Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S09E04, or Bernstein, there could be a musical in this…

At this point in Series 9, directed solely towards American audiences, we come across something…Quite Interesting indeed.

As I said before, every episode of Series 9 only features one or less UK performer, and usually someone like Steve Frost, Rory Bremner or Josie Lawrence, pre-established repertory players who can let the Americans do the heavy lifting. Except for this one. Episode 4. Josie Lawrence is here, but…so is someone who hasn’t appeared since Series 1 of the show, and knows a vastly different Whose Line than the one he’s about to guest on. And that is Stephen Fry.

Yeah. Dan and Mark thought that an episode featuring the SINGLE MOST BRITISH PERSON on the planet would help the appeal on Comedy Central. Now, granted…in 1997, Stephen Fry was semi-relevant in America, having appeared in the 1994 Meg Ryan rom-com IQ (with an American accent, no less), as well as starring in that year’s stateside Oscar-bait-y film…about a guy named Oscar (’97’s ‘Wilde’). I can only imagine people in the US knew who Stephen Fry was in 1997, but…were these people watching Comedy Central? Were these people watching Whose Line?

So, this episode is one of the last two legitimately mix UK dynamic and US dynamic; Stephen and Josie did scenes together back in the day, and are STILL very friendly; Ryan and Colin are the strongest duo the show’s ever seen. And they’re about to, essentially, do battle.

People in the audience are cheering loudly after intros, and Clive remarks: “Well, we’ve got a very lively audience tonight…for a very dull set of improvisers-”
CALL STEPHEN FRY DULL ONE MORE TIME, ANDERSON. I DARE YOU. I DOUBLE DARE YOU.

Questions Only: All four are in Rome

Because, with Stephen Fry on the bill, of course they are.

Stephen flocks to the step for the top of the game, only for Clive to inform him that he’s starting.
Josie: “Come on, darling-”
Stephen: “Oh, I’m terribly sorry-”
Clive: “You’ve been away too long, I see..”

Stephen, of course, starts his scene speaking in Latin.
Josie, eventually: “Are you talking Latin or just taking the piss?”

Stephen also rolls out an unbleeped ‘FUCK’ on his first buzz-out of the day. It’s hidden under the buzz, but…at this specific taping, there’d be a less-hidden expletive, courtesy of Stephen, which we’ll get to. Two, even.

Ryan: “Did you order a pizza?”
Colin: “DON’T YOU HAVE THE FOOD OF THE GODS?”
Ryan, with an underrated line: “What did you order?”
Colin: “Don’t you have some grapes?”
Ryan: “…can you handle pepperoni?”
Colin: “What’s a pepperoni?”
Ryan: “……I DON’T KN-”
BUZZ

Josie: “Would you like a statue erected to you?” [eyebrow raise]
Ryan: “…what do you mean by erected?”

This scene is very silly, and not taken seriously by the performers, so when Colin comes down and asks Ryan “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH MY FAMILY”, it’s the kind of jarring turn that gets Clive laughing immediately.
Ryan: “That was YOUR family?”
Colin: “WHOSE FAMILY WOULD IT BE?”

After Clive buzzes both our, Josie asks Stephen: “Are you going to the Parthenon tonight?”
Stephen then has a conundrum. He KNOWS the Parthenon is not in Rome. The Parthenon is in Athens. Because THEY SAY OF THE ACROPOLIS WHERE THE PARTHENON IS…you know the rest. But he’s conflicted, because he can either ‘yes-and’ Josie’s question, or he can say, with reality, that the Parthenon is actually in Athens. And that’s what he goes with, after a second, as Clive has already buzzed out Stephen for taking too long.
Stephen: “Couldn’t you explain that the Parthenon’s in Athens?”
And Stephen leaves, as Josie cringes onstage.

Josie, to Ryan now: “IS the Parthenon in Athens?”
Ryan, deadpan: “Would you like to buy a map?”
BUZZZZ

A really energetic QO round, even if Stephen took a bit of a learning curve, Josie forgot where the Parthenon was (and who she was talking to), and the scenes only really went back-and-forth when Colin and Ryan were up together.

Film and Theatre Styles: Josie and Stephen (hijacker and pilot)

Thank god, we see Stephen and Josie play this. No offense to Ryan and Colin, but they’ve gotten enough duo showcases lately.

Clive, fielding suggestions: “BILL AND BEN? CAN WE JUST UP THE ANTE A BIT HERE?”
Audience member: “Prisoner in Cell Block 8”
Clive: “Yes, an intellectual, thank goodness for that…”

I have a feeling that Stephen knew about the ‘twist’ from the getgo, as he has this confused expression as Josie enters, wanting to have a look at the ‘cock pit’, before finally going “…well, alright.” He had to have known what he was doing.

Stephen, “please, sit down on the, uhm-”
Josie: “On the-”
Stephen: “Yes, on the co-pilot there…”
HA

Josie finally pulls up a gun, and threatens to shoot Stephen if he doesn’t take her to Cuba.
Stephen: “…..you know this is a simulator, don’t you?”
AND THAT’S PERFECT. The audience even applauds this.

Prisoner in Cell Block 8
Stephen: “That’s alright, everybody’s gotta have a first time, and usually I’m the bitch that gives it to ’em…”

Stephen’s Aussie accent in this is pretty damn great, especially his calculated pauses in his sentences, ending in “and THEN come to me and allow me to insert STRANGE things inSIDE ya.”

Clive: “Bill and Ben”
Stephen: [breaks]
Josie: [says a bit in Flobidob]
Stephen: “Oh, I was thinking of Bill Clinton and Tony Benn, I’m sorry”
HA

At the start of World War II movie, he forgets who he is in the scene, and that he’s not the hijacker, so he continues flying the plane, now a war-style plane. It’s funny that he started this show as the competent scene partner, and now HE’S the Peter Cook.

Josie does a very nice proper accent while Stephen has goggle-hands and is doing the plane noise.
Josie, after a bit too much of this: “…will you PLEASE stop going off?”
BUZZ
Stephen: “I’m sorry, it’s the damn Gestapo, they fixed my fingers to my eyes”
BUZZ

Clive: “American soap opera, DIN-asty, Dynasty sort of thing”
Stephen: ‘Which?”
[the audience laughs at this]
Stephen: “I do a ‘DINasty, and I do a Dynasty!”
Clive: “Do both, and we’ll try to tell, Stephen…”
Stephen: “Alright, you have to say which one, whether Dynasty or DINasty-”
Clive: “DINasty”
Stephen: “…right.”
beat]
Stephen: “…that’s the one I can’t do…”

Stephen and Josie’s American accents are surprisingly great. Josie’s taking several breaths between words, and doing a GREAT soap opera performance.

Stephen, in order to properly throttle Josie, takes the stuffing out of her shoulders (or bra, I dunno), and yells “YOU’RE A COLBY, GODDAMMIT!”, the big cut-to-commercial line. And, fittingly, Clive buzzes.

A very funny round, even if, like late-era Tony and Paul rounds, it didn’t always stay in the realm of improv. Josie was fantastic, though.

Sound Effects: Colin looks for thrills at the fairground, Ryan does the SFX

Ryan starts by doing a tired, trumpety circus theme from afar. Already off to a nice start.

Colin has a great character trait here: he gets to the shooting range, fires, there’s a slight pop, and Colin looks around, disappointed. He’s an adrenaline junkie, he wanted a louder bang. He tries another one, same pop. He gets to a third. LOUD BANG. He smiles.

After the third bang, he looks over in fear. That is ALL it takes to show what happened. It’s masterful.

This one also has the visual of Colin grabbing an elephant by the trunk and throwing it off into the distance….only for it to land on someone else.

Then, of course, Colin going on a roller coaster. He absolutely NAILS the physicality, and the panicked expression the further and further up he goes.

A weaker ending, but still a very fun SFX round. Stephen was getting a kick out of it in the back.

Number of Words: Romeo and Juliet
Ryan: Romeo (3 words)
Josie: Juliet (4 words)
Colin: Juliet’s mother (2 words)
Stephen: Juliet’s father (6 words)

Again, note the classy scene description for Stephen

The scene is great from the getgo, and surprisingly dramatic. Stephen, though, is counting on his fingers, as he reprimands Josie: “ONCE! A! CAPULET! ALWAYS! A! CAPULET!”
Josie, as the applause for that dies down: “Ow, my right boob!”
Ryan: “My favorite one!”

Colin, entering: “WHAT THE.”
That’s literally all you need in this game.

Ryan, bringing back his Agatha Christie voice from S7: “I…..love…….Juliet”

As Stephen has more trouble counting
Josie: “I WILL KILL MYSELF!”
Stephen, finding an easy out: “…Kill yourself? Kill yourself? KILL YOURSELF?”

As Ryan and Josie ready the poison
Stephen: “I’M GOING TO COUNT TO SIX.”
Absolutely genius.
Stephen: “:ONE….TWO….THREE…”
Josie drinks the poison
Stephen: “….Oh my god.”

Josie, at a quiet moment: “….I feel like shit.”

Then, as Josie’s dying, Stephen, forgetting what game he’s in, calls out to someone offscreen “BERNSTEIN, there could be a musical in this!”

An extraordinarily silly scene: Ryan, Juliet and Colin had a firm grasp of the source material, and translated it well to the game. Stephen was just having fun. And I don’t blame him. As a true Shakespeare scholar, he must know that deep down, Romeo and Juliet isn’t a great play, so maybe he’s more familiar with the histories. I dunno, that’s my next QI to watch.

Props: Colin and Ryan vs. Josie and Stephen

Stephen, holding the prop, really a big pool noodle: “Uh, Miss Street-Porter, your floss has arrived!”
And they thought THAT would go over with the American audiences? If people barely knew who Stephen was over here, they most certainly didn’t know who Janet Street-Porter was.

Ryan uses the prop as a pterodactyl wings, as Colin just does his dinosaur impression, which certainly cracks up Clive.

Screen Shot 2018-08-04 at 9.47.07 PM.pngColin: “….Santa, we’re going on strike.”
Ryan, kinda amazed: “WHAT??”

Let’s Make a Date: Josie guesses
Stephen: a trendy vicar
Colin: Hates everything English
Ryan: eating a tremendously hot curry

A classic.

Josie: “Number One?”
Stephen, immediately: ‘Dick, call me Dick.”

Stephen, on what he’d invent: “I’d, uh invent…a kind of sharing…a sort of…outreach, if you like…MOST PEOPLE DON’T….a kind of sharing outreach…I think is what we really need, don’t you?”
Absolutely perfect. Stephen’s real-world detesting of religion certainly aides this.

Colin: “GOD. EVERYTHING IS SO *OLD* HERE.”

Ryan nails this. Just by how agape his mouth is. And then his stomach starts rumbling, and he has this look of absolute panic.

Josie, already knowing exactly who Stephen is: “Could you explain to me a bit about the current book you’re reading, and why you like it?”
Stephen: “…The book I’m reading is a book I always read…at the moment, uh…I’ve got quite far into it, I don’t want to give much away…but it’s about a friend of mine, and I think someone who could become a friend of yours…he’s a sharing kinda guy. IN A LOT OF WAYS HE’S A BIT LIKE A GANGSTA RAPPER IN A STRANGE WAY…he’s out there ON THE STREETS…WITH THE KIDS……SHOOTING UP…but he shoots up with love!”
Josie: “Aww, that’s nice.”
Stephen, ascending in pitch: ‘Yep…YEP…*YEP*”

Colin: “Everyone drinks tea in those books. WHAT IS IT WITH TEA? I’VE PASSED STRONGER URINE SAMPLES THAN THAT!”

Josie, guessing: “I think Colin’s just bein’ himself…”

Josie: “And, uh, Ryan’s just eaten something very hot and pooed himself?”
Ryan: [grimaces]
Clive: “That’s it!”
Ryan, heading back to the seats: “I POOED MYSELF?”

A very strong game; obviously I loved Stephen’s quirk, but everyone had really nice moments.

Newsflash: Josie and Ryan in the studio, Stephen in the field, in front of a King Kong movie

Stephen as the centerpiece of this game does make me a bit nervous, knowing how Rory did.

Stephen’s surprisingly a natural at this game, but the audience is mostly just laughing at the ridiculousness of the King Kong film behind him.

Ryan: “Stephen, we’re worried about your safety, do you think you’re too close?”
Stephen:
Screen Shot 2018-08-04 at 10.00.28 PM.png
“…I don’t feel too close…”
Screen Shot 2018-08-04 at 10.00.35 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-08-04 at 10.01.05 PM.png
Perfect. Absolutely perfect.

