Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S08E09, or Isn’t My Face the Picture of Innocence?

I’ll give the producers credit- they did try and make more unusual pairings this season to combat Ryan and Colin. We’ve already had stuff like Caroline & Steve, Greg and Ardal O’Hanlon, and Greg and Rory. Tonight, we see Steve Frost and Niall Ashdown, two Brits that sort of complement each other in humor. This is Niall’s last appearance, which is a shame, as, like Caroline, they should have taken a chance on him in S9.

Clive introduces Niall as “someone who was such a big hit after his first time out, and so we’ve rushed him back, only a year later”, which leads me to believe that this one was filmed before E5. Chronologically, this would explain why this ep’s 3-person Mission Impossible came before the first 2-person one.

An interesting note- Niall and Steve are wearing green and pink shirts respectively, while Colin and Ryan wear yellow and red shirts, albeit under jackets. We’d have to wait until S9 to get a fully colorful show in terms of outfits.

Questions Only: In a Scout Camp

Niall and Ryan’s round is great, because Niall is coming at Ryan being all serious, and Ryan is deflecting everything by being stupid and/or overly nice (“ARE YOU JOHNNY MILLER?”) Niall, not even coming close to winning this one, leaves.

Ryan: “Is it apparent that this is my first trip?”
Colin: “What d’you mean?”
[Colin is so quick on this that by the time the camera cuts to  him he’s done saying this]
Ryan: [leaves]

Steve: “D’you know how to put up a tent?”
Colin, his old standby: “Is the Pope Catholic?”
Steve, trying to one-up him: “…does a bear shit in the woods?”
Colin: “Can you get a badge for that?”

Steve: “How old are you?”
Colin: “…is 4 the right answer?”

Colin, poking a fire-pit: “Would you like to hear a scary story?”
Ryan: “d’you know you’re on fire?”
Colin: [jumps back]

Ryan: “Don’t you look guilty?”
Colin: “Isn’t my face the picture of innocence?”
Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 5.44.43 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 5.45.08 PM.png

A quick, and pretty fun Questions Only round. Nice amount of momentum to start the show with.

Film and Theatre Styles: Ryan and Colin (missing goldfish owner and suspected thief)

Clive has fun this week with audience suggestions, ridiculing the section behind him, or ‘The Silent Ones’, for not shouting anything, and getting scared half to death by someone loud from afar.

Ryan, of course, begins the scene by miming something in his mouth. So reliable.

Colin: “OPEN UP!”
Ryan gives him the goldfish back
Colin: “…I see the cat in there too”
Ryan hands him the cat
Colin: “…that’s not mine!”

Colin’s little Muttley laughing makes the American sitcom bit, substituting canned laughter for just looking at the audience and grinning like an idiot.

The Addams Family:
Ryan: [Lurch noise]
Colin: “…see what happens when you eat goldfish?”

Ryan, in trying to talk to Colin, snakes his hand out of his jacket, like Thing
Colin, knowingly: “What’s that Thing?”
Ryan: [smirk]

X-Files style features a great David Duchovny impression from Ryan, inspecting the hand.
Ryan: “Look at this side: ‘made in Uranus’

Runaway Train
Colin: “Oh my god, we’re heading for a mountain!”
Ryan: “Oh my GOD, can anything save us from this?”
Colin: “…well, there’s a tunnel, that should help…”
That is a perfect ending line, but Clive doesn’t take it, as once the audience dies down, Ryan and Colin are still rocking back and forth in a scene that should have ended at that line. So, Ryan does the next best thing and does the buzzer noise himself. Clive has no choice but to end the game.

A pretty fun, if strange, F&TS game. It did feel more broad than some of the ones from last show.

Song Styles: Niall sings a love song to Catherine the secretary 

Catherine is initially very shy and bashful about the whole thing, but once Niall starts the scene with a little point toward her, I imagine she’s fine

Niall has some pretty basic lyrics here, but the passion and musicality he puts into this one is impressive, and is another great song of his.

Eventually he does get to the raunchier stuff
“I wanna do it to you, again and again
Come on and squeeze all the ink out of my fountain pen!”
Catherine, immediately:
Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 6.06.28 PM.png

A very nicely done song by Niall, possibly his last one that made air.

Number of Words: surgery
Ryan: the surgeon: 1 word
Niall: his assistant, 3 words
Steve: a nurse, 5 words
Colin: the patient, 2 words

Ryan: “scalpel”
Niall: “there you go”
Ryan: “…TURN…”
Nobody caught this, but Niall removes the scalpel from Ryan’s hand. It’s a nice joke. The distraction is Colin arriving late for the surgery, which gets a nice reaction.

Immediately, you can see Steve’s difficulty with this game, as he’s forced to count on his fingers behind his back (“YES, I BROUGHT IT….MYSELF.”)

Niall: “Are you ill?”
Steve: “NO…I’m just a little…”
And then, without a word, Steve just bobs his head back and forth in a silly way.
Ryan: “Inebriated?”
Steve: “Yes! You’ve seen through it.”

Steve, with the anesthetic: “I’m just going…to do…”
Ryan: “HURRY!”
Niall: “Just count to ten!”
Colin: “One, two-” [slumps over]

Steve: “Are you sure you’re…doing…?”
Niall: “….it properly? Yes!”
Ryan: “YES!”

This scene does get very silly quickly as Ryan grabs Colin’s heart, then keeps grabbing more hearts out of him as Colin watches. “TWO!” “THREE!” Like a bizarre episode of Sesame Street

Colin gets up, healed
Colin, fainting again: ‘oh shit…’

As the four head back to their seats, they’re all counting on their fingers to see if Steve’s line made sense. Ryan, with his fingers, shows Steve how far off he was, at the seats- “THAT. WILL. BE. FIVE. HUNDRED. POUNDS. PLEASE.” Steve cracks at this.

An incredibly silly, yet effectively funny game. Steve’s ineptitude at this didn’t hinder the game; if anything, it made it funnier.

Props: Ryan and Colin vs. Steve and Niall

Colin sarcastically races up to retrieve the prop, perhaps in response to someone telling him to be happier in a pickup.

Colin doesn’t seem to be loving this round. After a few seconds with Ryan on the ‘see-saw’, he’s already glancing at Clive, in a ‘BUZZ ALREADY’ type of way.

Steve and Niall’s are fairly normal suggestions, but it’s the zeal and energy that they put into them that makes them stand out.

Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 6.22.26 PM.pngNiall: “See, I told you I was a real redhead…”
Steve has a similar reaction here to Caroline’s ‘doing me own drippings’ line.

A low-key props, but not without that huge Niall joke

Sound Effects: Colin is a cowboy. Ryan does sound effects.

Colin starts out walking, without many sounds. He looks at Ryan confused. Ryan eventually comes in with the ‘KUH-CHINCK’. Colin nods.

Lots of amusing Colin moves here. Colin walks into a saloon, whose doors make noise…he then greases them until they don’t. He goes in, where there’s a piano player…which he shoots, immediately.

Lots of ‘KUH-CHINCK’ in this game, but eventually Colin gets into duel stance and grabs his guns…before frantically pulling his belt back up. Classic.

A characteristically goofy SFX, starting the trend that Colin will just start killing people, or being violent, for no reason in these games.

Film Dub: Ryan is the police chief dressing down the other members of his force, played by Steve.

Ryan: “Well, DUE TO BUDGET CUTBACKS, we’re going to have to remove ALL THE POINTS FROM OUR HELMETS!”

I do absolutely adore the voice Steve uses for his characters here, as it’s so ridiculous and YET IT FITS, especially with the short, squat guy sitting down.

Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 6.31.49 PM.pngRyan: “Now, who wants a cigarette, I’ve got ’em all attached to my jacket here…”

Ryan: “We’re ALL gonna start smokin’ now! We’re not allowed to have guns anymore, so we’re gonna have to SMOKE out the enemy. […] You, why are you sitting when I told you to stand?”
Steve: “I’m admiring your wallpaper, it looks like a map! Where’d ye get it, Lord or Astley?”

A nicely silly and well-done, if quick, Film Dub. I like it more than I should, mostly for Steve’s voice.

Mission Impossible: Colin instructs Steve, Niall and Ryan to wash up

Colin is one of the few to bring it back to the original series as the informant, saying “Good morning Mr. Phelps”, meaning that Steve Frost gets to be Peter Graves, or Jon Voight, here.

Colin: “Your mission, and remember this is a tape so don’t answer,”
Steve: “Sorry!”
Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 6.38.01 PM.png

Colin: “Your mission, should you choose to accept it, and remember, if you refuse to accept it, a fat man with a saw will kill you…”

Colin mentions breaking into the German embassy
Ryan, rewinding: “Did he say GERMAN Embassy?”
Colin: “…break into the Lithuanian Embassy”
Ryan smirks, knowing Colin would do something like that. Niall breaks.
Colin: “Using your incredible powers of disguise, electronics, and…that thing you do, Jim.”
Steve, messing up the continuity slightly but nailing the joke:
Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 7.15.24 PM.png
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Niall, watching Ryan break, breaks again
Colin: “Good luck! Please throw this tape out the window because we can’t get the stuff that explodes.”
I’ve always had a soft spot for Colin as the informant for that line, even though he was better at confusing Ryan in-game. Must have been a consolation prize for feeling lost in E8

Ryan does throw the tape out the window, at which point Colin adds a distant “aaaahhhh” noise. Nice touch.

Steve: “They’re crazy. Lithuanian Agency?”
Niall, smirking: “Embassy.”
Steve: “Embassy. Oh, that’s not so bad, then.”

Ryan does manage to play with Steve’s overdramaticness in this one, in reference to E8’s playing. Steve runs through an exhaustive list of gadgets and supplies. Ryan cuts him off with “LOOK, IT’S JUST ACROSS THE STREET, IT’S NO BIG…”

Steve, at one point, starts yelling something indecipherable at Ryan, which no one gets, especially Ryan. Steve even goes, cracking, “Oh, DON’T USE SURNAMES!”
Ryan, still on edge: “THE SOAP’S RIGHT HERE FOR GOD’S SAKE.”

There’s an obvious edit here that leads us to a quieter moment, where we’ve gotten to the usual red-blue wire conundrum.

The climax of this scene is Steve cutting a wire on the automatic squeezy bottle…at which point, Niall is hit in the face with it, and reacts in horror. Clive ends the scene out of that.

Funnier than the last playing, and more frenzied, but the 3-person format still fails this game, especially Niall, who had nothing to do but correct Steve and die. Steve was also confusing people in this game, taking it way too seriously, and allowing everyone to operate on their own…which is not the right thing to do in an improv scene. Yes, it’s still funny, especially Colin on the tape, but not an especially strong scene improv-wise.

Party Quirks: Steve hosts
Niall: On the dambusters raid
Colin: has 15 seconds to live
Ryan: having an orgasm

Steve gets Niall within 5 seconds. Alright then.

Colin runs through ‘Mississippis’, then says ‘NICE PARTY’ and collapses. Leaving Steve to crack up.

The audience goes WILD when they see what Ryan is. I MEAN WILD.

Ryan does, of course, nail the sex noises, as Steve keeps guessing all of the wrong things in the background, all the wrong sex-related things. Which…gives Ryan all the more reason to keep going.

Even better, Ryan gets louder and louder the closer Steve gets, culminating in Steve yelling “YOU’RE COMING!” and Ryan nodding, under copious amounts of audience applause.

Clive knows Steve won’t get Colin’s, so he does it himself: “HE’S GOT 15 SECONDS TO LIVE, WELL DONE!”
Clive cracks as he heads back to the seats.

A quick PQ, solely due to Steve’s more guess-heavy hosting style, but Ryan’s quirk made it.

Clive: “Well, it’s funny that you immediately recognized Ryan’s orgasm…”
Steve: “We had a late night last night…”

Hoedown: Women

Steve has a surprisingly competent Hoedown verse tonight:
“I’m scared of spiders and animals too
So I really freak out, when I’m at the zoo
But the things that scare me most of all, and occasionally now and then,
Are those great big tall long leggy things they call WOMEENNN!”
Nicely done, Mr. Frost!

Niall’s is forgettable. Colin’s is great, because he confuses women with vampire bats, which is a nice gag.

Not a bad Hoedown, but not wholly amazing either

Overall: This one’s a favorite of mine from the BBC America rerun days, so imagine my surprise that this doesn’t hold up as well as I’d like. There are some nice games, and Questions Only, Sound Effects and Film Dub are as good as I remember, but a lot of the games are the products of rushed decisions by improvisers and producers. Mission Impossible failed because of the 3-person format. Party Quirks didn’t work with Steve as host. Many games were just really weird. Steve had another down night, even if Niall’s stuff was more compatible than truly great tonight. Colin is still owning this season, though, as he saved even some dire games (like Mission Impossible). And yes, this show is still kind of funny, which is why it’s not a complete failure, but a lot of the improv wasn’t great, and from four guys that are essentially professionals on this show, that’s kinda inexcusable.

Show Winners: Ryan, Colin and Niall
Best Performer: Colin, for another night of just being too damned funny
Worst Performer: Steve, down again tonight
Best Game: Questions Only, by default. I would have gone with Number of Words, but the Steve bit took away from the overall punch of that scene.
Worst Game: Props, I guess

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S08E08, or Well, It’s Made Colin’s Evening..

Back to a standard WL lineup: Greg Proops and a jacket, Steve Frost and a hawaiian shirt, Colin Mochrie and Ryan Stiles. This is another episode that’s made up of material from a previous taping, in this case the fun but middling 8×01. Should be fun.

Clive’s intros are extra biting tonight, ending with Ryan and Colin shaking their heads and Greg doing a ‘WHAT??’ expression immediately afterwards.

Film & Theatre Styles: Ryan and Colin (sculptor and nude model)

Clive: “Slapstick SPOOF? You’ve run two things together there, haven’t you? Or is that just your nickname for me?…’slaphead spoof’ more like it…”

Audience member: “Fog”
Clive: “Pardon”
Audience member: “Fog”
Clive: “…I hope you said ‘The Fog’. You deliberately spoke in a very thick Irish brogue…to give us an option of censoring it out.”

Ryan: “DONE. IT’S YOU.”
Colin: “That looks nothing like me! I don’t have a giant hole in my-”
Ryan: [turns it around]
Colin: “…that’s amazing!”

Clive: “Slapstick”
Colin, examining the privates: “Shouldn’t this be…OOPS!”
He smirks, with the clay privates in his hand

Clive: “James Bond”
Ryan: “…d’you see the small penis I’ve carved. It’s also a lighter!”
And with that, he smokes the penis.
Colin: “I’m sorry, Mr. Bond, but this is a no-smoking studio.”
Ryan: “It’s not really a cigarette, it’s actually a small penis.”

Clive: “Star Trek”
Colin, in a great Shatner impression: “…Why don’t you HAVE a BIGGER PENIS?”
Greg loses it at that one

Ryan beams over to Colin, explaining that this is how he got the sculpture so accurate
Colin: “DAMN YOU SPOCK! When I commissioned you to make this, I WANTED a BIGGER PENIS!”
[Steve and Greg are now BOTH losing it at Colin’s Shatner]
Ryan: “You don’t have to yell, Captain. Look at the size of my ears.”

