Well, a lot has happened in the first 5 episodes of Series 4, without an especially dull moment. Before the move to New York, there was a compilation, which could only help, as these five shows are among the strongest in the show’s history.
Authors: Pant and Ethel, Where are You?
Jim: Arthur Conan Doyle
Paul: AA Handbook
Steve Steen: Jacques Cousteau
Tony: Dr. Alex Comfort
Tony adds that Comfort has authored “the new, REVISED…joy of sex.”
Paul, after Jim supplies plot: “…there are no services on this motorway for the next fifty miles. [looks to Clive for a buzzer]”
Steve: “I turned to look at Pant and Ethel. Suddenly, it took ze form of my hideous enemy, ze shark.”
[there was a bit of Henning Wehn in that impression]
As Steve talks of ‘shifting ballast’
Tony: “…and if you DO shift a large amount of ballast…make sure it’s away from your partner’s face…”
AND THAT’S THE GAME
Short, sweet, and still an outrageously effective round of Authors. I’ll note that this game is way better when played sporadically, rather than in every goddamned show.
Old Job New Job: Jim, Stephen and Tony are plumbers. Steve used to be an advertising exec.
This one was filmed at a taping where we’ve already seen this game. Maybe this one went better…or worse than the ‘spaghetti-yanked offstage’ ending.
Tony shows the audience that a pair of underwear’s been stuck in a pipe. Perhaps trying to call back to the underwear he stuck in his mouth during F&TS that taping.
Stephen: “We washed THIS screwdriver in Daz, and this screwdriver in Omo, and they BOTH BROKE THE WASHING MACHINE!”
I love Tony’s absolutely annoyed look as he grabs the screwdrivers here.
I prefer the one that made the taping, as this one was extremely concise, but it was still funny.
World’s Worst: Person to be Prime Minister
Jim, Steve, Stephen and Tony
Steve and Tony step down at the same time, possibly with the same joke, but Steve lets Tony go for it
Tony, John Major voice: “I’M HEVING A VERY CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF…”
Then, immediately after that, nobody has any. The obvious joke cleared out everyone else’s material.
Steve, with the other obvious joke, as H.W. Bush, “…ah’m gonna be your next prime minister…”
Tony: “…hello, my name’s Jimmy Savile…”
BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ
Narrate: Jim and Steve (in a betting shop)
Ah yes, the first ever playing of what would become a Ryan-Colin staple…but was introduced as a Sweeney and Steen vehicle.
Steve, blowing an easy line: “Yeah, I’d been whistling the speme to thports night- [runs the line backwards] Sure, I’d been drinking that day.”
This game was meant as a primary example of ‘Jim and Steve trying to screw with each other’, using every narration to direct the other person into doing something ridiculous, rather than going about a mystery scene. This works, but not as well as the game would later.
Scene with a Prop: Tony and Paul
The most simple game ever played on Whose Line. Tony and Paul with a sign that says ‘Stop! Children!”
Tony, holding the sign: “STOP! Can’t you read?”
Paul: “I can, yeah.”
Tony: “What’s it say?”
Paul: “It says ‘Stop Children’.
Tony: “Yeah, that’s right.”
Paul: “I’m 34.”
Now, there is an edit after here, which makes me think the scene went on longer, and there was possibly more, but A.) the scene’s perfectly fine as a sub-10-second clip, and B.) Tony probably made it unbroadcastable after that. Something about children might have made this go blue very quickly.
Greg: Afraid of Water
Tony: In love with himself
Ryan: thinks he smells like horses
Ladies and gentlemen, the first full-fledged singing game proctored by Chip Esten. The first of many.
The first number is very quaint, with Greg giving nice stuff, but Chip throwing it over the moon with a very nice rhyme of ‘that nasty H2O’, proving his impeccable rhyming abilities right off the bat.
Tony is caught off guard by the very bouncy tone of his music, so he takes a second’s glance at Richard, and then just starts bouncing around with it.
Chip has a great takedown of Tony, calling him an egomaniac.
Tony, trying the last rhyme: “…have ya got any CRACK?”