Josie: “Is the man in the hand frightened?”
Stephen: “….is the MAN…IN the HAND…FRIGHTENED?”
Of course, at that point, the footage has him directly in the footpath of Kong, so Ryan and Josie start panicking again.

Ryan: “Stephen, do you have any form of protection with you?”
Stephen: “I’m afraid I don’t…I just have a BBC press pass…do you think that’ll help?”

Stephen guesses correctly, but after Clive kids him for ‘monkeying around’. Perfectly fine playing, and with a ton of really convenient moments of Stephen being in the right frame of shot at the right time.

Hoedown: Marital Problems

THE SECOND CLIVE ANNOUNCES THIS GAME:
Screen Shot 2018-08-04 at 10.05.33 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-08-04 at 10.05.45 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-08-04 at 10.06.08 PM.pngPoor Stephen.

Josie’s is kinda forgettable, and then we get to Stephen. If you’ve seen his Raps, you know how much he’s dreading this. He even looks at Richard, and applauds him for keeping on as Stephen stalls.

Stephen, finally, not in time: “Music and sex are very similar to me….I just can’t…make them.
Whatever I do, or whenever I try to, I always find that the best way is to fake them.
I’ve been to that, uh, Anne Somers shop, I’ve been in every branch…
But the only way I can REALLY get it off is, with, uh, Richard Vranch.”
HA. AND RICHARD GETS A KICK OUT OF THIS. Fantastic moment from Stephen.

Colin sings as a whale who keeps talking about old boyfriends, finishing with “well, how the hell can I compare to a guy named Moby Dick?” Very clever.

And Ryan’s is clever, but forgettable.

OVERALL: This show had no right to be this good. And yet…all four were on, every game was funny,  and despite contrasting GREATLY with the Comedy Central audience expectation, it may have been the last breath of old Whose Line coming to save the show one last time. Stephen Fry, despite his moments of befuddlement, was wonderful here; sure, he wasn’t at ‘womp some skull on that, bitch’ levels, but he was enjoying himself, and worked well with all three. Josie was her jovial self, and brought out the best in everyone. Ryan and Colin stuck mostly to the background, but were great in scenes; Ryan mastered games early on, and Colin had some late victories. There were several classic games here, and just a surreal-but-fantastic mood throughout. An unlikely pick for ‘best of the series’, but still a valid one.

Show Winner: Stephen
Best Performer: ….yeah, I’m going with Stephen Fry. He was a LAWFUL improviser, and he was a FUNNY improviser, and he meshed so well with the other three. This is how a master returns to his craft.
Worst Performer: I’m only going with Josie because she didn’t have as many standout moments.
Best Game: Let’s Make a Date. Just had the best moments from all four.
Worst Game: Hoedown was the most uneven, but Stephen and Colin save it.

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Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S08E14, or The Teeth Right Off Her Gums

The final compilation from Series 8, an overall pretty great series if we’re being contemplative. Tonight’s show features everyone who has appeared on an episode this series, except for Caroline Quentin. That means Ardal O’Hanlon and Rory Bremner are on the bill tonight…for some reason.

Questions Only – Greg, Colin, Ryan, and Ardal are at a police station.
From: E7

Oh boy. Ardal O’Hanlon plays Questions. This will be fun.

I had a theory that this series’ Questions playings don’t really start until Ryan and Colin are onstage together, and that’s proved by Ryan, relieving a listless Greg, coming down and asking Colin “is there a reason you’re not wearing clothes?”

Ardal, once he relieves Colin, proves he’s alright at asking questions, but does have a bit more hesitation than necessary. Also, it feels less like he’s asking questions and more like he’s just spitting questions back in blank character.

Ardal, barely staying on task: “Would…the german shepherd have more than one leg?”
Ryan, confused both in AND out of character: “…don’t they all?”
Ardal: “…WHERE IN THE HELL D’YOU COME FROM?”

Colin: [reenters]
Ryan: “Back again?”
Colin: “Weren’t you here last time?”
Ryan: “…aren’t I the same guy?”

Clive ends this before Greg can redeem himself…further illustrating my theory.

Solid enough game, and Ardal did well enough for himself, but comes down to its Colin-Ryan interactions

Film and Theatre Styles: Ryan and Colin (roller coaster operators)
From: E7

The audience suggestions are bypassed, perhaps to hide something vulgar, as is the game intro. We’re just thrown into this one.

Colin, tugging on something: “…seems fine to me.”
Ryan: “But the lever’s stuck. What if people are going down the hill and you can’t stop ’em because the lever’s stuck like that, Jim?”
Colin: “IT MAKES IT MORE EXCITING!”

The Elvis Presley movie style is an excuse for Ryan to show the audience that his Elvis is actually pretty incredible. It gets some great audience response.

Pink Panther:
Colin, running around on a roller coaster cart, doing his best Peter Sellers impression: “How d’yeauoou stop dis?”
Ryan, as the cartoon panther, comes in and stops it completely. Mixing the Sellers and the cartoon opening. Ryan, who’s clearly seen more of the cartoons than the movies, shrugs, and starts licking himself.
BUZZ
Clive: “YOU’VE NEVER SEEN A PINK PANTHER MOVIE, HAVE YOU?”
Ryan: “No…”
Clive: “You thought it was an actual panther!”
Ryan: “YES!”

Quentin Tarantino:
Colin: “…you know what they call this ride in France?”
Ryan: “No, what do they call this ride in France?”
Colin: “…la puk-ee royale.”

We end before Ryan can prove HE’S seen Pulp Fiction, but all in all it’s a fun enough scene.

Let’s Make a Date – Greg is the bachelorette. The bachelors are Niall (a show jumping commentator), Colin (a hypochondriac), and Ryan (obsessed by erotica).
From: E5

Like the last game, this one gets RIGHT TO THE ACTION

Something about Niall’s show jumping voice makes me laugh. I don’t know what, though.

Ryan is great here, just riling off sexy details about bananas, and just keeping this stare locked in the same place.

This isn’t a very funny scene in terms of interplay, but all three are just really good at these quirks. It’s very simple in that regard, but I am definitely amused, especially by Niall and Ryan

Clive asks Greg if he has any ideas
Greg: “…I dunno, I’m still kinda dwelling on #3…”
Ryan: “Well think harder. HARDER.”
Then, right after that, we get a rare wide shot of the stage, and Ryan’s purring in relation to Greg at the other end of the stage. I dunno why, but it’s a really interesting cut.

Greg guesses the first two, then gets to Ryan
Greg: “…#3 is a Tory cabinet minister…”
Clive: “YES, CLOSE ENOUGH!”

Psychiatrist -Josie is the psychiatrist. Her patient is Ryan (in love with sheep in Jamaica).
From: E10

Clive: “There are no sheep in Jamaica, but I don’t care.”

As the reggae music kicks in, Ryan comes in with a vocal hook…one that he still uses in similar numbers to this day…matter of fact, he used it in an episode of the US Whose Line that aired just last night.

Ryan does come in with his usual “making love to a sheep is not baaaaaaad” pun, which…is at least welcome here.

Not much to it, but amusing enough

Secret – Ryan and Colin are priests. The secret is hidden in the confessional.
From: E1

Ryan: “Good morning”
Colin: “…Ah. Father Mother.”
HAAA
Ryan: “Father KnowsBest, how are you?”
The laughs are sustained on this one, but Clive gets a kick out of it

Colin, in finding the secret, thinks of the most ridiculous secret yet: “…these are secret plans to make you God!”
Ryan surprisingly handles this one well.
Colin: “YOU’RE GONNA START A NEW RELIGION!”
Ryan: “I’ve…lost the faith, brother. I’m not sure there is a God anymore, but when people see me, they’ll know there’s a god. They may not LIKE ME, but there I am!”

Ryan: “Don’t tell me you wouldn’t want to be God yourself. I’ve seen you…in your room…up against the wall…”
They both realize that Ryan’s sort of lost his indication there.
Ryan: “…whatever that means…”

Colin: “DOES NOT THE GOOD BOOK SAY, LET THERE BE ONE LORD, AND MAY HE BE THE ONE WHO IS NOT YOU?”
HA. This ties into his ‘own interpretation of the bible’ from Here he is now.

Ryan: “I have powers much like him, but a little different. Look, simple water- POOF. POTATO SALAD!”
Colin:
Screen Shot 2018-07-03 at 11.27.19 PM.png

Colin: “I’M BEGINNING TO DOUBT MY VERY SELF AND BELIEFS!”
Ryan: “Then doubt away! I shall part your hair!”

An absolutely phenomenal Secret, going the most ridiculous route they could have gone, and piping in some silly lines along the way. Yes, this one even tops the ‘ventriloquist dummy in the oven’ one.

Hats – Steve, Josie, Colin, and Ryan act out the world’s worst dating service video.
From: E10

Oh god, this one…

Screen Shot 2018-07-03 at 11.31.00 PM.pngRyan: “YOU’RE A PIECE OF METAL! I’M A PIECE OF METAL! When things get real hot [flips down helmet] we KINDA FUSE TOGETHER. YA SEE, OUR LEGS-”
BUZZ
Immediately as Clive buzzes, Ryan lifts the helmet back up and looks at Clive, betrayed

Then, after a few more suggestions, like Colin coming out in a space helmet and no words coming out, Ryan returns in that helmet
Ryan: “Okay, maybe ya didn’t understand what I was saying…YOU’RE A PIECE OF-”
BUZZ

Josie, with a police hat on: “OKAY, BOYS. SPREAD ‘EM.”
And she gives the most devilish look right after. She knows what she’s done.

Screen Shot 2018-07-03 at 11.34.17 PM.pngSteve: “…NOW THEN NOW THEN, I’D LIKE TO-”
BUZZ

Then, Ryan returns, just staring at the camera with the same helmet on
Ryan: “……alright, this is the last time I’m gonna explain this to you-”
BUZZZZZ

Narrate – Colin is a door-to-door salesman visiting housewife Ryan
From: E4

Ryan, because he can’t simply play a woman, feeds in the ‘3 days since the operation’ line. Then finally goes to the door.
Colin, upstage: “…something answered the door.”
The audience goes wild. Ryan grins and bears it.

Ryan, perhaps not too in-character, says “I couldn’t think of a thing to say to him.”
Ryan:
Screen Shot 2018-07-03 at 11.39.32 PM.png

Colin, upstage: “She gave me the kind of look that would give a lovesick yak second thoughts.”

Ryan: “He looked nervous. I thought, maybe at this point, that I should put some clothes on.”
Then, Ryan, as he dresses, realizing along the way what he’s set himself up for: “Pour yourself something tall…and long.”
Colin: “…I looked for a sledgehammer.” [shrug]
THAT made me laugh

A very nice Narrate scene, made great by some very silly choices across the board, made possible by some desperation- Ryan spent a lot of the scene trying not to let the scene die, and he made it pretty great.

Press Conference – Greg, Rory, and Ryan interview Colin, who spent six months living inside a whale.
From: E2

Finally they get the bright idea to let Colin be the base of one of these, and it’d work well enough to get him into Newsflash as well.

Greg: “What did you do to while away the time?”
Colin: “…well, of course, I decided to paint the house…”
That’s why Colin works in guessing games like these. He’ll legitimize the ridiculous, because it might fit with what the answer really is.

Rory even pipes in with a Loyd Grossman impression…I guess, because he can. Not the only time he’d do that impression on this show (it’s coming immediately next episode, no pun intended).

Greg asks Colin if Geppetto was worried about him, which Rory, getting a few seconds later, just laughs at.

Ryan: “Is sperm your favorite.”
Of course. The audience loves this one.

Definitely a better playing of this than usual, not to knock Caroline. They’d use Colin more often in these, including a very important playing coming very soon.

News Report: Pinocchio- Colin and Greg in the studio, Ardal and Ryan in the field
From: E7

AND WE FOLLOW THE WHALE ONE WITH PINOCCHIO? PERFECT!

Greg: “Good evening, I’m Long…Lovingly.”
Colin: “And I’m Randy as a Mink…but of course, my name is Jim.”
Greg: “Come to think of it, so am I.”

Ardal, who’s mostly been passive, sets Ryan up as a wooden girl who fucked Pinocchio. A bit too much there, Ardal.
Ryan, reacting like a pro: “He was okay, but the splinters are killing me.”

Colin: “What kind of lie d’you have to tell to satisfy that woman.”
And as the audience stews on that hell of a joke, we cut away

Helping Hands: Colin and Ryan (hands provided by Greg) are Arctic explorers.
From: E6

A lone game from E6 lands on the compilations? Proves how good that show was.