For ‘The Fog’, instead of taking from the John Carpenter film, Ryan and Colin instead just have the scene be very foggy. The scene ends with Ryan trying to finish sculpting Colin’s eyes, and accidentally putting the sculpting tool into Colin’s eyes.

A very sharp, and very fun, F&TS, bringing back memories of the older, sharper rounds.

Film and Theatre Styles v2: Greg and Steve (two people sharing a prison cell)

Someone shouts out ‘Hawaii Five-0’, which Steve chuckles at.

Steve: “Stay off my bunk, alright?”
Greg: “…I could swim in your eyes…”
And already we have the stakes and characters completely set up. Perfect.

I do love the first bit of this scene, pre-styles. Greg and Steve’s characters are fantastic, and there’s some legitimately good acting going on.
Clive, post buzz: “…what a strange prison you must have been in…”

Steve’s Shakespeare is great, and stays in iambic pentameter for the most part, without stopping for a breath.
Greg, in response: “Indeed. Thine mouth waggles like a duck’s butt sliding down an icy hill backwards.”

The funniest part of this is Greg continuing to monologue in Shakespeare while Steve gets closer and closer to him. Greg turns around, sees Steve within inches of him, and his voice breaks while still going about the Shakespearean dialogue.

The buzz hits when Greg and Steve are within inches of each other, as a missed opportunity for a kiss has passed. Under applause, Greg whispers to Steve “I would have been into it”, which Steve chuckles at.
Greg, still under applause: “Soon, my darling”
Clive: “…well, now we know why we don’t do Shakespeare very often, then…”

Clive: “Wallace and Gromit”
Steve, grabbing the hash from earlier: “…mmm! Wensleydale!”
The first of many times Steve would OWN this style.

Then, Greg, as Gromit, motions that he wants some of it.
Steve, still doing a PERFECT Wallace: “…YOU don’t want THAT? That’s BAD for you, that, eh? If I give ya that, WHO KNOWS WHAT’LL HAPPEN?”

Clive: “A romantic love story”
Greg and Steve both give each other a look out-of-character, a “weren’t we just there?” look, which cracks Steve up.

Greg: “Why, there’s been times when we’ve been trapped in this cell together where I could hardly think about anything else but boiling your shorts and drinking the broth…”

Better than the Colin-Ryan one, because of the dynamic between the two, as well as the fluidity of the initial scene. Just a really, really good, well-improvised F&TS.

Sound Effects: Colin has a passionate date at a drive-in burger bar. Ryan does SFX

Lots of little things work in this one: the faucet turning on spontaneously, the car-starting noise just being Ryan saying “YOU’RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE”, and the visual of Colin punting a dog…and it taking 2 seconds for Ryan to do a landing noise.

The climax of the game is also great: Colin feels up his date, which leads to the date repeatedly punching Colin in the face.

A fun, if minimalistic, SFX.

Mission Impossible: Greg gives Steve, Ryan and Colin a mission to dress themselves

THIS must have been the first playing of this. The 3-person missions point to earlier on in the series, as this game would eventually find its footing in S9.

Clive intros the game, saying the voice on the tape “will be provided by the ever-talented…no, it’s Greg Proops. Sorry”
They don’t show Greg’s reaction, but Clive does shoot a ‘beat that’ expression his way.

Greg: “Good morning, team.”
Agents: “Good morning.”
Greg: Good morning.”
Agents: “morning”
Greg: “…hi, how you doing?”
Agents: [indecipherable chatter]
Steve: “I’ve got this thing in my neck actually but that’s because I slept badly.”
Greg: “…Steve, how’s your neck?”

Greg: “This tape will self-destruct in 3 or 4 days, so…use royal mail to ensure that it goes nowhere.”

Colin already seems a bit out of his league, as Steve’s being very over the top and Ryan’s doing his usual stuff. It doesn’t leave anything for him to do, so he goes “I’m gonna go…think about things.”

Ryan, as the camera’s still on Steve: “…I’M STUCK ON A HANGER!”

Ryan also realizes this game is too crowded: “I found some lederhosen. I’ll just dress up like a cheap German hooker and keep a watch out for anything.”
And with that, he goes upstage and mimes smoking. As Colin tries to reclaim attention, the audience laughs at Ryan smoking.

It ends well enough, and there are definitely laughs, but this game was extremely frenzied, without a solid, fluid threadline, and with several instances of performers shouting to stay heard, especially over Steve’s over-the-top performance. The three-person layout would be a bit better next episode though.

Home Shopping: Ryan and Colin sell yesterday’s newspaper, a cup with a hole in it, and John Major

Ryan: “Hi, I’m Derek Montgomery.”
Colin: “And I’m…Bill.”

There is something about the delivery of Ryan’s ‘it’s TIME…to shop’ that kills me here, similar to Niall’s “and I’m Greg PROOOOOPS”. Immediately after, the audience laughs…then Colin turns to him, amused. And Ryan cracks a bit, not knowing why he went that route.

This game’s biggest strength is the Ryan-Colin back and forth, as they’re so quick on each other’s toes that it makes it seem rehearsed. Especially when Ryan’s demonstrating how to use the cup with a hole in it as a hearing aid.

Ryan: “You know, I can barely even remember what I did yesterday.”
Colin: “…well…that really has nothing to do with this.”
Ryan, cup to ear, for the umpteenth time: “I’m sorry?”
Colin: “SHUT UP!”
Ryan: “Okay!”

Ryan: “Who would fall something for that- WHO WOULD FALL for something like that? [smirk] WHO WOULD FALL FOR SOMETHING LIKE THAT?”
Colin: “…I can guess of one person right off.”
Ryan: “Who?”
And all Colin needs to do is give Ryan a look, and a nod. It’s perfect.

Colin, on a use for John Major: “You know…sometimes you just can’t keep that door propped open.”

Not as good as the first round of this, mainly for an overuse of the ‘pardon?’ gag, and the abrupt ending, but still very funny, and with great banter.

Film Dub: Ryan, Steve and Greg move a desk

Ryan: “…it’s because I look like Desi Arnaz, isn’t it?”
Greg: “No, it’s because you have the best hair out of the three of us.”
Ryan: “…I’m the only one who’s GOT hair of the three of us…”

Steve, after 30 seconds go by without his character talking: “I haven’t got much to say in this sketch, do I? Not at all!”

Ryan: “I’m getting out of here, and I’m taking this hat. It’s not even mine yet I’m taking it.”

Not a great film dub, but had some good lines here and there.

Party Quirks: Greg hosts
Steve: good cop/bad cop
Colin: in a hemorrhoids ad
Ryan: Hollywood agent at a party

Steve: “Hey, nice food you got here- STUFF THE FOOD, TALK.”
Greg this one easily, and leaps into the air, while Steve cheers him on. The Steve-Greg dynamic is saving this episode.

Ryan has a great tactic- when Greg goes to let him in, he’s already on the phone with a client, so he motions for Greg to shut it again.

Then, Ryan, after looking around, takes a sniff of coke and offers it to Greg. That, without being too broad, is great.

Greg finally gets Colin’s, and delightfully heads back. This wasn’t an all-out funny one, but it was definitely a great one to watch, especially with Greg’s zeal with guessing.

Moving People: Colin and Ryan have a spy ski chase

Clive, to Colin’s mover: “Put Colin where you’d like him.”
Screen Shot 2018-05-30 at 9.42.00 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-05-30 at 9.42.11 PM.png

Clive: “…well, it’s made Colin’s evening, anyway…”

Clive: “The scene is, it’s a spy ski chase”
Colin: Screen Shot 2018-05-30 at 9.43.33 PM.png

Ryan: “…how did I get this ski up my ass??”

Colin, to Daniela the audience member: “I’m sorry darling, but I’m going to have to leave you now and chase him.”

Ryan: “Oh, Colin, so nice to see you again.”
[Ryan’s mover neglects to move his head, but moves him closer to Colin]
Ryan: “…if that is, in fact, you…”

Ryan’s mover places his hand on Colin’s ass.
Ryan: “HEYYYY…you’ve been working on buns of steel, haven’t ya?”

Colin: “You’re a double agent, aren’t you?”
Ryan: “…how did you know?”
Colin, pointing at Ryan’s chest: “…well, you have a t-shirt that says ‘I’m a double agent’ on it…”
Ryan: “That’s right, I did.”
Colin’s mover moves his pointing hand toward Ryan’s lower half

Colin attempts to get the scene suggestion into play by suggesting that Ryan “NOT” grab those skis and go down the hill, so Ryan says he’s going to. His mover…does nothing.
Ryan: “….HERE I GO….”
Colin: “Well, I’m gonna put my skis on right now.”
Ryan, justifying why he hasn’t moved: “…MY GOD, I’M CAUGHT ON THE LIFT!”

Colin, still trying to help the audience members: “I’m gonna go chase you…it’d be much easier if you were in front of me…”

From here on out, as Ryan and Colin realize that a high speed chase is out of the question with these two, they proceed to riff on where they’re being moved:
Screen Shot 2018-05-30 at 9.51.10 PM.png
Ryan: “HERE I GO”

Screen Shot 2018-05-30 at 9.51.49 PM.pngRyan: “…I feel like singin’ a big broadway tune for some reason!”

Ryan: “…I’ll just ice-skate to the bottom, I suppose…”

Screen Shot 2018-05-30 at 9.52.36 PM.pngColin: “I’ve almost caught you, Jackson!”

A hysterical, well-paced Moving People game, made great by some bad audience participants.

Overall: On the same level as E1, though with a great start and hysterical ending. You can tell a lot of games here were trial runs, like Home Shopping and Mission Impossible, while other games just didn’t work as well as usual tonight. However, both rounds of F&TS were incredible, and Moving People was too funny to be ignored. While this wasn’t a complete failure, it was still enough of a success to separate itself from E1. Steve made a few gaffes in Mission Impossible that detracted from his usual work, but Greg had a fun night, and Colin and Ryan went back to their usual dominance.

Show Winners: Steve and Greg
Best Performer: Colin, for having the funniest lines and the most genius improv moments.
Worst Performer: Steve, for not being on his best foot in the games shown tonight, F&TS notwithstanding.
Best Game: Film and Theatre Styles v2. I nearly gave it to Moving People, but there was something about the Greg-Steve dynamic that was electric in this game, and felt really, really nice.
Worst Game: Film Dub. Annnd we’re back to a disappointing Film Dub streak. At least we get a good one next show. And a better show, in that matter.


Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S08E07 or Thanks for clearing That One up for me, David Attenborough

INT. Dan Patterson’s Office – NIGHT

Dan sulks alone in his office, throwing scraps of paper into a garbage can. Mark Leveson enters, knocking quietly.

MARK: Is now a bad time?
DAN: …What d’you want, Mark?
MARK: It’s just…today’s Whose Line taping needed a fourth seater-
DAN, rising: A FOURTH SEATER! I’d forgotten about that. We’d have gotten Mike McShane, but…he sent us a lovely letter saying ‘fuck off’. I’d completely forgotten about plugging someone else in. We couldn’t have Caroline do it?
MARK: Naw, she was in yesterday.
DAN: Aw, gosh…I should have penciled someone in.
MARK: Calm down, it’s ALL RIGHT….Ardal O’Hanlon said he’d do it.
[Dan nods, and calms himself….then realizes exactly what this means. He then stands and throttles Mark]


Screen Shot 2018-05-24 at 5.29.19 PM.png

Ardal O’Hanlan, standing by: “…sorry about that…”

That, essentially, is what happened when Father Ted actor and Irish comedian Ardal O’Hanlan was asked to do Whose Line in Series 8. He was an odd fit, and he didn’t seem like an improv pro compared to Greg Proops, Colin Mochrie and Ryan Stiles…and yet in he went. Would we have had this problem if Dan and Mark hadn’t barred Tony and Mike from participating after Series 7? No. No we would not have.

I’ll save my judgment for the actual proceedings, but…Ardal definitely stands out in some way here.

Film and Theatre Styles: Greg and Ardal (fireman and owner of a burning skyscraper)

Clive, not understanding: “ER? Are you just spelling out ‘Errhhh?’

Clive: “…and St. Trinian’s. That should sort out Greg.”

Ardal, starting the scene at level ‘I-don’t-give-a-shit’: “…listen, eh, my skyscraper’s on fire…”
He does get laughs here, but no-selling doesn’t always work.

Greg, using his angry muttering towards the end: “I’m going to take this time to tell you that you shouldn’t have used CHEAP BUILDING MATERIAL…it’s the CHEAP BUILDING MATERIAL and SUB-CODE WIRING that are CAUSING THIS CONFOGRATION to…light my buttocks on fire.”
Yeah, as Ardal’s no-selling it, Greg has to do all the work. Lovely.

Clive: “ER.”
Ardal: “…what?”
Clive: “Emergency Room. Or, Casualty or whatever.”
Ardal, still no-selling: “Well, let’s cure them then…”

Ardal, as it’s ER, makes love to Greg first…and then bypasses the buzzer. SO ALREADY, HE’S MADE 3 OR 4 IMPROV FAUX-PAS, and this is EARLY.
Greg, covering: “He can’t hear the buzzer, it’s the passion.”

Science fiction, where the scene finally takes off
Ardal: “This fire began…in such a strange way, mister…”
Greg, alien voice: “YES. IT DID.”
He then begins to walk right up to the camera, full character.

Ardal: “Uh, no, it’s our way of greeting-:
Greg: “THEN, HELLO-” [stabs Ardal]

Not a GREAT F&TS, thanks to Ardal’s no-selling, but entertaining enough, and with a great end-cap.

Whose Line: Colin is ten minutes from his debut as a ballet dancer; Ryan is his teacher.

Ryan: “Look…I’m a little worried about you. You’ve put on a lot of weight in the last year.”
Colin: “I’ve been depressed. But I remember the first thing you told me when I first came to ballet class: “I was brought up by monkeys.”

Ryan: “Now I remember what my ballet teacher first told me when I started out in the theater. He said “Now you know my plan…now I’ll have to kill you.” I GOT HIM FIRST. SLIT HIS THROAT. And then…made it into dance.”
Colin: “And then [dance move] he diedd…”

Colin thinks of a way of combatting taunting, which is to “look them straight in their piggy-little eyes, and say “HEY! SMELL THIS!”
Ryan: “NO!”
Colin: [hops around with his ass to the camera]
Ryan: “No…you save the cheeks for the dance of LOVE.”

After a whole scene of Ryan’s wandering accent, Colin finally goes “Where are you from, exactly?”
Ryan, dropping it: “…Canada.”

Ryan: “You will know you’ve made it when you wake up in the morning and read the reviews in the paper: “Has this been inserted correctly?”

A fairly great WL scene, with some character and non-line jokes coming from both especially in neither one’s gracefulness contrasting with the scene description, and Ryan’s wandering accent.

Let’s Make a Date: Greg chooses
Ardal: Human Thesaurus
Colin: desperate for attention
Ryan: giving birth

Greg: “#2-”
Colin: “What took you so long? I’ VE BEEN WAITING HERE!”

