Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S05E02, or Use The Bat-Tering Ram!

Couple reasons why I’m interested in getting to this one

  1. Kathy Griffin is our fourth seater, and she’s a very interesting case to talk about in 2020, because when she did the show in 2001, she was a very normal character actress, having been on Seinfeld and whatnot, and then after this she became a staple of the E network, became an overmakeupped patron saint of gays, held up a fake severed head of the president and now everyone has to pick a side with her. I always thought she was a bit too provocative for me, but this was a little before she really mastered that comedic persona.
  2. This is a guest star episode, but instead of someone kinda big like Hugh Hefner or David Hasselhoff, they got…Miss America, Katie Harman. Like Hef, very indicative of early-2000s culture. But yeah, Miss America’s here.
  3. This entire taping has several instances of the SINGLE MOST NOTABLE AUDIENCE MEMBER IN WHOSE LINE HISTORY. This lady has a very deliberate, memorable laugh, and we will hear this laugh NUMEROUS TIMES thoughout this episode and its sisters. So, everytime I hear this laugh, I will denote it by throwing a ‘HAAAEEEEHH’ into the writeup. Because that’s what it sounds like. It’s like a cat being thrown against a window.

Right. Got all that? Onto the episode

Hollywood Director: Hunky golf pro Ryan is giving a private lesson to flirtatious Beverly Hills wife Kathy, Wayne is Kathy’s elderly millionaire husband who rides in on his motorized cart to confront them because he suspects they are planning to steal his fortune

Drew: “Wayne is Kathy’s….elderly millionaire husband!”

Ryan suggests Kathy keep her eye on the ball
Kathy, in a very fun European accent: “…I can’t keep my eye anywhere…except on that little ball you call a head…”

I love the detail that Ryan’s blender makes the exact same sound effect as Wayne’s motorized cart

Wayne’s very funny, going along the back of the stage, then accidentally passing onto Colin’s step because he can’t get the thing to stop

Wayne comes to a stop, then lifts up his little goggles

I’m not sure how I feel about Kathy really being taken aback by Colin’s ‘crap’ intro line

Colin, to Wayne: “By the way, nice Moms Mabley.”
Screen Shot 2020-02-13 at 11.59.10 AM.png

Ryan does a ‘THAT’S WHAT I WAS THINKING’ at one of Colin’s comments. Unlike usual, Colin limits himself to a mumbled little ‘…muheeyyy’, which cracks me up

Ryan and Kathy as stand-ups have some really great back-and-forth, both doing bits with each other

Kathy, to Ryan: “Hey, nice shirt, WHO SHOT THE COUCH?”

Wayne comes on, and Ryan and Kathy start booing his jokes and heckling
Wayne: “Well, you have fun at her 18th hole.”

Wayne, after Colin enters:
Screen Shot 2020-02-13 at 12.02.50 PM.png
Colin, to Wayne: “…you know, we ARE owned by Disney…”

Ryan and Kathy muttering German to each other is also pretty funny. Was not expecting those two to work so well together
Ryan even throws in a ‘HOGAAAAAAN’

Instead of coming in on the cart, Wayne goose-steps in.

All of the fake German being played straight is cracking me up, even when Ryan starts yelling ‘NEIN’

Ryan and Kathy are even great in the Obnoxious Drunks scene. My gosh.

Kathy has a great move in vomiting, then grabbing Ryan and kissing him. Which, to his credit, Ryan doesn’t seem too caught-off-guard by.

Wayne enters, loses control of the cart and falls downstage. So Kathy and Ryan start putting golf balls at him. That is funny

Drew buzzes, and you can hear Ryan go “oh, it’s so nice to kiss a girl instead…”

A very goofy, and entertaining scene. I was surprised how well Ryan and Kathy worked together, and how Colin kept screwing with Wayne.

Drew gives Kathy 2000 points for kissing Ryan
Colin: “I never get 2000 points for kissing him…”
Drew: “Because you LIKE to kiss him”
Ryan, of course: “It’s gotta be on the SHOW…”

Song Styles: Wayne sings to Katie, Miss America, as a boy band.