A slow start, but eventually Colin convinces Ryan to have a drink, and Greg plays with getting the flask to Ryan’s face, which is fun.

Colin does weave a bit of the story: Ryan has gone mad after this time in the arctic, and is making up rules about self-preservation. When Colin tries to call for help, he takes out a snowshoe and bats around a stuffed dog.
Ryan: “I thought we might have a little game of arctic tennis!”
Colin: “MY GOD! YOU’VE KILLED OUR ONLY MODE OF TRANSPORTATION!”

Greg finds two flags, a union jack and an american flag, and starts waving them around as Ryan talks about sharing warmth
Ryan, realizing: “AND GOD BLESS BRITAIN! GOD BLESS BRITAIN….AND THAT OTHER COUNTRY OVER THERE!”

This one has some funny moments, but it’s ultimately pretty frenzied, and slightly incoherent. Which is sad, as this is the lone HH round from S8. Which is kind of a good thing, seeing as the game was played to death back in Series 4 and 5.

Hoedown: Steve, Josie, Colin and Ryan sing about Grandmothers
From: E10

Josie is particularly excited for this playing of Hoedown.

Not a lot going on in this hoedown- Steve and Josie’s are kind of hit-miss, Colin’s takes the secondary suggestion and ends on ‘I’M INSANE’….AND THEN WE GET TO RYAN

Ryan: “I love my grandmother, and when the day ends
I discover that we are a bit more than friends”
The audience starts losing it here, and Ryan realizes he doesn’t really need to go on, so he just sits on that, looking kind of ashamed. Then…as he needs to finish the verse, he just ads, as the end “….the teeth right off her gums”. Which gives an even darker connotation as to what he may have skipped over. But the rest have no choice but to repeat it for the last stanza.

As the show goes to credits, Ryan can be heard turning to an amused Colin and going “…I couldn’t go through with that one.”

Overall:
Best Performer: Ryan Stiles. This show was essentially his finest hours.
Worst Performer: Ardal O’Hanlon. He just wasn’t good at all even in his games here.
Best Game: Secret. Absolutely masterful.
Worst Game: Psychiatrist, for being kind of limp

SERIES 8 SUPERLATIVES!

Best Episode: E5, featuring Niall Ashdown buttressing Greg, Ryan and Colin, and doing a nice job of it, Colin carrying games like Changing Emotions and Director like a pro, Greg quibbling with Clive throughout the second half, culminating in a classic Bartender, and an overall series-defining feel.
2nd Best Episode: E2, featuring Rory Bremner snogging Colin, an unbelievably funny Dead Bodies, Rory doing Clive in Party Quirks while Ryan premieres his gazelle impression, an insanely-fast Home Shopping round, and some unmistakable banter.
3rd Best Episode: E6, featuring Caroline mastering Greg for a round of Film and Theatre Styles, Greg quarreling with Clive throughout the show, a classic round of Here he is Now, some pretty cool dynamic stuff aside from just Ryan and Colin, and just a fun Questions Only round.
Worst Episode: E7. Ardal O’Hanlon was a dynamic destroyer, and it was hard for games to stand out in a good way with him on the panel.
Best Regular: Colin Mochrie, for OWNING games this season, and just getting ‘Best Performer’ a ton of times this series.
Best Recurring Guest: TIE between Caroline Quentin and Greg Proops. The former broke down boundaries all across the season, getting some incredible laughs and somethings being more comfortable than the regulars. The latter had some strong shows this season, and cemented his status as the voice of snide against Clive.
Worst Guest: Ardal O’Hanlan. You let Dougal do a Funeral????
Most Improved: Niall Ashdown, who came back from his fine but forgettable S7 episode, and started doing REALLY FUNNY stuff here, especially throughout E5, going up with the best of them, and doing well in singing games.
Most Unlikely Successful Combo: Steve and Caroline, successful in a few games during E4, and combining powers to deliver the classic Butcher’s Scene to Music.
Guest We Wish Wasn’t Done After This Season: Caroline Quentin. She was so good here that it’s very sad to hear that other commitments would keep her away from the show from here on out.

I’ve heard from a few people that the ‘Golden Age’ of Whose Line ends with Series 8, and while I don’t completely agree…I also don’t completely disagree either. And we’ll find out exactly why with 9×01, which…SHOCKINGLY isn’t entirely on youtube. If you know the episode, you know EXACTLY why. If it weren’t for Hulu, we’d all be screwed, no pun intended.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S08E13, or HEY, YOU UGLY?

Onto the compilations! Tonight, everyone who’s appeared in this series, save for Ardal O’Hanlon and Rory Bremner, is in play. So, who knows what’ll happen?

Questions Only: Steve, Caroline, Ryan and Colin are at the circus
From: E4

Steve and Caroline’s preliminary scene is surprisingly coherent, and thought-out, but ends when Steve can’t think of a better answer to ‘so DO YOU want me to join the circus?’

Colin: “Can I help you?”
Caroline: “I think you…NO…”
BUZZ
Colin, to Ryan: “Can I help YOU?”
Ryan: “Can you see my trunk?”
Colin: “Are you the famous elephant boy?”
Ryan: “D’YOU HAVE TO ASK???”
Colin: “How did this happen?”
Ryan: “Do you remember the year 1972?”
Colin, being Colin: “…wasn’t that right after 1971?”
Ryan just stops and smirks for a moment, leading Clive to buzz him out

The calling card of Series 8 is the fact that this game, in general, is stop-start until Ryan and Colin are onstage together. Caroline and Steve are only on for a bit, then Colin reemerges and asks Ryan “what do you do with the chickens?” And the audience starts laughing again. Clive has to call the game, though, but it’s a nice note to leave on.

Definitely stop-start, but still a fun Questions round.

Film and Theatre Styles: Caroline & Steve (doctor and patient before the operation)
From: E4

Clive: “So Caroline, you’re shaving Steve before a big operation”
Caroline and the audience laugh at this.
Steve: [spreads legs]
Caroline, used to worse (with Tony), just goes at his chest, and says “you nervous about the heart operation?”
Steve: “No, I’m nervous about the shaving!”

Jane Austen:
Caroline: “Ay, and your britches are full…”
Steve:
Screen Shot 2018-07-02 at 1.21.15 AM.png
Steve exchanges a giggle with Caroline
Clive, confused: “WHICH EDITION OF JANE AUSTEN HAVE YOU BEEN READING???”
Steve murmurs something in defense, but cracks himself up
Clive, shelling out a joke from last series: “It’s not quite Hugh Grant- oh, I suppose it is..”

For the Aussie soap style, both Caroline and Steve’s accents are great, with an emphasis on Caroline’s, who’s ‘Oh Nauooooo’s are extra strong.
Steve: “Didn’t you used to live in PEEEEAAAHHHHTH?”

For the Star Trek style, Steve does a light but fun Shatner impression. Caroline does get very close to him, which is subverted when Clive changes to Carry On film, and the steaminess turns to awkwardness.

Light scene, but very fun mostly for the Steve-Caroline dynamic.

Sound Effects: Colin does farmyard chores. Ryan provides sound effects.
From: E10

As Clive announces this one, Ryan’s chuckling, possibly because he was either caught off guard or not looking forward to this game. Or both.

Ryan starts the scene by playing some traditional farmyard banjo music. So, Colin just mimes playing it on his banjo. Ryan, realizing the scene must progress, has all the banjo strings just instantaneously break, which frustrates Colin

There’s a great gag, where Colin goes to milk a cow, but Ryan’s ANGRY MOOS confirm that it’s a bull; Colin has an ashamed, embarrassed apology face as he backs away…and then he waves the red cape around like a bullfighter.

This scene is just an excuse for Ryan to play around with animal noises. As Colin goes to feed the chickens, Ryan just responds with little ‘bock-bock-bock’s, and one renegade ‘BOCK’ that comes in louder than the others. He repeats this, and Colin annoyedly shovels more seed. As he’s doing this, Ryan comes in with the bull noise again, which made me laugh. Colin has to motion ‘not now, I’m dealing with the chicks’

The ending is great. Eventually, he finds his way to a horse, and starts riding it. And then THE BULL STARTS CHASING HIM. Colin frantically starts trying to get the horse to go faster as the angry bull keeps running after him. Clive ends here, but still.

I was laughing very hard throughout most of this. Very simple setup, with just Ryan doing animal noises, but the amount of insanely silly subversion here made it work, especially with the bull running gag.

Song Styles – Niall sings a reggae song to Liz the osteopath.
From: E5

One more Niall song for the road

In a rarity, Clive actually makes Niall choose between reggae and jazz, and Niall chooses reggae, ’cause I’m a fool to m’self’. Once Richard pipes in with the guitar, and Niall goes right in with the Sting-esque vocal hook, we can see why he chose this one.

The musicality does fall into the more reggata-de-blanc sort of reggae, rather than Marley or anything, but Niall does manage to pull it off, albeit simply (moreso than his other songs). Niall does end the song with a nice quartet of rhymes (reminiscent of Chip Esten’s). Still a memorable enough one, though not one of his better ones.

Fixed Expressions – Parents Ryan (shocked) and Josie (flirty) go to Colin (disgusted) for their child’s christening.
From: E10

Ah, this game’s back! I forgot they did one of these way down in S8.

Ryan’s shocked face is, once again, worth the price of admission

Colin still owns this game, just in subversion, saying “why he’s lovely” while holding the disgusted expression. [Though it doesn’t top yelling “EURODISNEY SUCKS” while smiley]

This scene sort of limps along after a while, even though the performers do their damnedest to keep it going. Just not as strong as their other ones.

World’s Worst – Greg, Niall, Colin, and Ryan act out the world’s worst outtake from a religious programme.
From: E5

Another reject from my favorite episode of the series, and a nice, if underused-this-series, game at that.

Niall, scottish accent: “TA TELL YE THE TRUTH…I’VE ALWAYS REALLY LOVED THOSE CATHOLICS.”
Colin: “And the lord said, the meek shall inherit Perth”
[That is the second reference to Perth all show]
Niall: “And, I christen this child…..SHITTY LITTLE BASTARD!”

Greg: “What you wanna do is get yourself a fresh virgin, THE KIND THAT-”
BUZZ
Greg: [looks absolutely betrayed]

Ryan: “And the lord came to them, and said ‘you….HE SCORES! ENGLAND SCORES!”
Colin, holding a gun: “…Dirty Harry Krishna”
[HA!]
As they head back to the seats, and as Clive cuts to commercial, you can just hear Ryan going, absolutely amazed, ‘DIRTY…’ [and then they mute his mic, but he was just reacting to Colin’s last one]

Again, you can see why this taping was dynamite. I noted that Clive really didn’t give Greg the chance past initial punchline, which pissed him off. Also, after a quieter turn in 7×01, Niall was on FIRE IN THIS GAME, giving some really, REALLY funny suggestions. Just good stuff all around, even the stuff I didn’t write down.

Props: Ryan and Colin vs. Greg and Niall
From: E5

More from E5! LOVELY!

Screen Shot 2018-07-02 at 1.48.38 AM.pngRyan: “…so you’re saying you haven’t seen the Little Mermaid?”

Screen Shot 2018-07-02 at 1.49.35 AM.pngNiall: “I TELL YA, I DONNA WANNA WORK IN DIS PIZZA HUT ANYMORE…”

Greg: “Who’s a naughty minister, then?” [whacks Niall’s ass with prop]

TOO BRIEF! I feel like they had more good suggestions left to go! And the ones we got were just fantastic and really original, from both sides. Again…something about this taping just brought out the best in everybody.

Whose Line – The planet is doomed, so Ryan sends his son, Colin, to start a civilization on a new planet.
From: E10

(Nice to see we’re getting such a variety of the nine tapings- just E4, E5 and E10 so far.)

Clive’s description is a bit redundant, emphasizing the fact that the planet is doomed several times, so Colin and Ryan start the scene thusly:
Colin: “Dad, Dad, everyone says the planet’s doomed!”
Ryan: “It’s doomed, and and I’m sending you to another planet because our planet it DOOMED.”

