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.
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 #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
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.