Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S05E01, or Look, it’s Crazy Ted!

Yes. Time to start Season 5 of Whose Line, the show’s last gasp of relevancy on ABC, and the last ‘new tapings’ the show would get for 10 years.

Season 5 is a very weird one to talk about, as so much of it has been denoted that it’s not exactly clear which tapings actually come from season 5. Most people regard true Season 5 stuff as material from the ten tapings done in the fall of 2001, as well as the renegade Season 4 tapings that didn’t make it into actual Season 4. I’m more difficult, and I don’t consider tapings like the two Kathy ones, one Chip one, one Jeff one and one Brad one that didn’t air any material in S4 as S5 tapings, since they’re not coming from the same sessions as the other S5 tapings.

Right. Now that I’ve confused all the casual fans.

Season 5 is also an interesting one in that A.) most of the tapings were well-reported onĀ  by fans and Whosers, and that B.) a lot of these tapings have a lot of material left to extract from to this day. A lot of time in S5 is devoted to unaired S4 material, which is…fine, but at least the other unaired S4 material got dumped into Season 7. Season 5 never had one season where all the unaired stuff got dumped like that. And that’s a shame, because we have a lot of material that was reported about by Whosers that has yet to be produced.

Nevertheless, we soldier on. This episode comes from the same taping as 4×14, the Whoopi Goldberg taping. The first episode from this one was good, but a little shaky for me.

The Whoopi ass-kicking continues from 4×14, as there’s a lot of repeated mentions that Whoopi’s on.

Questions Only: It’s the last night of an international singles cruise

Wayne starts the scene by freshening up, knowing he might kiss Whoopi
Whoopi: “Could you leave me alone?”
Wayne, pointing to Whoopi’s dress and going for it: “Is that the Color Purple?”
HAAAA

Whoopi replies with a Helen Keller joke that has NOT aged well.

Wayne: “Don’t you want some of this?” [does some sexy gyrating]
Whoopi: “Didn’t I HAVE that and threw it out?”
Wayne: [is aghast]
Whoopi: “Wasn’t it a little on the wee side?”
Wayne, not topping that: “…yes.”
BUZZ

Colin: “Do you want some of this?” [does some goofier motions than Wayne]

Colin: “CAN’T YOU MAKE ME A MAANNN?”
Whoopi: “Don’t you think it’s too late?”
[My god, she’s awesome at this game]

Colin: “…don’t you want to feel a pleasure that only one other woman has felt?”
Whoopi: “Is that the one who died?”
HA
I also love the wry smile that forms as Colin reacts to this

Colin: “…WHO’S TO KNOW 84 ORGASMS CAN KILL YA?”
Whoopi, barely holding on: “…ARE YOU TELLING ME…THAT YOU HAD 84 ORGASMS AND THIS IS WHAT I HAVE TO LOOK FORWARD TO?”
Colin: “Don’t you know it’s not the package?”
Whoopi: “…HAS SOMEONE LIED TO YOU?”

This tension eventually leads to Whoopi laying a very quick, cute kiss on Colin. Colin just smiles.
Ryan comes in next and has the ultimate comeback: “How’s it feel to kiss a woman for a change?”
MY GOD. So much of what the show’s become to this point is necessary for that joke to work, and it really hits

Drew deducts points from Whoopi for letting Colin give her “some of that Canadian Bacon”
Colin: “I’m the only white meat”

A very strong QO playing. My only gripe is that Ryan didn’t get to do enough, but Whoopi killed it, and had great chemistry with Wayne AND Colin, and kept the scene, and the threadline, going throughout

Two Line Vocabulary: Colin is the leader of the last few members of a space colony on Mars, they are under attack from enemy aliens and desperately trying to work out a plan
Ryan’s lines: “What is that?” and “I’m really in the mood”
Whoopi’s lines: “Have you thought this through” and “that’s impossible”

Colin nods at his character description.
Ryan: “…is he a man, or a woman?”
Drew: “…DOESN’T SAY…”
Colin: “okay!”
Drew: “If I was gonna guess….woman.”

Whoopi: “Have you thought this through?”
Colin: “…well…no, but…as your leader, I must appear as though I have.”
Whoopi: “…that’s impossible”

Colin: “That’s why I brought THE GUN”
Ryan: “What is that?”
Whoopi: “That’s impossible”
Colin, to both: “…it’s a GUN….IT’S NOT.”