The entire audience laughs when Ryan’s quirk is revealed, as does Greg when he sees what Ryan’s doing.
Greg: “What kind of romance language would you use?”

In the interim between Ryan’s first one and Ardal’s second question, Greg stops and chuckles a bit. Mostly at Ryan’s quirk.
Colin, taking full advantage of this: “I’M WAITING!”

Ardal…completely brainfarts on his second round, mentioning a playground…and nothing else. You can tell that the quirk absolutely fried him.

Colin’s energy during the second round is great, nearly not letting Greg to go Ryan, moving around and blocking him.

Greg: “#3-”
Greg: “Where would you drive me to?”
Ryan: “I’d drive you to somewhere we can get lots of drugs. GET ME SOME DRUGS!”

Then, as Clive tries to wrap up the game, Ryan is still angrily wailing over him.

Greg guesses everyone but Ardal’s, which…makes sense. It’s a good enough round, but it’s carried by Ryan and Colin’s exceptional work.

World’s Worst: Outtake from a Medical Program

Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 4.31.14 PM.pngGreg: “HELLO. AND WELCOME TO OUR FRIEND THE THYROID.”

Ryan: “He’s dead…but…there’s no reason the rest of us can’t be sad-”
Ryan then sticks his hand up the body and does a ventriloquism routine

Colin: [makes an incision, then vomits into it]

Greg: “Mrs. Johnson, it’s a bouncing baby boy!” [bounces]

Colin: “….oh, no, I’m just the janitor”

A bit longer and more fully-formed than most WW rounds, but definitely not pristine. Ardal only went up as part of a Greg suggestion.

Mission Impossible: Greg instructs Ryan and Colin to buy a loaf of bread

The first broadcast rendition of this game. I surmise that the one in episode 9 was filmed first, but this one went out first. This will be one of the premiere games of the next 3 series.

Greg: “Good morning, gentlemen.”
Colin: “Good morning.”
Greg: “Good morning.”
Colin: “Good morning.”
Greg: “I said that!”

Colin, hearing the task: “D’you think we should do it?”
Ryan: “…let’s see what he has to say.”
Greg: “Yes, of course you should do it! This tape will self destruct very very BOOM.”

The first great bit of this is Ryan and Colin sneaking around a corner…and then calling a taxi. Then, while in the taxi, they still bounce along to the theme music in the background.

Colin starts his jetpack right as Ryan rigs him up, resulting in Ryan’s hair catching fire.
Colin: “SORRY! SORRY!”
And, of course, Ryan tries opening the locked door and it’s actually open.

Ryan, overdramatically: “…something smells like bread! Something smells like…pumpernickel…”

Ryan: “You’re gonna have to go in there.”
Colin: “But I don’t have my protective GLOVES!”
Ryan: “Your skin’s made of asbestos. You’ll be fine.”
Colin, recovering: “…oh yeah, I forgot.”

Ryan gives Colin the ‘green wire/blue wire’ conundrum
Colin: “I’m just gonna rip ’em both!”
Ryan: “DON’T DO THAT…..oh, it’s alright!”

Colin disguises the bread as a baby.
Ryan, relying on his knowledge from last series: “Look, a pram!”

There’s an abrupt ending, but it’s still a great debut round of this game. The intricate, ridiculous gadgets are far away, but the teamwork is definitely there.

Number of Words: A casino
Greg: the croupier, 4 words
Ryan: a gambler, 1 word
Ardal: a loser gambler, 2 words
Colin: a floozy, 3 words

Greg, after 2 straight episodes of abuse:
Clive: “Greg, you’re the croupier-”
Greg: “Yes, we have that in America, before you ask.”
Clive, however, biting back: “…it’s your main industry, isn’t it?”
Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 4.49.35 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 4.49.58 PM.png

There’s a moment when Ryan and Greg are onstage when it looks like Ardal’s about to come on, but he instead hangs back. It’s 2/3rds of the way through the show and he’s still nervous as all hell.

Ardal, finally entering: “Any luck?”
Ryan, hiding his winnings: “NO!”
Greg: “How would you like…”

Colin: “Hello, big boys!”
Ryan: “Sylvia!”
Colin: “Look, they’re real!”
Ryan: “BOING!”
Greg: “Don’t distract the players.”
Ardal, with the first funny line he’s had all night: “Distract me!”

Greg ends the game by giving Ardal the money even after he says he’s lost…perhaps just throwing the poor guy a bone.

A bit clumsy, this one, but not necessarily bad.

Superheroes: Moose are Invading the World
Greg: Captain Tact
Ryan: Karate Lizard Boy
Colin: See Through Your Ass, Hear Through Your Elbow Guy
Ardal: Agitated Duck Boy

Clive, having gotten the crisis: “A moose invasion, which would be a serious problem in Canada, not so serious in Scotland, might be a different animal.”
Greg gives him a confused expression, then goes: “Thanks for clearing THAT ONE up for me, David Attenborough…”
Clive: “You’re being Captain Tact, remember, so keep up any rude remarks about me…”

Greg, immediately: “…my, that Clive Anderson program is certainly a witty and intelligent program…well I better switch that over to see if there’s any crisis on the world crisis monitor, it’s of course a fine, british made television, using some of the finest technology available…”
Man, I don’t know what it is about this stretch of episodes, but he’s just been GOOD…

Ryan takes a moment to laugh at his quirk, then goes right into his famous lizard face. He does the full Bruce Lee ‘rip out a man’s still beating heart’ trick on Greg before putting it back in.

Colin’s entrance causes the whole stage to go into hysteria, with his butt in full view of the camera. Greg, though, has to make it clear when Ardal can enter. I’m glad Greg’s looking out for Ardal in all his patheticness.

Greg, still trying to help Ardal: “I’m sure you can find some way to help, in your own, agitated poultry style!”

Ryan, thankfully, saves Ardal: “WAIT! YOUR DUCK CALL SCARED OFF THE MOOSES! [beat] I don’t know what the correlation is here…”

A pretty fun Superheroes game, despite Ardal’s complete cluelessness. The main three were very strong, and even helped Ardal out in his moment of confusedness.

Party Quirks: Greg hosts
Ardal: TV Weatherman
Colin: rapidly getting younger
Ryan: dog going in and out of water

Tonight features FOUR GAMES proctored or set up by Greg Proops. Five if you count Number of Words, where he was essentially providing structure.

Ardal, once he comes in, isn’t really being direct with his quirk, which you kind of need to be in this version of the show. Come in, essentially give it away with some choice dialogue, get guessed.

Ryan, OF COURSE, completely nails the physicality, not only being accurate but also being really funny, and relentlessly silly with his dog face.

Greg does manage to nab Ryan’s first, then goes right to the camera and says, in disbelief, ‘A SWIMMING DOG???’

Colin is astonished when Greg guesses his, shaking his hand. Greg goes “I don’t know why…”

Overall: A step down from the last few, and I think you can guess why. There were some great Ryan-Colin scenes throughout the night, and Greg did a great job proctoring most of the games, but…a lot of the games were hindered by Ardal O’Hanlon’s abject nervousness and passiveness. To be fair, he tried, and got some laughs, but…his no-selling and one-character setting didn’t allow for great improv abilities, which I imagine he knew when he was cornered into the gig. It was a no-win situation for him, and while he tried, he still gave a piss-poor outing, especially compared to the other three.

Show Winners: Ryan and Colin
Best Performer: Greg Proops, for commanding the games, quarreling with Clive, and helping Ardal out when he could.
Worst Performer: Ardal O’Hanlon, for not at all looking like he was prepared for an improv show.
Best Game: Mission Impossible, for debuting the game’s silliness and working as a improv game right off the bat.
Worst Game: Number of Words. Again, this one just had the least amount to it.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S08E06, or DATE ME OR FACE THE BALD MAN!!

The Caroline Quentin Overexposure Tour continues with this episode, pairing her up with Greg Proops, which is a nice enough idea (and will lead to…arguably one of my favorite episodes of this era of the show). Colin and Ryan are also back, because…of course they are.

Questions Only: A meeting between aliens and humans

Clive buzzes Colin out after a brief hesitation
Clive: “Bit too boring, Colin, I’m afraid…”

Caroline: “Do you need to ask?”
Greg: [cracks]

Caroline: “D’you want me to take you anyway?”
Colin: “Can you do it quickly?”
Caroline, taking this the other way: “CAN I???”

Clive buzzes Colin over ‘pardon?’
Clive: “Pardon isn’t a question, I think-”
Colin: “Aah, screw you…”

Clive does eventually buzz Caroline out because “you’re doing so well”

Greg: “Haven’t we met on Uranus?”
Ryan: “…Jim?”
Greg: “BINKY???”
Ryan: “Have you been drinking?”

Ryan: “You’re going to kill me, aren’t you?”
Greg, after holding an ‘oh shit’ expression for 5 seconds: “…INTERESTING QUESTION…”

A fantastic start to the show, with funny stuff coming from all four, even with Colin’s frustrations.

Film and Theatre Styles v1: Ryan and Colin (sewer workers investigating strange sightings)

Clive: “Swedish porn film? An old one, but always very welcome. And I remember you from the last one…”

Clive: “One man show? What, are they gonna shoot the other one?”

Audience member: “The Sooty Show!”
Clive: “Oh, yeah, that’ll sort them out. One of them will have to put their hand up the other one…”

Ryan: “Oh, my light doesn’t work.”
Colin: “It’s okay, I’ve got a match!”

Clive: “Baywatch”
Colin: “…let’s swim in the sewage!”

Clive buzzes on a moment where Ryan and Colin are rubbing themselves down with sunblock
Clive: “…we’re not quite ready for the Swedish, are we?”

Clive: “Let’s go with the Waltons for a moment.”
Ryan: “Well, I’ve…I’ve built ye a shirt out of wood, Gary…now you’ve got a place to find that raccoon that you’ve found in the woods.
Greg, who has SEEN the Waltons, and who knows that’s NOTHING LIKE AN EPISODE OF THE WALTONS, starts dying of laughter in the background.

Clive: “One man show.”
Ryan: [walks offstage]

Colin, left onstage, starts to monologue again: “I remember the sewers…1945……that’s all I remember.”
Greg continues dying of laughter in the back.

Clive: “Swedish Porn Movie”
Ryan, reentering: “MISS ME? …It’s so SMAILLY Down heerrrhe…”

Ryan and Colin during this bit are so silly, and so blatantly sexual, that it’s worthy of merit. Colin keeps reaching down to collect rats, and then going back down.

The scene pauses on Colin bending over and Ryan still looking at Colin’s ass.
Clive: “Let’s try a bit of Disney”
Ryan: “Well, that’s a Beauty.”
Colin: [bends back up]
Ryan: “And a beast.”
Colin: [cracks]

There’s a silly Lassie ending, but it sums up a really funny, and really varied Ryan-Colin F&TS, which would be a lot funnier if I didn’t know exactly what was about to follow.

Film and Theatre Styles v2: Greg and Caroline (shoplifter and store detective)

There’s a loud, indecipherable barking noise from the audience upon suggestions
Clive: “RAH-RAAH? No, go again in English on that one.”
Audience member, slowly and clearly: “Brave…heart.”
[The audience applauds this]
Clive: “Oh, I recognize you, you’re someone who lost in the battle…”

Already, the dynamic between the two is pretty nice. Caroline is stern and adamant, while Greg is energetic and nervous.

In the James Bond style, Greg backs into Caroline, who gets very close and intimate with him…hence the style.
Caroline: “I know that you have something…in your trousers that I need to see.”
Greg: “Don’t touch it, or…you’ll break it and Q will have the devil with me.”
Caroline, opening Greg’s jacket: [gasp] “JAMES!”
Greg: “Yes. It’s new, and it’s extendable.”
Clive: “…well….well, one out of two, Greg…”

Greg saves Caroline’s ass in the Muppets style- she throws on a goofy voice, not being too familiar with the Muppets, and Greg goes into a REALLY GOOD Muppet voice, as he demonstrates how to shoplift

Then, the Ballet style, where Greg and Caroline are really graceful. Greg lifts Caroline up for a fancy bit, and then it comes time for Caroline to lift Greg. She grabs his torso and chest area, which he feels is wrong, so he repositions her hands to around the crotch area. And then he squats. And then realizes that the one flaw in this scenario is…now he’s getting aroused! And he starts trying not to laugh too hard while he’s in this position:
Screen Shot 2018-05-24 at 4.22.10 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-05-24 at 4.22.46 PM.png

Greg: “OHHH-HO-HO. No. No. No no.”
Clive: “Hold it right there.”
Greg: [repositions Caroline and he to where they were when he initially buzzed, the…incredibly nice position he was in before. And he just keeps squatting and coming back up.]
Clive: “Tell me when you’re done, Greg.”
Caroline, finally getting up from this: “HE’S DONE!”
Greg: “I never liked ballet before then…”

Clive: “Braveheart”
Caroline: [as per the style, gets her hands away from Greg’s crotch.]
Greg: “ACH!”

Greg produces an over-the-top scottish accent which gets the audience, and Colin, laughing.
Caroline: “…I cannae understand a word ye just said…”

A wall-to-wall extraordinary game, just from an improv standpoint, and also just from how hard I was laughing through most of it, even after seeing this game several times.

Here He is Now: Ryan and Greg wait for Colin and Caroline, and are discussing which of the two is getting sacked

The second of only two renditions of this great game. Both were played with Caroline Quentin. A shame, because I feel as though Mike McShane would have been great at this one.

Greg: “One thing…when Caroline comes in, don’t call her by name.”
Ryan: “Why not?”
Greg: “…because she tends to cluck like a chicken.”
Screen Shot 2018-05-24 at 4.31.38 PM.png

Ryan: “Colin is not a touchy person. Makes sure you don’t touch him in any way, because he loses all control of his bowels.”
Screen Shot 2018-05-24 at 4.32.52 PM.png

Ryan: “But make sure that you don’t raise your voice to Colin. Because he’ll start to give you his rendition of the Bible.”
Screen Shot 2018-05-24 at 4.34.06 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-05-24 at 4.34.13 PM.png

Greg, knowing exactly what this game’s about to be: “…I don’t think we’ll have any problems with the Bible…”

Colin’s first rendition of ‘losing control of his bowels’ even has a Scottish “ACH NO” attached to it, and a pratfall.

Ryan: “STOP THAT!”
Ryan, grabbing Colin’s shoulder: “Colin, stop.”

Ryan says that they’re going to have to let Colin go
Colin: “OH, and the lord said if you let me go, then I shall let go. AUUUGHHH”

A pretty nice game, though not as good as its first rendition, and without a great deal of stuff from Caroline.

