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.”
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…”
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???”
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]
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?”
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?”
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
Greg: rap artist (oh no…)
Ryan: thinks he’s a reptile
Greg’s reaction to his quirk:
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.