Andy Parsons: “It’s like Friends, isn’t it? They call them ‘The Sunbed Episode’, or whatever. This is gonna be ‘The Cow Jacket Episode’
Dara O’Briain: “Yeah, ‘The One with the Cow Jacket’…”
Don’t get me wrong, there are entertaining things to be had, like another episode with Greg and Ryan interacting with Josie Lawrence, plus the RETURN, AFTER A SEASON AT BAY, OF THE GREAT AND POWERFUL MIKE MCSHANE, but to be honest, this episode can be summed up with one article of clothing:
Yep. There it is. Take it in. Ravish in it. Because that’s one of the most eye-catching fashion statements we’ll have until Ryan rolls out a certain orange shirt.
Also, note that Clive marks his monologue by making an El Dorado slam, which will have some siblings in about two episodes.
Also note that THIS is what Ryan’s wearing:
and THIS is what Mike is wearing:
And the fact that, on top of all of that loudness, the black-and-white cow jacket is the one that gets picked up by the fans…that says something.
Film and Theatre Styles: Ryan and Josie (visiting in hospital)
This is new, but because of the scene, Ryan brings a chair down with him, which is an odd touch but one i’ll take.
Clive tries to decipher the suggestion of ‘weepie drama’
Clive: “Sort of a three-tissue drama or something…or is that a different sort of film?”
Clive reads out the scene description, saying “that’s why the chair is there…that or NHS cuts…”
The first moment of genius happens when Josie throws the alcohol in Ryan’s IV right as we hit ‘disaster movie’, and it starts overflowing and spurting out of Ryan’s mouth, which is a fantastic visual, even for early in the game. Hell, he even has some spurt out of…another place on his body.
Clive: “A bit of Bolshoi ballet.”
Ryan, in getting up, pulls up his pants, which is a nice move. Then, as a ballet move, still has the alcohol spurting out his ears.
Then, after three jumps assisted by Josie, Ryan looks over to Clive, nearly breaking, begging for him to stop. He does, thankfully.
Clive: “A sort of weepy, sort of sad movie.”
Ryan: “…You pulled my groin…”
Josie’s acting gets the right kind of melodramatic once it’s revealed that Ryan might die. There’s even a point where Josie has another loud declaration, and Ryan whips his head away to shield from her acting.
Ryan, in and out of tears: “…I will STAY with YOU here….forEVEERR…”
A pretty fun F&TS, with good work on both sides, even if it was kind of basic for the most part.
Song Styles: Josie and Mike sing a love ballad about a paperweight
Ah yes, the return of the famed Mike & Josie duets. Very nice.
In the very first moments of this game, the chemistry between Josie and Mike is already so strong that I immediately realize how much I missed Mike McShane on this show.
Josie does have the great line of “come on, baby, put your weight on me, and treat me just like paper”, which works so well for these two.
Very fun song, where Mike and Josie hold a nice last note, as Mike, ironically, lunges downward a bit on it, before he cracks a smile along with Josie.
Clive: “That’s funny, you’ve just seen, improvised, the next entry for the Eurovision Song Contest….that should win, shouldn’t it?”
Whose Line: Greg and Ryan (recruiting from the trenches)
A rare Colinless Whose Line, with Greg playing nice foil to Ryan, as he usually would during this era.
Ryan: “I’m a marine! And in the Marines, our motto is… ‘I demand to have some booze!'”
He’s not wrong.
And then a second later, as Greg makes a point, Ryan sneaks a flask.
Greg: “I remember when I first joined the marines, my recruiting officer said to me…’lick my earlobes and call me mama!’…You wouldn’t mind doing that right now, would you?”
Ryan: “You were in the Navy!”
Ryan: “There’s only one thing you can say to stop me.”
Ryan has a moment where he thought Greg was gonna do his line, but now he has to pivot and read his…and then panics when he can’t read it, before going “…DIP IT IN GIN AND REDUCE THE SWELLING!”
There’s a moment where Ryan feels ashamed of saying that, stepping back, worriedly.
Greg: “I like you, Simpson, but there’s no time for that, we have to go-”
Ryan: “COME ON! WE’VE GOT THE BOOZE RIGHT HERE, WHY NOT??”