Early on, Ryan gets confused, in setting up a line: “Well, it was your father…I mean MY father…”

Ryan, again, keeps emphasizing that the planet is dead, and this keeps powering the scene forward, like a well-placed motif

Colin: “I remember when you first built it! You said to me, ‘someday, son…’The Answer is written on my butt cheeks.””
[The audience enjoys this one]
Colin: “I pulled down your pants and I poured over that for hours!”
[I actually prefer that one, though]
Ryan: “…that’s when we lived on Uranus, son, those days are gone…”
[ANNNND Ryan with the obvious one-liner]

Ryan: “Cause, remember, our creed as Glorgons…”
He takes the note, only to realize it’s upside down, and smirks a bit. Then, as he reads it, he does his best to keep from laughing: “…TAKE…THAT NEGLIGEE OFF!”
Colin, taking it off: “I guess you’re right…it might not handle the stresses of space travel”
Ryan: “The G-force’ll rip it right off ya.”
Colin:
Screen Shot 2018-07-02 at 3.03.42 PM.png
“…oh…”
Screen Shot 2018-07-02 at 3.04.03 PM.png

[ABSOLUTELY GONE LAUGHING. Just the littlest detail, and I’m gone.]

The game ends on a weaker line (“my arms are long and they’re ready to flap”), but it’s still a fantastic scene, one that definitely belonged in the original episode, and one that expounded on the Colin-Ryan combo more than some of the other Whose Line playings this season.

Newsflash: Newsflash – Colin and Josie are the anchors; Ryan is in the field in front of apes
From: E3

Finally some episode variety

I was never a huge fan of Ryan as a Newsflash anchor, but he does very well here, taking a more balanced, intrigued perspective on the apes in the background.

Ryan says he really doesn’t know how to get through to them, “it reminds me of ’65, when I spent all those years in that hole in ‘Nam!”

Colin: “How did all of this begin?”
Ryan, caught off-guard but soldiering on: “Someone, uh someone took someone’s else’s cab!”

There’s a moment where Josie misdirects Ryan by mentioning honey, making him think bears, but Colin thankfully gets him on the right track by mentioning bananas.

As Clive motions for him to guess, Ryan points to his imaginary mic and asks “can I put this down?”

Superheroes: People all over the world are losing their hair
Greg: Beautiful Martini Man
Ryan: Self-Amusement Boy
Steve: Abusive Boy
Colin: No Need To Help Leave Straight Away Man

Audience member: “Beautiful Martini man!”
Clive: “Beauti-…eeerrnngh-”
Greg: “I LIKE THAT!”
Clive gives him Boomerang Man anyway

Greg does the craftiest thing: he throws a boomerang, catches it, sees what he’s accumulated, and goes “…wow, you’re actually Beautiful Martini man”
He smiles, as the audience cheers him on

Greg, giving the obvious joke: “MY GOD, THERE’S HAIR LOSS ALL OVER THE WORLD! [gasp] Look…at…Clive…Anderson’s head!”
Clive:
Screen Shot 2018-07-02 at 3.16.07 PM.png
Greg, as the camera holds on this: “IT’S LIKE CONTINENTAL DRIFT! All the hair’s going AWAY!”

Ryan’s little laughing wiggle every time he has a joke is fantastic.

Steve, thankfully taking the jovial approach, starts batting around everyone onstage.

Colin, entering: “SORRY I’M LATE, I just lost my afro!”
Steve: “Thank god you’re here…no need to help, leave straight away man.”
Colin, slightly hurt by that but not resisting the break, leaves. Steve gives a thumbs-up

Unfortunately, the scene cuts right before there’s a resolution, which must not have been airable, or maybe Greg threw in one more Clive slam. But it was a nice enough game to that point.

Greatest Hits: Ryan and Colin present Songs of Unattractive Men, sung by Josie
From: E10

As Clive announces this one will be ‘Songs of Unattractive Men’, Josie immediately looks right at Richard Vranch. For some reason, we don’t see/hear a reaction for this. I’m not wild about that.

The two tactics:
Ryan: “Hi! In your 30s and ready to pretty much give up on life?”
Colin: “Hey, you ugly?”
Ryan: “Are you a man?”
Colin: “…HEY, YOU UGLY?”

Josie’s country western song is cute, but short. She’s nice enough to add, as the song’s about ‘I’d rather sleep with my horse’, an addendum of ‘he’s hung better, too…”

Colin, tempting the hand that feeds him: “But there’s not just ugly people in North America! British people have their share too.”

For the first time, Whose Line does a britpop number, in the height of Oasis-mania. Richard even gets a faux-asis sort of riff, as Josie messes up her hair.

Josie’s song is very brit-pop, in the best way possible. It’s a very sweet, semi-angsty number that ends with an amazing rhyme with ‘beautiful’ (“and you always bite your nails right down to the cuticle”.)

Ryan gets a huge laugh with his name for Josie’s Heavy Metal number: “If I had a penis, I wouldn’t need you!”
Josie and Richard spend about 5 seconds waiting for the audience, and Clive, to stop laughing before they get into it. Josie’s kind of in awe of it all, too.

Like with S1, this Heavy Metal number sounds more like Led Zeppelin than Heavy Metal did in 1996. Still welcome, though, because Josie is up for the challenge. She absolutely rocks this song, even SNARLING that last line, as the audience goes WILD for her.

Greatest Hits is the kind of game where, in this era, every song title seemed like more of a challenge for Josie, and that last one was definitely a ‘your move’ sort of gesture from Josie, proving that whatever they could serve up, she’d excel at. Unfortunately, we’d only get to see her on Whose Line a few more times (why the producers decided this I’ll never know).

Overall:
Best Performer: Colin Mochrie. He already won this series, and in tonight’s games he edged out everyone else in just being funnier in more games. Niall, Ryan and Greg all came close.
Worst Performer: Statistically, Steve Frost had the least number of games where he excelled, so I’m sadly gonna have to go with him.
Best Game: All three games in contention for this were from E10- Sound Effects, Whose Line and Greatest Hits. Whose Line gets the edge though, as it definitely should have been in that taping, and was a great use of the Colin-Ryan dynamic, no matter how silly it got. And…that 3 second Colin aside was MASTERFUL.
Worst Game: Fixed Expressions. Post-conceptual reveal, it was lifeless.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S08E12, or First, Let me Conserve My Strength!

The last non-compilation episode of Series 8, this one is essentially the scraps of Episode 3, itself already a pretty great one. However, since Episode 6 has ended, we’ve been in a very mediocre rut in this series…perhaps due to the absence of Caroline Quentin, who’s here tonight alongside Josie Lawrence for her last full appearance. I really wish Caroline hadn’t have left so soon, as she was quickly becoming one of the standout female talents of the show.

Questions Only: in a lingerie shop

Ryan’s cracking up as he heads to the step. I don’t know why. I don’t think he does.

Colin: “would you like something sexy?”
Caroline: “…would I like you to show me something sexy?”
Colin: “…d’you want me to put it on?”
Oh, Colin. This is why he’s been ruling this series.
and Caroline: “wouldn’t anybody?”

Ryan: “D’you think I’d look good in this?”
Colin: “Would you like it in an extra large?”
Ryan: “d’you think I have the legs for it?”
Colin takes a moment to embrace that visual, cracks, and exits

Josie: “What size is [your wife?]
Ryan: “Doooes 36 sound too big?”
Josie: “…THAT’S A SIZE???”
Good to see she’s improved at this game. Of course, right after this, she hesitates and is buzzed out.

Ryan, as Colin reenters, does the whole ‘back again’ thing, which Colin’s confused by
Ryan: “Weren’t you just in here 10 minutes ago?”
Colin, pinpointing it: “Don’t you know my brother?”

After a few digressions, Colin reenters as Caroline’s onstage
Caroline, harkening back to the top of the game: “Why did you ever leave me?”
Colin, crossing like he’s in a Soap Opera: “…can’t you see that our love can never be?”
Caroline: “…AAH!”
BUZZ
Ryan, entering: “I’m sorry, what did you say?”
Colin: “…can’t you see our love can never be?”
Ryan: “You’re in love with me?”
Colin: “Isn’t it obvious?”
Ryan: “…pffff.”
BUZZ

Caroline, entering with Colin for the third time: “WHY ARE YOU TWO-TIMING ME?”
Colin, completely fried: “…….”
BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ

A shockingly well-formed Questions Only game with some great continuity throughout, even though Josie got lost easily (as she does)

Film & Theatre Styles: Ryan and Colin (on an air-sea rescue mission)

Audience member: “FREE WILLY!”
Clive, being Clive: “I’M SORRY? I’ll just adjust myself before we carry on…”
Caroline, in the background, checks her watch, not believing this crap
Clive: “heh…FREE WILLY…”
Caroline: “have we time?”

Colin and Ryan begin the scene by jumpstarting a catchphrase they’d use frequently in another game:
Ryan: “Look, this may be a mission that one of us doesn’t come back from, Brad…”
Colin: “…I hope it’s you.”

Ryan: “I didn’t want to tell you this, but one of those people on that yacht that sank? Your wife.”
Colin: “My god. I, uh, guess we should save her anyway.”
AND WE’RE OFF. Just already, pre-styles, these two are already in peak form

Ryan and Colin doing Tom and Jerry slapstick is hella amusing, as their little facial expressions already match the two characters perfectly.

Free Willy:
Ryan: “What’s that down below us?”
Colin: “It’s my wife, on Willy.”
Ryan: “I’ll lower myself down onto the…wife AND Willy…and grab the Willy wife!”

Clive: “Biblical epic!”
Ryan, as this surprisingly fits: “…I’M INSIDE THE WHALE! AND LO, I SEE A SMALL BOY MADE OF WOOD.”
At this point, Colin, out of character, gives him a look for this reference, but Ryan exchanges this with a look that says ‘no, stick with me, I’ve got this’.
Colin: “LO, HIS COMING HAS BEEN TOLD?”
Ryan, barely in character: “…REALLY?”

Film Noir, Ryan presents the wife’s dead body, then starts smoking. Beautiful.
Colin: “I couldn’t help but notice the knife sticking out of her back.”
Ryan: “…that was one mean whale.”

Clive buzzes in: “Horror.”
Ryan has a brief 2 seconds where he figures out exactly what he’s going to do, as he knows the scene should have ended on that last line. So he decides to bomb the scene.
Ryan, interpreting the suggestion: “She was nothing but a cheap tramp! She’d sleep with he….[to Clive] HORROR? Oh.”
The audience IMMEDIATELY GETS THIS, AND GIVES HIM A HUGE REACTION. Clive has no choice but to end the scene.

A very complex, well-thought out, and very funny F&TS, even if it was a bit dry in the middle.

Foreign Film Dub – Josie and Caroline act out the Russian film “Godzilla Eats the Dust;” Ryan and Colin translate.

There hasn’t been a great run of this game lately, so hopefully they’ll change that here

Noting the title, Colin’s first line is “is it me, or is it really dusty in here?”
Caroline already cracks a smile at this

Ryan is taking the Steve Frost strategy of just taking a long sentence from someone and translating it as something simple. Josie has a strong declaration that, according to Ryan, means “…isn’t that Jerry?”
Caroline: [long, emotional sentence burrowing into Josie’s arms]
Colin: “…I think it is!”

Josie, in the entrance of the large lizard, takes out a gun and does a ‘POOF-A-POOF!” noise
Ryan: “Stand back, I will light this cigarette and have a puff, puff.”

Josie then clutches her back, and mutters something under her breath
Ryan, being Ryan: “…my god, the baby is coming!”

This one goes off the rails kind of quickly, but Josie and Caroline do throw in a ‘NICOLE!’ ‘PAPA!’ reference to cap it off.

Props: Ryan and Caroline vs. Josie and Colin

Ryan: “Congratulations, you’re the mother of a bouncing baby boy!”
[Ryan bounces the prop]

Screen Shot 2018-06-29 at 11.57.12 PM.pngColin: “DON’T PANIC, WE’LL GET YOU OUT OF THE QUICKSAND!”

Screen Shot 2018-06-29 at 11.57.57 PM.png

Ryan: “Not only is this chicken done, but I think it’s a communist!”

Caroline swings the prop around to her backside, and can’t even keep herself composed, saying “…I’ve got murder with these piles…”

Screen Shot 2018-06-29 at 11.59.12 PM.pngColin: “Yeah, right, we SHOULDN’T pee in the cold.”

A much better, and much more original, Props round than we’ve been getting.

Sound Effects: Colin is a surgeon doing an operation; Ryan provides sound effects.

Literally the first moment of the scene is Colin stepping in something. Unbelievable.

There’s also a great moment where Colin turns on the faucet…then forgets to turn it off. Once he does, Ryan keeps turning it on again.

Ryan does his usual ‘wrong scalpel end’ joke with Colin, though it works here because it’s just done in Sound Effects

Very, very odd round- it’s awfully morbid, and it ends with Colin pulling a still-alive cat out of the body, which is…very weird. The game still works pretty well, though

Press Conference: Josie, Colin, and Ryan interview Caroline, who has given birth to an alien.