Props: Ryan and Caroline vs. Colin and Greg

Clive is chuckling as he gets Caroline and Ryan’s prop:
Screen Shot 2018-05-24 at 4.39.48 PM.png
Clive: “I dunno what you’re gonna do with that…doesn’t suggest anything at the moment…”

Greg, using his prop as a shield: “DRAW YOUR SWORD, ROMAN”
Colin: [draws his sword on a canvas]
Greg: [stabs him anyway]

Screen Shot 2018-05-24 at 4.42.04 PM.pngGreg: “Billy, I told you if you left the jellyfish out, they’d go solid…”

Screen Shot 2018-05-24 at 4.43.19 PM.png

Sound Effects: Colin has a minute before his date arrives. SFX by Ryan

Colin has to deal with a spotty shower head, which he solves by just spitting on himself in lieu of shower water.

There’s a lot of fun stuff here- Ryan keeps having a phone ringing in the other room, which Colin just karate-chops whenever it does. Colin cuts himself shaving, and is spurting out of his neck for most of the game. Clive even plays himself, ringing the doorbell to speed the game up.

There’s a bizarre ending on here, where Colin accidentally shoots his date after axing through his front door, but it’s a funny enough scene.
Ryan to Colin, approximate: “…boy, glad you had time to add all that in…”

Clive: “It’s a crazy country, America. Even meeting a date turns into a mass shooting..”

Let’s Make a Date: Greg chooses
Caroline: Sarah Ferguson
Colin: escaped convict
Ryan: angry neighbor

Caroline: “If you were on a plate? On a dish? I’d probably eat you whole, and then ask for seconds…”

Ryan: “…I’d just eat ya off the plate, I suppose, and I can guarantee you I’d crap on MY OWN LAWN”
I’ve forgotten how well Ryan can play angry

Caroline: “But I like to ski, I like to holiday abroad…mostly at other people’s expense…”
Greg: “D’you believe a long-term relationship can last?”
Caroline: “Absolutely not. Only with one’s dietician.”

Greg: “#3, what’s your favorite part of where you’re from?”
Ryan: “Well I suppose that everybody knows to KEEP THEIR BLOODY STEREOS DOWN…”

Greg gets the last 2 correct, but guesses that Caroline is Princess Diana, so the wrong ex-royal. The audience even gives a huge ‘OHHHHH’ reaction, before he finally guesses Sarah Ferguson.

Clive: “It was the answers about food that should have given it all away. Lady Diana would have eaten you up and asked for more. She’d have eaten you up and thrown you up again.”
Greg has a silent reaction to this.
Clive: “…and haven’t we ALL thought about that?”

Three of a Kind: Ryan, Colin and Greg are three used car salesman in a locker room

A simple game, with a simple setup.

Ryan, toweling off: “Hey…take a look at this body. Not a dent on ‘er!”

Greg, pointing to Ryan: “I like it, so here’s what I’m gonna do for you. I notice the accessories are a bit smaller than you’re used to.”
Colin: “That’s crazy, what don’t you let me look in the boot first.”
[he checks Ryan’s butt]
Ryan: “Why he’s down a quart..”

Colin, motioning to himself: “What about this body? It was only used once, by an old lady in Pasadena.”
Ryan, pointing to Colin’s hair: “I love how you can take the top off.”

A simple, and surprisingly funny, round of this.

There’s an obvious edit, as it feels very ‘end of the taping’, and Clive rears up an ‘it’s time for’ as if he’s heading into the last game of the taping, which should be Hoedown. And yet we get our next, and last game, which is…

Hats: Dating Service Videos

This MUST have come from earlier in the taping, Props-time, but was pushed to last due to the lack of a real strong ender like Party Quirks or Hoedown…which is fine, as it’s still a great Hats round.

Screen Shot 2018-05-24 at 5.08.38 PM.pngGreg: “…I am Vishnu, the Destroyer.”
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Screen Shot 2018-05-24 at 5.10.16 PM.pngGreg: “…so, d’you wanna go on a date, or you don’t wanna go on a date? Listen, I’ll take you out to dinner, and later on, we’ll have some hunka-hunka boom, uh? ….WHAT’S’A MATTER YOU STUPID BITCH? DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND ENGLISH?”

Colin, sailor’s hat: “…All hands on dick!”

Overall: Despite some structural problems, and the fact that show started stronger than it finished, this is still a personal favorite of mine, solely for the MONSTROUS first half, with both rounds of F&TS (especially Greg and Caroline’s), great rounds of Props and Hats, a masterful Here He Is Now, and LMAD finally jelling into a norm. This is also great for continuing the Greg-Clive arguments from last episode, and though it wasn’t as explosive, it still had some great moments, mostly with Clive winning. Like the last few, there was a very even separation here, with all four contributing great material, without someone standing out in a good or bad way.

Show Winners: Ryan and Greg
Best Performer: Greg Proops. I had to do some big-time number crunching here to separate him from the rest of the pack, but he had slightly more standout moments than the rest, and mastered his scenes with an artful bite (against Clive)
Worst Performer: This was also very hard to separate, as nobody truly did badly tonight, but I’ll give it to Ryan again for another more passive show…and mostly because I cannot, by any means, give it to Colin or Caroline.
Best Game: Film and Theatre Styles v2. Yeah, the Greg and Caroline one. One of my favorites.
Worst Game: Sound Effects, which had the least to it of everything tonight.

That was a testament to having four people who know the formula and can work together without drowning someone out on the program together. And I’m really gonna miss that next show.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S08E05, or JUST GIVE ME ONE LAST SHAG!

We’ve already hit a groove where a lot of the shows in this series are shockingly good, especially coming off of two Caroline Quentin-led shows (and on the verge of a third, and arguably superior, one in E6). Now we have a return from Greg Proops, and a less accessible return for Niall Ashdown, who had a nice enough debut in 7X01, and is back to go up against the performers a few more times this series.

Superheroes: Shortage of Tea Bags
Greg: Super Spud
Ryan: Double-Take Boy
Colin: Extinct Animal Boy
Niall: Extremely Nervous Compulsive Liar Boy

Clive: “…Spud is a type of potato we have over here, or a word for it.”
Greg: [bites lip]

Clive, getting a crisis suggestion: “The butt is late?”
Greg: “YES!”
Clive: “How can your butt be late? It always comes along behind anyway, doesn’t it?”

Audience member: “Shortage of tea bags!”
Clive: “…Okay! Welcome to England, Mr. Proops! This is what counts as a crisis over here.”

Ryan, entering: “Sorry, my butt was late.”

Ryan, as Double Take Boy, is seamless, providing just enough comedic timing between double takes.

Colin: “I came as quickly as I could!”
Screen Shot 2018-05-22 at 6.02.22 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-05-22 at 6.02.32 PM.png

Of course, Colin’s superhero name is just another excuse to do his world-famous dinosaur impression, which the audience, OF COURSE, eats up.

Once Niall enters, his superhero name gives him more outlandish, exaggerated double takes than Ryan’s.
As everyone argues, Colin walks around as a dinosaur, still.

Ryan: “Gotta go, I’m…double parked.”

A very funny game. I’ll say that Niall’s resolution, that he actually stole all the teabags, was a bit clumsily handled, but it’s not a huge deal, considering how funny the rest of the game was.

Secret: Ryan and Colin are butchers. The secret is hidden in the beef

At moment one, there’s something about the dynamic, especially Ryan, that’s especially silly tonight, in a lot of the line reads.

Unlike usual playings, tonight Ryan is the one discovering Colin’s secret, and it’s a good thing, too.
Ryan: “Oh my god…pictures of me…HUNDREDS OF PICTURES…Of ME.”

Colin: “I’m…giving them to my doctor. I want him to perform a Ryanectomy.”
An ingenious moment of thinking from Colin, which the audience also loves.

Colin, explaining his rationale: “BEEF IS NOTHING If I can look over every customer…”
The audience takes a moment, and finally gets this joke.

Colin does some great acting in pleading that he wants to be Ryan
Colin: “The doctors say everything’s ready, it just took them 3 weeks to find the flamingo legs.”
Ryan…surprisingly doesn’t react to this one, even if everyone else does.

The ending reveal, that Ryan is really a cow, is a bit out of left field…even for a game featuring the concept of a Ryanectomy, but it can’t stop the game’s momentum.

Song Styles: Niall sings a love song to Mark the Bank Manager

Oh yeah, I forgot Niall was also a great musical improviser.

This one begins with a funny moment- Clive points to a lady in the audience, and asks her name…only for the bloke sitting next to her to answer “Mark”, thinking it was him. The whole section of the audience claps at this.
Clive: “…well, it’s nice to see you, Mark…I was pointing to the lady sitting next to you, but nevermind that…you got in there first, which is perhaps why people fall in love with you…”

Mark, after being asked for his occupation: “I’m a…er…bank managerish type of person”
Niall: [faints]

Niall, singing like a pro: “Well, the statement came through the door, and I just laughed
I had a 5,000 pound overdraft…”

Niall: “So I went right down…to the bank
Saw a man called Mark who was mysterious and dank”
[Who would have thought that in 1996, Niall Ashdown would invent the term ‘dank’ so tons of dumb teens could use it in the 2010s]

It’s a very fun, very simply-done country-ish song from Niall, especially considering the chain of events that led to him singing to some guy. Insanely well-handled, and with Esten-esque lyrics.

Changing Emotions: Ryan, Colin and Greg are in a log cabin
axe: angry
Flashlight: touchy-feely

Clive: “…and when you have the torch in your hand, you have to be touchy-feely”
Colin: [hands torch to Ryan]

Greg, starting the scene by raising the axe: “…WHO LEFT THE MILK OUT?”

There’s already a great contrast. Greg goes into his furious nearly-word mutterings, while Ryan’s just using his hands to calm everybody down.

Greg, grabbing the torch: “…wow, the, uh…lights seem to have gone out….it’s kinda dark in here, isn’t it?”
And with this, he gets very close to Colin.
Greg, with a line that unfortunately is drowned out: “Is that an axe in your hand?” [or…]

Ryan suggests that someone build a fire, so Colin hands him the axe. Ryan, who thought someone else should do it, goes around and starts passive-aggressively chopping wood with the axe, which is just large enough to be a goofy little prop here.

Colin: “hey, relax…”
Ryan: “YOU RELAX!”
And with that, Colin is stabbed in the gut with the axe. Which is a funny modification on the prop usage.

Greg, with the torch, to Ryan: “That was such a nice thing to do…”
Colin: “Well, now it looks like we’ll have enough food for FIVE DAYS.”
Ryan, with the torch, brushing off Colin’s lower half: “Oh no, you’re bleeding, you’re bleeding…”

Greg then grabs the axe, and starts flailing it around. He then looks to the still-dying Colin, realizes he still has to work with that, and cracks up a little bit.

Meanwhile, as Ryan and Greg have a tense argument with both the props, Colin, with nothing left to do, starts spilling out blood and dropping to the floor.

Then, as Colin’s about to die, they give him both props
Colin: “You know, just beFORE I GO…JUST GIVE ME ONE LAST SHAG!”

Electric. It moved so seamlessly, and had great work from all three, even Colin with the last line. Ryan, as they’re heading back to the seats and the show’s cutting to commercial, is cracking up, saying “diiirtty…”

Number of Words: A Bank Robbery
Colin: Teller, 5
Niall: Teller, 3
Greg, robber, 1
Ryan: robber, 2

Colin and Niall start the scene counting money
Colin: “One-two-three-four-five. [licks] One-two-three-four-five.”
[Applause already]
Niall: “One two three….one two three.”

Ryan: “Withdrawal please”
Niall: “…right. yho, sir?”
[I love the way he phrased that]

Ryan: “HANDS UP!”
Colin: “My god, he’s got a…”
Greg: “GUN!”
Niall: Just act naturally”
Screen Shot 2018-05-22 at 7.15.36 PM.png

Colin: “Do you want small bills, or…”
Ryan: “BIG BILLS!”

Colin pulls out a gun.
Ryan: “You won’t.”
Colin: “…okay okay okay okay okay”

Ryan: “Bulletproof glass!”
Colin: “I forgot about that glass.”
Greg: “HA!”
Niall: “Wait a minute.” [rolls back glass.]
Greg: “….SHIT!”

A very simple, but still hilarious, Number of Words. Colin, once again, had the craftier uses of the limit.

Director: Greg and Ryan act out a scene from Star Wars; Colin directs

A debut for a game that would eventually become a staple of the US edition, and…well, honestly take the place of F&TS once it became a three person game.

Like the beginning of the Drew Carey era, Colin’s suggestions are on pieces of paper, not improvised.

This is a basic game, solely because the movie Ryan and Greg act out is preexisting. Colin’s ‘CRAP. CRAP. CRAP.’ is iconic from the moment he first says it.

Greg has a nice moment where, as Colin’s reading out the suggestion, he lifts up his Vader mask and still emits a deep=voiced ‘WHAAAT?’ Colin is briefly caught off guard by this.

Paranoid style
Ryan and Greg: “…fzzzt- AAAHHH!”

Greg: “I…AM…A member of your family that I can’t disclose right now.”
Ryan: “what are…what are you saying? You’re my father?”

Colin, reading out the next suggestion: “EMPHASIZE EVERY OTHER WORD. EMPHASIZE…every OTHER…word.”

Greg: “…koo-HAAAAHHHHH”
Ryan: [emphasizes every other lightsaber noise]
Ryan: “you’re NOT my FATHERRR”
Greg: “IIII am YOUR…”

There’s a great recurring motif where Colin tells Ryan to shut up every time he tries to talk, which hits him around the third time, as he tries not to crack up.

Colin, reading the final suggestion: “Like you’re strippers. Constipated strippers that emphasize every other word. I’d show ya how to do it, but…LET THE MAGIC WEAVE ITSELF! ACTION!”

A worthy debut for this game, as Ryan and Greg embraced the silliness, and Colin’s director character was at an all time high already.

Sports Commentators: Greg and Niall commentate on Ryan and Colin, two flatmates late for work sharing the bathroom.

Clive; “Okay, you have sport in America, don’t you?”
Greg, who stayed silent the last time Clive had a slam like this, winces a bit, then releases: “Yeah, and sometimes we BEAT the Germans…”
There’s a HUGE crowd response from that one
Greg, trying to cover for that: “I’m just kiddin’, we never play them.”
Clive: “Well, in the war, when you join in…but I DON’T THINK THE GERMANS PLAY BASEBALL, DO THEY?”
Greg: “I’d love to chat, but I’m a little busy doing an improv show…”
Clive, STILL NOT DONE: “Have you worked out what the simple words mean yet?”
Greg, just about done with this shit: “…yes I have, Mr. A…”
Clive: “Jolly good…P.”
Greg: “Maybe you’re confusing this with your other show where you just TALK TALK TALK and never let anyone else talk.”
The crowd seems to side with Greg here, as Clive rears back from this insult.

Eventually, after Clive thanks Greg for plugging his show, the game gets going
Greg: “Good Evening, I’m Niall Ashdown!”
Niall: “…and I’m Greg PROOOOOPS.”
Greg and Niall: [break slightly]

Niall’s over-the-top American color commentator voice [“NOT MUCH ELBOW ROOM THERE, NIALL!] is already cracking up Greg.

What sets this apart from the last round of this game is just how energetic the game is right off the bat. Colin secures the bathroom first, and Ryan has this wide-eyed, ‘OH NO’ expression when he does.