Greg: ‘I KNOW WE’VE GOT THE BOOZE!…We’ll dip it in gin later!”
Greg: “But now, our battle cry, before we go out- ‘PUT ON THE WETSUIT AND COVER ME IN TRIFLE.’
Ryan, shrugging, begins to put on a wetsuit.
Another fantastic game of Whose Line that definitely picked up as it went along, and had a truly hysterical moment with the ‘dip it in gin’ line.
Stand Sit Bend: Josie, Ryan and Greg are at a singles bar.
Greg: “Hi…My name’s Phil.”
Ryan: “Hello…I’m Gary.”
Those are the only two names Ryan ever uses.
There’s a wonderful moment- as Ryan and Greg are trying to hit on Josie, Ryan sits down, and Josie and Greg are left standing…then both try to lean at the same time, which also doubles as a pass. Very funny moment.
Plus, as Greg reintroduces Ryan as Gary, ‘my newfound friend’, he playfully kicks Ryan, who high-fives his foot. It’s such a wacky, wholesome moment.
The scene reaches a natural end when Ryan asks Josie to dance, but Josie sits this one out, so Ryan and Greg dance with each other, each volleying for positions, which gives a fun visual to end on.
Quick game, but very successful, and very funny.
News Report- Little Bo Peep- Greg and Ryan in the studio, Mike and Josie in the field.
The intro zoom-in, which now makes me crack up just by hearing the music, is set to Greg trying to pop a zit, or a cold sore, on Ryan’s lip, before seeing the camera. Fantastic stuff. And then…
Greg: “Good evening, I’m Tongue Deeply.”
I love Ryan’s expression when Greg says ‘we have an expert on SHEEP here today’. Ryan winces, but internally goes ‘alright, I’ll go and do this…’
Ryan: “Well, I, uh, I know it wasn’t virgin wool, I’ll tell ya that much…”
And then, the immortal line from Greg:
Greg: “Oh my gosh I have someone coming in my ear right now…”
The audience cuts him off before he can continue. Even funnier Ryan confusedly checks his pants to make sure it’s not him, and then resumes, realizing it was an idiom.
Mike, as Bo Peep: “It didn’t happen at all. I went out back to take a piss, I come back…[annnnd he breaks]…I don’t believe I just said that…I’m sorry, I was drinking with the sheep, I found them in a pub…”
Greg, to Ryan: “What about leaving them alone and letting them come home wagging their tails?”
Ryan: “Would you come home wagging your tail if a 300 pound woman was pissin’ on ya?”
[AND I’M DEAD]
Ryan, under applause: “I think the sheep are gone, my friend. THEY’RE GONE. BERMUDA. THEY GOT A TICKET. They’re not coming back.”
Mike, as Mary Mary Quite Contrary: “Well, I know how to take care of sheep, I understand them, I talk to them, I read them stories, and I make the right kinds of foods for them. Bo Peep…you know, we’re talking about ritual abuse, we’re talking about stunted childhood, we’re talking about shaving corn circles on their backs, and it’s not a very nice thing to do.”
Ryan’s final comment is “Uhh, SHEEP SHEEP, WHERE ARE THEY?”
Afterwards, he looks directly at Clive. I feel like his original ending line was too racy [I know, a game with ‘someone’s coming in my ear’ and ‘a 300 pound woman pissin on ya’ got racier?], so Clive had him redo the last bit, and Ryan did so at gunpoint. Or maybe he just couldn’t think of a better line, and thought it was odd that Clive laughed at it.
And then, right as the camera zooms out, Ryan checks Greg’s ear, referring to the earlier comment.
That scene…was perfect. Absolutely perfect. And I laughed hard at the entire thing. I’ll say that Josie had the least to do, but even she had little things like ‘see you later, Tongue’, and very subtle jokes that the audience didn’t get. Mike had some fantastic lines, piss or no, Greg was a fantastic proctor, and Ryan just pulled the scene over the edge. I don’t know how they did that.
Song Titles: Greg, Mike and Ryan are in a laundrettes
One of the toughest games to make work on the show, one that the US version would make into a quickfire elimination game (that Brad Sherwood would excel at). Here it’s just a scene game.
Greg: “Dirty laundry.”