Ryan: “How long did this whole process take?”
Caroline: Seven hours.”

Colin asks if there were any unusual tools being used
Caroline: “Well, you say unusual, for me they were the only thing TO use. Uh, a thimble. Um…a stepladder-”
The audience LOSES IT over this one

Ryan, with the giveaway: “Did it come out easy, or was it a Klingon?”

Caroline guesses it after one extra Josie question, and she does a really nice job of carrying the game, but overall this one was kind of thin.

Dead Bodies – Ryan and Josie play a couple on the first night of their honeymoon; Caroline is an ex-lover confronting them; Colin moves them.

One thing I have noticed here: there were playings of this game during 8×01, 8×02 AND 8×03’s tapings. If they were, in fact, recorded in order, one might surmise that the health and safety people caught on, especially as this particular round is dubbed Fainting Bodies, and due to that they didn’t play it as much during the other 6 tapings.

Right as they walk up, Caroline and Ryan exchange a word or two, possibly about the game, which has them cracking up.

Colin gets the first laugh out of Ryan by running Josie’s hand up and down Ryan’s crotch area.  Then Colin has Ryan start rubbing his chest. The whole time he’s just got this grin frozen expression, trying not to react. Colin’s making inhuman howling noises and everything, and Ryan’s holding it together.

Colin, as Josie, her hair completely over her eyes: “…KISS ME YOU FOOL!”
Caroline, waiting on the side, just BURSTS INTO MANIACAL LAUGHTER.

Caroline enters, and without saying a word, faints to the floor. Possibly because the censors wanted it that way.
Colin, as Josie: ‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?”
Colin, as Caroline: “I JUST THOUGHT I’D DROP IN!”
Caroline stifles a chuckle as Colin heads over to Ryan

For about 30 seconds, Colin does most of the work with Josie and Caroline slumped onto the floor. Then, he sits Caroline up and gets her to start whacking Ryan on the leg repeatedly. After which, he runs over to Ryan and has him give a belated, high pitched, “…OW, OW!”. Ryan cracks at this.

Colin, as Josie: “I WANT YOU OUT! I’LL REMOVE YOU BY BODILY FORCE IF I HAVE TO!”
Then, Colin attempts picking Josie up to stand, which doesn’t work entirely as well as he thought. He just ends up sitting her back down.
Colin, as Josie: “….FIRST LET ME CONSERVE MY STRENGTH.”

There’s an underrated moment where, after Colin controls Ryan in having him angrily berate Caroline and tell her to get out, he sits down on the vacant second stool, and takes a breather for 2 seconds, before moving back to Caroline. It’s a small moment, but it makes me laugh every time.

Colin, as Caroline: “BUT THERE’S ONE THING YOU SHOULD KNOW!”
Colin goes over, raises up Josie, whose hair is still askew, and sits her up, just to have her go “….yeah?”
Colin, back to Caroline, realizing the confusingness as he goes along: “HE WAS MAKING LOVE TO ME THROUGHOUT YOUR ENTIRE…WEDDING CEREMONY.”
Then, before anyone has time to get confused, he moves to Josie, on the floor still, and has her say ‘…WHAT?’. And then he moves to Ryan and he says the same thing, “WHAT?”

Colin, as Caroline [who’s trying to keep from laughing]: “You heard me! AND I’M CARRYING HIS CHILD!”
Colin, moving back to Ryan: “….OHHHHH NOOOOO!”
BUZZZZ

An absolute triumph. Possibly better than E1’s classic one. Colin had some of the goofiest moments here, complete with his 2 second mental lapse. Josie and Caroline had a ton of fun, and Ryan tried his damnedest to keep from laughing. So much was hysterical.

Greatest Hits: Ryan and Colin present Songs of the Bathroom; Josie sings

Clive: “It’s Hits of the Bathroom. That’s bathroom in the british sense, not in the American sense of…where you go and do what you do in the American sense…”
Ryan and Colin both give him a weird look
Clive: “…YOU KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!”
Colin, muttering: “no, not really…”

Josie’s ‘Use the towel marked His’ song is…well, it’s a classic. She nails the rock opera style, and she has some really great lyrics, keeping in mind the more lowbrow conceptions of the theme. She knocks it out of the park there.

Ryan: “That really takes me back to my childhood.”
Colin: “It certainly does…take me back to your childhood.”

Josie, with the 50s number, keeps the incredibly happy, loving tone of the song and juxtaposes the dirtier lyrics, i.e. “you went into every little crack, didn’t you John?” Still a pretty nice one, as she’s been energetic as hell this game.

Ryan’s title for the protest song, “I’m so small cause you used all the hot water”, cracks up the audience AND Josie.

Josie, smartly, turns it into a Peter Paul and Mary anthem: “Where has all the hot water gone…”

Josie’s number is very sweet, and very well handled, but Clive, for some reason, is laughing throughout the entire thing.

A pretty solid round of this, even if the focus was less on the Colin-Ryan banter and more on the Josie songs, which is great because that was the point of this game during this era.

Overall: Just as good as its original episode, as all four contributed some nice stuff, and there were some truly funny games abound, especially Questions Only, Film and Theatre Styles and Dead Bodies. Unlike E3, which was more balanced, this episode was clearly more built around Ryan and Colin, as they were in every game tonight, and had more showcase rounds than Josie and Caroline did. Which isn’t a bad thing, as Ryan and Colin were both very funny tonight. They weren’t necessarily overexposed, but I would have liked to see a bit more Josie and Caroline, especially considering that Caroline was carrying games like a champ tonight, even if Josie is still adjusting to the newer games and brand of comedy that Ryan and Colin were marketing (literally). A nice enough episode, even if it was a bit flawed.

Show Winners: Josie and Caroline
Best Performer: Ryan Stiles, with a slight edge over Colin for doing a bit more lifting in games where he wasn’t the center.
Worst Performer: Josie Lawrence, not that she was bad at all tonight, just that she had a few more moments of being human than the other three.
Best Game: Dead Bodies. By far.
Worst Game: Foreign Film Dub. Again, this game just did not work for me. I don’t know if it’s me or the game.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S08E10, or IT SMELLS LIKE BERNARD!

After a hiatus, here’s the last episode of S8 in regulation, before repeat tapings and compilations. Here, we have the combination of Steve Frost and Josie Lawrence, sure to be a nice one, alongside Colin and Ryan.

Questions Only: Red Alert on a Space Station

Ryan has a great faux pas to start the game. He goes over to his usual right-side step, only to realize that they want him on the other step, so he makes a big stride in the other direction, just as Steve is heading to that step. They meet in the middle, and attempt to get around each other.

Screen Shot 2018-06-21 at 4.36.40 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-06-21 at 4.36.50 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-06-21 at 4.37.17 PM.png

Ryan and Steve are still laughing as the scene gets underway

Josie, cutting off Clive still explaining: “WAS THAT THE RED ALERT -oh, sorry…”
Clive: “No, you’ve beaten ME out there…”

Ryan: “What’s with the green thing coming out of your chest?”
Colin: “Didn’t you get one?”
Ryan: “They were handing them out?”
Colin: [leaves]

Steve, pointing towards Ryan’s crotch area: “Is that a cling-on?”
[HA!]
Ryan: “…you noticed?”

This is a bit more quickfire than usual, as Josie takes a bit to figure out how to keep saying questions past her second go-around.

Ryan: “D’you miss your wife?”
Colin: “…You’ve been seeing her, haven’t you?”
Ryan: “D’you smell her cologne?”
Colin: “…was that cologne?”
Ryan: “…was it YOU?”
Colin, once again out-sillied by Ryan, leaves

Again, I feel like this round was very haphazard and not together whenever Colin and Ryan weren’t together onstage. Josie and Steve were very silly and not great at keeping the scene going, but Ryan and Colin’s scenes together were great.

Film and Theatre Styles: Josie and Ryan (telling the boyfriend that she’s pregnant)

Josie: “Been to the shops today, darling…I bought a shirt, for you, you need a new one…”
Cut to Ryan, wearing a light plaid shirt, stifling a reaction

Josie shows Ryan the little baby booties she bought. Ryan, thinking they’re for him, attempts to try them on.

Clive: “The Muppets”
Ryan, in a perfect Kermit voice: “Pink?”
Josie, doing a just as good Miss Piggy: “YES! YES! I’M GOING TO HAVE A LITTLE PIGGY-FROGGY BABY!”
Ryan: “…you mean something’s gonna come out of THERE?”

James Bond:
Ryan: “…apparently that pen could do more things than write…”

The James Bond style is pretty good, nailing the tone of the films, and the double entendres. Josie polishes it off my saying “you’re going to have a 0-0-3 and a half.”
Ryan: “…I’m shaken, but not stirred!”

Clive: “1950s Health….well…”
Josie: “HOW DID WE HAVE THIS BABY IN THE FIRST PLACE? Ryan?”
Ryan, caught off guard: “well…FIRST…I became…AROUSED.”
The audience is eating this whole part up

Then, as Ryan explains everything, Josie does little demonstrations with her hands, which the audience also loves. As Ryan explains foreplay, Josie holds up a finger and sticks out her tongue, leading Clive to mercy-kill the game.

Still a great F&TS game, as expected from these two. I do think it’s their last one together (unless there’s one coming up in a comp or in late S9), but it proves how great their scene chemistry was.

Mission Impossible: Steve instructs Ryan and Colin to clean the toilet

Finally we get a simple 2-person Mission Impossible game, with the storied Ryan-Colin combo

Steve: “Gentlemen…welcome…”
Ryan and Colin: [brief murmur]
Steve: “…I can’t hear you.”
Ryan and Colin: [louder murmur]

Steve: “Should you choose to accept it, then…you should…do it.”
Colin: “Let’s fast-forward to the good part!”
Steve: “…repete…apre moi…”
Ryan: “No, no, go back…”
[The first of many iterations of this joke]

Steve: “But, gentlemen, there’s one small catch…[the toilet]’s just been used by Bernard Manning. So it’s very, very dangerous up there. SO GOOD LUCK. THIS TAPE WILL oh, it already has…”

You can tell that, like the burnoose, Ryan and Colin don’t really know who Bernard Manning is (and yet Ryan knows who Cilla Black is???).
Colin: “I’m gonna ring up Bernard Manning on the computer.”
Ryan: “…any idea?”
Colin, purposely taking the other route: “…yeah, he was there.”
Ryan smirks, still having no idea who Bernard Manning is.

Ryan: “i’m gonna rub myself down with cooking oil….just cause it feels good…”

There’s a great moment where Colin’s furiously climbing the stairs. Ryan, not wanting to put up with this, sighs, and uses the elevator as Colin keeps heading up the stairs.

Colin uses ‘suction pads’, and gets himself “OVER THE TOILET”, which gets a nice reaction out of Clive, who was probably expecting him to clean the ‘bathroom’ rather than just the toilet.

Ryan: “I’m over the toilet.”
Colin: “Good, get the brush?”
Ryan: “….brush?”
Colin: “YOU DIDN’T BRING THE BRUSH?”
Ryan: “I thought YOU were the brush guy…”
Colin: “Alright….we’re gonna have to use your head.”
[And here begins the tradition of Ryan and Colin screwing with each other in this game]

Ryan, before he has to stick his head in the toilet bowl, looks at Colin and cracks a bit.

Ryan, with his head in the bowl: “IT SMELLS LIKE BERNARD!”
[I don’t know why, but that line has always stuck with me]

Ryan, stuck: “QUICK! PUT THE JETPACK ON!”
Colin, flying around on the jetpack: “…ON YOU OR ME?”

The first of many incredibly funny games of Mission Impossible, made great by Steve’s silliness on the tape, the back-and-forth between Ryan and Colin, and the eventual use of outlandish gadgets that would eventually become a staple of the game (see “my fax is ruined!”). Fantastic showing from all 3

Props: Colin and Ryan vs. Josie and Steve

Screen Shot 2018-06-21 at 5.07.06 PM.pngColin: “…boy, the house fell on a really big witch…”

Screen Shot 2018-06-21 at 5.08.25 PM.pngRyan: “Ah, see? Don’t tell me there’s no Loch Ness Monster…”

Josie and Steve were a lot less put together in this one, mostly because their props were worse, but also they took more time to think of some, even when the camera was back on them.

Still a nice enough Props, especially from Colin and Ryan

Foreign Film Dub – Josie and Colin act out the Spanish film “Jack and the Cucumber,” translated be Steve and Ryan.

