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.
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.”

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.

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.

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.


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).


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