Whoopi: “Have you thought this through?”
Colin: “LOOK, you ask me that one more time, I’m ripping your face off”
Whoopi, mockingly: “THAT’S IMPOOOSIBLE”
Wayne loves this one

Not a great one, as these lines were a bit more specific than usual, and they never really got anywhere.

Props: Wayne & Whoopi vs. Ryan & Colin

It’s not typical that they start with bizarreness, but Ryan goes with…elephants playing poker:
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Ryan: “…aaah, I raise ya three peanuts…”

Colin’s ‘gigantic tea restaurant’ gets Ryan laughing, which reminds me…RYAN AND COLIN DON’T GET MANY OPPORTUNITIES TO BE PARTNERS IN PROPS. It’s usually Ryan and Drew, or Ryan and the guest. Colin usually pairs with Wayne. Ryan and Colin haven’t been props partners since Season 1-era. And theirs were usually really fun (I think about the “dragging those things around” one)

Whoopi and Wayne do one where they use theirs as walking sticks, just wobbling around, but it’s dying.
Whoopi, to Drew: “BUZZ THE DAMN BUZZER, YOU KNOW WE DON’T KNOW WHAT WE DOING!”
Wayne DIES at this

Screen Shot 2020-02-13 at 10.23.02 AM.pngColin: “….COME BOY WONDER, TO THE BATMOBILE.”
I have no idea why suggestions where the performer’s voice is muffled a bit by the prop are so funny. It’s like Ryan’s ‘Anorexic Tin Man’ one from S2.

Screen Shot 2020-02-13 at 10.24.11 AM.pngColin, muffled again: “DON’T ASK ME HOW, JUST GET ME OUT OF THE MAILBOX.”
Ryan cracks here. I’m really glad they reteamed for this one

Whoopi, as she’s about to start one, hits herself in the head with the prop, exclaiming “OW!”
Then, on the spot, she thinks of one, looks at Wayne, and goes “…are you swinging your nuts again?”
THE PLACE EXPLODES.
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I love that. Wayne just goes back to his seat. He is DONE.

A VERY FUNNY PROPS. Closer to the CW version in how wild it was, but man, Ryan and Colin were on FIRE.

Living Scenery: Ryan is trying to impress his girlfriend Colin at the carnival as they try out the rides and play the games (Wayne and Whoopi are the props)

Drew: “Ryan is trying to impress his girlfriend, Colin”
Screen Shot 2020-02-13 at 10.27.32 AM.png
Colin constantly being cast as the woman is one of my favorite WL series-emcompassing running gags.

When Ryan and Colin go on the roller coaster, both them use Wayne and Whoopi in different roller coaster suspension ways. Colin VERY QUICKLY fixes it, which cracks up Wayne
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Great improv moment- gotta match your partner, even if it makes a laugh getting it right

Wayne and Whoopi rear them back a bit for this
Ryan: “this one’s got padding in the back!”
THAT is a great line. Not quite to the caliber of a similar observation Colin makes in this game around 16 episodes from now, but close

Ryan pimps Wayne out and makes him go up as the ‘Big Bear Jamboree’, which has him do an entire animatronic bear related show by himself.
Whoopi, eventually joining in: “Welcome to the Big Bear Jamboree
We’re here with all our good friends, and you can watch us pee”
Drew: [gone]
Colin: “…I don’t remember THAT before..”

Wayne does a perfect recreation of a carousel horse
Colin, not giving him the satisfaction: “…oh, look, it’s Crazy Ted”
Wayne, holding in laughter, changes from a carousel horse to a crazy drunk guy within seconds

There’s a discombobulated ending (Crazy Ted returns), but this was a pretty good Living Scenery, though it took a bit to get going and took some routes that not every playing of this takes. I still liked it though.

Ryan, Colin and Wayne are still laughing about Crazy Ted back at the seats
Drew: “It’s Crazy Ted- ‘I JUST WANT SOME SOUP GODDAMMIT…”
Wayne’s gone again. He’s been especially giggly this show

Helping Hands: Ryan, hands by Colin, is a cold-blooded pirate captain who is showing new recruit Whoopi how to be a pirate

I love how right as the game starts, Colin hands himself the hook hand, and puts it on…AND THEN SCRATCHES HIS NUTS WITH IT. THIS IS WHERE WE ARE *STARTING*

Whoopi follows suit, and readjusts her crotch as she shakes Ryan’s hand

Ryan starts reciting a pirate verse as Colin is getting the hook stuck in the bottle mouth he’s holding
Ryan, looking down: “…it’s open, I guess!”

