-08 at 3.12.39 PM.pngGreg: “…this is the best blind date I’ve ever been on…”

Quick round, but still very funny.

Psychiatrist: Josie
Greg: afraid of women
Mike: obsessed with poodles

Clive upon getting the suggestion that Greg’s ‘afraid of women’: “Well, uh…then maybe you know Greg…”
Greg has a priceless reaction here. He’s shocked, then smirks, and goes “well, YOU DO, DON’T YOU CLIVE…”

Josie and Greg’s song is fun, and there’s a nice amount of fun rhymes- Josie gives her character a nice accent, which helps.

I will give the edge to Mike’s for being a more masterful song, and giving himself more of a character.

Not sure why, but in the middle of Josie’s rebuttal, Greg absolutely loses it laughing in the background. I don’t know what he was watching, or what about the ‘really strange clipper’ line it was, but he’s GONE.

Props: Josie and Greg vs. Mike and Sandi

Screen Shot 2017-12-08 at 3.24.26 PM.pngJosie: “JUMP. JUMP, I DON’T LIKE YOU, JUMP.”

Screen Shot 2017-12-08 at 3.25.23 PM.pngSandi: “…alright, Mr. Wilson, d’you want to do a little pee in here for me…”

Party Quirks: Sandi hosts
Mike: WWII Submarine Captain
Josie: circus performer
Greg: horse racing announcer

This, if anything, feels like a later-era Party Quirks. Sandi has gotten better with reacting to thinks, and responding to players- when Mike pulls down a periscope, Sandi goes “what are you doing with my microwave?” When Josie enters doing countless circus things, Sandi mutters “Oh, the appetizers have arrived…” It’s quite a lot like what Brad Sherwood or Chip Esten would do while hosting.

Film and Theatre Styles: Mike and Greg (pilot and co-pilot in airplane)

This is down here, March is up there, Josie and Sandi don’t get to play? Curiouser and curiouser.

Greg has a nice moment of response- once the Rocky style is called, he goes into a Stallone face, but sees that Mike’s going for Stallone first, so he goes into a Burgess Meredith impression instead, which works even better.

Mike’s Tim-Currying in the Rocky Horror style is…something I did not expect to enjoy today.

Greg, at the end of love story, leaps into Mike’s arms, and it gets a couple ‘ooooh’s from the audience. Then, right into saturday night fever, where Mike throws Greg back down and does a Travolta stance. It’s pretty seamless, and a great way to end a nice playing of the game.

American Musical: psychology, tennis, training for a marathon, visiting roommates

The first segment is pretty long, pretty passionate, and irons out the story in a really nice way.

Greg, entering: “You guys have really run a long way…you’re in Minnesota, now…”

This isn’t the greatest musical, but once Sandi enters as Dr. Ruth, it gets really, really funny.
Greg: “Hey, thanks for helping me with my tennis grip, Dr. Ruth…”

Overall: A good show, but without a defining moment or anything too great, which sums up the majority of the US run. Everybody was in great form tonight, and no games were truly bad, but nothing really escaped ‘good’ for me. There wasn’t anything like the ‘smashed the car’ F&TS, or anything like that.

Show Winner: Greg
Best Performer: Greg, for having the show’s funniest moments, and for getting into some banter with Clive.
Worst Performer: Surprisingly, Mike McShane, for just having less ‘great moments’ than everyone else tonight.
Best Game: …Film and Theatre Styles, over Alphabet. Just a better top-to-bottom game, with more equally good moments.
Worst Game: Props by default

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S03E15, or Never Take a Bath With Another Man

Clive announces right off the bat that this is the first ‘All-American’ Whose Line in the show’s history, which is definitely a turning point for a show that started with a british mindset. Tonight, we have the three guys heating up the US tapings, Mike, Ryan and Greg, but joining them is…a very strange case.

George McGrath hasn’t been on a taping since Series 1, and it was the ill-fated Episode 6, cited by many to be the worst of the show’s history (which I disagree with, as Graeme Garden saved it). He’s also…a very strange person, having been credited as a writer and performed on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, and actor in a recent…softcore-gay not actually porn parody thing?? Ah well, I’ll let it slide. This is his second and last appearance, which means S1E6 was good enough to keep the option up for a return, but this one wasn’t good enough for another one. Again, very strange case.

Story: George tells ‘My Favorite Toy’: Ryan, Mike and Greg act out.
Moral: Never play with electricity

(Or would George star in the parody ‘My Favorite Boy Toy’? I’m sorry, I’m still vexed’)

This game is very haphazard, and comes down to, heh, who lives, who dies, and who tells the story (I then receive a knock from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s lawyers). George did well enough in his first go, but there were too many little hints of ‘I can’t control the story somebody help I hate this’.

The american audiences are silly, because already the story and moral amount to a sex toy joke. It’s fantastic.

George does well enough, getting Mike to play Santa, and setting things up, but Ryan takes it further.
Ryan: “Hey, St. Nick…it’s easter, what the hell are you doing here?”