Ryan, on Colin and Josie’s cucumber: “We shall peel it, and raise it as our own”
Josie: [in tears]
Steve: “Oh, that’s really funny!”

Ryan does another one of his trademark ‘talking for 25 minutes after Colin does only a sentence or two’ ones.

Josie: “Jack…Jack…”
Steve: “JIMMY. JIMMY.”

Very silly, but not one of the better playings of this.

Party Quirks: Steve hosts
Josie: thinks Steve is a wild horse
Colin: wins lottery then loses ticket
Ryan: goes through puberty in 15 seconds

Josie, as usual, is fantastic with this quirk, in the way she talks to Steve, and motions things. Sadly, Steve does guess this in 10 seconds, but it’s very warranted.

Colin starts energetically looking on the floor
Steve: “What, what have you lost?”
Colin: “JUST MY DREAMS! MY HOPES!”

Steve cannot for the life of him guess Colin’s, even when he’s trying his damnedest, and Clive, in the background, yells “SOUNDS LIKE…OTTERY TICKET!” His final guess is “…YOU’RE A VIETNAM VET!”

Psychiatrist: Josie
Steve: thinks he’s a peanut in France
Colin: scared of psychiatrists in Germany
Ryan: in love with as nurse in Mexico

Richard comes in with accordion music for the first one, which Steve, bringing back memories of Jim Sweeney, gives him a look for.

Steve surprisingly does well in this singing game, giving a simple but still charming enough verse about doubt, and, well, peanuts.

Josie, with the genius line: “You obviously need to come out of your shell.”

Josie ends by saying that Steve’s better than his adversaries, because “at least you are dry-roasted…”

Immediately on starting his, Colin scooches to the side of the chair, barely hanging on, frightened out of his mind.

His verse is…classic. He sings entirely in German, scared shitless, barely looking at Josie, and nearly yelling his lines. Of course, his final line, after the German, is “I’M…SCARED OF PSYCHIATRISTS.”
The whole house comes down. It’s the first time Colin would through random bilingualism into a scene

There’s a fluid motion that I have always loved this game, as Josie sings her reply verse:

Screen Shot 2018-06-21 at 5.26.31 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-06-21 at 5.26.39 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-06-21 at 5.26.49 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-06-21 at 5.26.56 PM.png

And then, as Josie sings closer and closer, as she does…
Screen Shot 2018-06-21 at 5.27.54 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-06-21 at 5.28.01 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-06-21 at 5.28.21 PM

It’s so indicative of both of their acting personas- Josie is so touchy-feely, and Colin is so neurotic. It’s absolutely perfect.

Colin leaves the table with this incredible smile on his face (and possibly the weirdest boner he’s ever had), and as he turns back to Ryan and Steve, still smiling, Steve absolutely loses it.

Right as they turn Ryan’s mic back on, he’s still cracking up, probably at what Steve just said in response to Colin’s scene. Not sure what Steve said, though. I’m also 90% sure that, after Colin’s round, he knows he’s not gonna compare, so he literally gives himself the sign of the cross.

Ryan’s is pretty basic for this type of game
“She’s the kind of girl that makes people scoff
But I love it when she grabs me by the testicles and says cough”
[The audience loves this one, though]

Josie ends her verse with “and she knows where to bump her thermostat”, which makes Ryan visibly react, and has him going “OW” as he’s heading back to the seats.

Overall: Three great games and a lot of meh. Not a bad episode, but subscribes to the ‘just okay’ tone of several of this season’s episodes. Not really anyone’s fault, though in several games it seemed tough for Steve and Josie to keep up with Ryan and Colin, but it still had some great moments, especially in Film and Theatre Styles, Mission Impossible and Psychiatrist. This was very much a Ryan and Colin show, as they dominated the games, despite some occasional nice work from Steve in Mission Impossible, or Josie in Psychiatrist. Perhaps the imbalance came from Steve and Josie realizing that it wasn’t exactly their show anymore.

Show Winner: Steve and Josie
Best Performer: Colin, for having the best funny moments, as per usual this season
Worst Performer: Steve Frost, keeping his streak going from the last few episodes in terms of not-great improv moves
Best Game: Psychiatrist. Almost went with Mission Impossible, but Psychiatrist was more consistent all the way through, had all 4 in good form, and had a better ending than Mission Impossible. Plus, it had Colin’s verse, which is a classic
Worst Game: Foreign Film Dub. Not enough to it.

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.
BUZZ
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-”

Colin:
Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 5.41.51 PM.png
BUZZ

Then, with an audience-assisted lull, Ryan comes back up as the derby guy
“NOOOWWWWW IT’S PENIS COMIN’ HARD ON-”
BUZZ

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?”
BUZZZZZ

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..”

Caroline: “WHY! WHY HAVE YOU AIRBRUSHED OUT MY PRIVATE PARTS?”
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!”
HA
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: 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

Immediately:
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…”
BUZZ
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.

Superman:
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”
Tony:
Screen Shot 2018-05-13 at 11.58.59 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-05-13 at 11.59.07 PM.png

Tony: “UP AGAINST THE WINDSCREEN?”
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…”
BUZZZZ

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.

SERIES 7 SUPERLATIVES!

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.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S07E11, or but then…I’m Just a Canadian…

Fuck it, I loved that episode so much that I’m going right to the compilation, especially considering that this is a rather good comp.

Also, note that everybody who appeared in an episode this series, even Niall Ashdown, is represented tonight…..except for Eddie Izzard.

Film and Theatre Styles: Colin and Ryan (Two Lumberjacks arguing)
From: E4

Clive mentions the ‘arguing over something’ bit: “…Ryan’s shirt, for one thing…”

Colin: “I’ll do it by MYSELF, I’m part beaver, anyway…”
Ryan: [looks behind Colin]

Clive: “Hugh Grant”
Ryan: “…there’s, uh, good things and there’s bad things. I guess I just did a bad thing…”
This, needless to say, is exactly what the audience was hoping to hear.
Clive: “Let’s leave it there…which I think is what he said to the officer…”

It’s even funnier when two North Americans have to do Carry On film.
Colin, going with the only thing he knows from a Carry On film: “ACK ACK ACK ACK ACK!”
Colin looks at Ryan to say something. He shrugs, motioning ‘do I look like I have a fucking clue what that is?’
Ryan: “…right…”
Colin: “PENIS REFERENCE! ACK ACK ACK ACK ACK!”
Ryan: “Oy, that tree’s got big tits, innit?”
BUZZ
Ryan’s shaking his head, and Colin’s facepalming away from the camera.

A very silly scene, but not without its highlights, like a Hugh Grant joke and Ryan having no idea what the Carry On films are.

Questions Only: Caroline, Ryan, Colin and Josie are at a nudist camp
From: E9

Caroline, immediately: “Is that a penis?”
Colin: “…doesn’t it look like one?”

Ryan, taking Caroline’s place: “…are you Jewish?”

Josie, pointing: “Does that upset you?”
Ryan: “Does it excite YOU?”
Josie, chuckling: “What do YOU think?”

Ryan has a nice streak, but it ends as the game does. Pretty inoffensive one, but still funny enough.

Bartender: Mike
Ryan: in love with his television set
From: E2

Well, for some reason, Greg and Tony’s verses aren’t here, so we just have Ryan’s.

Ryan, quite smartly, sings about ‘getting caught having unprotected sex with my tv’, which is a great twist. And, “before I knew it, I was yanking on his big TV love cable.”

Mike has a really cool extended response verse, which does make me a bit sad he won’t be this excited to be on the show after these comps.

Scene to Music: Ryan and Steve are Jehovah’s witnesses calling at a house
From: E3

Steve: “Listen, when we knock on the door-”
Ryan: “And who’s knocking?”
Steve: “…Jesus is always knocking…”

The music, a courtroom theme, kicks in. Ryan and Steve treat it like a Mission Impossible type theme, and it definitely works. Hell, this could even be a prototype version of Improbable Mission.

The scene ends with Steve and Ryan getting to the customer, with bibles as guns, and Steve yelling “HI…HAVE YOU HEARD THE GOOD NEWS???”

Just silly enough, which seems to be the theme of this show.

Whose Line: Ryan is a gang boss confronting Colin, who betrayed him
From: E6

Colin immediately goes into a stereotypical gangster voice. Ryan tells Colin to shut up.

There’s actually some really good acting here between the two, and it’s definitely well-suited to a lot of the gangster movies of the day.

Colin: “Remember…remember what SHAKESPEARE once said…’wait til you see what I’ve got in my pants.”

A bit lighter than most WL games, but still funny enough, and with some good acting.

World’s Worst: Show Business Routine (Greg, Niall, Ryan and Colin)
From E1

Clive: “…you can do your own one, Greg, if you’d like…”
Greg: “SEE HOW THIN THE LAUGHS WERE ON THAT, CLIVE?”

Greg, with the payback: “Hello, we’re microscopic explorers on Clive Anderson’s head.”
BUZZ
Greg: “We’re looking for hair follicles.”
BUZZ
Greg: “No luck so far-”
Clive, knowing where he’s going: “..yeah..”
Greg: “But we’ll be back in an hour…”

Ryan: “….A. Apple. B. Brontosaurus. C. Cookie. D. Dicky. E. Elephant.”
Then, as he knows exactly where he’s about to go with the next letter, he looks directly at Clive to try and get him out of it.
Ryan: “F…”
BUZZ
Ryan, under his breath: “…fuck…”

Greg: “Hello, I’m Sylvester Stallone, I’d like to read a soliloquy from Hamlet by William Shakespeare…”

Ryan, swallowing all of these objects: “A little flour…some eggs…some sugar…BLEH! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOOOU…”
The audience recoils, but I love this one.

A strange WW, with some out-of-the-box ones from Ryan

Props: Colin and Ryan vs. Steve and Tony
From E3

Screen Shot 2018-04-23 at 12.48.35 PM.pngTony: “Well, Mr. Johnson, your sperm count’s very low, BUT THE ONE YOU’VE GOT IS JUST…”

A fairly basic round. Ryan and Colin were doing easy ones, while Tony and Steve’s were more hit-miss.

Narrate: Colin and Ryan are in a laundromat
From: E6

Clive does his usual ‘do you have a laundromat in America’ type thing, settling on ‘wherever you do your washing.”
Ryan, caveman voice: “Oh, stream! We call STREAM. ON ROCKS, WE BEAT ON ROCKS, IT STREAM.”

Colin: “…he had legs like a stork…and a brain to match.”

Ryan’s first great improv move is, mid-monologue, getting into the dryer, then bobbing around in the dryer for a bit. Genius.

Ryan announces he’s missing a sock, which he probably wanted to lead to an ‘up my ass’ type of joke, but…Colin makes sure it leads somewhere stranger.
Colin: “It was then I noticed the bulge…and then I thought, ‘I wonder where his sock went’.

Colin: “…I didn’t notice the tank until he opened the door. It was a tank! How could you not notice that? Boy…weird, huh?”

Ryan, not even trying to rationalize: “…pretty weird I got a tank in here, huh?”
Colin: “That’s what I thought…but then…[cracks] I’m just a Canadian.”

Then, as Ryan cracks up, Colin, as his next inner monologue, gets into the tank, and comes upstage, not saying anything, but driving the tank around. Clive buzzes, so both can collapse into laughter.

Just a damned funny scene, with nothing going according to plan, but in the best way possible.

EXTRA BITS: 

  • A sound effects playing from E9, where Colin’s driving a car. It suddenly completely runs out of gas. Then, of course, he gets out of the car and it drives off by itself, which is an insanely creative choice by Ryan. Colin has to run after it.
  • They also keep cutting back to a props round from E4, with Ryan and Colin and a big, cornucopia like thing.
    Colin, scooping into the giant cone: “How many scoops?”
    Ryan, stonefaced: “Five hundred.”
  • A F&TS round from E4, where Tony and Caroline do a Thunderbirds scene, which leads to some hands going out of control, and a Tony hand landing on Caroline’s boob. Caroline, unlike Josie, responds by grabbing Tony’s crotch to end the scene.
  • A Hey You Down There round from E1, where Greg narrates Ryan and Colin trying to barbecue. Greg’s HYDT voice is one of my favorites.
    Greg: “THAT’S NOT LIGHTER FLUID, THAT’S GASOLINE. BE CAREFUL WHEN YOU LIGHT THAT!”
    Boom!
  • A round of Picture from…either E2, E5 or E6, as it’s Tony and Mike. Mike’s lying behind Tony, and Tony has a nice gag with “…what’s that poking in the back of my ‘ead?”
  • The Gambling Hoedown, from E6. Colin’s verse, which is classic:
    “I entered the lottery, I bought myself a ticket.
    Watched all the numbers, I saw the people pick it.
    And now I’m very rich…”
    And then his Hoedown voice drops, he stops, and just says, point blank: “Hey, I don’t have to SING. I don’t have to do this. I’M RICH. I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT!”
    And with that, he runs around the stage happily, as Tony and Ryan crack.
  • A F&TS round from E3, with Tony and Steve doing a very intense scene from Eastenders, complete with an ‘I SAAAAAID…LEAVE IT.’
  • Back to Hey You Down There
    Greg: “You’re gonna have to use a shovel to get that goat off. Uh oh, it’s stuck to the grill. [And, in a line that cracks me up in how Greg says it] BETTAH GET THE GOAT SCRAPAH!”
    Ryan gets a chainsaw, and shears the goat off, which backfires and hits Colin’s crotch area. Colin leafs around looking for where it went. Ryan picks something up, shrugs, and throws it aside.
  • Screen Shot 2018-04-23 at 1.07.57 PM.pngColin stands there for like 5 seconds without an idea, then he gets one.
    Colin: “….today on Donahue, Anorexic Witches!”