Again, both competitors’ slow-mo silliness is at a high, as it helps that they’re both on the same page as Greg and Niall yelp from the sides.

Greg, mid-crack-up: “Clearly this is a foul, no one is calling it…WAIT, HE’S SHARPENING HIS RAZOR!”
Colin: [hits Ryan in the face with a razor]

Right when the game is delving right into Itchy-and-Scratchy territory, Clive mercifully ends the game, which is just silly enough to keep my attention the whole way through. Yes, Niall was a bit intrusive at times, but Ryan and Colin’s back-and-forth was fantastic, better than last time.

Bartender: Niall
Greg: Lost his Virginity in Spain

There’s only one round present here, and it’s been nationalized like Psychiatrist, with a country instead of a style for Richard.

Clive, in setting up the game, introduces Greg as ‘my special friend, Greg Proops’. Which leads perfectly into the scene.

Clive, to the audience member: “LOSING HIS VIRGINITY? You look like such a sweet girl, and to come up with a suggestion like that…”
Another one: “PUBERTY!”
Clive: “No, let’s not move around that, we’ve got his virginity to celebrate, or losing thereof”

Clive: “And you’re celebrating, for some reason, the losing of your virginity, you must have a long enough memory for that, Greg…”
Greg: [grits his teeth, figuring out exactly what his verse is going to be about]

Niall, putting on an accent: “Would you like some tortilla…oh no, that’s Mexico. Who cares?”

Greg, detailing the conquest: “I got her home, she was beguiling
And when we had finished, she was smiling”

Then, as Greg goes into his second verse, Niall, for the background, adds an ‘AY YI YI YI YI YI!”, which gets a nice laugh from the audience, and Greg.

Greg, finishing up: “The senorita, was no woman
But…was TV presenter Clive ANDERSAAAAANNN…”
Clive: “I remember it well.”

Greg: “He was so gentle, so nice!”
Niall: “Are you sure it was Clive Anderson?”
Greg: “I can’t be mistaken. His head glowed!”

Niall, going into his response verse: “YOU ARE THE LUCKIEST MAAAAN ALIVE!

Niall, ending with one last Greg slam for the road:
“It doesn’t matter about the failing of your plan
When you look like you…you’ve got to get it where you CAAAN!”

Niall and Greg high-five, shake their heads, and head towards the seats, ending this landmark show in a full circle from when we started…with a Greg slam.

Overall: Possibly one for the pantheon, and one of the most wall-to-wall perfect shows we’ve had in a long time. Niall was the more troubled improviser of the four, but even he had his fantastic moments, and worked very well with the other three despite making the most improv mistakes tonight. Ryan continued his recent trend of deferring more to other performers, and standing out less, which is fine. Greg Proops was generally passive for most of the show…that is, until the Clive slams proved too much, and he came ALIVE in the last half, owning games and Clive. For the UMPTEENTH TIME, this was Colin Mochrie’s show, and he had several showcases throughout the night, including Number of Words, Changing Emotions and, of course, Director. This show had SEVERAL stellar games, including Sports Commentators, Director, Changing Emotions, and a Bartender that seemed to be the culmination of the entire episode, and arguably the series. Deserves several watches and lots of accolades.

Show Winner: Niall
Best Performer: Colin, as usual this series
Worst Performer: Niall, for still needing to work on some improv mechanics throughout
Best Game: Bartender, because OH MY GOD
Worst Game: Number of Words. This was not by any means a bad game, but every other game was so good that a ‘funny but simple’ game like this one had to take this prize.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S08E04, or Last Year it was the Pogo Stick!

And now onto another combination to be pitted against Colin and Ryan. Caroline Quentin is back, fresh off of her success in E8, and will be joined by Steve Frost for the first and only time. This is a pretty cool combination, as usually Steve would only be paired with Josie Lawrence.

Clive describes Colin as ‘the funniest Canadian since Leonard Cohen’, which Colin is perplexed by.

Here He is Now: Steve and Colin are waiting for their dates, Caroline and Ryan

A variant on That’ll be Charlie Now, but with less prescriptions and more people being prescribed.

Steve: “You oughta see my girlfriend, she’s crazy. Every time you say ‘hello’ to her, she starts singing a chinese opera.”
Screen Shot 2018-05-21 at 1.06.28 AM.png

Steve: “But if you do shake her hand, or kiss her gently on the cheek…she slaps you really hard in the face.”
Caroline looks to the audience, and excitedly nods, mouthing “I DO!”

Colin breaks one of his own prescriptions for Ryan, mentioning marriage to someone who’s going through a painful divorce.
Ryan, immediately nailing the spitefulness: “I’d be happy to pick up the tab for dinner, but, uh, well THE BITCH TOOK ME FOR EVERYTHING I HAD.”

Caroline, as she’s fantastic at this game, nails both of hers easily, slapping Colin without a breath.

Ryan, as Colin suggested, starts making wild faces upon the mention of his steak, which gets the attention of the entire room, and cracks up the audience.

The scene ends perfectly, with Ryan shaking Caroline’s hand, AND saying hello. She slaps Ryan, THEN goes into the opera, AND THEN Ryan, over Caroline’s opera, starts muttering into a yell about “look a lot like SOMEONE I USED TO KNOW. SOMEONE. I USED. TO KNOW.”
And as Ryan starts furiously cutting his steak, Clive wraps the game up.

A fantastic, high-energy round for a surprisingly well-crafted game. Yes, Steve did sink into the background once Ryan and Caroline entered, but the latter two made this one great.

Sound Effects: Colin is a scuba diving instructor. Ryan does sound effects

Clive: “And your everyday activity is you’re a scuba driving instructor.”
Colin, calling him out on it: “…scuba DRIVING??”
Ryan, in the background: “Scuba Driving?”
Clive: “…with a speech impediment, it turns out”

Colin does help Ryan’s supreme SFX abilities by doing some nice physicality, especially into squeezing into this scuba diving suit.

This is a fairly simple SFX game- Colin farts in the water, keeps screwing up the breathing device, etc. However, there’s a great moment eventually. Once he’s in the water, he gets into his car, and drives, bringing it back to the Scuba Driving theme from earlier.

Eventually, for an ending, Ryan brings in the Jaws theme, which frightens Colin. Ryan even adds the line of dialogue of ‘ohhh SHIT” for Colin, who writhes around while getting slowly de-limbed by sharks.

A pretty good SFX, one that definitely picked up as it went along.

Film Dub: Ryan, Steve and Caroline are at a wedding party

Ryan, very drunk: “I DON’T CARE WHOSE DAUGHTER SHE IS, i had to get drunk on tequila to marry her tonight…”

This is, though, the second Ryan-Caroline scene in a row where Ryan starts fat-shaming Caroline’s character, which is a bit cringe-worthy.

Steve, however, saves this scene. A random new character appears onscreen, which Steve just jumps in and voices “…hello there, I’m the vicar.”
Then, as the scene ends with Ryan’s character falling out of the window
Steve: “……he’s fallen out of the window!”

Not a great Film Dub at all, but if it weren’t for Steve it’d be even worse.

Secret: Ryan and Colin are chefs. The secret is hidden in the oven

Ryan, for an opening line: “And I told them I’d never come to france again”
[This gets way less laughs than Ryan was thinking]
Colin: “…I’m sorry, I really wasn’t listening, why was that?”

Ryan and Colin delve into this really quick back-and-forth between each other that’s incredibly fun to watch, in goofy accents. And this is pre-secret, too.

Colin, revealing the secret: “…why is this ventriloquist dummy in here.”
Ryan, nearly breaking: “Well, I wanted to surprise you. Look, I thought of new ways for us to cook. ‘I’LL COOK WITH YOU!’ This is Skippy, souffle boy. He puts the souffle in the oven. Put it in his mouth. Put it in his mouth!”

Colin: “…what is WRONG with you? EVERY YEAR you try something stupid like this. Last year it was the pogo stick!”

There’s a hysterical bit where Colin takes the dummy off of Ryan’s hand, then Ryan throws it back on, reacting to that, and then they keep struggling over whether the dummy stays on or off.

Then, Colin tells Ryan he has to let him go…which Ryan says, to the dummy, ‘he’s letting you go’, and then has a whole argument with the dummy, culminating in Ryan yelling “HE’S GOT A GUN!”
It’s the most bizarre thing. Even Clive’s laughing at this.
Ryan: “‘GET IN THE OVEN! GET IN THE OVEN!’ NO, PEPE! I’m trying to stop him, I can’t. ‘GET IN THE OVEN!”

Clive: “Well, I think we were losing contact with reality there. I’m gonna give 5 points to Ryan, 5 points to Colin, and 10 points to that little character you brought on there. I’d never seen him before.”

An insane but still hysterical game of Secret, with so many bizarre but wonderful choices throughout the game. Unlike last time, I feel like Ryan carried this one, but Colin had some great reaction moments.

Number of Words: On an airplane
Ryan: the pilot- 1
Colin: the co-pilot- 5
Caroline: the airhostess- 2
Steve: a hijacker- 3

Ryan has an annoyed smirk once he realizes he’ll be using only 1 word.

Steve, appearing on the scene: “FLY…TO CUBA!”
Ryan: “AAAAAAAH.” [turns right back to Steve]

Caroline: “DO SOMETHING!”
Ryan: “WHAT?”
Colin: “Keep calm everyone, I’m a-”
Colin realizes he’s out of words, so he just ponders exactly what he is. Genius.

Colin, taking after William Shatner: “…hey…now…just…KEEP CALM!”

Ryan, into an intercom: “TOWER.”
He looks around, nervously. Nobody’s saying anything.
Ryan, again: “TOWER.”
Steve: “Turn hard left.”
Ryan, as the intercom’s not working apparently: “TOWER.”

Colin: “All right…I’ll create a…”
[he then winds his hand, as if he’s thinking of the word.]
Colin: [thumbs up sign]

There’s a clumsy ending, where Steve is convinced by Caroline and Colin to “jump out the…thing”, and he does.

A pretty sharp, smartly-improvised game of this. You can tell immediately that Steve’s not very good at this game, and he tries to keep from cracking up throughout, but he’s better here than he will be across the game’s run.

Hats: Dating Agency Videos

Clive: “Come on, Ryan, you’ve been in many yourself, with or without a hat…”
Ryan, right before his first suggestion, turns and gives Clive a look

Screen Shot 2018-05-21 at 4.33.17 PM.pngColin: “…and that’s just the shape of my hat…”

Colin, with a rain-cap: “…so, for a good time, call…NOAH…that’s ‘NOAH…”

Weak-ish round, but not without some funny Colin moments.

Props: Ryan and Caroline vs. Steve and Colin

For the first time in a while, Props breaks up the Ryan-Colin combo, which is smart

Clive, handing a furry prop: “Obviously this is Stephen….thank goodness you’re a Canadian, Colin…”

Steve: “Your dog’s got no legs! Haha!”
Colin: “He’s got a nice handle, though…”

Screen Shot 2018-05-21 at 4.37.25 PM.pngSteve: “Professor? The giant caterpillar’s escaped, and we don’t know where it is.”
Colin: “It’s right there!”

Screen Shot 2018-05-21 at 4.38.04 PM.png

Caroline, with the prop on her head: “I’M A MAGIC TOADSTOOL! Sit on me and you shall turn into a frog!”
Ryan: “…alrighty, I’ll give THAT a try…”

Screen Shot 2018-05-21 at 4.39.31 PM.pngSteve: “…I know, darling, but over THERE’s a man with no hair at all…”
Screen Shot 2018-05-21 at 4.40.01 PM.png

Then, next time around, Colin gets his revenge
Colin, to Steve: “…Oh, jeez, one of your eyebrows fell off.”
Steve smiles, and reattaches it. He then playfully bops Colin with the prop.

A JOLT OF ENERGY with that Props game, one of the best Props rounds in a while, with fantastic ideas coming from both sides, though Steve and Colin do get the edge.

Changing Emotions: Steve, Ryan and Colin on the night before the wedding
picture: horny
bottle: angry

Another new game, but a welcome one, as there’d be some great rounds of this over the next few series.

Clive: “And if you’ve got the photo in your hand, you’re horny…whatever that means.”
Ryan: [grabs photo]

Ryan, with the photo: “She loves you, but she LLLLLLOVES ME…”
Steve, taking the photo: “…’course….when I went out with her…”
Steve: “…sure, everybody did.”
Ryan, handed the bottle mid-line: “I didn’t realize that. Everyone went out with her and I’m THE ONE MARRYING HER???”

Then, mid-line, Ryan accidentally drops the bottle. Steve, in picking up, flips Colin the picture. It’s a very loose arrangement, this game.

Ryan, without anything, has a contemplative line…all the while Colin is suggestively holding the picture.
Ryan, after a beat: “…HEY, GIMME THAT!”

In the end, Colin gets both objects, and has to be angry AND horny, which is great.

A pretty great debut for this one, as all three were fantastic in bouncing off each other and keeping the plot stable.

Scene to Music: Steve and Caroline at the butcher’s

Oh, at long last, a round with just Caroline and Steve, just so we can see their dynamic, which must be fantastic.

Right off the bat, Steve adopts a fun northern accent for his butcher character.

Caroline: “I’d love to have a look at a great big sausage like that…”
Steve, knowingly: “Want me to slap it on the counter for you?”

Eventually a slow, dramatic, soap-opera-y theme plays in
Caroline: “That’s the most beautiful sausage I’ve ever seen…”
Steve, breaking near the end: “This sausage was passed down by my father….AND HIS FATHER’S FATHER BEFORE HIM. Dunno what happened to the one in the middle.”

Caroline: “When I eat it, I’ll…I’ll think of YOU…”
Steve: [cracks]

Steve: “Would you like some dripping to go with that?”
Caroline, given the golden line from the improv gods: “…Don’t worry, I’m doing me own!”
Colin’s facepalming. Clive’s going ‘THAT’S ENOUGH’ Steve walks off, not quite believing what he just heard. He walks DIRECTLY INTO THE AUDIENCE, TOWARDS THE EXIT, before looking back, astonished, at Caroline, and heading towards the seats.

Clive: “WELL, I’M SORRY…”
Caroline: “That’ll never go out, will it?”
Clive: “I think we explored new depth, there…”

A fantastic, bawdy-as hell but still excellently-played Scene to Music round, and proof of how unstoppable Caroline Quentin was this series. Hell, Steve was right there with her until the end.

Animals: Ryan, Colin and Caroline are squirrels in a saloon

Even early on, Colin manages to crack up Caroline just by stuffing a bunch of nuts in his mouth, and making a face.

Even better, Ryan comes in as a flying squirrel, which is a nice touch.

Ryan: “Hey! She’s mine! Those are MY nuts in her mouth!”

There’s not a ton that’s ha-ha funny about this, as it’s more cute than anything, but the way the audience gets on Ryan’s side, and the way that Ryan eventually just falls for Colin instead, is just very fun details.

Foreign Film Dub: The german film Good Heavens, An Orange, acted out by Colin and Caroline, translated by Ryan and Steve

After Caroline puts the orange in Colin’s pocket.
Steve: “My goodness, you’re pleased to see me!”
Ryan: “This short and leather pants are killing me!”

