Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S05E20, or Aren’t We All Just Rats in a Maze?

This is the other Season 5 show I’ve been looking forward to. Same taping as the Richard Simmons show, same Greg Proops energy. And…while it may start out kind of pedestrian, it eventually just transforms into a mutated free-for-all of a show. Which I’ve adored for years.

Drew: “Let’s get the show going, but before I do I wanna say a hello to our little buckaroo, Ryan”
Screen Shot 2020-03-30 at 6.18.01 PM.png
Ryan: “I’m trying to take some focus off the shoes.”
Greg: “Didn’t you love him in Toy Story?”

Weird Newscasters: Colin anchors, Greg, a goofy white guy trying to act ‘street’, co-anchors, Wayne, Aging female Broadway performer in a big song and dance number whose extensive plastic surgery begins to collapse, does sports while Ryan, a very strict father whose deadbeat sons are in the studio and he’s decided it’s time for them to get real jobs, does weather

I feel like from Greg and Wayne’s reactions, they did some pickups for this one

Colin’s opening joke, “Only Hugh can Prevent Florist Friars”, is a bit too long in the tooth  to really work

Greg: “I wanna give some SHOUTS OUT to my people over in Glendale, California”
Wayne, Glendale-area resident:
Screen Shot 2020-03-30 at 6.22.28 PM.png

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Is Wayne just playing Cicely Tyson?
[I know, boo me all you want]

This is a great quirk for Wayne, as he’s great at gradually collapsing, or gradually coming apart, so he’s really good at knowing what parts of himself to slow down

Ryan, spitefully: “I have a JOB, that’s how I make MONEY.”

Ryan has an insanely smart move, and makes his sons the cameramen- ‘You five, look at ya. Listening to your rock-n-roll music all day…[to Drew] THIS ONE’S THE LAZIEST OF ‘EM ALL, BUT AT LEAST HE MAKES MONEY.”
Screen Shot 2020-03-30 at 6.31.38 PM.png

Ryan: “Now take the headphones off. All of ya.”
Ryan: “Ya want me to get out the stick??”

It just turns into Ryan running  around, trying to wrangle all the cameramen, but none of them are moving from their posts

A pretty good WN. Everybody had something fun to do, and while I wish there was more interplay, it was still enjoyable enough.

Drew: “Thank you, Cowboy Bob.”
Ryan: “Someday, we’re gonna get you out of a suit.”
Drew: “I need to get some giddy up in my git’alongs, is that what you’re trying to say?”

Drew: “You’re wearing a cowboy shirt, what am I supposed to do? And big blue shoes. A cowboy shirt and big blue shoes!”
Ryan, like it’s a country song: “A COWBOY SHIRT ‘N BIG BLUE SHOOOES…”

Scenes from a Hat:

The ‘Oklahoma! versions for other states’ one is just a worse version of a SFAH suggestion we’d get next show about road signs.

Sumo Wrestlers in Other Professions:
Colin, after squatting: “…anyone else want their clams…shucked?”
HAHAHAHA. It’s so out there that he and Drew lose it

“Anecdotes Talks would tell if they appeared on talk shows” is the big one:
Greg: “So get this, Jay. We can’t come apart. So the neighbor comes out with a hose…”
THAT made air????
Greg, continuing: “Oh, this bitch was in heat!”
Ryan, with a really wholesome one: “…So, I’m chasing what I think is another dog’s tail…”
I forget that Ryan’s a dog person, and he can do very cute dog material if he wants.

Ryan, with Colin: “Jerry, I’m here to tell my husband I’m in love with a cat.”
Colin, not entirely following: “…me-OW.”
[There’s some laughter here from all 4]

Colin: “So, as I’m licking, I hiccup, and my testicles become lodged in my throat. Well…I COULDN’T BREATHE. I still have a bit lodged there now.”
[The audience goes WILD at this]

Light SFAH, but not exactly BAD.

The ‘special yipee-yi-oh’ is reprised from 5×17

Film Dub: One day in the doctor’s lab

Drew: “This is for Greg, Colin and Cowboy Bob.”