Old Job New Job: Colin and Caroline try to buy a car from Ryan, who used to be a NYC cop
From: E9

Caroline: “…what d’you think?”
Colin: “…it’s a car.”

Ryan, effortlessly mixing both: “UP AGAINST THE CAR, UP AGAINST THE CAR…how’s that feel to ya?”

It’s actually genius- Ryan uses angry cop tactics in order to give them a full car salesman pitch. For some reason this works really well.

There’s this great running gag about Colin being a former ballet dancer, so when Ryan commands him to get on the ground, he does a full flourish beforehand.

Not a ton to it, but mechanically really impressive.

Stand Sit Bend: Ryan, Colin and Tony are in a fortress being attacked by indians
From: E6

Colin: “Let me get that arrow out of your back.”
Ryan, who’s bending, appreciates this rationalization
Tony: “Wait, let’s see if there’s a message attached….’you’re dead.”
All three: “HMMMM…”

Compared to other recent SSLs, there’s not a lot to this one, except for a moment where Colin and Ryan compete to sit down, which cracks Ryan up.

This scene does get going when Ryan does a motion that involves him standing, then bending, then standing, so that the other two have to react to his ever-shifting rationale.

Colin, as Ryan and Tony have an argument while alternating standing and sitting, just leans over and starts shooting people, though he keeps looking back to see if anybody’s letting him stand again.

There are a ton of funny moments in here towards the end, culminating in someone else shooting Colin an arrow to the head.
Ryan: “Wait, there’s another note attached…oh, sorry it’s just your brain.”

A bit less coherent than the last few iterations of this, but still funny.

Hoedown: Ryan, Colin, Caroline and Tony- Biting Nails
From: E4

Not a ton going on here, sad to say, other than a line from Ryan about “now I’m nibblin’ on my wrist”, and some general Tony foolishness.

Best Performer: Ryan Stiles, as per usual this series
Worst Performer: Niall Ashdown, for only doing one joke, and for it not being a successful one.
Best Game: Narrate. Just really, REALLY good, and capable of withstanding its own weirdness.
Worst Game: Hoedown. Ho-hum.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S07E10, or You’re from Australia, aren’t you?

With nine episodes wrapped for a strong enough Series 7, the producers of Whose Line were desperate to come up with one more show, but were being decreed not to use anymore Mike McShane or Tony Slattery. I can only assume that the last show set to be filmed was supposed to feature either one, and was cancelled after the incident in E6. So…the producers needed a spot to fill, essentially.

So they did something that was, at the time, revolutionary, but has since become a helpful tool for Whose Line to use. They made a second episode from a previous taping.

This episode, E10 of this series, is made up of leftover bits from E8, the Steve & Josie show. Instead of relegating all of that to the compilations (and I can only imagine some leftovers might be waiting in the comps anyway), the producers crafted a second episode out of them. They would do this a few more times over the next two series, though less as series-fillers and more as…time savers, essentially.

Note that this episode does have the same contestant intros as E8, as they didn’t know to film two intros quite yet.

Questions Only: Singles Party

There’s an audible noise from Josie as they line up for this game. It’s less of a groan and more of a nervous noise.

Josie: “Why are the walls painted this color?”
Steve: “Are you pissed?”
Right off the bat we’re onto something

Josie: “Do you french kiss?”
Colin: ‘…with my clothes on?”
Josie: “…do you HAVE a naked body under there, then?”
Colin: “Would you like to see?” [disrobes]
Josie: “….”
BUZZ

Once Ryan enters, both try and get one in at the same time, which catches Ryan off guard.

After a string of Colin getting people out
Ryan: “D’you have any vodka?”
Colin: “Russian?”
Ryan: “…is there any other kind?”
Colin: “…..”
BUZZ

It’s even funnier when Steve gets a chance to redeem himself at the end…and loses, loudly, at ‘how the hell have you been?’. Great way to end the game, too, as it’s a pretty great round.

Film and Theatre Styles v1: Josie and Ryan (pram-pushers meeting in the park)

Clive gets, consecutively, “Richard and Judy” and “German Porno”, which he makes fun of.

Audience member: “Take That!”
Clive, missing the point: “…what? Is that…is that a pop group?”
Audience member: “Kenneth Branagh!”
Clive, losing his wit: “…that’s a PERSON!”

A very Australian voice yells out, clearly: “Australian soap.”
Clive, cheekily: “…yes, thank you, Jason…”

Ryan has to stop and ask what a pram is, which Josie very quickly explains
Clive: “How many years have you been coming here, and you…”
Ryan, self-referentially: “And a park is what, with the trees and…”

Ryan and Josie initially have great chemistry, with Ryan lying and saying the baby’s not his.
Josie: “Ohhh, I know what a tinker you are… [then, in a moment of wall-breaking genius]…do you know what ‘tinker’ means?”
Ryan, going with it: “…is it like a pram?”

Cookery Program:
Josie: “Your baby looks lovely, but it would look so much better with gravy on its head.”
Ryan: “First, let me flip him over, so he’s done on the other side…”

Ryan: “And you’re asking yourself, ‘what goes with baby? white, or red wine?”

Clive, again harkening back to Ryan’s American-ness: “…brilliant Loyd Grossman impression there, from Ryan…”

Australian soap:
Josie: “…I THOUGHT YEW LOVED ME!” [turns, drops accent] “I apologize to all the Australians in the audience”

Then, Ryan pulls up some indecipherable Australian accent which makes Colin start absolutely cracking in the background.

Then, halfway through another line, Ryan’s accent fades on him. He realizes it, nearly cracks, and shrugs it off.

Clive: “I liked that, I just buzzed there to put you out of your misery, Ryan.”
Ryan: “Thank you.”

The German Porn style is even funnier, because Ryan and Josie keep up the accents, and nail the tone…and then, right at the end, Ryan loses his accent, and struggles to keep composure again, right when Clive buzzes.
Josie: “…you’re from Australia, aren’t you?”
BUZZZ
Clive: “If we keep going longer, we’ll get to an accent Ryan can do.”

Agatha Christie:
Josie, in a great Marple accent: “Why…if you say you’re not married, do you have a baby?”
Ryan, absolutely nailing a proper British accent: “…don’t you see?”
The audience, and Steve, applaud this one as Clive buzzes them out.

THAT…was one of the best F&TS games in a while. Yes, it’s similar to a late-career Paul Merton one where he’d go in and out of the scene, but…Ryan and Josie at least kept the integrity of the scene intact, and kept the narrative going while still poking fun at accents and running gags and such. Just a fantastic top-to-bottom game.

Film and Theatre Styles v2: Steve and Colin (stuck in a car teetering over a precipice)

The Steve and Colin combo is an odd one, but it excites me very much.

Colin: “DON’T SHOUT…the excess voice level might push us over the cliff.”
Steve nearly cracks at that line. We’ve only just started.
Steve: “But YOU’RE shouting.”
Colin: “But I’m using a different VOICE!”
BUZZ
Clive, already the MVP of this show: “…you’re going mad, Colin.”

Steve, in Boris Karloff style, is making faces at Colin, looking dastardly, which nearly makes him break.
Steve: “DO MY EYEBROWS OFFEND YOU???”

Emmanuelle:
Colin, to Steve, taking off his clothes for the second time all show: “Could you just empty that ashtray for me?”
Steve, coming directly behind Colin: “Sure’.”
Ryan, in the back, loses it at this.

Batman, in the same position.
Steve: “ROBIN…I’M GONNA TEACH YOU EVERYTHING!”
Colin: “Holy Back Pain!”

Not as good as Ryan and Josie’s, but still really funny, and with some fun interplay between the two.

Secret: Colin and Ryan are jockeys in a stable. The secret is in the hay

Clive has a slight mental lapse, when he can’t understand an audience member going ‘in the hay!’. He thinks it’s ‘IN BEHIND???” The other audience members around her have to clarify for him.
Ryan, not letting that go: “It’s Australian, you probably don’t understand…OUR language…”

Ryan, of course, makes a joke that he’s the first ‘mutant jockey’, and the camera pulls back so the audience can get the joke.

Colin, discovering the secret: “…my god…a tooth fairy costume…”
Ryan, for the first of many times during this game, breaks at the reveal.
Colin: “You’re not only a mutant jockey, you’re the tooth fairy!”
Ryan, casually slipping the costume on: “WHAT IF I AM?”

Ryan does give a complicated rationalization for being the tooth fairy as a jockey. Then, knowing how bonkers it is, he polishes it off with ‘IT ALL MAKES SENSE!’

Then, of course, they get on their horses and go about the race, which is a great visual just to see Ryan’s facial expressions.

A pretty great secret, with Ryan giving great post-reveal work.

Greatest Hits: Ryan and Colin pitch Songs of the Gas Station, while Josie performs the songs

A new addition to the fold, as apparently producers thought that Josie solo singing games weren’t enough, so they just added Ryan and Colin to them.

This is a different GH than we’d get later on, as Ryan and Colin just do plummy, banter-less intros, and Josie just goes ahead and sings then. It’s not reliant on the Ryan-Colin characters we’d later know and love.

Also, the excerpts are super short, as they’re 10 to 15 seconds each, just giving Josie the chorus. And yes, it’s pretty impressive that she can do these excerpts at the drop of a hat, but knowing the future form of the show, it’s a bit off-putting.

The audience gets a kick out of Colin’s song-title ‘Hands of My Muffler’, as well as the actual lyrics, which are pretty funny.

The funniest part of this game, though, is Ryan setting up a song…then realizing he doesn’t have a single good idea, and, at the verge of cracking, passes to Colin.
Colin: “Sure, it’s that great Disco hit, ‘lube up!”
Ryan completely breaks here

For Josie’s last number, Ryan and Colin jump into her side of the stage and start dancing along, which is a nice touch.

A pretty bold start to this game, even though the tinkerings we’d get to it would definitely improve things a lot. Still some fun stuff all around, even with Colin saving Ryan.

Stand Sit Lie: Ryan and Colin are on a sleeper train: Steve is the ticket collector

Steve, as Clive’s explaining the scene, sits down on one of the ‘bed’ structures, which there are two of. Once he hears he’s gonna be the ticket collector, he chuckles, and gets up so Ryan can sit down.

Steve begins the scene by opening the sliding door…giving it a beat, and then closing it again and walking off
Ryan: “I think he’s French.”
Steve, after spitting and walking in: “…yes, I am, actually…”

The best part about that is that the position changes in this scene are insanely natural, thanks to the intricate enough scene description.

Then, when Steve threatens to throw them off, Ryan angrily rises, and Steve, without an option yet so quickly, faints.

Then, in an insanely genius move, Ryan and Colin help Steve stand back up while both going into a lying position. Then, when they both realize what they’ve done, they play a brief simultaneous game of ‘no, I’ll change’, both sitting down or lying back down at the same time.

Once Steve finds something under the mattress chair…Colin and Ryan are standing, and Steve’s sitting, and Clive audibly says ‘…lying’. Steve, again without an option, collapses to the floor.

There’s a nice 30-minute stretch where Colin can’t catch a break, as Steve and Ryan are having a conversation about the diamond-smuggling. Colin will be lying down, then realize someone’s not doing something, race to get to a position then be beaten to it, and go back to lying down. It’s insanely amusing.

Then, in the end, as Steve rises, and Colin quickly lies back down, a standing Ryan realizes he needs to sit down, and both tables are blocked…so he sits down on Colin’s shoulder, which he immediately regrets, audibly yelling ‘OW’, and making both crack up as the scene ends.