This game is very strung along by George, but Greg and Ryan do have moments to save it, like when Greg enters as another boy, going “Hey Delbert, what up?”

George: “His friend suggested they both take a bath together.”
Greg: “….why don’t we go take a bath together, I suggest…”

The game does get to the outcome George wants it to, as he strings them along to their message.
Greg: “I THINK WE’VE LEARNED SOMETHING FROM THIS, DELBERT.”
Ryan: “We sure have- number one, never take a bath with another man…”

The game ends. George took a bit too much control with the scene, stepping over the few funny lines and haphazardly crushing the game into a compact block. Dare I say it, he did better his first time. Stephen Fry at least let them say funny things around his storytelling motifs. But George made the other three’s contributions null and void.

Film and Theatre Styles: Ryan and George (windowcleaner eavesdropping on corporate boss)

Clive: “Sam Peckinpah”
Ryan and George just shoot at each other repeatedly for 20 seconds.

Cartoon style
Ryan coughs: “Look, all the bullets!”
[That might even be more ingenious than Paul’s ‘MISSED!’]

A very brief scene, marred by George not really wanting to interact with Ryan’s character.

Props: George and Mike vs. Ryan and Greg

Ryan: “Now, how would I smuggle diamonds through customs”
[prop falls out his backside]

Brief, but amusing.

Alphabet: Ryan and Greg (showing around the zoo)- Starting with Q

Ryan: “Salamanders, a small lizard that lives in Brazil, I believe.”
Greg: “mm, Tasty.”

I’d like to point out that this is the first scene Ryan and Greg do together, and both of them are really good at this game. The dynamic is there, and it’s only where Ryan completely forgets about the letter O that I got worried, but the game ended soundly, and Ryan was still cracking as he walked back, going “OH, I FORGOT A LETTER…”

Hoedown: Scuba-Diving

Hoedown #2. Ryan hasn’t really realized that this is gonna be the next 25 years of his life.

Nothing really stood out, though Mike’s last verse had the kind of energy that I could appreciate after a very limp first half. George, also, had too many weird looks and noises for me to enjoy.

Audition: The West Side of Oklahoma: Ryan directs, Greg, Mike and George audition.

Glad they brought this back, but this would be the last playing.

Ryan, to Greg: “And, uh, you done any other productions here in New York?”
Greg: “Yes, I was in the all-deaf version of King Lear.”

Greg’s demeanor on the end of the audition is great.
Greg: “WAS I IN THE LIGHT? COULD YOU GUYS SEE ME?”
Ryan: “Yes, you were very much in the light…”
Greg, in one swoop, adjusts his glasses and flips off Ryan.

FROM MIKE’S FIRST MOMENT, I’M LAUGHING.
Ryan: ‘And your name please?”
Mike, whose Mike isn’t completely set: “…KYLE BLOODMAN.”
Ryan: “Kyle, didn’t I see you in a production downtown-”
Mike, semi-lampshading: “Yeah, I auditioned for you a couple of times…”

Mike’s is not only emotional and angry, but it’s hilarious the more it builds, even as he finishes and holds the swaying, angry look towards the camera.

George, doing perhaps the one good thing he’s done all night, arrives with a cigarette as Anthony Newley, “and I’m here to make my comeback.”

George does…well…a very Anthony Newley number, comparing the West Side of Oklahoma…to, well, the East Side of Oklahoma. And of course, Ryan gives him the gig.

Arguably a better round than last time, with better performers and funnier stuff (and less cheating).

Helping Hands: Ryan, with Greg’s hands, pulls over Mike for speeding

As Greg throws off his suit jacket, you can hear an audience member going “oh yeah”, and heckling them. Ryan rolls his eyes and keeps going towards the stage.

Greg’s more elaborate arm movements make this, as they compliment Ryan’s more spastic nature onstage.

Ryan: “I’ve got my hand on my baton, and I’m not gonna take this from ya anymore…”
Greg, for a moment, goes for the crotch area, but corrects himself and goes for the side. Ryan cracks up at this.

Very funny game, with enough to warrant the, again, spry timing.

Party Quirks: RYAN HOSTS?!?!?!?!?
George: Shocked by everything
Mike: school bus driver
Greg: square dance caller

BUT…RYAN HOSTS???

Ryan starts off by singing along to ‘Ballroom Blitz’ by Sweet. This definitely helps.

Greg is on from the moment he enters, cracking me up even if Ryan’s guessing people a bit too quickly.

This is a good game, but it lasts a minute and change because Ryan’s really good at guessing.

American Musical: New York, going to Australia, working in television, skydiving, and having a car broken into

Mike and Greg starting as two car-jackers is a nice choice, as it’s a cool motif to begin this with, instead of just starting with ‘New York’.

George, actually factoring in the audience member for the first time: “Wait a minute…that car belongs to PAM! AND WHILE SHE’S IN AUSTRALIA, I’M GONNA TAKE CARE OF IT!”
Greg: “Yeah? What are you, Marshal Freaking Dillon?”
[“I was always more partial to Roy Rogers. I really did like those sequined shirts..”]

