Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S05E01, or FLOOD!

After 4 seasons of building Whose Line into a well-oiled machine, and deciding who deserves to stay on the program…now, we coast.

Series 5, at least according to me, was one of the last seasons where any legitimate progress was felt, in terms of production trying to shift the picture. From here on out, we kind of know what we’re getting, and there won’t be any large-scale changes. After Paul Merton, Jim Sweeney and Steve Steen leave (this season), it’ll basically be the end of UK-led shows, and a step into the Ryan-and-Colin direction for good. Not that any of that’s a particularly bad thing, it’s just not as spontaneous as the first 4 series were.

Tonight features a lineup we’ll be seeing several times from now until Series 7- Greg Proops, Tony Slattery, Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie. At this point, these four’s inclusion together to start the show was nearly a foregone conclusion.

Tonight’s show is also the first of many to be shot at Whose Line’s new home, after their old studio home was used for more cinematic endeavors.

Scenes from a Hat:

Clive: “Robin Hood selecting his merry men.”
And we’re off to a rousing start

Clive: “Before toilet paper.”

Colin and Ryan’s ‘kiss and tell’ is a clever one; they kiss, then Ryan puts an apple on Colin’s head, and fires an arrow. Wrong Tell.

I love the ‘librarian jokes’ bit, because there’s a genuine Greg Proops laugh that he himself has to shush.

Clive, hesitantly: “…yyyes, two hairs left on Clive Anderson’s head.”
Ryan and Greg come onstage, bouncing.
Greg, giving the obvious joke: “Sure is lonely up here…”

Clive: “Your worst nightmare.”
Greg: “Hi, I’m Clive Anderson, I’M IN YOUR DREAMS!”
Screen Shot 2018-01-27 at 2.18.00 PM.png

Better round than the last few we saw in the US.

Film and Theatre Styles: Tony and Greg (passenger and stewardess)

Clive, responding to suggestions: “LOVE BOAT!!?!?!? Oh, is that just your nickname for me?….I’m more tugboat actually- NO, NO…”

Someone in the audience shouts out ‘DAVID MILLER’
Tony gives a quick look of ‘…REALLY now…”
Clive: “Yes, well we already have pantomime…”

Very quick, but I’d like to note that someone in the UK audience is wearing a Philadelphia Eagles football cap. At press time, the Eagles are set to play in this year’s Super Bowl, and this particular American supplier of british panel show nonsense is a fan of theirs. Let’s just assume, if you’re reading this years later, that they did well and didn’t lose to the Patriots.

Greg: “Duty free, duty free, overpriced stuff you don’t need…”
Tony: “I’ll have a couple of useless things, I’ll take the teddy bear for 92 pounds…”

The horror style ends with Greg spitting soup onto Tony, with Tony being caught a bit off guard as Clive buzzes in.
Clive: “…let’s do a pantomime…”

Tony uses the, I believe, Paul Merton technique of introducing the idea of a song…then throwing it to the other participant. Also, Richard Vranch comes in with backing for Greg’s panto song, which is rare for a non-singing game.

Greg instructs part of the audience to go, as a backing vocal, ‘spit spit spit spit’, and after a few beats of this, he turns back to them and goes ‘SING DAMMIT!”

By the time the entire audience is involved, and Tony’s half seems to be winning, Tony cracks up right as Clive buzzes in. He didn’t think they’d get that far.

Tony, Shakespeare style: ‘WAIT…You cannot do this at your leisure, please show me the safety procedure.”

A pretty fantastic game through-and-through, with both participants having a ton to do, and the scene being loose enough yet still followed.

Questions Only: Colin confronts Ryan about a girlfriend

This game is still a two-person venture, which puzzles me, as they hate this version of it.

Unlike the last one, this actually has more of a dramatic edge, and the scene description makes it simpler to actually carry out a scene.

Ryan: “Can you satisfy her as I can?”
Colin, unzipping his trousers: “DOES THIS ANSWER YOUR QUESTION??”
Ryan, after the applause has died down: “…where did you buy that?”

Plus, the scene escalates to the point where the conflict is Colin took of Ryan’s penis in a car accident and now has it somewhere. They’re both so willingly on board with it, too.

Then, the game culminates in Ryan grabbing the missing appendage from Colin’s pocket and twisting it back on. Of course it has to end then, they can’t go any further.

Very funny game, funnier than the last one, but I still prefer this as a quick-fire round.

Superheroes: Global Warming
Greg: Undercover Elephant Man
Ryan: Man Who Talks Really Really Slow.
Tony: Flatulence Boy
Colin: Captain Ballerina

On Clive’s suggestion for a World Crisis, there’s a loud voice in the back, with either a Scottish or North Country accent, yelling ‘…FLOOD!’
The sole cry does crack up most of the audience.

Clive mentions the real style, Global Warming, and attempts to explain it to Greg.
Greg: “Yes, and it leads to FLOOOOODS!”

Greg: “I better turn on the universal bummer viewer monitor- I sense something’s happening….AND I NEVER FORGET!”

I adore the visual of Ryan, true to his identity, saying ‘OOOOOOHHHHHHH SHIIIIIIIIIITTTTT” really slowly once he realizes the world crisis.

Tony, starting a trend: “I’m sorry I’ve been so long, I was having my bikini line waxed!”

Colin, as Captain Ballerina, nearly falls over demonstrating his new prowess, but Greg keeps him from falling over.
Colin, realizing the plot hole: “…….OH! I’M NO HELP AT ALL!”