Steve: “I’d recognize you anywhere!”
Colin: [re-zips fly]
Ryan, nonetheless: “ZIP!”

Colin’s German gibberish is pretty great here, especially when angry.

Steve: “Have you…?”
Ryan: “…have I what?”

Ryan: “Inside is a ring. Will you marry me?”
Colin: [kneels]
Caroline: “Oh…ja ja…”
Steve, being Steve: “NO!”

Ryan: “You’re so mean and bitter! You’re one sour kraut!”
Caroline: [looks to Clive, and laughs]

Ryan: “I’m going to jump. Don’t stop me! Don’t stop me!”
Caroline: [an anguished plea]
Steve: “…jump, ya bastard!”

Overall: There were two bad games, and one meh one, but the rest of this show? Unbelievably funny. Not only did the show rest, albeit slightly, on the Colin-Ryan laurels (in a rip-roaring secret), but it also explored new pairings, like Steve-Caroline and Steve-Colin, to success, in an instantly memorable Scene to Music and hysterical props round respectively.  There were no bad performances tonight, as each player had MULTIPLE games where they reigned in terms of laughs. Despite this evenness, Colin Mochrie once again stands out for his out-there moments, as well as silliness in games, like Foreign Film Dub and SFX, where he wasn’t exactly the forefront. Still, this episode’s heights are truly unforgettable, and while this one isn’t as discussed as other S8 shows (like the forthcoming E6, which I’m excited for), it’s definitely one of the more underrated moments of this era.

Show Winners: Ryan and Colin
Best Performer: Colin Mochrie, for continuing his dominance, standing out even when he wasn’t truly in the forefront
Worst Performer: Steve Frost. Despite great moments in Scene to Music and Props, he broke more than usual tonight, and mostly paved the way for jokes for the other three. If it weren’t for Secret, Ryan would be in this spot for some overexposure issues.
Best Game: Secret. Quite possibly the oddest, yet funniest, game of this in a while, and had me laughing for how far Ryan was willing to go with it.
Worst Game: Hats. Nothing really special here.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S08E03, or MY MOTHER’S ASHES!!!

A repeat lineup from last series, featuring Ryan & Colin paired off with Josie Lawrence and Caroline Quentin. Though Josie’s appearances would begin to wane from here on in, Caroline would get a ton of use this season, while also being paired with Greg Proops and Steve Frost.

Clive’s intros mention Josie’s stint with the RSC, Caroline’s run on Men Behaving Badly, and goes onto “fresh from playing Hamlet…and many other brands of cigar” for Ryan.
[cue Hamlet ad music]

Film and Theatre Styles: Josie and Caroline (Neptune visitor and android)

First F&TS of the series, and with quite an odd premise at that.

Audience member: “Sleeping with the Wolves!”
Clive: “Ooh, Sleeping with the Wolves!”
Caroline: “…what?”
Josie: “What’s ‘Sleeping with the Wolves?”
Clive: “…it’s a hobby.”

Josie: “Put on…gravity control? Gravity control, put it on.”
Caroline: “…No.”

Josie: “R23PCO….please don’t ask me to repeat your name…”

I love how straight Caroline is playing this robot character, how laid back and normal we’re getting.

For Baywatch, Caroline sticks out her chest, and starts running, sexily. Josie even supports her boobs, making them even more exaggerated as she runs.
Clive: “…do some more of that.”
[Which is honestly an inversion of E6’s F&TS. We’ll get there, but it’s a favorite of mine]

Clive has them go on for another second, then buzzes again. Caroline just puts Josie’s hands over her boobs, because if she’s gonna do something like this, she might as well go the full mile.

Clive: “Cop show”
Caroline: “Yes. Cover me.”

Josie and Caroline’s back-and-forth in Restoration Comedy is pretty great, as they’re definitely on the same page, and going at high-speeds for a laugh.

Josie: “There is someone else, pray tell!”
Caroline: “…tis Lord Enormous Codpiece, methinks…”

Clive lets this style run til the end, and…how could he not? It’s incredibly engaging and fun to watch, and captures the energy of the whole scene.

A pretty fantastic F&TS, made great by Josie and Caroline’s excellent teamwork.

Secret: Ryan and Colin are members of an orchestra. The secret is in the violin

Colin: [CRASHES CYMBALS] “…that’s me for another 20 minutes…”

RYAN, for a change, supplies the secret this time: “I was hoping you wouldn’t find that….it’s your baby blanket.”

Colin: “This blanket has nothing but bad memories for me. My mother used to…wet it, and twirl it, and smack me with it!”
Ryan: “I forgot about that murder charge!”
Colin: “….I FEAR I GO MAAAD!”

Colin: “I feel like I have nothing musical left in me.”
Ryan: “There’s nothing else in there if that’s what your wondering.”
Sure enough, Colin goes back into the violin case
Colin: “MY RATTLE!”
And I’m gone

Then, Colin hesitates for a third thing to be in the case, then figures it out: “My…….plug!”
He then sticks the pacifier in his mouth and sucks for 5 seconds, cracking up Ryan

Ryan: “Look, Roger, I can see I made a mistake!”
Colin, opening it again: “….MY MOTHER’S ASHES!!!”
Oh good lord.

The scene ends with Colin screaming “YOU BITCH” repeatedly into the ashes as Ryan pulls him away.

From an improv standpoint, the game’s one problem was the fact that it didn’t really go anywhere, and it was just a slow build from the same detail. HOWEVER…said slow build was also fucking hysterical, and just kept hitting me as the game went on. Colin’s hysteria was worthy of tears.

Let’s Make a Date: Josie chooses
Caroline: enthusiastic girl guide leader
Colin: fancies the other two contestants
Ryan: outraged tennis player disputing decisions (so…John McEnroe?)

Colin’s is great- he’s too distracted by, and too busy trying to flirt with, Caroline, to answer Josie’s question
Colin: “Yeah, yeah…push you out a window, I dunno…”

Ryan: “I, uh, suppose we’d go out- NOT IN! OUT! WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT, WE’RE IN?”
Colin, trying to comfort Ryan, rubs his back

The strength of this game is the Colin-Ryan dynamic. Colin starts detailing how he’d undress, and he starts doing this DIRECTLY TO RYAN, who’s just plain perturbed, and inching away, grouchily. The two couldn’t be more repellent, and that’s what makes them great in this.

Josie: “What’s your favorite type of music?”
Ryan: “Oh, anything other than Cliff Richard. I’m sick of hearing him OVER AND OVER AGAIN…”

Josie actually guesses Ryan as John McEnroe, which means she reads the blog, which is nice.

Duet: Josie and Caroline sing a blues song about a spanner

Unless there’s an unaired one that winds up in E12, this may be Josie and Caroline’s last of two duets, which is sad, as they were great together.

Josie, pre-song: “…This one’s for Johnny Depp, by the way, if you’re watching.”
Caroline: “Yeah, we know he watches this program.”
Clive, being Clive: “Who’s Johnny Depp?”
Josie shoots him a look, before going, soto, “…he’s gorgeous…”
I often wonder how they found out, or if he said in an interview that he watched the show. Wonder what he thought of the US version.

This is another really fun song, made great by the Caroline-Josie combo, but also by the fact that both are really adept at the blues style.

Hats: Dating Service Videos

Ryan, in a derby hat: “Annnnnd they’re out of the gate. It’s breast ahead of penis, penis coming up quick-”

Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 5.41.51 PM.png

Then, with an audience-assisted lull, Ryan comes back up as the derby guy

Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 5.43.30 PM.pngRyan: “….I really have nothing to say, I just like wearing this…”

Colin, in a white afro wig: “….fancy a shag?”

Ryan, coming up in a jockey hat one more time: “AND THE WINNER IS! PENIS! BY A HEAD!”

A really funny, and quick-paced, Hats round. Caroline’s stuff didn’t really work for me though.

Picture: Caroline and Ryan (a marriage breaking up)

Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 5.45.58 PM.png

Caroline, with the easy joke: “…yes….you used to have a lovely cock…”
Ryan: “…frankly, I’d rather shag this chicken than you.”
Caroline: “Frankly, I’D rather you shag that chicken, too..”

Ryan: “Cause I don’t want ’em anymore. That’s why I’ve taken off my clothes and…I’M RUNNING FREE NOW! I don’t need you anymore!”
Caroline: “Yes, you’re running free. Running free in my mother’s hat!”

Caroline starts describing the other person she’s seeing, who fathered her child. All of the sudden, there’s an abrupt clink from offscreen.
Caroline: “Oh, I’m sorry, there’s a drunk in the audience…”
Ryan: “That’s him, isn’t it? It’s that alcoholic hobo up on the hill, isn’t it?”

The ending is a bit belabored, but this is still a hysterical round of this game, with Ryan AND Caroline reacting well to even the littlest things as the game went on, and having great back-and-forth

Party Quirks: Caroline hosts
Josie: in a deodorant ad
Colin: the history of the world
Ryan: food going through the body

Caroline tries hosting this show, which should be a nice enough opportunity, as she seems like the kind of person that could proctor this game well.

Colin, upon entering: “BANG!”
Then, immediately, he goes right into his dinosaur impression, which the audience surely remembers.

Ryan has fun with his. He goes through the intestines and stomach, then makes a LOUD noise and falls on the floor. Always lowbrow with him.

As Caroline tries to guess Colin, Ryan has a fly buzz around him. The attention is diverted right back to him.

Caroline eventually guesses everyone. She focused more on guessing and less on interaction, which was fine, but made this a lower-key PQ round

Moving People: Ryan and Colin are two high-strung chefs having a fight in the kitchen

You can immediately see that these participants just keep moving them without rhyme or reason. Colin, angry, holds a hand up to Ryan’s face, and covers that by saying: “…I am going to threaten you, but not actually hit you.”

Ryan, saying something while the movements contradict it: “I don’t think I need you anymore; come to me now. I was wrong.”
Colin: “Can you look me straight in the eyes?”
Ryan: “I WILL NEVER LOOK [move] YES, I CAN.”

Colin: “I am going to make my soufflé right here…..where I am about to gesture…”

Ryan narrates all of the things he’s doing in the kitchen: “….all the time NEVER looking at what I am doing!”

Ryan: “FINALLY I must gaze at my creation. Quickly, into the oven with it.”
Colin, responding to the fact that he hasn’t been moved in a while: “WHILE YOU WERE TALKING, I FINISHED.”

Ryan, refusing Colin’s souffle, clutches his head.
Colin: “Oh, you’ve got a headwound!”

Another VERY FUNNY game, thanks to some very inept audience members, and Ryan and Colin soldiering on and continuing to respond.

Hoedown: Smelly Feet and Bad Breath

Josie does the Clive suggestion to combine the two, and talks about how she cured her smelly feet, but “unfortunately it’s given me halitosis”

Colin just has a very amusing and fun verse, ending with “because of my feet stinking, 7 species are extinct!”

Ryan’s is one that he has trouble with, but he soldiers on with anyway:
“What’s that that smells so bad, a lion on the beach?
It’s got smelly feet, and they’re [break] within reach
I will take a big night off and cut em off just for a lark
Throw ’em in the water….they’re food for a shark.”
He shrugs as they pan out. Still funny

Overall: Another solid show, with equal work from all four, and a much-needed emphasis on Josie and Caroline AS WELL AS Ryan and Colin. Proving that women could team up and be funny too…and in response, they wouldn’t have them together on the show after this, save for the 2nd episode from this taping. Still, Caroline Quentin ended up with the strongest show of everyone, by working with everyone and bringing out the best in herself as well as them, as well as just having some really fun, inspired moments tonight. That’s not to discredit Colin, and to a lesser extent Ryan, who also had nice nights. Josie was a bit quieter and had less stuff, but was still herself.

Show Winners: Ryan and Colin
Best Performer: Caroline, for mastering her games, and improving from her last appearances.
Worst Performer: Josie Lawrence, solely for taking more of a passive approach to tonight’s show.
Best Game: Film and Theatre Styles. The Josie-Caroline combo was too strong, and led to so many fun, well-thought-out moments here. Picture was close, but Ryan’s last-act fat shaming ruined its case.
Worst Game: Hoedown. Not a great one compared to the new standard.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S08E02, or HELLO FOOT!

One of the producers’ many tactics this season is to ingratiate other british performers into the fold…with Ryan and Colin. Which is a reverse of what they did in the beginning by slowly filtering Americans in.

Oh well. Rory Bremner is back tonight, after some decent showings in S1 and 6, and he’ll recur over the next two series, but only in episodes with Greg Proops…which is odd, because I wonder what he’d be like working with Josie or Steve.

Let’s Make a Date: Greg chooses
Rory: Prince Charles
Colin: In love with his own body
Ryan: a former business partner ripped off by Greg

Rory Bremner doing an impression of a royal. Of course. I just wish it were Hugh Dennis.

Greg: “What secluded place would you take me to?”
Rory: “Cornwall”
Greg: “…Cornwall?”
Rory: “Yeah, anywhere, I own most of it.”

Colin’s quirk is so…Colin…that Rory breaks a bit at it.

After some bitter Ryan lines
Greg: “…where would YOU take me?”
Ryan: “I’d probably take you somewhere where the sound of a gun couldn’t be heard…”

Greg: “#2-”
Colin: “HELLO FOOT!”
Greg: “….#3!”

Clive: “You think you’ve got it, Greg?”
Greg: “Oh, I think I do, Clive, but you know how this goes. There’s the hope of me getting it, and then the crushing disappointment of my actual guess…”

Greg gets everyone but Ryan, and then, as he returns the stools, he mutters to Ryan “George Washington?”. I don’t know WHY he mutters this, and we cut away before I can facially figure out why.

Solid enough round, but not as good as last show’s.

Secret: Ryan and Colin are Mr. and Mrs. Noah
Location: under the boat

Colin: “I’m tired of cleaning up after all of these animals.”
Ryan: “Hey, that’s your job, I BUILT the thing…”
Colin: “…two elephants. THANK YOU…”

Colin eventually reveals the secret, which is ‘…eighteen commandments’, which gets Ryan to break a bit.
Ryan: “I thought we’d better bring some spares along in case we break a few of the first ones.”
Colin: “‘Thou Shalt Not Wear Leather?”
Ryan: “Thou Shalt Not Lend Money? I thought that was a good one. I JUST MADE ‘EM UP!”

Colin evokes the lord’s word
Ryan: “You don’t have to listen to the lord about everything! LOOK! THREE PENGUINS!”
I always love that bit, especially the way Ryan reveals it

Colin pleads with Ryan to separate the rabbits, which ends him rabbits piling up to his armpits.
Ryan: “…and now we’re up to our asses in rabbits…”

Ryan, after Colin tries calling the lord, admits something else: “…You know how we said two of everything? I’d like you to meet Theresa.”

A stellar, fast-moving Secret game, with some great jokes building off of each other, and Ryan and Colin equally screwing each other over.

Film Dub- Ryan, Greg and Rory (one day on the street)

It’s an episode of the Saint, so…Rory’s Roger Moore impression makes a much needed second appearance.