Mike, after George’s skydiving song: “I fell out of a building once..”
Greg: “Yeah, I pushed him!”

Greg has a great moment- George notices a note in the car, and Greg, still knowing about where the car physically is, bonks his head on the side before bending his head in.

Ryan enters as the ‘Big Australian Fairy’, which means it’s another Ryan accent that doesn’t go 100% perfectly.

It ends well, albeit with some rustled mics due to the skydiving positions, but it ends well.

Overall: Comparing this one to E14 is like comparing any two Transformers sequels. One is only slightly better than the last. This one did have one or two more ‘good games’ than E14, but George’s bad improv choices, a lack of Mike in most of the show, and some very bawdy audience moments kept bringing the momentum down.

Show Winner: Everyone!
Best Performer: Ryan, for just giving strong stuff in every game he was in, even when paired with George.
Worst Performer: George, for…not doing the best improv tonight.
Best Game: American Musical. Everything just came together in a nice way.
Worst Game: Hoedown. Just…nothing.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S03E14, or It’s Improvisation, Not Forward Thinking

This is one of two…very, very odd episodes in a row. For instance, this lineup, of Archie Hahn, John Sessions, Ryan Stiles and Mike McShane, could have been one from Series 2, but now that the power has shifted, Sessions, here for his last Whose Line, is in the FIRST seat, while MIKE is in the fourth.

Film and Theatre Styles v1: Archie and John (Robin Hood and future Merry Man)

Ah, you can tell the tide has turned, because John’s here and we’re not playing authors.

The game starts with some references that neither I nor the audience gets. Nice that we’re beginning to lower John’s WL tenure into the ground.

Both John AND Archie are good at keeping up with the Shakespeare style, even with Archie throwing in some wordplay that nearly rivals Colin and Ryan’s from last show.

Now…in the slapstick style…Archie pulls out a whistle and uses it for some falling noises. There’s a general rule in improv not to supply your own props. Archie, like another American performer this season, has a hand that the show plays into perfectly, rather than just adapting to suggestions.

Archie, dog film: “I’VE GOT A 36 DOLLAR DOG WHISTLE, AND THE DOG HASN’T COME…”
BUZZ
Clive: “Alright, I’m not gonna wait here for a dog to come…”
John sees the wordplay and is impressed.

Amusing, but, like usual with John’s scenes, they completely lost the plot.

Film and Theatre Styles v2: Mike and Ryan (passerby helps someone whose car has broken down)

At the suggestion of ‘ballet’, Mike and Ryan look at each other and sigh.
Clive: “Yes, horror…I think ballet is a bit of a horror with these two…”

Clive: “horror”
Ryan: [horrifiedly shakes the locked door handle]

After a relatively amusing horror style
Clive: “…I can postpone it no longer. Ballet.”

Ryan prances over, and motions for Mike to leap into Ryan’s arms. this…does not go well…
Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 7.12.43 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-12-05 at 7.12.32 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-12-05 at 7.12.53 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-12-05 at 7.13.01 PM.png

And THAT is how you end a scene. This had its moments, wasn’t perfect, but BY GOD THAT ENDING.

Song Styles: Mike sings a torch song about a suitcase

Mike: “Can I have a stool for this?”
Clive: “i dunno, depends on what you’re going to do with it…”

Very passionate, powerful song from Mike, giving some of his most vibrant vocal tones in a while, and not going on too long. It even ends with Mike running over and giving Richard Vranch a high-five.

Sound Effects: Ryan’s on the subway. Archie supplies the sound effects.

Ah, yes, one of the last few times Ryan wouldn’t do sound effects. Not that Archie’s have been bad (it was one of the few things he was truly great at on the show), but…Ryan’s are classic.

Ryan’s great at reacting, though. The first ten seconds are just the sounds of the subway system, which…sort of frustrates Ryan, as the train should probably get there, as the scene should probably have something happen in it.

Ryan does have a nice move. He motions to a dog, pets it…then throws it onto the tracks. Archie does have a great ‘AIIIIGH’ noise from the dog.

The whole game leads to Ryan jumping one, squeezing the doors open and getting on…only for Archie’s announcer to go “your attention please…the subway is now out of service…”

An odd game, as nothing happened, but it was a very funny nothing.

World’s Worst- Person to share an apartment with

John and Mike have 5 seconds of a ‘you go, no you go’, before:
Mike: “….what’s ‘rent’?”
John: “I believe that washing causes the body not to be as real and happy as it ought to be…”
Mike, going right up to the camera: “Yeah, I ate all the food. So what? YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT??”

Props: Ryan and John vs. Mike and Archie

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 7.25.50 PM.pngRyan: “I’m sick of bloody froot loops, alright, YOU EAT EM.”

John, in doing an unfunny joke that nobody’s getting, snaps the prop in half. LOWERING HIS WL TENURE FURTHER INTO THE GROUND.

Mike, not taking a single moment for granted: “Man, d’you see those guys in concert when they broke that scythe on stage?”