Ryan, as he’s about to leave: “…WEEELCOME BALLET BOY!”

One of the funnier all-around Superheroes rounds we’ve had so far. Even Clive agrees.

World’s Worst: Person to take confession

Colin: “…done it…”
Tony: “Carry on” “MAAAHHH” “Shh…”
Ryan, with the best one: ‘Everything’s always YOU YOU YOU. WHAT ABOUT ME!?!?”

Some pretty basic ones, but still a nice round.

Props: Ryan and Colin vs. Greg and Tony

Giant chili peppers vs. misshapen wads of paper. Not at ‘wacky foam stuff’ yet, but getting close.

Greg, with the pepper on his nose: “I’m Pinocchio, who are you?”
Tony, out of ideas: “….Pinocchio’s friend!”

Screen Shot 2018-01-27 at 2.45.15 PM.pngColin: “We should never have let the poodles play on the road…”

Screen Shot 2018-01-27 at 2.45.56 PM.pngTony: “Ladies and gentlemen, my first guest….Brigitte Nielsen!”

Funny round, with more bizarre ideas showing up as it went along.

Scene to Music: Ryan has come to fix Tony’s fridge

Ah yes, a game that would have many a many fun moment in the next few series.

Ryan starts the scene by lifting something up.
Tony, realizing what hasn’t been established: “…yes, come in through the window…”

The music in question is a very 1940’s-love-story-esque track, which causes Tony to spin around in admiration.

This ends up being a very broad scene, with Tony and Ryan using as many opportunities as possible to try and make the other one aroused. It does, however, lead to this visual:
Screen Shot 2018-01-28 at 12.54.17 PM.png

Ryan: “OH…I’ve spilled the oil…”

Very simple scene, but still pretty funny. Also, we don’t get to see the Tony-Ryan combo often, and this was a great use of it.

Stand Sit Lean: Ryan, Colin and Tony are in a chip shop

Another improv standard.

This game works really well with Tony and Ryan, who both have the idea of changing positions in order to screw everyone else up.

It gets tricky, but funny-tricky, after a bit. There’s a moment where both Tony and Colin stand up, but they both have to lean, and then change from that. It’s amusing as all hell, and there’s definitely more humor in the changing physicality than in the scene proper.

Incredibly funny game, just made sillier as it went along.

Helping Hands: Tony has gone to find out about pet care from Ryan (ft. Greg’s hands)

….if this is the one I’m thinking it is…poor Ryan…

Ryan starts the scene by chucking the stuffed cat across the stage. Taste is already at a low.

Ryan is about to put some of the canned cat food in the can…but then says he wants to have a bit himself, and Greg…feeds Ryan some of the cat food. You can trace every subsequent Helping Hands where Ryan has to eat something disgusting right back to this moment.

Then, even better, he asks Tony ‘CARE FOR SOME’, and eventually Tony, after being egged on by the audience, and Clive, takes a spoonful.

Ryan takes some of the powder…and snorts it. And then, drunkenly goes “WHERE’S FLUFFY…WHAT IS FLUFFY? IS IT A CAT OR A DOG?”

Tony, grabbing a carton of water: “I bet you’re thirsty, aren’t you.”
Ryan, with traces of cat food still in his mouth: “YOOOOOU BET I AM!”

The scene ends right as Ryan starts licking milk from a bowl, probably as Clive has seen enough.

Hoedown: Exams

Clive comments that this game is always popular with the contestants. Ryan, after hearing that, sarcastically taps his fingers and leaps to the step.

Note that the Hoedown, for the first time, is at its more familiar key, the one it’d be in for the rest of the run, as well as the US run.

Greg gets his off to a nice start, ending with a solid Dan Quayle slam that…may have been slightly belated.

Colin’s is a great one- he talks of studying very hard, only to find out ‘it was a urine test’. Glad to see people are finally getting the hang of what to do in these Hoedown verses.

Tony begins his eventual habit of giggling to himself directly before he has to begin a Hoedown verse. He does end it well, though, saying people should ‘get through exams by doing lots of cocaine’.

A pretty nice Hoedown, cast disdain aside.

Overall: Nice way to start the series. Tons of great performances here, with Tony working really well with everybody, especially Ryan, and Greg stepping up in a way he hadn’t in a few series. I’d say that Colin was the quieter of the four, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he was bad, just the least heralded. Ryan is still leading the charge, here, and that’s not a bad thing- he far exceeds Mike McShane’s and John Sessions’ ability to carry an entire panel through a show. Some nice game additions, and some funny moments all around.

Show Winner: Tony
Best Performer: Ryan, for continuing his fantastic material into Series 5
Worst Performer: Colin, for staying a bit to the background this show
Best Game: Superheroes. Not even a FLOOOOAD could stop this one, with all four doing really funny stuff.
Worst Game: World’s Worst, just by default.


One thought on “Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S05E01, or FLOOD!

  1. The new home being the London Television Centre (later known as the London Studios) which was the home of London Weekend Television from the 1970s onwards. Carlton Television and GMTV were also based here from 1992 and started broadcasting on 1st January 1993.

    The audience member shouts “David Mellor!”, a Tory MP who was the former Secretary of State, he had to resign after the Sunday newspaper The News of the World published a kiss-and-tell from a woman he had an extra-marital affair with. This story would later form part of the phone-hacking scandal on the part of News International leading to the Leveson Inquiry on further phone-hacking by the wider press and media and closure of the News of the World newspaper in 2011.

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