Ryan, after having a drink: “OOOH, HEY- THAT’S REAL!”
Not the only time Ryan will imbibe actual alcohol this season, though a cleaner version than later ones
Also, Colin has him go back for multiple sips. It’s late in the taping, so whatever

Whoopi has a smart move and mentions a spot around Ryan’s thigh, which has him go into where the whale bit him. It’s good move, as this game can go into just ‘Colin making Ryan eat horrible things’, but they can definitely do character stuff along the way. One of my favorite playings of this was a UK playing where Ryan played a depressed lounge singer.

Ryan, using a visual aid, accidentally opens one of the bananas
Ryan: “…THAT’S what he did to my leg…”

Ryan, of course, knowing Colin will eventually need the other hand, confesses ‘this ain’t a real hook’, so Colin can take it off

Colin shoves a banana in Ryan’s face, and he takes a chomp…and has an odd look on his face. Colin, as he does in this game, puts a hand under Ryan’s chin, thinking he’s gonna spit it out. Ryan, unusual for him, goes “naaah”, knowing it probably won’t be worth it. THAT’s a great deconstruction of other HH playings

Still, as Ryan needs to wash it down, he yells for Colin to get the beer bottle back again…and Colin has trouble with that. Colin also has a funny move in pouring out some of the beer and putting it on Ryan’s face as aftershave

Ryan, arguing with Colin: “HAVE YOU MET MY BIRD POLLY? MY BIRD. *MY* BIRD, NOT THE CHEST.”
Whoopi, trying to help: “You mean the one to the left, there?”
Colin reaches, and the parrot falls off the table
Ryan: “AAARRRR, YA KILLED IT!”

Whoopi tries to get Ryan to get back to food, as she knows that’s what makes this work, but Colin grabs…a periscope
Ryan: “….LET’S HAVE A LOOK.”
Colin just keeps pointing the thing down
Ryan: “…I SEE FOOD, ON THE TABLE.”

The big denouement of the scene seems to be both attacking chicken legs…except Whoopi’s a vegetarian, so she asks Ryan to do it.

Ryan, of course, takes another swig from the beer after this, and also takes a moment to let that digest, with an audible “aaah” as the beer goes down. He’s trying to stay in character, but he NEEDED that beer

The scene ends with Ryan singing a very silly song on a toy accordion, that Colin just violently pumps as he goes

SUCH A GOOD HELPING HANDS. Whoopi was very passive, but even she had some nice moments letting Ryan go for it. Meanwhile, Ryan had so much fun with this, between the beer, the botched chicken, the bananas, and the eventual accordion. So much fun stuff in this one, and one of the better playings of this over-played era of the game.

Three-Headed Broadway Star: Ryan, Wayne and Whoopi sing “When I Think About Your Pants” to Drew

This isn’t a Drew game, somehow, it’s in regulation. So…a lot of Drew games weren’t good enough?

Whoopi’s last minute change from ‘I’ to ‘I’M’ throws off Wayne, and he settles on a line of “wit….h”. Ryan and Whoopi look at him strangely at this

Whoopi, on a line, just goes “I DON’T KNOW”, which gets a look from Drew. I think it was less of a mental lapse of how the game works, and more of Whoopi not having a good one in the moment

“I crave your pants, so I have
Wayne: “…CHANCE.”
Whoopi: [cracks]

“When I dance beside you, your pants
Whoopi: “Sing”
Wayne: “….HELLLOOOOOOO”
My god.

A very fun final line, of “I can’t live without your pants, so I’ll just take them off”

A really good playing of this, and it was pretty impressive skill-wise, as there only a few lapses in judgment. The rest of this made a lot of sense and was very funny and coherent, and one of the better playings of this from S5, an era where there was less and less of it.

Overall: Much better than 4×14, and a truly strong showing that was WELL WORTH the publicized guest star in Whoopi. Last show, I worried that Whoopi’s star power was overpowering both the other 3 AND the guise of the show, and she was making a lot of the descriptions feel very questionable. I did not feel that in this one, as only Two-Line really felt like it was wasting her. The clear S5 guest participation games, like Living Scenery, Three-Headed and ESPECIALLY Helping Hands, were insanely strong, and gave Whoopi enough things to do without having her overshadow great performances from Ryan and Wayne. And the other two quick fire-ish rounds, which would be belittled in any other show like this, felt insanely strong, and gave some very LIVE moments between Whoopi and both Colin and Wayne.