Audition: Ryan runs auditions for ‘The Dead Greasy Godfathers Society’- John, Archie and Mike audition.

This was a game they only tried in the US this series, and it actually had a few good playings, though this one was…a wee bit problematic…

Ryan, to John, a method actor: “Now, Tony I gather you’ve read the script?”
John: “No, I, uh…I looked at it, and then I imagined what it’d be like to feel it…”

John’s basically sums up his tenure on Whose Line: He gives a really bad acting performance, and Ryan Stiles tells him to go away.

Archie goes up as…well, an Archie Hahn character. Flamboyantly gay, dancer type.
Ryan: “Heinie, what are you doing right now?”
Archie: “I’m doing an off-off-off-off-off broadway production of Rear Window…”

Archie, ONCE AGAIN, skews the improv his way, putting the idea in Ryan’s head that his number has to include dancing, and doing a full dance number with castanets doubling for tap shoes. THAT’S…NOT…HOW…IMPROV…WORKS!

Mike awkwardly comes towards the stage
Ryan: “Uh, name please? Your name?”
Mike: “Uh…Bob Zoom?”
Ryan: “Hi Bob. Now, have you had a chance to read the script?”
Mike: “…..there’s a script???”

Of course, Mike absolutely kills it, doing a short, passionate, character-heavy song, culminating in a HUGELY ENERGETIC NOTE, and Ryan running on, going “you’ve got the job, Bob!”

This is a well-structured game, one well-proctored  by Ryan and well-ended by Mike, but John and Archie meddled with the momentum, by overdoing it, and, well, cheating.

Clive even deducts 500 points for Archie’s prop incident- “It’s improvisation, not forward thinking, that we want here…”

Helping Hands: Ryan (with Archie’s hands) complains to waiter Mike

Ryan: “Taste this soup, it’s freezing cold.”
Mike: “…it’s gazpacho, idiot…”

Mike does know that this game requires physicality, so he gets Ryan to do the secret handshake they did in high school, and it becomes this crazy, complete miss of an arm thing that I’m happy I saw.

Of course, Archie grabs Ryan’s crotch, which Ryan quickly responds to (“it’s just…my underwear’s riding behind me…”), but…if this went on the air in 2017 it’d get some headlines, I think, and some op-eds in the Times.

Really great game, crotch grab notwithstanding, as it was more physical than most other games of this.

Film Dub: Ryan and Archie are somewhere strange

This one’s a pretty awkward one, though it has a nice line or two (“that’s my coat!” “yes, I’m going to go take a dump in it, d’you mind”)- Archie does a big ‘no, but’ in the middle, which gets a laugh but doesn’t progress the scene.

Gospel: Milkmen

John and Archie’s…are not remotely good.

Ryan’s, though…
“Milk is a dairy product…just like butter.
It doesn’t just show up in a store, you’ve got to squeeze an udder…”

Overall: I didn’t think Series 3 would have a truly bad show, but here we are. John and Archie kept any scene from progressing, there were a lot of bad improv moves, and even if Mike and Ryan were having nice nights, there wasn’t truly a top-to-bottom perfect game on the entire night. It was just flawed as hell.

Show Winner: John
Best Performer: Ryan, for sticking with it and elevating even some bad scenes
Worst Performer: Archie Hahn, who did more improv no-nos throughout the night. It’s a wonder he ever did another show.
Best Game: Audition. Not pristine, but structurally cool, and with a great ending.
Worst Game: Film Dub. Just not good.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S03E13, or I don’t understand it, I don’t know how THEY do…

Battle of the Duos: Meskimen and Smith vs. Toksvig and McShane. I’m thinking the latter one might win.

Clive describes Jim as ‘arguably the best impressionist since Claude Monet’, which is a nice one.

Authors: Maidens in the Mist
Chris: sporting memoir
Sandi: Agatha Christie
Jim: Tom Clancy
Mike: Edgar Rice Burroughs

Sandi, responding to Chris’ general one: “Another famous sports person, Agatha Christie.”

Mike explains what Burroughs has written, stuff like Tarzan
Clive: “Yes, and Jimmy C-…No-”
Mike, proud that Clive went there: “YES, JIMMY CARTER OF MARS!”

The speed of this game has definitely improved now that John Sessions isn’t a regular. Sandi and Chris give it a nice start.
Jim: “Miles away, the Soviets were observing everything…”

Very funny game overall, with all four working together, and the second round just being a quickfire humor bath.

Explanations: Facuets
Jim: Chico Marx
Chris: Groucho Marx

Getting established comedy duos to do this game work, because Jim and Chris already work well off each other when playing themselves, but playing two of the Marx brothers makes it even faster.

Chris: “Well, actually I already have a drip, it’s a problem.”
Jim: “That’s-a some joke…”
Chris, looking out to the unresponsive audience: “Well, I’m glad YOU thought so…”

Jim: “Yes, I’m the fella that makes the water-go-downa.”
Chris: “…and you’re a plumber?”
Jim: “No, I’m a watta-go-downer.”
Chris, seeing the joke and going for it: “You know, I used to have a wife who was a wattagodowna.”
After the audience goes wild for this one, Chris, to the camera, goes “…I don’t understand it, I don’t know how THEY do…”

Jim: “You shouldn’t hang around a man who’s working, it makes ya tired.”
Chris, looking around: “I didn’t realize I was hanging.”