Drew asks Wayne how the wife is before he brings out Miss America. Oh, 2001…

Katie, who hails from Oregon, gets Northwesterner Ryan to give a ‘GO DUCKS’ from the seats.
Ryan, also in the back:
Screen Shot 2020-02-13 at 12.13.18 PM.png

Wayne has some surface level stuff, going ‘God Bless Old Glory’
Wayne, rapping: “Oh my goodness, you got class
It would not be right, no no
Because we’re on a FAMILY SHOW”
As good as that joke is, if we’re on a family show, why bring on Hefner??

A pretty okay SS from Wayne. Again, only so many targets you can hit here. Katie seemed to enjoy it though

Scenes from a Hat:

Drew: “Unusual Things for a Neighbor to Ask to Borrow”
Colin: “Hi, I need some monkey testicles AND A COLA…”
Everyone takes a few moments to recover

“If you used stripper moves to do mundane activities”
Ryan, crawling around: “WHERE IS MY CONTACT?”

World’s Worst Thing to Say the First Time you See Someone Naked:
Colin, shaking his head as he comes down: “aw, that reminds me, my tire needs new treads.”

Strange Television Shows for Mister Rogers to Make an Appearance on is the first of many similar categories, but I believe that Fred had died by the time this aired
Fred, as Rogers: “…well yes, I have to say that is mah final answer…”
Ryan, up to the camera: “…well…I’m gonna have ta vote out Billy..”

Disturbing Times to make Animal Noises:
Wayne, proposing to Kathy: [SQUEEEEEEEEAL]
Colin, peeing: [ROOSTER CAW]

A pretty good SFAH, and they let it go for a bit.

Living Scenery: Batman, who is Ryan, and Robin, who’s Colin, are in the Batcave when they get a call from Commissioner Gordon saying that Batgirl is being held in an abandoned mineshaft
Wayne and Katie are all the props

Colin is good enough to establish the stakes early, getting the call from the commissioner with Katie as the phone. He then remembers who he’s supposed to be, and tries for something: “HOLY….KIDNAPPING.”

There’s a confusion as to where the batpoles are, which gives Ryan the opportunity to slide down Katie.
Colin wisely comes back up and goes down the Katie pole himself

Ryan first suggests they take the Batmobile, then realizes who he can work with, and reneges: “NONO, LET’S TAKE THE BAT-SCOOTERS”
Katie laughs at this, and struggles to keep it together as Ryan rides her as a scooter
Ryan: “I’m gonna drive around the block a couple times-”
Colin: “NO!”

I love the detail of Katie bending her leg outward when Colin notices Ryan has a flat

Colin, remembering again who he is: “HOLY….CLUE!”

Then, Colin picks up Katie and uses her as his utility belt, which is a very inspired choice. Katie, again, is laughing her ass off

Colin: “Use the bat…terring ram.”
Colin shrugs as this gets a middling response: “I’m just Robin, what do I know?”

Ryan, still holding Katie, decides to play Batgirl “a little song on the guitar”

Colin starts playing Wayne as a bass, which is a very silly visual that nearly breaks him

There’s a moment where Ryan and Colin have to remember where they were, when Wayne does an out-of-shot ‘HELP ME’
Colin: “It’s Batgirl!”
Ryan, briefly turning this into Sound Effects: “She’s turned into a fly!”

Another fun moment, of Ryan setting up that he needs a bat-grenade, thinking he’s gonna get Katie…then Colin grabs Katie to use as a gasmask, and Ryan just:
Screen Shot 2020-02-13 at 2.59.24 PM.png

A pretty good Living Scenery, though not as good as last show’s. Katie was having a hell of a time, but Ryan and Colin had a few clumsy moments, especially late

Drew: “So what was that like sliding down Miss America, huh? Was it fun?”
Colin: “It was better than playing Wayne as a fiddle…”
Wayne: “So says YOU…’dear diary, today I became a man’..”