This one is funny because of the implied sexual tension between Rory’s Simon Templar and Greg’s Mustached Cabbie. Greg even goes “boy, he IS standing close, I can feel almost all of him.”
Rory: “Right, now…how about you and I go right behind tHAT BIKE SHED OVER THERE…”

After Greg leaves, placated by a fiver
Ryan: “Boy, if he’s worth five, I’m at least worth ten, doncha think?”

Rory, surprisingly, carried the scene himself, and did so splendidly, though his Moore impression was better in 6×07 (“…afternoon everyBODY…”)

Sports Commentators: Greg and Rory cover Colin and Ryan: showing off to a girl at a nightclub

Rory leads here with a scottish accent, but Ryan and Colin surprisingly do more of the directing here, with Ryan throwing a punch in, and Colin elbowing Ryan in the balls.

Greg and Rory do decide to pull a ‘let’s do that again’ slo-mo, which Ryan and Colin gladly recreate. There’s not a lot about this one that’s scene specific, as it’s mainly just your average Ryan-Colin sparring.

Not a ton to this one, but it felt like they were trying.

World’s Worst: Outtakes from a News Documentary/Program

Colin, running towards the camera: “…..IT’S A TIDAL WAVE!!!!”

Ryan: “These sharks are mostly found off the coast of-” [acts like his hand’s been bitten off] “AAAGH! AAAGH!” [smirkingly pulls his hand out of the sleeve]

Greg: “I’m here in the small, strife-torn Central American country of Gawanda, where the prostitutes are the cheapest I have found.”
Greg: “…what? WHAT?”

Colin: “Due to our slipping ratings, our next story…[song-and-dance routine]…FIFTY DEAD IN MANITOBA! SIXTY KILLED IN…”

Rory, after having a quiet round, drags Colin up with him, makes out with him, and then signs off “…Martin Bashir, BBC…”
Colin just looks bewildered the entire time.

A career-high WW round, with almost all entries being classics.

Home Shopping: Ryan and Colin sell a used banana peel, a book with no pages, and an unflushable toilet

A new game, one that would bring forth the rise of Infomercial in the US series, as well as cementing the eventual Greatest Hits banter between Ryan and Colin

Clive, getting the third item from the audience: “An unflushable toilet? Then somebody came here by train, obviously.”

The game starts really well, with Ryan talking quickly and tripping over his words, before passing it to Colin…who says “that’s right”, and passes it back to Ryan. Classic.
Colin: “What’s the first thing we’re gonna sell?”
Ryan, passing back: “Well, probably that thing you’re holding in your hand, Bobby…”

Colin, selling the book with no pages, or “no words” as Ryan says: “You save so much time…there’s the title…you finish!”

Colin: “How much would you buy this for?”
Ryan: 85 pounds?”
Ryan: 50 pounds?”
Colin: “You’re crazy.”
Ryan: “134 pounds?”
Colin: “…yeah.”

Ryan, demonstrating how the banana peel leads to finding love: “Ow, I’ve fallen, I’ve fallen, lady, can you help me? Can you help me? [hums Here Comes the Bride] I DO!”

Ryan also uses the banana peel to do impressions, first Abraham Lincoln, then Bob Marley, then…he puts the banana as a thin mustache that may be referring to one of his few fixations.
Ryan: “Who am I now?”
Colin, knowing who it is: “…ABRAHAM LINCOLN!”

Ryan: “What is [the third object]?”
Colin: “Well, we have it all backed up-”
Colin then realizes the pun he just made accidentally and breaks a bit.

Ryan, selling the unflushable toilet: “I’m not one to brag, but sometimes I like to take a look at what I have.”

A surprisingly well-formed and silly debut for this game, with the banter starting off extra strong, and with both players doing something great.

Dead Bodies: Ryan and Rory are cowboys on the range. Greg enters later as an Indian girl. Colin moves them all.

Ah yes, to follow last episode’s masterful Dead Bodies round, we have another masterful Dead Bodies round

Colin’s first funny move is to get both men to do a botched high five. Then, he has Ryan do an ass-slapping motion to ‘giddy-up’, which gets him to crack. ALREADY.

Greg has the insanely creative death by falling totem pole for his character, which is great.

Colin also pulls in the silly point that both Rory and Ryan should just feebly yell ‘whoa’ as they stop the horses. It’s a very goofy detail. Also, he first says Rory’s going to go over and revive her, assesses the situation, then, as Rory, goes “actually, you’re closer, why don’t you get it?”

Colin eventually gets Greg and Rya super-close to each other, for a romantic moment, which is abrupt for both, hence both parties cracking up through this.
Colin, as Ryan: “Why don’t you come with me and my friend. We were just rounding up….the…cat-tle.”
Ryan: [breaks again]
Colin, as Greg: “Oh, that would be….oh….so….lovely…”

Eventually, when all three get back on the horses, Colin, as Rory, says: “look…why don’t we all have one big kiss?”
Rory, breaking:
Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 11.37.21 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-05-16 at 11.37.37 PM.png

He shrugs and goes with it. The scene ends with Colin smushing all three faces together for a botched kiss.

A slight bit subtler than last Dead Bodies, but still hysterical, and still with some great moments.

Party Quirks: Greg hosts
Rory: Clive Anderson
Colin: constantly dying and being reincarnated
Ryan: gazelle being stalked by a lion

The moment that I love to point out is that while Greg’s starting the party and Ryan’s still back at the seats, he’s trying faces, trying to break out his trademark gazelle look. The audience even sees this and laughs a bit.

Rory’s Clive impression is pretty good, and Greg takes a few seconds before realizing, then shouting “GOOD GOD, YOU’RE CLIVE ANDERSON!”

Greg lets Colin in, saying “We just had Clive Anderson here, I am so sleepy…”

Then, as Colin keeps coming back as various animals.
Greg: “No fair coming as Clive Anderson’s date.”

And, of course, the iconic moment:
Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 11.42.44 PM.png

I don’t think there’d be a Ryan PQ moment this great until the foal being born. I love this facial expression.

Heck, it doesn’t even subscribe to diminishing returns! Ryan does the ‘talk then stop and look’ thing 3 times and it keeps being hysterical every. SINGLE. TIME.

Clive, trying to end the game, to Greg: “He’s…a gazelle stalked by a lion, would you say?”
Greg, realizing: “…sure! HEY…”
And then he guesses the exact quirk Clive just told him to end the game.

A pretty fantastic through-and-through PQ game, with Greg being a great proctor and Ryan doing some amazing facial expressions.

Hoedown: Being a Tory Politician 

Something Rory would talk at length about on Mock the Week, perhaps?

Also, Clive is about to wrap up the episode…then throws all four for a loop by calling a Hoedown, just to make them feel safe for a moment. Ryan’s chuckling as he heads to the step. Greg even frolics down there.

Once the subject is announced, Ryan pulls a Rich Hall and just confusedly pulls his hands out before maddeningly dropping them down.
Clive: “Don’t look at me like that. Make it Republicans if you’re frightened…”

Rory does his Hoedown as John Major
“Nobody likes our party, they think we’re full of shit.
Divided over Europe, and most of us are split
We’re going off on Holiday, I do not really care.
The feel good factor’s coming soon, its name is Tony Blair!”
He ends with a breath, and a HA! A surprisingly admirable hoedown from the impressionist.

Colin begins his verse looking VERY, VERY perturbed.
He gets about 2.5 verses in, gives up, and faints. Rory, who’d never seen Colin ‘pull a Colin’ before, laughs at this. The other two are used to this. Greg, in character, does go over to feel his pulse, though.

Ryan ends his with “People in power will do anything on a dare
As a matter of fact that’s why Clive ripped out all his hair.”

A much better Hoedown than we’ve been getting lately, and some nice stuff from all around, even if Colin pulls a Colin.

The credit reading is a nice one, too: As good as Rory’s David Attenborough is, it’s Colin and Ryan who steal the show, showing up as various animals, including dinosaurs, before finally showing up with Greg as apes.

Overall: A much better show, even than E1, with all four doing a balanced amount of funny work, and with more than half of the games being exceptionally good. Rory fit in surprisingly well with this bunch, though his best moments were more solo efforts, though his Film Dub efforts were fantastic. Greg had a better show, feuding a bit more with Clive and taking more initiative. Ryan took a slight step back from last show, while Colin stayed exactly where he was, owning several games and being one of the more recognizable creative forces on the show. So many games worked tonight because everyone was game, and because Rory could allow himself to be on the same page as the other three, which is honestly rare for him.

Show Winner: Rory
Best Performer: Colin, for more masterful work with all three
Worst Performer: Rory, but ONLY BY DEFAULT. He still had a great show, but the other two had more great improv moments.
Best Game: Home Shopping. Any other day I’d go with Dead Bodies or Party Quirks…but something about Home Shopping was so wholly realized tonight, and with some strong banter from Ryan and Colin. Glad they finally rolled it out.
Worst Game: Sports Commentators: the opposite- barely realized at all.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S08E01, or DAS BOOT!

And just like that, we’re onto Series 8, where Whose Line officially becomes ‘The Mochrie and Stiles Half-Hour’

…not that this is a bad thing, as Ryan and Colin had just come off a masterful S7 of regularship. But after the series had prided itself on giving a different lineup each show, having two regulars began to take the sting off of things, even if they were both great.

With Mike and Tony gone, Series 8 saw a rise in appearances for Steve Frost and Greg Proops, both of which are in this Series Premiere. There would, like Series’ 5-7, be a small, compact rep company to draw from, with only one ‘guest star’ (and a bit of a doozy at that), and with only one member returning from the depths of the show. Most people who worked in Series 7, like Caroline Quentin and Niall Ashdown, are back this Series with expanded roles.

Tonight, we’ve got a solid, standard, Greg-Steve-Colin-Ryan show, so let’s get to that:

This is the first appearance of one of Steve Frost’s many hawaiian shirts, which will be a staple of these next two series.

Questions Only: IT’S A SHIPWRECK!

I say it that energetically in the description because…well, Clive does. “And what’s the scene?…IT’S A SHIPWRECK!”

Ryan, entering: “What’s with the wooden leg?”
Colin: [looks betrayed] “…haven’t you seen a coconut leg before?”
Ryan: “Are you talkin’, or is that the parrot?”
Colin, after internally going ‘goddammit’, exits

Steve: “IS THAT YOUR MAST? …or are you just pleased to see me.”
Steve: “That was a question!”
Clive: “I know, I’m buzzing you out for doing such an old joke…”

A pretty spry Questions Only, with the beginning of Clive being a stickler with this game.

Newsflash: Greg and Colin in studio; Ryan in the field in front of a Samurai Movie

A ‘new’ game for the UK edition, and it’s odd to see Ryan having to guess.

Clive even says, after introducing this, “that’s about the longest introduction I’ve ever given to a game…”

Greg: “Hi, I’m Lick Stickley”
Colin: “Hi, I’m Horny as a Hippo….but my name is Tim.”
Greg: “…frankly, I’m horny as a hippo as well…”

Colin, messing up: “We have a great…break…laking story!”
Greg: “We certainly DO have a Great Break Laking Story”

Ryan: “Everyone in the neighborhood has put up with this for weeks on end…we’re sick of it, and we’re sick of seeing our tax dollars go towards it, quite frankly…”

Colin point blank asks Ryan to describe what’s happening behind him.
Ryan, without a clue, looks behind him, and goes “…mayhem…is all I can say…”

Clive manages to stop this before it can get going, and Ryan has to inch his way to a semi-correct guess. Amusing enough round, though

Let’s Make a Date: Greg is the contestant
Steve: German u-boat commander
Colin: a fly
Ryan: on the verge of a nervous breakdown

Two guessing games in a row? Well then.

Steve gets the audience on his side almost immediately in showing silly physicality throughout this quirk, and asking Greg for radio silence.
Greg: “……contestant two…”

Ryan, in contrast to the other two, actually has to act instead of doing something silly, and does a pretty nice job with it. As Ryan’s nervously writhing his hands, we cut over to Colin to see he’s just nonchalantly doing the little fly-hand movements. It’s a great contrast

Greg, very confused: “…Contestant Number One…”
Steve, who has removed his shoe: “DAS BOOT!”
AND THE CROWD GOES WILD! As do I, as this is one of his more famous jokes.

The scene ends when Ryan, fed up, hangs himself…and then Colin buzzes around Ryan’s hung body. How Ryan fails to crack here is beyond me. Eventually he has no choice but to spring back to life and yell “GET OFF OF ME!”

Greg gets the first two spot on, and Ryan gets Clive to give it to him for saying ‘a suicidal guy’.

A surprisingly well-formed and fun LMAD round, possibly the impetus to keep doing this game on WL.

Hey You Down There: Greg narrates Ryan and Colin trying to fly a light plane

You’ll notice, or at least I have, that there have been no audience suggestions thus far tonight. Odd.

I do love this game, and this is one of the premiere examples of how great this game can be, especially with Greg as narrator, which he was fantastic at.

Greg: “But did you run through all of the safety precautions?”
Ryan runs through his fingers
Greg: “Let’s run through them. Did you fill it up with gas?”
Ryan: [facepalm]

Then, Ryan lights a cigarette, which causes him to get set on fire, and Colin’s hair to go askew.

Greg: “I hope you brought a fire extinguisher along.”
Colin: [unzips pants…and puts out the fire]
Greg: “THAT’s using your head.”

There’s a moment where Colin remembers it’s a small plane, and starts the propeller, which catches Greg off guard. He even recollects himself, and goes “you’ll want to START the plane first”, forgetting what time period this must have been set in. Colin gives a thumbs up before starting the propeller and cutting his hand off.

However, the best part of this is the physical motion that follows. Colin’s yelping in pain after his hand’s been cut off. Ryan ‘grabs’ another hand, his own, then twists it onto Colin’s stump, yanking his hand back under and giving Colin a new hand. It’s a fluid, genius improv move, and the kind that Colin and Ryan must have done before in Second City Toronto.

After Ryan breaks the joystick
Greg: “I hope you have a flightplan.”
Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 2.20.45 AM.png

Ryan and Colin begin to slowly inch off of the plane
Greg: “Well, in the event of a crash landing, I’m sure you packed your parachutes.”
Ryan and Colin: [slowly inch back onto the plane]

As they head back to the seats, Greg, thanks to an odd cut, is heard saying “that was almost…” before the cut is Colin trotting back to the seat. Greg was gonna say something snippy, but we didn’t hear all of it.

Fantastic game, combining the Colin slapstick with the Colin-Ryan teamwork.

Hats: World’s Worst Ad Campaign

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 2.23.54 AM.pngColin: “…d’you hate people sneezing on the back of your head when you travel?”

Greg, in a chef’s hat: “Who doesn’t like the flavor of human flesh?”

Ryan, in a pink sun hat: “…I really have nothing to say, I just love this hat…”

Colin, in a porkpie hat: “…When…you’ve…got…DIARRHEA…”

The most famous one, of Greg in an American hat doing his John Major impression: “Hello Americans. I’m Prime Minister of a rather influential European country…”
Greg, still going: “…I’ll be looking for a JOB soon…”

A surprisingly fantastic Hats round, much better than the last iteration

Props: Ryan and Colin vs. Greg and Steve

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 2.28.50 AM.pngColin: “…we’re gonna take the blood from your snake and give it to you.”
After the buzz, both Ryan and Colin shake their heads at how weird that one was.