Really fun scene, with good impressions and good, heh, interplay.

Film Dub: Mike comes home from the Supermarket to Sandi

Very haphazard scene, with a lot of muddied accented back and forth, and reacting to the scene, but the ending’s great- Mike’s waiting for someone to come onto the now-revealed screen, and it’s a guy with white hair.
Mike: “IT’S….IT’S…..IT’S PHIL DONOHUE!”

Song Styles: Microwave
Jim: Frank Sinatra
Chris: Opera

…did Mike not want to do Song Styles???

Jim flirts with his Frank Sinatra impression- some parts are spot-on, some parts sound like Jim. The song is pretty nice, very sweet, and the rhythm is very Sinatra. I just wish the impression was a wee-bit more centered.

Chris’ song is nice, very well done and with some good rhyme scheme, which is surprising considering he’s not usually left to his own devices. He even fakes out the audience, rearing up for a huge final note and instead giving a very quiet one.

Party Quirks: Sandi hosts
Chris: politician
Jim: old-timer
Mike: zookeeper

Jim: ‘And the house! Oh, I remember when this was just a barn…”

Jim: “and here, where that bean-bag chair is…”
Sandi: “That’s my husband actually…”

Jim describes his desire for an egg cream, like from the olden days.
Sandi: “An egg cream…that’s fantastic, I didn’t know eggs could cream themselves.”

Sandi’s doing a much better job of letting people interact, mainly with her but also with each other.

As Jim is guessed, when Clive can’t exactly remember the quirk, Jim exits to the podium, going “AND OLD CLIVE, I REMEMBER YOUR MOTHER…”

Fairly nice game, with a lot of great work all around, and Jim having a great time.

Film and Theatre Styles v1: Chris and Jim (boss letting employee go)

Man, they are doing these late in the show!

Chris: “You’re gonna have to go, Mitch. This is your swan song.”
Jim: “my swan song? We don’t even make swans at this factory…”

The Martial Arts style leads to some near-Stooges battering around with Jim and Chris.

Having two very white guys do a Blaxploitation style was not a good idea at all- Jim sends this into a very, VERY cringey place.

Clive: “How about we do a bit of Bergman?”
Jim: “He hit me….and now I still feel such strong feelings towards him.”

The style actually works, and culminates in both men making emotional Swedish Bergman noises.

The scene actually has a nice, and final, ending, with the Western style wrapping things up diplomatically. It wasn’t the greatest scene, but it wasn’t as horrible as it was during the Blaxploitation bit.

Film and Theatre Styles v2: Mike and Sandi (visiting someone in prison)

Mike: “I haven’t been able to see you here because…I’ve been seeing someone else, BUT I LOVE YOU!”
Sandi: “I KILLED YOUR MOTHER FOR YOU!”
Mike: “…and THAT’S WHY I LOVE YOU!”

Sandi, realizing a different meaning halfway through: “Yes, with that simple blow I killed your mother, for I have power in my fingertips you clearly don’t know about…”

Sandi, at the dramatic culmination of the Horror style, announces that “IT’S ONLY TWO DAYS TIL MY PERIOD…”
Mike’s expression grows to one of, well, horror. So yeah, that worked.

In the 10 seconds in which Sandi and Mike hold their positions, Sandi, out of the corner of her mouth, goes “……I can’t believe I said that…” And then both of them, in their positions, crack up.

It ends semi-clumsily, but it’s a good enough scene, with that one hysterical moment.

Gospel: Bus Driver

Sandi notes verbally that it’s a very difficult game for her (“because I’m british”)
“But Lord, I love you through the teeth…which is much more uncomfortable than being loved form underneath.”
This, once again, cracks up Mike.

Jim’s gospel verse is actually pretty great, and even gets Richard to go into a different chord in the third bar, which gives it a very cool feeling overall, once which the audience eats up.

Mike ends this one on a great note, as usual.

Overall: Very, very, very okay. The problem was pitting two very different duos against each other, and that it was very difficult to intermix them, so getting a dynamic together wasn’t very successful. Jim and Chris had great games by themselves. Sandi and Mike had great games by themselves. The audience really seemed to like this episode. But it was very off, to me, and a lot of games were oddly structured or handled, perhaps by the dual emphasis on both duos.

Show Winner: Jim
Best Performer: This was very close, but I’m going with Sandi because she had the funnier night and everyone else was…okay.
Worst Performer: Chris. He was much better than last time, with many more jokes, but he still brings up the rear because Jim and Mike did more throughout the show than he did.
Best Game: Explanations. Nothing was really top-to-bottom fantastic except this and Party Quirks, and I laughed at Explanations more.
Worst Game: Film Dub. Not a very coherent one, save for the ending joke.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S03E12, or It’s Not Like the Sheep was Underage

The story so far: In Episode 5, Colin Mochrie makes his debut on Whose Line. This had made people very angry and has widely been regarded as a bad move.