Props: Drew and Wayne vs. Ryan and Kathy

Another rare pairing, as Drew, who usually does Props with Ryan, is paired with Wayne, as Ryan’s paired with Kathy. Interesting.

Screen Shot 2020-02-13 at 3.05.25 PM.pngDrew, feebly: “Give me your tired, your poor…your huddled masses…”
The prop falls off his head halfway through

Screen Shot 2020-02-13 at 3.06.06 PM.pngRyan: “No, I’m known for my SHOES on the show…”

Screen Shot 2020-02-13 at 3.06.42 PM.pngKathy: “I cannot believe you came to this party dressed as Bjork too…”

There’s a nice back-to-back of Ryan and Kathy holding theirs up, going “WE’RE NUMBER FIVE”, and then Drew catching on with his, going “…WE’RE NUMBER EIGHT.”

A pretty strong Props round. I’m kinda surprised how well Kathy fit into this one as well. And again, there’s that Ryan-Kathy combo from HD.

Overall: A solid show without many real highlights. Honestly, some of the best moves of the show were just well-improvised moments, like most of Hollywood Director and the bits in Living Scenery where Ryan and Colin fought over who got Katie. Other than that, it was all pretty good, if unspectacular. Kathy Griffin, as we’ll see in the subsequent shows from this taping, brought a lot of fun energy to the proceedings, and was great at some improv fundamentals, especially in HD and Props. I’m also of the opinion that if WL did a Summer 2003 taping session, they would have asked her back, as she was a great fit for the show, and arguably one of the funnier women Dan & Mark asked on the program since landing in the US (is she the funniest? A sandy blonde-haired California-based improviser might have something to say about that)

The guest star material here was merely okay. Yes, Katie was into it, but I do feel like she could have brought more to the proceedings than just ‘being Miss America’. Then again, Miss America isn’t exactly a personality contest, is it?

Show Winner: Colin
Best Performer: Ryan, by a very slim margin.
Worst Performer: I really don’t wanna put anyone here. Everyone was so in step this episode. And as much as Wayne had a really good Director and Song Styles, he was shut out of the other games.
Best Game: Hollywood Director has the best picture of these four’s improv dynamic.
Worst Game: Song Styles was by no means bad, but was the most okay.
Final HAAAEEEEHH Count: SEVEN. Which is arguably restraint.
Guest Star Rating: 7/10 for Katie. Was happy to be here, laughed through Living Scenery, but you could have replaced her with anybody.

COMING UP NEXT: A renegade Season 4 taping, one we haven’t seen anything yet, but they’re putting their best foot forward. For instance, here’s an episode where Wayne wears a thong.

3 thoughts on “Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S05E02, or Use The Bat-Tering Ram!

  1. I have noticed that you often comment on the female performers great collaboration/chemistry with Ryan. From memory I think you have written this about Josie, Karen, Kathy Greenwood and Kathy Griffen.
    I read somewhere that Ryan could be very flirty/playfull, but he also hated it, if it was misinterpreted as him making a pass on someone. I think that it is this character trait that permeates his scenes with the women. They just have chemistry with him and they feel “safe” with him.
    And this not only true for the women. I think that he is so good at exuding confidence and calm that his scene parter, whether being male or female, picks up on this and thus shines.
    I’m not trying to say that Ryan is the best improviser but he seems to lift those around him.

  2. If you’re curious, Mr. Rogers was still alive when this episode aired. I remember watching it first-run. It aired in the fall of 2002, and Mr. Rogers died in early 2003.

    I’ve honestly never been a fan of Kathy Griffin. Granted, I was 14 when this episode first aired, but I just remember being bored by this episode. I actually stopped watching season five a few episodes in and I’ve never seen every episode during the season (or anything beyond season five, save for some clips I’ve seen on YouTube). I really should go back and re-watch now that I’m in my 30s.

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