So here’s how the compilations are going to work.
Obviously I can’t judge a compilation of new material as a whole, because these games weren’t originally supposed to be in this order- they were supposed to be aired as part of the original taping. So with each piece tonight, I’ll be tracing back to the episode it came from, and pondering why it was cut, and whether it would have fit in the original episode. I’ll still do Best and Worsts, but I won’t really judge this show as a whole rather than in pieces.
The one thing I’ll say about Clive’s pretaped intro is that it’s a bit awkward without the studio audience. I couldn’t tell if there were jokes in there that I was supposed to laugh at (including a Channel 4 slam).
Film and Theatre Styles v1: Josie and Paul
Returning a faulty purchase
Josie’s confused by ‘German Expressionism’ when it’s called out. Paul takes a few moments to think of the best way to describe it. And then, as Clive gets more, you can faintly hear Paul giving a really educated, thorough explanation. It’s nice he can be really supportive out of character, as the second he snaps in he becomes his usual, brash self.
Paul’s explanation works, as Josie gets the bizarre mood of German Expressionism exactly, as Paul does his usual no-selling.
Josie, in her most expressive Hammer Horror: “I think you must be mistaken, I’m not mad- HAHAHAHAHAHA.”
Clive: “Whitehall farce.”
Paul: “Well, then why aren’t you wearing any trousers???”
Josie, Disney: “You can be my real big human dinky-doo. Would you like that?”
Paul: “….Erm….I’d rather a good career in the civil service, but i’ll…”
Paul, finally caving: “Alright, I’ll be your big dinky-doo. Shall we go walking through the woodlands together, holding hands, and saying hello to all the bears and the animals?”
Josie, without an idea: “….Well, yes, I’d like that very much.”
Paul: “…Or should we just go into the back of my Volkswagen?”
Solid game, though they lost the plot a bit, and Josie made a Warner Brothers reference in the Disney section, but the chemistry’s still very strong. That would have probably helped the mood of E1 a bit, but only a bit.
Film and Theatre Styles v2: Archie and John
Also from S01E01
Jealous Husband Confronting Lover
John is actually really loose in this scene (maybe hit close to home?), and Archie…bless his soul, is TRYING..
Clive: “Rambo film.”
Archie, getting the wrong Stallone franchise: “AAADRIAN!”
John and Archie in Greek Tragedy is actually really good, and they both nail the style…they’ve just, as usual, forgotten the plot of the scene.
Clive: “Kung Fu.”
John: “I’ve been dubbed badly, d’you mind?”
This one never really got going, and may have been the reason why both of these didn’t make E1. Archie, again, tries, but John never really gave him the floor enough.
Every Other Line: Jonathan and Paul
Jonathan reads, Paul improvises
Having a TV fixed.
Last Line: It’s only Cotton Wool.
Clive gets the last line as ‘it’s only cotton wool.’
Paul: “‘but I like it’. That’s a Rolling Stones song, isn’t it?”
This is an odd little scene- Every Other Line works best when the lines can be taken out of context. As this is a very specific play about Robin Hood, that can’t really be done when Jonathan is saying lines about Robin Hood characters. So while they both try, the scene’s failures lie with the producers for choosing such a specific play.
There’s a moment where Jonathan, who’s now trying not to crack up at how specific the material is to Robin Hood, just looks at Paul, shrugs, and goes, out of character, ‘it’s all here…’
Paul, now knowing how to end the scene: “But you know, those green tights, they ain’t really the sort of proper tight material…”
There’s a shot of the audience. They know exactly what’s coming.
Once Paul FINALLY gets the last word out, as Jonathan says another line and makes it difficult for him, the audience cheers. I’m reading this as they’re cheering for the game to finally be over.
Song Styles: Josie sings about a toothbrush as a gospel song
My only complaint about this one, which was a great one from Josie, was that it was too short, as were many Song Styles playings in S1. I’m also disappointed we didn’t get a Song Styles from Mike as well…
Props: Mike and John vs. Tony and Josie
Josie: “Hello, I’m Anne Diamond”
Tony: [beats self with prop]
Josie: “What’d you mean the Olympics is bleedin’ over?”
Tony: “And now, John Hurt in ‘Alien’:
John: “I know you! You were in that Rembrandt painting there, were you?”
(How is one of the best rounds of Props of the season left for the Compilation?? We could have easily swapped Remote Control for this.)
Film Dub: Stephen and Josie
A couple discuss how to decorate a room
Josie: “You only brought me up here because you want me to paint your bannister”
Stephen, as his character begin to kiss Josie’s’ head: “No, because I want to taste your forehead.”
This is a very fun scene, brought forth by Josie’s character dressing in a suit, so Stephen got to make this into a rather gay scene. Plus, it ends with Josie going “Oh, it’s the headmaster! I think I’ll flash him!” Light enough, though I can see why it wasn’t originally included.
Josie: Hears voices
John: cub scout leader
The second Mike enters as a kissogram…now we know why he’d be a fixture on the show for the next 7 seasons.
There’s about 10 seconds where Tony has no idea who anyone is, and is just keeping silent. He’d get marginally better at this game over time, but…here he’s not even funny-clueless (See “OH WELL FUCK OFF!”). He does eventually manage to get John and Mike, but he lands on “…oh, well, you’re just bloody bonkers” for Josie.
Opera: Working as a Guard on the Northern Line, Making Mashed Potatoes, and Smoking
John FINALLY sings in one of these, but…I couldn’t understand half of what he said, even with an expert translation within the youtube comments. Paul gets more of a laugh just listing off stops on the Northern Line.
Josie: “Is this the way to Tottenham Green?”
John: “This is the way to Tottenham Green”
Paul: “THERE’S NO USE ASKING ME I DON’T…KNOW A THING.”
I can’t believe I’m writing this phrase, but…Archie Hahn saves this game, by building this into a melodic group number about potatoes, though he has a moment where the floor, and the camera shot, was his…and he buckled. He made up for it, though, by uniting the group and building to an end. Though…the ending note is a bit less than unified.
I feel like if Episode 1 of Whose Line ended like this, we’d not have gotten an Episode 2, so I’m glad this made the comp.
Best Performer: Paul Merton, for making several games successes. Tony nearly won this.
Worst Performer: By default, Jonathan Pryce, for being in one game, and a not-great one at that.
Best Game: Props. Would have been a great addition in E9.
Worst Game: Opera. Kind of a mess.