Not really, but…it’s regarded that Colin’s debut left a bit to be desired, as he was tired, nervous, and not up to par with everyone else. The producers thought this as well, and when it came time to move production to New York, they were dead set on emphasizing Meskimen and Smith. Ryan Stiles had other ideas- he lobbied Leveson and Patterson to give Colin another chance, given the correct circumstances, sleep schedule, and environment, and that he’d do them proud. This was, after all, Ryan’s comedy partner from Second City we were talking about.

Nevertheless, the producers relented, and we got Episode 12, featuring Colin and Ryan, together at last, as well as Josie and Mike standing by for contrast.

I dig Mike’s Mickey Mouse pocket square.

Film and Theatre Styles v1- Mike and Josie (buying a gun)

Josie’s acting in the Horror style is pretty great, just macabre enough.

Clive: “Sports film”
Josie, pointing the gun: “I’m not sure if it’s quite right for me-”
Mike, running in front: “Okay, I’ve got the rhino suit on…”
And then Mike does this sort of rhino run around that…cracks me up, and kind of reminds me of Colin’s velociraptor impression.

Josie’s burlesque song:
“Oh, this man’s very funny, he’s a very funny one, and ladies you should see, the size of his gun…”

The scene ends well, but it didn’t seem to have a ton of momentum in my opinion.

Film and Theatre Styles v2: Colin and Ryan (fixing a roof)

GUYS IT’S HAPPENING! RYAN AND COLIN ARE DOING A SCENE TOGETHER!!!

Right as they go onstage, Ryan shakes Colin’s hand and gives him a ‘you’ll do great’ look. He knows full well that this show is for him, even if he doesn’t.

I do adore Clive’s American accent, which he uses to  make fun of audience members “PORN! PORN!”

Already, they’re great at establishing a duration of time, a relationship…and Colin points out “look, you’ve used salami to cover the hole…”

The Surrealism scene is a classic, as both just turn it into this weird musing on salami, ending in both waving their arms at the camera going “YAY FOR SALAMI, YAY FOR SALAMI!” The whole audience, and Josie, are digging the hell out of this.

The kung-fu style is also great, because of how shoddily they dub for themselves, and how Colin hits himself in the face with a weapon. Also, it’s very odd seeing him with a great deal of hair, flapping down when he bends over.

Shakespeare
Ryan, giving one of his usual Shakespearean oxymorons: ‘Yay, but if I were a man like my woman, I would be my life.”
Josie absolutely loses it here. In an ‘oh my god’ sort of way.
Colin: “I do not mean to prick your allusions, but if you were a woman, thy prick you should not have!”

Clive asks them to finish on a B-Movie. Colin, as he does, takes this the wrong way, and tries swatting a bee. Ryan follows, and Clive ends the scene on that note.

As the first ever Colin&Ryan scene, this is a rather great one, with both having great laughs and great moments that’d mark the rest of their friendship.

World’s Worst- Person to defend you in court

Mike: “MY CLIENT HAS BEEN A FINE, UPSTANDING MEMBER OF THE COMUN-HEHEHE, I can’t keep this up…he’s guilty…HE’S GUILTY!”
Colin: “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury…it’s not like the sheep was underage!”
Colin: “My final summation will be done by…Quicky, the hand-puppet. “ladies and gentlemen…”

Very funny round- Colin and Mike had the better moments

Helping Hands: Mike duels Ryan (with Colin’s hands)

And on top of this, this is the first time Ryan has to do a game with Colin’s hands. The first of many.

I love the high-class french accents and postures they use, as well as the faint slapping. It’s a very, very silly, near-Pythonesque scene.

Ryan: “I, myself…choose a bazooka…”

This is a very quick game that doesn’t really require the use of hands, but…I admire it enough to let it slide.

American Musical: Being a songwriter, Living in New Jersey, having a cold, having travel difficulties, and going to France

Not sure what’s odder- Musical in the 1st act of the show, or Colin in Musical.

Also, note that Matt the audience member comes from Montclair, New Jersey, summer home of Stephen Colbert, and somewhere I’ve been once or twice on particularly expensive days.

Mike starts his segment with a really nice point: “I’m a songwriter…so I can’t get a job…”
His whole segment is great because Richard knows the right sort of tone of music to start things off with.

Ryan comes in with an accent- this is a momentous occasion. His french accent is so silly and over the top that it works, as Ryan’s accents usually do.

Ryan’s France song is extremely good, in one of the few times that Ryan shows vocal prowess in a game- it’s also a very poignant number, especially in comparison to the first one with Mike alone.

Ryan, on French women: “They stay with you, day after day.”
Mike: “Aw, man…not like New Jersey girls…”
Ryan: “BUT THE CHEESE…SMELLS BAD…”
Mike, not resisting an easy joke: “…so does New Jersey…”

There’s a very amusing bit, where Ryan has a conversation with a Concord, Colin, in French- Ryan, a comedian, is using fake, exaggerated French, while Colin, a Canadian, is using ACTUAL FRENCH.