Mike: ‘Ah, let it be…”
Rather unspectacular, but, to quote George Carlin, “….they DO get better…”
Party Quirks: Greg hosts
Josie: thinks she’s a cow
Mike: riverboat gambler
Ryan: President’s bodyguard
First of all…someone who isn’t wearing a cow jacket thinks they’re a cow???
OF COURSE, JOSIE GOES RIGHT FOR THE JUGULAR:
Josie: “Hello Gr-…what are you wearing that waistcoat for, are you taking the mickey?”
And then, of course, Josie asks if anyone wants milk, and…squeezes her udders.
Ryan’s done this sort of thing a bunch of times, so of course he nails it, running around, finger in his ear.
Ryan: “Has the sax arrived yet?”
That is a very nice, 1993-era reference, and I’m glad it exists.
Pretty nice game, though nothing truly eye-popping happened outside of Josie delivering a joke that had her smirking the second she read the card.
Helping Hands: Ryan (w/ Greg’s hands) mixes a cocktail for Josie
Ryan sees all the alcohol in front of him and smiles. This is gonna be a fun one.
Clive: “You’ve got all the accouterments there, plus Greg strapped to your bottom.”
Ryan starts the scene by spitting ice cubes up in the air and attempting to land them in a glass. This works on the second try.
Ryan throws a few nuts into the glass with bacardi already in it.
Josie, not wasting an opportunity: “It’s a peanut colada.”
Ryan, impressed: “YES!”
The best part of this one is Ryan saying ‘a very carefully poured-out amount’, and greg just spilling alcohol all over the table.
Then, Ryan shakes it by using the successful method of having Greg clasp his hand over it and shaking it from there.
The scene ends with Ryan downing the entire glass as Greg keeps forcing it towards his face, and Ryan taking it all in as the rest of it runs down his chin. Then, immediately, he spits everything back into the bowl of ice.
Musical: Teaching a business course, going to australia, and coming third in a rock and roll championship.
MUSICAL? IN THE POST-SESSIONS ERA? WELL ALRIGHT THEN! This may either be THE last of ONE OF THE last Musicals done on the show, which is a pity because I did come to enjoy this game when they did it (right).
Mike: “I’ve got one more business to take care of, but after that, let’s get our guitars and go to AUSTRALIA….HOME OF ROCK AND ROLL!”
Mike, as a part of the awesome rock-led first segment with Greg: “We live on a diet of sour milk and koala turds…and we make up all the words.”
Ryan comes in with an australian accent, and has to wedge around a song where he doesn’t know where it’s going. He still comes out admirably though.
Josie comes in as the third member of the band, and gets us to the rock competition, which starts the third, rock segment.
Greg, after a second: “…WELL, CLAP GODDAMMIT!”
This last number is a really exciting one, with everyone having something to do, a cool motif, and a dance break from Greg to end it all.
Not perfect, but a pretty solid Musical, and I’d be fine if this was the last one ever.
Greg and Ryan’s credit read is a pretty funny one, as they heckle the crew, but it ends with the immortal line, from Greg: “HEY, DAN PATTERSON….oh, no, he’s the producer…”, followed by Ryan and Greg stopping in their tracks, absolutely cooked.
Overall: Surprisingly much more than ‘the one with the cow jacket’. A recovery from last show, and a pretty solid show all around, with some truly funny moments (All of News Report, Josie in Party Quirks, Greg and Ryan dancing in Stand Sit Bend, Greg catching the ice, the last bit of Musical) balancing out minor flaws (Song Titles). There was this really fun vibe the whole show, that got everybody loose, and made sure everyone was giving their all. I can’t really think of people who stood out as the best or the worst, because everyone had games where they excelled, and nobody made any bad improv moves, and I’m glad that we’ve reached a point in this show’s history where I can say that. Still, I may have to give an edge to Mike McShane, for standing out in every game he was in, and giving some amazing musical moments back to a show that’s been largely surviving without them lately.
Show Winners: Ryan and Greg
Best Performer: Mike McShane, making an astonishing comeback
Worst Performer: Greg Proops, for mostly taking an ensemble approach despite some great lines
Best Game: News Report. Top to bottom hysterical
Worst Game: Song Titles. Not great yet.