Another turning point. This is the last Sweeney & Steen episode, and the penultimate Ryanless Whose Line. Sweeney and Steen were supposed to keep the uK reign of the show going, but now they’ll be bowing out as the show focuses more on Ryan and Tony. This one also features Tony Slattery and Mike McShane, a truly magical combination.
This is one of the last chances for the so-called old-guard of WL to take over, and seeing as the last time we had a show like that it was the best of the season, it’s a wise idea to do it again.
Scenes from a Hat:
Clive: “Now, the MORE WE DO…the more…we will have done, now..”
“Things the stewardesses should really tell you about safety features…”
Jim: “Now, if the plane goes down, kiss THIS goodbye…”
Clive: “The worst job in the world.”
Mike: “I’m here to buff Clive’s head.”
Clive: “Olympic sports we’d like to see.”
Tony: “AND NOW THE-
Mike: “IT’S THE HUNDRED-METER FREESTYLE CRUNCH!”
Clive: “I, uh…I think Humping the Tony is in it already.”
Mike: “Ya oughta see the SYNCHRONIZED HUMPING THE TONY…”
Clive: “A Kiss-o-gram with bad news.”
Mike, to Steve: “SHE’S LEFT YOU, SHE’S LEFT YOU, SHE’S NEVER COMING BACK AGAIN-”
Clive: “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
Tony, without a better idea, to Jim: “…that’ll be two pounds fifty, please…”
Clive: “What you didn’t expect to find at the end of the rainbow.”
Jim: “JEREMY BEADLE!”
A fantastic round to start the show with, as the energy is already electric, and people are going for silliness right off the bat.
Film and Theatre Styles: Mike and Tony (desert island castaways)
Audience member: “EL DORADO!”
Clive: “…we’re doing amateur dramatics already.”
ELDORADO SLAMS: 1
Tony: “…I spy…”
Mike: [begins nibbling on Tony’s fingers]
Tony: “This is hopeless. We must build a fire!”
Mike: “WITH WHAT??? WE HAVE PLENTY OF THINGS TO PUT A FIRE *OUT* WITH! BUT WE HAVE NOTHING TO BUILD A FIRE WITH! I’M buck naked, YOU’RE buck naked, the TREE’S gone, the dog’s been eaten, we have SAND. A BIG…LUMP…OF SAND.”
Tony, knowing his place: “….oooOoOoOoOoOoOOOOHHH!”
Tony: “There is lots of sand here, yes, that’s because it’s a crappy film set.
ELDORADO SLAMS: 2
Mike: “If we dig deep enough, we may find some talent, but I don’t know.”
ELDORADO SLAMS: 3. WE’RE ON A ROLL.
Mike: “In fact, I fear we may begin mutating.”
Tony stands up, and there’s a PFF sound.
Mike: “You’re mutating already, sir!”
Tony: “I’m sorry about that. Play some of that music and I’ll walk up to the camera, weirdly”
A pretty fun game, even if it lost the plot a bit in the middle. The Slattery-McShane combo is at a high already.
Authors: A Day in the Life of a Nursery School
Jim: Lewis Carroll
Steve: Jackie Collins
Tony: TV ads for the Sun
Mike: Dr. Seuss
THE LAST EVER AUTHORS. A game that was a staple of the show for 2 seasons, finally dying out with the Ryan/Colin era.
Jim: “It was a perfectly normal friday, but somehow she felt a bit stoned. “Don’t bogart that joint, bitch” said the big caterpillar in the corner…pass the dutchie on the left hand side.”
Steve, as Jackie Collins, describes the empowered, female caterpillar, “her proud breasts standing out like pink grapefruits…”
Tony: ‘AN’ YEW CAN SEE ‘EM ON PAAAGE THREE! THERE’S ALWAYS MORE NUUUDE CATERPILLARS…IN THE SUN!”
A really fantastic game of this. At least they ended on a good note, where everybody could actually continue the story without being selfish, or without being John Sessions.
Song Styles: Mike sings a Busby Berkley song about soap
Mike: “i’ve got that bar in my hand again.
I’ve got that bar, and I’m gonna lather up, my friend.”
And we have liftoff.
This is a really nice song by Mike, with some cute lyrics and really nice melodic work by both him and Richard. It’s incredibly silly and passionate, and you can tell that Mike’s enjoying the hell out of it.
World’s Worst: Person to be auditioning for Hamlet
Jim: “i mean, because basically he’s a man on the edge, isn’t he?….I KNOW HOW HE FEELS…”
Steve: ‘See, my contract with Eldorado is just fineeshed….”
[ELDORADO SLAMS: 4]
Tony: “…Tobe…or not tobe?”
Steve, doing an accurate John Major impression: “To be or not to be, that’s a good question, a FAIR QUESTION, AND ONE I INTEND TO DEAL WITH…”
Bad start, but it picked up as it went along.
Props: Jim and Tony vs. Mike and Steve
Tony: “ALRIGHT…I’m not a natural brunette…”
Steve: “….YES…YES…I WILL FERTILIZE THE EGG!”