Josie comes in as an air-hostess, in order to shore up all the plotlines and finish with a nice number. It’s a very nice, well-sung moment that Josie and Ryan can collaborate on, with some great rhymes. Mike even finishes the whole thing with a very happy moment, and Colin doesn’t even have to sing, or speak English.

Fantastic game, very feel-good and very fun. Rivaling even the first Musical Film Review

Song Styles:
Mike: Country Western song about Glasses
Josie: Madonna song about the subway

Mike’s number is a pretty nice one, though the guitar track sounds less country and more Glenn Frey or Neil Young. Mike’s song does make it very country, singing about his wife, a pair of glasses.

Clive, for Josie’s number, asks for another something people hate. Some audience member shouts out ‘John Major’ for some reason.
Clive: “We can’t have John Major, that’s far too political..and half of you haven’t heard of him…”

Josie’s Madonna number is brisker, but just sexual enough to be worthy of being a Madonna song.

Party Quirks: Colin hosts
Ryan: peeping tom
Josie: vampire
Mike: thinks he has an invisible friend

Colin Mochrie is a very underrated party quirks host. He’s only done it a few times, only when there’s not a fourth seater that’s good at hosting, or when Robin Williams is in the building and he doesn’t want to guess.

Colin’s great, because he does give the contestants enough time to cooperate with him, and each other (especially Ryan), and then he guesses. Josie he actually has a really nice moment of pseudo-sexual tension with, before saying “you know, I always loved having vampires over…”

Very brisk game, thanks to Colin’s nice guessing skills, but still a really fun one.

Props: Mike and Colin vs. Ryan and Josie

Props and Musical should have been switched, but oh well.

Screen Shot 2017-12-04 at 5.51.18 PM.pngRyan: “HARRY, WE’VE GOT YOUR MOTHER DOWN HERE…”

Screen Shot 2017-12-04 at 5.52.16 PM.png
Colin: “…it was horrible, Larry the Leprechaun went right through the shredder…”

Nice enough round.

March: Dog-Sledding

Ryan does one of his first ‘vulgar cop-outs’ in a singing game.
“I don’t know what it is, I think I’m rather lucky, when you get a dog in the sled, you really have…”
He pauses, and quickly moves on. The audience slooooowly gets it.

Colin has a truly great one, about shooting his dog in the feet, and then the dog returns later “looking for the guy who shot his paw (pa).”

Mike ends it with high energy and exuberance, as per usual.

Overall: A very nice show, with a lot of great moments, and a lot of important moments in the show’s history. Not only did Ryan and Colin work well with each other, but they worked well with everyone, making great jokes throughout the night. Mike was masterful in the middle half of the show, taking Song Styles and Musical to the next level. My gripe is that Josie seemed a bit upstaged by the Americans, sort of like Episode 10, but she still did alright enough.

Show Winner: Ryan
Best Performer: Ryan, for having another really nice New York show, even with Colin by his side.
Worst Performer: Josie, for giving an underwhelming performance in the States.
Best Game: American Musical, narrowly dodging out F&TS v2, by being top-to-bottom great, and allowing everyone to shine.
Worst Game: F&TS v1, just for having the least amount of great moments.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S03E11, or And Now…My Accent has Gone!

Well, this is an odd one. I mean, not the Greg and Mike part- it’s Series 3, they’re supposed to be here.

No, the odd part is the other two- Mark Cohen, who had a nice enough debut in E2 but was slightly bawdy, and John Sessions, in the first of his final two Whose Line episodes. It’s the equivalent of pairing Andy Samberg up with Derek Jacobi.

Also, a note that Mike McShane….Mike McShaved…as Prince of Thieves wrapped before Mike flew out to the US. So, R.I.P. Mike Beard…for now.

Authors: She’s Gotta Have More Macaroni and Cheese
Mike: Lewis and Clark
Mark: Mario Puzo
Greg: Millie, the White House Dog
John: Ernest Hemingway

Clive, on Greg’s style: “Is that an actual author?”
Greg: “Yes, it’s Barbara Bush’s dog…and she’s a damn fine writer.”
Clive: “…I thought it was called Dan Quayle, but nevermind…”
The audience groans/boos at this.
Greg, chuckling: “Welcome to America, Clive…”

Also, ONCE AGAIN, John picks the obvious author just to be pretentious. Good to see that, even if it looks like times are tougher, he can still be the same old git.

I’d like to point out that Mark is doing a DeNiro impression for Puzo. Puzo didn’t exactly write Godfather Part II…

Greg: [dog noises] “He had a horse’s head, and he had a horse’s ass…IT WAS DAN QUAYLE!”

John STILL GETS A GOOD 10 SECONDS MORE THAN EVERYONE ELSE. DOES THIS SHIT END???

This is a pretty good round, though, as the plot stays intact, Mark cracks up, Mike’s going high energy, and…
Mark, mid-crack-up: “They continued to make love…”
Greg: “DOGGY-STYLE.”
The audience loves this one. So does John, as it takes him a second to recover from this.