Greg’s specimen:
Screen Shot 2020-03-30 at 6.46.10 PM.png
Greg: “Oh look, it’s the traffic outside of Los Angeles…”

Lots of good ‘take it as it is’ lines, like Greg emitting an ‘hmmmmm’, and ending on that.
Ryan: “You know, many years ago when  I worked in this lab, I…”
Ryan’s character turns away
Ryan: “well, more on that later”

I also love Ryan handing multiple vials to Colin’s character and making sure they don’t get confused, and also just the amount of vials the guy gives up.
Colin, saying his first line: “There’s no good parts for Latinos!”

For another Colin character, the editors placed in a ‘MEOW’ from Hats, to thread this together. It’s a very obvious edit

Ryan: “This is my work of art, this is a stone I passed last week.”
Screen Shot 2020-03-30 at 6.51.07 PM.png
Ryan: “It was this big when it first came out…”
Screen Shot 2020-03-30 at 6.51.35 PM.png
Ryan: “I clenched myself, LIKE THIS, and it came out!”
Just playing into Ryan’s hand

A brief but amusing Film Dub, similar to the UK ones. I just wish it’d gone on longer.

Party Quirks: Greg hosts
Wayne: Having a series of stormy love affairs from beginning to end with each person at the party
Colin: Serious scientist testing how much annoyance people can stand before cracking
Ryan: Rat traveling through a maze to reach the cameras where he’s given either cheese or an electric shock

Greg: “Ah, a Richard Simmons video party! OH MY GOD WHAT’S HE DOING TO COLIN?”
[that’s a fun postscript to 5×17]

Wayne does a great job of doing an entire relationship in 15 seconds, even with escalating tensions

Something about Colin’s is really funny, mostly how he does these annoying things and is so matter-of-fact about it. Like a real psychologist

Ryan’s is a fun one, cause he’s just doing rat physicality in all these different directions.
Ryan, eventually:
Screen Shot 2020-03-30 at 9.04.39 PM.png
Screen Shot 2020-03-30 at 9.04.46 PM.png

Then, Ryan tries another camera and gets shocked. I love his little slack expression as he bobs around, recirculating.

Greg’s first guest for Ryan, “he’s a drunk sea otter”, gets a laugh out of him.

Colin: [checks watch]
Yeah, he’s so droll about it. I love that.
Ryan, from across the stage: “BZZZZT”

Greg’s still trying to guess Ryan, and Ryan’s trying to stress the right animal
Screen Shot 2020-03-30 at 9.07.28 PM.png
Greg: “…he’s a FISH…”
Screen Shot 2020-03-30 at 9.08.03 PM.png

Greg, postgame: “WAS he an anthropologist?”
Drew: “No, he was just a rat in a maze-”
Greg: “NO, NO…Colin!”
Colin: “Aren’t we all just rats in a maze?”

Drew, to Ryan again: “You know I hardly get to say this to anybody, but chaps would really make that outfit”

A surprisingly good PQ. I’d always forgotten about this one, but Greg working with Colin AND Ryan at once was pretty fun. And Greg, as usual, was a fun host.

Hats: Dating Service Videos

The YT cut of this game always included Drew’s “I hate to do this, but we’re gonna move on”, which must have come after a Simmons game

Screen Shot 2020-03-30 at 9.12.56 PM.pngWayne, full Don King: “ME AND YOU! ON A DATE! JANUARY 12TH! AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN!”

Screen Shot 2020-03-30 at 9.13.44 PM.pngGreg starts cracking up, and barely gets the joke out.
Greg, giving up: “…I have a giant fish head on! I’m 42 fucking years old.”
Screen Shot 2020-03-30 at 9.14.47 PM.png

Screen Shot 2020-03-30 at 9.15.26 PM.pngColin: “I will churn thy butter”
[Fun fact: when my girlfriend met Colin, she personally thanked him for this line. Out of everything.]