The goofy mood from the last two games carries onto this one, with some inspired prop uses from both sides, like Ryan using Colin as a phone booth, and Greg and Steve eating really black tacos.

Number of Words: A saloon
Steve: The sheriff, 4 words
Greg: The barman, 2 words
Colin: a troublemaker, 1 word
Ryan: a cowboy, 3 words

A debut for this tricky but fun game, which Steve would always have trouble with.

Clive, after explaining the game: “Have I made myself plain??….no, I was born that way.”

Colin, entering on a horse: “WHOA.”
Greg: “No horses.”
Steve: “Can’t you read that?”
Colin: “…No!”

Ryan, to Colin: “You look familiar.”
Colin: ‘…Frank.”
Ryan: “…Billy Jim Bob.”

Steve establishes Colin as ‘The One Word Kid’, after which Colin answers everyone, including Ryan when he asks if he’s here to kill him, with “YEP!”

Ryan, counting paces: “One…two…”
Colin, quickly turning around: “SIX!”

Old Job New Job: Colin is a patient, and Ryan and Steve, who is an ex-farmer, are nurses.

This is the quickest game since Scene with a prop. Steve enters, whistling for Colin to come over, and squat. Then Steve puts on a rubber glove. Before Steve can insinuate anything else, Clive ends the game. Perhaps he knew exactly where it was going, or maybe he just thought it’d be a good ending. But it’s rather quick, especially for OJNJ.

Ironically, we follow that round of bad taste with…

Dead Bodies: Steve is seeking Ryan’s had in marriage from their father, Greg, who enters later. Colin moves all three.

I adore this game, and it, like so many other late-series staples, debuts tonight.

Steve was good at this game, solely because he would amplify his gravity. Instead of staying in place, he’d fall over. So when Colin finishes his line, Steve falls onto Ryan’s chest.
Colin, as Ryan: “Oh, no, my father’ll be here any second, please don’t suck on my nipples.”

Then, as Steve is lying over the chair face up, Colin thinks they might need to kiss, and slams Ryan’s head into Steve’s neck. Ryan cracks slightly.
Colin yanks Ryan out of it for a beat.
Colin: “…oh…LONGER THIS TIME!”
He throws them back together

Greg, entering: “Samantha, Jim, I want you to…gak…”
Greg falls. Colin lets go of Steve in order to catch Greg.
Colin, as Greg: “…as I was saying.”
Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 2.45.31 AM.png
The audience goes WILD at this. Colin, as Greg, angrily berates them under the applause

Colin, as Steve, thankfully sitting up: “Sorry, I….thought I heard something.”
Steve cracks yet again at this.

Then, as Colin operates Ryan, pleading to Greg…Greg, kneeling, falls forward, face down onto the floor.

Colin, moving Steve: “Sir…I’m going down on bended…legs…”

The ending is great too. Colin, as Ryan, announces that she’s pregnant, prompting Colin to force Greg to do a double take…by just turning his head back and forth.

A damn near iconic game, made funnier by Steve and Greg going for gravity, and Colin dealing with so many randomly hysterical things throughout the game.

Hoedown: Bungee Jumping

Clive FINALLY consults the audience for something, and asks for a danger of living in the 90s.
Audience member: “CHANGING A TIRE!”
Clive: “…you’ve been waiting all evening for that…and it’s completely inappropriate!”

Let it be known that Steve gives one of his few coherent Hoedown verses in this one:
“I went up the Eiffel Tower just the other day.
I threw off myself…the braces and they swayed!
I went down and I went up and down and up again
I went up and down so fast, I ended up…in Big Ben!”
The audience applauds, and Greg even gives him a ‘ey? See?’ As if they all knew he’d been struggling with this.

Greg’s verse is uneventful, but right after he’s done, he looks to his left, smiles, and goes “COLIN!” right before his verse.

A wholly silly Hoedown, but nothing too monumental.

Overall: A solid start, with some noted retoolings and a new, more standard format for shows, so this is the beginning of the most homogenized run in the show’s history…and yet some games in this show were too fucking funny to be forgotten about. I’m mainly referring to Hey You Down There and Dead Bodies, but Hats, Let’s Make a Date, and Hoedown are also standouts. Plus, all four were on the same page tonight, even if the edit was leaning more towards Ryan and Colin. Steve Frost, however, had a great show, even if he had a few less great moments than Colin did. A spry, if slightly thin around the edges, way to start Series 8.

Show Winners: Ryan and Greg
Best Performer: Colin Mochrie, for owning his games tonight, and having a ton of showcase moments throughout the night
Worst Performer: Greg Proops, simply for sticking more to the background tonight, and for having less moments of success compared to the other 3.
Best Game: Dead Bodies. I would have gone with Hey You Down There, but Dead Bodies had so many inexplicably amazing things happen throughout, and had so much that even the dead performers influenced. I’ve seen this one a ton of times, even in reruns when I was a kid, and it’s one that never ceases to make me laugh.
Worst Game: Newsflash, for ending right as it got going.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S07E12, or His Plan Almost Worked.

It’s been a hot second. I had a semester to finish off. I’m back though, with the last episode of Series 7, a fairly decent series with lots of fun high points. This is the last appearance of Tony Slattery, and our last Mike McShane appearance until his moodier S9 episodes. Like last compilation, all the series’ players are here except for Eddie Izzard, and…Niall Ashdown as well. Don’t worry, he’ll be back in Series 8.

Film and Theatre Styles: Ryan and Colin (two competitors and their pets at a dog show)
From: E9

Screen Shot 2018-05-13 at 11.39.48 PM.png

Judge Dredd:
Ryan, faux-Stallone: “This contest means a lot to my dog”
Colin, removing his helmet: “what?”

Then, after doing some more lines of a Stallone impression, Colin puts his helmet back on, having heard enough.
Ryan, breaking: “That’s the worst Stallone I’ve ever heard in my life…”
Clive, ever-snarky: “I assume you’re doing Stallone’s DOG, then..”

Thankfully, this style is followed up with a Jimmy Stewart western…which is most definitely an impression Ryan Stiles CAN do, and gets the audience back on his side quickly.

Colin, looking at his lime jacket: “MY GOD! KRYPTONITE!”

A brief but still very amusing F&TS game. I do see why it didn’t get in, though, as the improv wasn’t as well-contained as other F&TS ones.

Questions Only: Steve, Tony, Ryan and Colin are at the pearly gates
From: E3

Ryan: “D’you have a smoking section?”
Colin: [embarrassed shrug]

There is some really good Colin-Ryan back and forth here that I’m not gonna completely transcribe, but suffice to say it’s some really good stuff, and proof that they absolutely ruled this season.

Song Styles: Mike sings a ragtime song about syringes
From: E6

Mike’s last Song Styles for a while. A momentous occasion.

Mike does belt out a laugh once he hears the style suggestion, especially how it was the first style suggested. ‘RAGTIME???’

This is a fairly standard Mike song, with some high-energy lyrics about drug use, but…halfway through, Richard’s piano drops off, leaving Mike to sort of peer over at Richard until he panics and continues the song. Mike keeps his composure though.

High-energy, and definitely spirited, but still not a career highlight for Mike, which is sad for his last high-mood one on the show.

Scene to Music: Caroline has just failed Tony’s driver’s test
From: E4

Tony: “…not only were your road signs very bad, but you DID kill three people…”
And we’re off to a great start

Then, as Caroline’s crying and talking in a higher-pitched voice, Tony, calling back to another scene from this taping, goes “you’re not that drunk woman from earlier, are you?”
I don’t know what he’s calling back to, or if we’ve seen it or not.

The music does eventually kick in, and it’s a somber, melodic, dramatic score, which turns the scene into an Oscar-worthy performance.

Caroline does turn this into a romantic scene, which Tony responds to by twirling around.

Tony: “Even though you’ve failed this test, you’re not going to fail me as a wife. My [smirk] eggs are always going to be perfect…”

Caroline suggests they have sex in the backseat
Caroline: “Let me throw my legs over…up against the windscreen”
Screen Shot 2018-05-13 at 11.58.59 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-05-13 at 11.59.07 PM.png

Caroline: “YES-”
Tony: “…I’ll turn the wipers on, then!”

Then, as Caroline moves closer, erotically, to Tony, he lets out a chuckle, out of character. You can tell Caroline’s really throwing him for a loop.

Tony: “Let’s throw away the brakes and go downhill now!”
Caroline: “YES! LET’S GO DOWN NOW!”
Tony: “….Well, NO, DOWNHILL…”

A fantastic scene, with both parties throwing the other for a loop, and giving some great, funny, well-improvised work all around.

Whose Line: Ryan and Colin are two frogmen about to invade enemy territory
From: E3

Ryan: “Look, if I don’t make it…I want you to tell my wife something.”
Colin: “What’s that?”
Ryan: “I want you to…come home and tell her…”pull it out and let’s have a look at it…”

Colin’s suggested epitaph is ‘how did you lose your leg, Larry’?
Colin: “You know, you can’t tell that it’s fake at all. Sometimes I wish it wasn’t made out of oak. It keeps floating to the top as I try to get underneath…”

Ryan, underwater: “Well, it looks like-”
He then panics, and throws his breathing tube in. Very, very nice touch.

A lighter Whose Line round, but still with enough Ryan-Colin moments to form some later rounds of Mission Impossible.

World’s Worst: Thing to Say to your In-Laws (Tony, Mike, Colin and Ryan)
From: E6

Ryan: “I just wanna say, Mr. McDonald, Mrs. Mc-…HellLOOOO…”
and then, after a botched Tony joke
Ryan: “I just wanna say, Mrs. McDonald, Mr. Mc-HellLOOOO…”

Colin: “Well, actually, I’m a variety entertainer. I sing through my buttocks…”

Tony: “…Hello, my name’s Clive…”

Props: Colin and Ryan vs. Mike and Tony
From: E6

Lots of stuff from Episode 6 in this one…

Ryan, using the props as sideburns: “Very nice ta meet ya, sir, I’d like to marry your daughter, Priscilla…”

Screen Shot 2018-05-14 at 12.20.40 AM.pngTony: “SELL. SELL. I SAID SELL.”

Screen Shot 2018-05-14 at 12.21.38 AM.pngRyan: “Weeeee live in half…a windmill…”

Screen Shot 2018-05-14 at 12.22.16 AM.pngTony: “KING KONG, you’ve made the empire state building…” [breaks]

A surprisingly nice round of props from both sides.

Narrate: Colin is a gas station attendant, and Ryan’s a woman that pulls in
From: E9

The first moment we cut to this scene, Ryan is miming hanging himself. And that pales in comparison to his reaction to having to play a woman.

Colin: “Can I fill’er up?”
Ryan: “Yeah…why don’t you stick your hose in there, and…pump away…”
The audience loves this line

Ryan, rationalizing for a 1995 audience: “I knew he didn’t remember me…not since the operation…”

The scene ends with Colin, thinking he recognizes Ryan…and then Ryan not telling him it’s him.
Colin: “My plan didn’t work.”
Ryan: “His plan almost worked.”

It ended WAY too soon. They cut while the scene was still going, so the ending to this was hopefully good but probably had Ryan making a dick joke.

Press Conference: Ryan, Colin and Mike interview Tony, who has captured the Abominable Snowman
From: E6

More fun with the E6 taping. Must have been a whole lot that Dan initially wanted to let slide in favor of the painful-ish Party Quirks game.

Colin: “Did you have to use anything special?”
Tony: “Yes, GLUE…and some feathers.”

Mike asks if Tony ever felt he was in danger
Tony: “Yes, but my bodyguard saw to it that I had an armored…hat.”
He cringes at that, even if it gets a laugh

Ryan, with an essential giveaway: “Is he really as hard to get along with as his first name indicates?”
Tony, after taking a beat: “i don’t find him abominable at all!”
The audience erupts in cheers, as Tony actually got a guessing game correct.

Bartender: Mike consoles Greg, who lost his puppy
From: E5

This is Greg’s only game of the comp. Oh well, he’ll be all over S8.

Not a hell of a lot to this one, but it’s harmless enough.

Party Quirks: Tony hosts
Caroline: TOTP audience member
Colin: is being chased by low-flying aircraft
Ryan: frog spawn turning into a frog
From: E4

I find it very amusing that 80% of this taping features Tony Slattery, a guy the producers were trying to distance themselves from after E6.

Colin’s physicality, from the moment he runs in, is hysterical, crouching and shouting ‘WHAT THE?’, all while Caroline shrieks for her quirk. Tony is already confused. Fortunately he does manage to guess Colin kinda easily.

Ryan crouches down, fully turning into a frog
Tony: “…you should do that upstairs, really…”

Tony does manage to guess everyone, but doesn’t interact as well as he usually does, bringing his Party Quirks career, and his WL career, to a quiet close.

Hoedown: Josie, Caroline, Colin and Ryan sing about being born
From: E9

At the announcement of this game, Ryan gives a quick, sarcastically excited look to Clive before springing up from the seats. Josie similarly sarcastically bounds to the step, as she also clearly hates this game.

Josie and Caroline’s verses are cute but inoffensive.

Colin sings about his son being born, which dates this, as Kinley has come out as female since, but either way.
“I looked at him there, with his great big smile
I didn’t know I had him upside down all the while…”

Okay Hoedown. Colin’s verse saves it.

Best Game: Scene to Music, an absolute triumph
Worst Game: Bartender. Way too short and inconsequential.
Best Performer: Ryan, of course
Worst Performer: Greg, for being okay in his one game.


Best Episode: E10, with all four performers on, an uproarious F&TS round with Josie and Ryan doing accents, killer rounds of Stand Sit Lie and Moving People, and proof that the show could move on post-Tony.
2nd Best Episode: E6. Yes, Party Quirks is a tiny bit painful to watch, but this is Tony Slattery’s only moment of weakness in an otherwise energetic show, with a great round of Bartender, Ryan and Colin doing a great round of secret, and some killer stuff all around.
3rd Best Episode: E2, one that came up a lot on BBC America when I was younger, featuring Tony doing Brookside, ‘who invited the chicks’, a very silly News Report, and one of the last great Helping Hands rounds of this era.
Worst Episode: E8. The dregs and leavings of the far superior E10 taping.
Best Regular: Ryan Stiles, for getting back to excelling this series, though also for knowing when to take a backseat to guests and Colin.
Best Recurring Guest: Greg Proops, for owning the early stretch of this season, and taking some of the heat off of Mike and Tony. Nearly went with Steve or Josie.
Best Newcomer: Caroline Quentin, narrowly edging out her…minimal competition, by coming off like a pro in her two appearances with the show’s big guns.
Worst Guest: I am only going with Eddie Izzard, E7, solely because nobody else this series was truly bad, so I am going with someone who just didn’t especially fit with the show.
Guest We Wish Wasn’t Done After This Season: Tony Slattery. I am gonna miss this guy.