Ryan’s verse and comeback is a nice way to end it, even though Ryan can smell the ‘unstable’ pun a mile away.
This game, if anything, allowed for Chip’s longevity on this season, as he’d be an incredible asset in the singing games of this year, especially as Josie wouldn’t make the NY flight.
Props: Greg and Josie vs. Ryan and Paul
A very short round without a ton of highlights.
Alphabet: Jim and Tony (changing room)- starting with F
Two things you’ll immediately notice. Firstly, Jim’s excellent at this game. Secondly, Tony will not miss an opportunity to let out an ‘oOOOoOooooooOOOOOooohhh!”
Tony: “Let’s talk tactics”
Jim: “TACTICS TACTICS TACTICS. SCORE A GOAL! That’s the tactic.
Tony, forgetting what game he’s playing: “…score a goal? That’s not much of a tactic!”
Clive: “hang on…you’ve got it backwards.”
Jim: Unusual Grasp of the Alphabet you have…”
Tony takes 5 seconds before thinking of an X. Then: “….XYLOPHONE, WHAT THE BLOODY HELL’S THAT DOING IN HERE???”
Song Styles: Josie sings a Hendrix song with the opening line ‘on the M25’, and with the closing line ‘who stole my sausages’
I prefer the tactic of giving Josie an object to sing about, but let’s see if this works.
It’s great- when Clive asks for an ending line, Paul keeps shouting out suggestions, and Clive bats him away.
Paul: “WOULD YOU LIKE AN ORANGE?”
Clive: “…I would, Paul, but not for you to do that…”
Josie jumps right into the style, complete with some impressive stuff from Richard Vranch on electric guitar. I’ll say that at times she didn’t always comply with the beat Richard was going for, and the song was a bit clumsy, but the energy was there.
Expert: Greg interviews Ryan, an expert on taxidermy and paperclips
As good as Ryan is at Expert, this may have been his crowning achievement in the game.
This is the position that Ryan holds FOR THE ENTIRE SCENE. He does not blink. He does not move. Even as Greg conducts his interview, he is absolutely immobile.
This is one of the few games in Whose Line history where the audience laughter is constant throughout. Even as Greg is talking, attempting to shake Ryan’s hand, and trying to ask questions, the audience just keeps laughing at Ryan.
The best part is when Greg finishes a question, and Ryan responds with 5 seconds of silence before Greg resumes. The audience dies at that.
Greg, trying to tie the game together: “Now, once the animal is stuffed, what do you use for the eyes? Paperclips, maybe?”
Greg, growing impatient, nods Ryan’s head for him.
As they head back to the seats, Ryan immediately goes “I’m sorry” to Greg, which he immediately brushes off.
Every Other Line: Paul’s an old man looking for false teeth. Tony reads.
Paul: “I’ve lost me false teeth!”
Tony, cracking a bit: “Everything’s fine…”
Tony is great at reading in this game, making sure every line of dialogue, even if it has no context, feels like it has the exact same context.
Paul: “I was wondering if you could send a scuba diver down there to get ’em for me.”
Tony, in disbelief: “…SHE’S THROUGH THERE! She’s through there, laid out on the bed!”
Paul: “Well…then…I’ll go in then, shall I?”
Tony: “She’s been through a hell of a lot in the past hour.”
Paul: “Well, a lot’s been through her, from what I’ve heard.”
Tony, cracking: “SHE’S DEAD!”
Paul, with only one option: “…Well, that’s never stopped me from having a good time!”
Hoedown: Frying Pan (Ryan, Greg, Tony and Chip)
Like last Hoedown, this doesn’t get funny until Tony’s verse, where he ends by saying “I use all my fried food to burn Jeremy Beadle!”
Chip’s isn’t much, but it’s cute, which is what you could say about this hoedown.
Best Performer: Tony, over Paul and Jim. Surprisingly the brits ruled this one, and Tony had more highlights than his companions.
Worst Performer: Steve Steen, for not having a great deal of standout moments himself.
Best Game: Expert. Easy pick, I know, but this should have been in the show. Psychiatrist and Authors came close.
Worst Game: Props. Nothing there.