Screen Shot 2020-03-30 at 9.17.43 PM.pngColin: “Lemme help ya hit those high notes.”
Then, as the audience laughs at this, he emits the show’s second official “MEOW”

Screen Shot 2020-03-30 at 9.18.31 PM.pngWayne: “Hi, I’m Michael Jackson.”

Really strong Hats, too. We’re going into the house-breaker and every game has been good. Not all exemplary, but good.

Irish Drinking Song: Yelled Out the Wrong Name in Bed

Ah, yes. Here we are.

So, let’s examine this trainwreck
Wayne’s first line: “One night I was getting freaky.”
Drew…trying to have Ryan rhyme with ‘name’: “With my…er…girl Elaine.”
Ryan…now has to decipher that because it came so late, and it’s harder than it needs to be.
Colin, shaking his head: “Boy, we had some fun.”
Screen Shot 2020-03-30 at 9.23.30 PM.png
Ryan now decides to make fun of Drew: “AND THEN UURGHH-AHH-EHH-AGHHH”
Screen Shot 2020-03-30 at 9.24.00 PM.png
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[this ALONE cracked me up to high hell as a kid]

So the reactions to THAT:
Screen Shot 2020-03-30 at 9.24.55 PM.png
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Colin, as Wayne and Drew aren’t going: “MEOW.”
Screen Shot 2020-03-30 at 9.26.27 PM.png

So…normally, you start again, do another one, throw that out. Laura on the other hand decides to keep going, and after a break, the producers instruct them to go to the fourth verse. This is going to air, in this form. And they just have to finish it.
Ryan is holding his own, just glaring down Drew, as this whole thing’s his fault. Drew and Wayne are still laughing.

Ryan, spiteful: “I lost track of the STORY.”
Wayne, still recovering: “I don’t know what has happened.”
Drew, trying: “…He wrote me a letter.”
Colin: “My underwear is snappin.”
EVEN THAT’s a funny line.
Ryan, still trying to add plot, ANYTHING: “I think there was a girl involved”
Wayne, with an easy rhyme to wrap this up: “That’s what I’m thinkin'”
Drew, still kinda gone: “I don’t know what to say.”
Now, in a perfect world, Colin finishes the song with ‘we’ve all been out drinkin’ or something, and it doesn’t air, and they do another one. But…this is not a perfect world, so Colin looks right at the camera, knowing exactly what’s gonna happen, and goes.
Screen Shot 2020-03-30 at 9.30.31 PM.png
Wayne…drops to the floor. For the first time since WN. Ryan’s gone. Drew’s standing up, but gone. And Colin…finishes the song solo. As he should.

So…that song is a mess, a botched failure of an IDS game that bombed because Drew flubbed a line. And in all honesty, this game never should have aired. The only reason it did air, is because Colin yelled ‘MEOW’ in that punchline and tied it back to SFAH and Hats. The producers had context for it, and how MEOW had become a Pavlovian cue to laugh, so they took the remains of this IDS and aired it anyway, knowing it’d be funny in itself to see this panel break down like this. As it stands, it’s an oddity in itself, a rare moment of the Whose Line cast failing to even TRY to keep it together, and Colin still getting a lawful laugh out of it. It’s only partially good improv, but it’s definitely one of the funniest things that they let onto a show.

Overall:  A relatively solid show with one huge moment at the end. Other than that, there are GOOD games here, like Weird Newscasters, Party Quirks and Hats, but nothing as classic as that IDS. The Ryan’s shirt runner works, the Meow runner works, and it just works in general to see this many scene games in a taping based around a gay man pretending to give Colin a blowjob, but deep down, nothing in this episode can compare to Irish Drinking Song. As much as I enjoy this one, I know full well it’s not pristine, and I don’t allow that to affect my opinion of it.

Show Winner: Greg
Best Performer: I had to separate this very finely, but Colin takes it over Ryan. With that IDS save, how can I not?
Worst Performer: Wayne had a few misfires tonight.
Best Game: Irish Drinking Song.
Worst Game: Film Dub was lightest.

COMING UP NEXT: Another S5 Greg taping, from the Halloween taping. The guest star is a supporting cast member from Scary Movie.

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