Film and Theatre Styles v1: Mark and John (borrowing something from a neighbor)

MARK AND JOHN??? AH, THE SAMBERG-JACOBI COMBO COMES TO LIFE!

Someone shouts out ‘PORNOGRAPHIC!’. Mark, in response, goes back to his seat. It is only the force of Greg grabbing Mark’s ass that gets him back onto the stage.

Mark and John do a really nice scene-setup, of the relationship and the setting…and then John goes “Can I borrow your wife.”
OH MY…JOHN GOT FUNNY!

The surrealist style brings out the best in this, as, for the second time in his short WL tenure, Mark pops out from under someone’s legs. Then, John rides him around the stage, for the second time in HIS WL tenure.

Mark and John both do really well in the Commedia style, and it surprises me that Mark has such a grasp on it (obviously John would).

A relatively nice scene, especially considering the reputation of these two as performers.

Film and Theatre Styles v2: Mike and Greg (son telling a father he’s smashed the car)

In two lines, Mike and Greg establish everything you need to know in just their vocal tones.

Thank God both Mike and Greg have seen their fair amount of David Lynch films (especially Blue Velvet, as both seem to be channeling Frank Booth), as this style is fantastic, and manic.

The Ibsen style goes well, with dueling Norwegian accents, though it ends with Greg stumbling, going “and now…my accent has gone.”
BUZZ
Mike: “Let us take a tour of Denmark with your accent.”

Clive: “Hitchcock”
Mike, taking him literally: “Good evening.”

Greg pulls out a really nice Peter Lorre, which is great, despite…the fact that i don’t think Peter Lorre ever appeared in a Hitchcock film.
Mike: “It’s not that I hate you…get into the shower…”

Greg then turns into Norman Bates (finally figuring out someone who WAS in a Hitchcock movie), and moves around Mike, doubling as Norman and his mother.
Mike: ‘….I love it when you use me as a split-screen montage…”
BUZZ
Both of them stand there, trying not to crack up. Once Clive ends it, they crack.

That was a masterful F&TS, culminating in a fantastic Mike quote, and some really funny stuff throughout.

World’s Worst- Idea for a TV program:

Mark: “This is ‘Bob Dylan’s Speech Class’!”
Greg: “Hello, and welcome to the Disney Channel’s ‘Snuggles, the Lovable Python!’

I do enjoy Mark’s bemused expression whenever Clive buzzes him right after the concept. Like, he’s almost betrayed. Every time.

Very nice round, with a lot of silly stuff from Mike.

Props: John and Greg vs. Mike and Mark

Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 12.03.46 PM.png
John: “Daddy, when you give me a hula hoop, do you really have to put me in the microwave?”

Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 12.04.54 PM.pngJohn: “…this snake likes itself so much…”

Pretty fun round, with Mike and SURPRISINGLY JOHN giving good stuff.

Song Styles: Mike sings a disco song about underwear

This is a very, very funny song about incredibly tight underpants, making up for its brevity with Mike’s effort.

Party Quirks: Mark hosts
Greg: auctioneer
Mike: US Football Coach
John: bad mime artist

Greg, obviously, nails the auctioneer voice immediately when he enters, not even shutting up for a decibel and going around trying to sell things.

Mike’s entry is the second time tonight a hand has come near Mark Cohen’s ass.

I do find it funny that Mark forgets the word ‘auctioneer’ exists. Like…we have those here, y’know…

John, as usual, talks through his….WHICH IS QUITE MADDENING CONSIDERING HE’S PLAYING A MIME.

Gospel: Lawyers

Well, believe it or not, JOHN SESSIONS ACTUALLY SINGS IN A SINGING GAME. I mean, it’s not his best, and he makes it about how bland LA Law is (all that time in the US really doing ya in, eh John?), but still.

Greg has a rousing start to his:
“My name is Perry Mason…I never lose a case…
Everybody’s always waiting…for Della to sit on my…”

Mark’s, of course, is pretty high energy, complete with a nice-sized pelvic thrust towards the end.

The energy that these four reach on that last beat…that’s something pretty special.

Overall: I was honestly not expecting much from this one, but lo and behold it gave some of the strongest dynamics of the season so far, by, ironically enough, returning to basics for a spell. This show, structurally, felt very Series 2, right down to the inclusion of John Sessions, and yet it worked out in more contemporary ways. Mike and Greg soared over this episode, the former having some great jokes, and the latter giving a performance more indicative of his later years. John was better than he’s been in a while, and a ton happier, too. Mark, despite bringing up the rear, tried, and had some nice moments, but honestly he wasn’t really right for the show when it comes down to it.

Show Winner: John
Best Performer: Mike by a hair. He just dominated the middle half of the show, and had the best lines in F&TS
Worst Performer: Mark, but not without effort
Best Game: Film and Theatre Styles v2, for being an all-time classic, and bringing the best out in Mike and Greg
Worst Game: Party Quirks, for being, essentially, the weak link in the show.