Tony: “Hello, and welcome to the not-terribly-convincing torture chamber. GET DOWN! [hits feebly with prop]”
Steve: “Hello, I’m an extra on Doctor Who.”
Mike: “Hello, I’m an extra on Eldorado. THEY’RE DESPERATE.”
ELDORADO SLAMS: 5
Fantastic round of props, and you can tell, because Tony and Steve are still laughing as they head back to the seats.
Scene to Music: Steve waits for Jim, his secretary
This is the last Sweeney & Steen scene in regulation, and proof that the producers were phasing them out, as they did Meskimen and Smith, for not matching up to Colin and Ryan.
The music is, again, very film-noiry, so Steve turns it into another game of Narrate. Why not just do Narrate again?
Jim: “Is it me or is it hot in here? [aside] It wasn’t me, it was hot in here, the building was on fire.”
Steve: “Yeah, it was hot, she was a walking sauna, and I was ready to sit down on her bench…”
A very fun scene, better than their last Scene to Music.
Party Quirks: Tony hosts
Jim: In love with the carpet
Mike: Confederate soldier
Tony: “Yes, the party is ready, and the theme of this party is 60s dance crazes [flails wildly]”
Tony: “Hello, Steve, come on in.”
[HA HA HA HA.]
Jim, the second he enters, nails his:
For obvious reasons, they didn’t trust Jim with physicality too often, but he nails it here, going above and beyond.
Jim: “How could you just stand there?”
Tony: “…you’re not Eleanor Bron, are you?”
This is one of those party quirks where everyone comes in and Tony writhes around trying to guess everyone, and he’s beginning to get more unhinged with it. Obviously what he’d be dealing with in Series’ 6 and 7 was controllable here, but he’s growing more manic, especially in guessing everyone when they’re all just going at it.
Tony does nail everyone’s, especially an energetic Steve performance, which he jumps up and down when he finally gets. The audience even hits fever pitch when he guesses Steve.
Great game, just crazy enough to be controllable.
Clive: “The yelps of pleasure were worth waiting for…as they often are with Tony.”
Steve: Angry about constipation
Jim: trying to forget his impotence
Tony: in love with the barman
A very Scottish voice shouts out ‘CUNSTIPEESHUN.”
Clive: “That was a good suggestion, or possibly a cry for help.”
Steve’s verse is good, but, possibly thanks to his character choice, it’s not sung as much as it is talked. Mike does save it, though, going “I don’t wanna see you get any meaner, so here, take this vacuum cleaner.”
The same scotsman, for Jim, yells out ‘IMPOTENCE!’
Jim’s first line, above fun, funky guitar music, is “I’ve got a problem that’s making me sick.”
Everyone knows what’s coming, no pun intended, and cracks up prematurely.
Still, instead of subverting the expectation, like people usually do in singing games, he goes for it: “Frankly, I’ve got a useless dick.”
Mike starts with the obvious joke: “COME AGAIN? I’m sorry, let me rephrase that…”
Mike: “I take those problems seriously.
Lack of orgasms can make you deliriously…..upset.”
Mike finishes off his verse with ‘here’s a stiff one, that’ll do.”
AND THEN WE GET TO TONY’S. Which may be one of the best musical moments of this entire series.
Tony, completely won over by Mike, starts with the immortal line of:
“I’m the bacon…and you’re my chips.
i’d like to shipwreck in those…standy-out nips.”
Note that he cracks up at that one, though he sells it.
And he ends with “If you weren’t a big butch man, I’d ask you to be my wife.”
If Tony’s wasn’t heartfelt enough, Mike has what’s basically an aria, going into great melodic notes and really selling the mutuality of the situation…and then…he takes everything off the bar counter, and goes “You see through me, then do me…RIGHT HERE!”
What I love about this, in least in particular, is that this is one of the first times you can see the people at the seats absolutely losing it with laughter. Jim and Steve absolutely break down once Mike throws himself on the table, and start applauding and laughing as the scene ends. I don’t think a game had gotten a fellow-improviser reaction up to that point.
Still, the capper on a fantastic game of Bartender.
Overall: Not just the best of the series so far, but possibly one for the pantheon. I mean it when I say that almost every game was not only a success, but a hysterical highlight. Everyone was giving their all, even Steve Steen, usually the limp noodle of the panel, who was giving big character performances all night tonight. Mike McShane, like in E5, performed like no time had passed, and Jim Sweeney did his usual ensemble work, while Tony allowed himself, yet again, to the funnier moments of the night. The number of memorable moments from this show is a nice one- from the Humping the Tony, to all the Eldorado slams, to Steve as Beethoven, to Tony mounting Mike during Bartender. And oddly enough, those moments don’t define or overpower the show. It’s a very well-rounded, very even episode of four WL legends giving their best material. How could that not be a 10/10 show?
Show Winners: Steve and Tony
Best Performer: Mike McShane, for being a fantastic moral center for the show, and providing the most memorable moments
Worst Performer: Jim Sweeney, oddly enough, for being outdone by his comedy partner in the number of breakthrough moments in scenes.
Best Game: Bartender. How can I not?
Worst Game: World’s Worst, just for its slow start
Best Runner: Eldorado Slams (we had 5).