One of the best SSLs we’ve had in years, with a coherent scene going on, and so many funny things happening with movements.

Foreign Film Dub: Colin and Josie act out the film ‘The Swahili Aubergine Lost in Space’, while Ryan and Steve translate

Josie starts by doing a weird noise, pointing, and doing a line.
Steve: “I can’t find Radio One on this damned thing.”

Colin’s tactic in this game, instead of faking the language, is doing INSANELY LOUD GIBBERISH. THIS WORKS.

Steve has the funnier lines here, such as ‘who needs aubergines when you’ve got cucumbers like these?’

Ryan translates a line as ‘you know, you’re looking very attractive to me at this moment’.
Then, Colin, holding the cucumber like a gun, strokes it up and down in a suggestive manner. Oh, Colin…

The scene ends with Colin dancing around spouting gibberish with a melon down his pants, which is certainly worth the price of admission.

Not a bad scene, but still very silly when it’s not being funny.

Moving People: Ryan and Colin are cowboys rounding up the herd

Colin: “..have you got the bull to cough yet?”
Ryan, as the audience member puts his fists up against his face: “…WELL…”

Colin has his hand up for a little while, as they’re talking.
Ryan: “Hey…put the margarita down, Jed…”

Then, as Ryan proposes a duel with paces, the audience members have to struggle to get Ryan and Colin to turn around and walk away, which is a very fun visual.
Colin, rationalizing: “Remember, I have arthritis…”
Ryan: “…and I’m a little drunk myself, so..”

Ryan: “ONE…”
Colin, who’s already turned around: “…ONE???”

Then, as they’re doing the paces, the audience members once again struggle to get them to walk or turn around. Colin, already turned toward Ryan, is smirking at this.
Ryan: “TWO…Boy, this is like a bad game of twister, isn’t it?”

Then, as they’re still being moved, they are free to shoot, which leads to a lot of ‘BANG! Oh, I missed ya. BANG!’

Colin: “Oh my god, your shot has started a stampede.”
Ryan, knowing exactly what he’s about to incite: “Oh my god. Run for cover.”

The audience members, instead of getting them to walk away, keep moving them closer to each other. Ryan, trying to keep it together, yells “NOT INTO ME, JED!!!”

The scene ends, and Ryan and Colin, shaking their heads, walk back to the seats. That game…just really worked, maybe because of all the work Ryan and Colin were making the audience members do, and the really funny ending.

Hoedown: Puberty

Steve, as usual, sings himself into a corner, ending with an oddly-prepositioned “his mother walked in and caught us kissing, and….joined in.”

Josie’s is a very well-thought out, cute verse, that’s very well sung, about her lament over puberty. “So, if this is a hoedown, I’ll just docey-do…”

Colin, taking the opposite suggestion and being himself:
“I like going grey, I really really do
I really really really really PLEASE DON’T MISCONSTRUE.
To many it’s a source of conterrrrnation
But I’m quite happy with my hair pigmentation.”
Clive ABSOLUTELY LOSES IT at this verse. He’s dying back in his chair.

Ryan’s is, comparatively, more commonplace, but it ends the hoedown, and the episode, on a fine note.

Overall: An absolute triumph, and the kind of show that makes you wonder why they didn’t just air this one first and have 7×08 come in this lot. Every game was truly hysterical, every performer had something very fun to do, and there was a huge Clive presence in a lot of the games tonight, which was a nice touch. Yes, the Colin and Ryan duo presided over this show, but that’s not especially a bad thing, as the combo is so strong that it’s automatically leading to great games, although the other duos tried this show, like Josie/Ryan and Steve/Colin, were also pretty successful, which owes itself to the durability of this lineup, which would be seen a few more times over the next few series. Just amazing stuff all around.

Show Winners: Ryan and Josie
Best Performer: Ryan Stiles, barely edging out his comedy partner, and giving some really great, commanding moments throughout the show.
Worst Performer: Steve Frost, solely for lacking in standout moments compared to the other three.
Best Game: Stand Sit Lie. I nearly gave this to the first Film and Theatre Styles, but SSL was absolutely masterful, and delivered on story as well as being host to a ton of incredible movement moments.
Worst Game: Foreign Film Dub, just for seeming quieter by comparison.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S07E09, or What Are You Implying, Clive?

Now onto another post-crisis S7 episode of Whose Line. Thanks to the success of Josie Lawrence’s return last episode, the producers gave her another taping, plus a combo with fellow female improv giant Caroline Quentin…along with the now-ubiquitous Ryan & Colin combo

Also, note that tonight, Colin attends with his world-famous lime-green jacket. It’s not neon-love-chicken levels of excessive, but it’s still noteworthy.

Film & Theatre Styles: Caroline & Josie (first two women to cross the Antarctic) 

Someone in the audience shouts of, as a style suggestion, ‘video nasty’…which is very ironic, because I was just watching that exact Young Ones episode before I started this.

From moment one of the scene, Josie and Caroline are on the exact same page, bouncing right off of each other perfectly.

Thelma and Louise:
Josie: “Wait a minute…there’s a man over there who says we can’t have the huskies…”
Caroline: “Let’s kill him!”

Caroline: “…there’s a real good lookin’ seal over there…Hi, Cowboy…”
Josie: “Honk honk HONK…”

There’s a very cute moment where, in Gone with the Wind style, Caroline offers to tighten Josie’s corset, and there’s a fun little exchange between the two as the audience applauds.

They did lose their footing towards the end, as Clive has to remind them of the plot, but it’s still a fun enough scene that works well enough.

Stand Sit Lie: Josie, Colin & Ryan are at the tattoo parlor

This scene does start out very plot based, as people are changing positions out of necessity, not out of trying to screw the other two over. Then, as Josie sprawls across the table, she lands on the floor, lying down, forcing Ryan and Colin to NOT use the table for lying.

Colin: “Wait, I’m a doctor!”
Ryan: “YOU’RE a doctor? I didn’t know that…”
Colin: “…well, not a real one…”
Ha. Might have been a bit meta, too.

There’s also a moment where Ryan angrily stands up from the table, and Colin and Josie both attempt to lie down at the same time. Then, as Colin and Ryan argue, taking turns sitting down, Josie continues to lie down, going “PLEASE DON’T ARGUE, IT MAKES ME TIRED!”

A really nicely fleshed-out playing of this, thanks to some great work from all three, and some alternating between plot and motions.

Press Conference: Ryan, Colin and Josie interview Caroline, the first female pope.

Caroline: “I actually trained four and a half years for this, a lot of it using….uh, weights.”
She has a moment of stumbling, but picks right back up.

Ryan, of course bringing up height: “Are, uh, people gonna have problems seein’ ya up on the balcony?”

Josie: “Are you a Catholic?”
Caroline: “…yes, I am. I actually had to CONVERT, in order to, uh…”

And then, Josie, with the kicker: “Do you enjoy having your ring kissed?”
The whole audience applauds at this one.
Caroline: “Yes, well it obviously depends very much on who’s doing the kissing…”

A really nice game, one that picked up as it went on, both for laughs and for Caroline’s abilities with it.

Clive mentions that she got it ‘suspiciously’ right after the ‘ring kissed’ line.
Caroline: “…what are you implying, Clive?”
Clive: “….I’m not sure, really…”

Duet: Caroline and Josie sing a love song about a beached whale

Note that Josie has appeared in all four of the first half’s games so far. Perhaps they were trying to sell her like they sold Tony.

Literally, as the scene starts, Josie and Caroline are intimately leaning together, making this very cute for both of them.

Caroline, with the first, wonderfully sung line of the song: “Look at the sea….then, look at me.”

The strength of both performers is INSANELY evident, as well as the ability to harmonize, improvise along with Richard’s key choices, and just do some really nice lyrics.

Once the final note hits, Ryan IMMEDIATELY rises and gives them a standing O. Colin follows. Caroline and Josie hug, knowing they’ve just pulled off one of the more impressive numbers in the show’s history.

Clive: “Incidentally, that puts you into a lead, Caroline and Josie…..because Ryan and Colin haven’t scored yet.”

Hats: Dating Service Videos

The old standard for Hats.

Clive: “So this is a quick-fire round. If you don’t do it well, you’ll be fired quickly…”

This isn’t a terrific round, as a lot of them are a bit too drawn out, especially from Caroline. Colin has a great one, in a Marching Band helmet, as he flails his arms around, catching batons and whatnot, and says “…and that’s with my hands…”

There are good moments, mostly from Ryan who gets the game, but not a ton of these hit.

Props: Ryan and Caroline vs. Colin and Josie

Right off the bat, Ryan nearly drops the prop in going for a joke, which leads to Caroline making sure he’s alright.

Screen Shot 2018-04-21 at 4.04.30 PM.pngRyan: “Elephants on cocaine!” [sniffffff]

Screen Shot 2018-04-21 at 4.05.34 PM.pngColin: “First time in an irish nudist colony?”

Caroline, hopping around the prop: “CRAP BARSTOOLS, DARLING!”

Screen Shot 2018-04-21 at 4.06.58 PM.pngColin: “…I’m sorry, Mr. Jagger, we couldn’t save your lips…”

MUCH BETTER Props round. Tons of fun ideas coming from all four.

Party Quirks: Caroline hosts
Josie: in a tampon ad
Colin: a flu germ
Ryan: victim of a voodoo attack

Josie has not missed a game yet tonight. Good work so far, too.

Josie is great, doing a menagerie of strenuous things in an insanely peppy mood.
Caroline, getting it: “I hate to tell you this, but there’s a small stain on your trousers…”
BUZZ

It’s a very clever entrance for Colin: Ryan sneezes, and Colin bounds into the party.

Just the sight of Ryan going into random spasms and positions as Caroline looks on is a silly enough image. I think the fact that Caroline’s so out of it, especially after quickly guessing the other two, makes it even funnier.

Clive does have to give it to Caroline, but this was a swift-but-funny playing.

Prison Visitor: Josie
Colin: stole a pair of pants in Brazil
Caroline: murdered George in Italy
Ryan: got caught with a prostitute in Jamaica 

Josie has appeared in every game tonight, and she’s not even a series regular. Well bloody done.

Josie, getting the suggestion: “Stolen…pants?”
Clive: “I think that might be American for trousers.”
Josie: “…or English for Knickers…”

Colin turns his verse into something truly extraordinary, in a Brazilian accent:
“Oh get me out of here, I’m not having a good time.
They threw me in here for…impersonating a lime.
I needed green pants you see, to go with my whole ensem-bluh…
…what am I going to do, I…can’t rhyme with ensemble…”

Josie’s rebuttal verse is very fun, ending in calling Colin a ‘real brazil nut’. Still doesn’t overpower Colin’s insanely funny one.

Caroline makes her number very heartfelt, and very emotional, but between two comedians like Ryan and Colin, she leaves no choice but to bring up the rear of the game.

When Ryan gets up, he squeezes his head through the bars, so that once Josie turns around, she’s immediately caught off guard and laughs.

Someone in the audience shouts out: “He got caught in a car with a prostitute.”
This is 1995, so there’s only one real thing this could be referencing.
Clive: “RYAN IS A DISTINGUISHED ACTOR. There’s no chance…NO CHANCE…of a distinguished actor getting caught with a prostitute in a car…”

Clive sighs, and intros the scene, saying Ryan got caught with a prostitute in a car, ‘somewhere in Los Angeles, but…it’s the Jamaican quarter…”

Ryan: “the police run up to me one day, boy they rave and rant.
I made the same mistake as my good friend, the actor Hugh Grant.”
Ryan gives a whole stanza for the audience to recover

Josie does give a very funny response verse, eventually signalling for Ryan to ‘limbo under your cell’, which he does at the end.

Very, very good Prison Visitor game, utilizing all four in their own unique ways.

Overall: A brisk, fun, energetic show, with a career night for Josie Lawrence, and a huge-time emphasis on her and Caroline Quentin. This show proved, for the first time since Series 3, that women could get things done on Whose Line, and dominate a whole show. It’s also a blessing that they could do such a great show a few episodes after Tony, a guy who groped BOTH OF THEM onstage during shows, stopped appearing. Yes, Colin had some funny moments, as did Ryan, but it wasn’t about them as much as it was about Josie and Caroline.

Show Winners: All 4
Best Performer: Josie Lawrence, for dominating the whole night
Worst Performer: Ryan Stiles, for sticking to the background more often
Best Game: Prison Visitor, for being the most consistent in terms of laughs. Duet came close.
Worst Game: Hats. Not a ton going on.