Simply put, this show gave me some of the excitement and prowess that I was missing from 4×14. This should be the more wider-known Whoopi Goldberg episode, because she was as good here as she was in the other one.

Show Winner: All Four, I think
Best Performer: Colin, surprisingly, for carrying the first half of the show, and for introducing Crazy Ted.
Worst Performer: Wayne only really came up big in Three-Headed, but he mostly used the show to laugh at other people’s stuff
Best Game: Helping Hands, man. So many fun things happened in there.
Worst Game: Two-Line felt the most disposable

COMING UP NEXT: Now that you mention it, S5 of Whose Line is beginning a trend of staying away from Kathy Greenwood, as she may not have been able to make the fall tapings. At least they recruited other female performers, like Whoopi, and next show’s fourth-seater, an interesting one to talk about. Also, there’s a guest star that I always forget about.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S04E14, or GET DOWN, BOOGIE OOGIE OOGIE.

In the wake of Robin Williams’ unforgettable appearance on the show, the WL producers asked a close friend of his, comedian and Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg, if she’d like to come on. On one hand, she was more of an actress and comic than an improv performer, but on the other hand, she came from a place that even Williams didn’t come from- A PLACE OF CORPORATE SYNERGY.

Goldberg was then a permanent fixture on another primetime variety/unscripted comedy show, Hollywood Squares, which had a similar production makeup to WL (being essentially a WB/CBS production but going out on syndication, landing on ABC in my household). So, why wouldn’t Goldberg come on and boost Squares’ goodwill, WHILE ALSO providing a platform for Whose Line’s rep players to come on (as Colin, Ryan, Drew, Wayne, Greg, Chip, Kathy made some appearances on Hollywood Squares).

Plus, as opposed to Robin’s sole episode, Whoopi allowed TWO to come from her taping, which was the first to air from the Fall 2001 sessions that would make up most of Season 5.

This is a lot of writing to say that Whoopi Goldberg made it to Whose Line, and would be a fun presence for the show in general, especially Wayne.

Like the Robin show, they intro Colin and Ryan BEFORE they cut back to Whoopi

Interesting to note, as this is our first S5 taping, is that Drew looks a LOT different this season. He’s slimmer than the previous 4, and has a bit more of a dapper look, with gelled, combed-over hair, flashier suit/tie combos, and thicker glasses.
Screen Shot 2020-01-14 at 7.09.37 PM.png
I say this because with all the taping inconsistencies of S5, it’s very clear which ones were actually filmed in S5 and which weren’t- all the S5 ones have Drew looking a lot like this, and likely have at least one guest star floating around.

Drew introduces Whoopi, and says “don’t worry, your Oscar’s in a safe place, we’ll give it back to you after the show”, which is a very self-deprecating gag about how they got her.

Hollywood Director: The evil whip-wielding Judge Frollo, Ryan, has cornered gypsy girl Esmerelda, Whoopi, in the bell tower and is forcing her to do a sensual dance for him, suddenly, hideously ugly Quasimodo, Wayne, swings in to save her

Drew has these little jazz hands over the game title, which Colin mimics.

Drew: “The evil, whip-wielding Judge Frollo, RYAN”
Ryan: [cracks, very confused]

Whoopi rolls her eyes at the ‘sensual dance’ part
Drew: “WELCOME TO WHOSE LINE, BIG HOLLYWOOD STAR..”
Whoopi: “FORMER Hollywood Star after this…”
I have 2 comebacks
A. Don’t you mean ‘Former Hollywood Square’?
B. No, they’d say that after you joined The View

Ryan: “ALRIGHT, THERE’S YOUR POLE, GET TO IT.”
Whoopi writhes around helplessly while waiting for the audience to die down, and then goes “it’s bigger than the LAST pole”

Wayne, upon entering: “UNGH, I’M HIDEOUSLY UGLY.”

Ryan whips at Wayne
Wayne: “AAAH, HE HIT ME ON MY HIDEOUSLY UGLY ASS.”
This cracks up Ryan
Ryan: “…A LITTLE BIT OF SAMMY COMING THROUGH THERE…”
Wayne, in response, gives him a Sammy expression

By the time Colin enters, Wayne and Ryan are cracking up entirely. Wayne’s bent over, dying

Note that, as opposed to the S3&4 tapings, Colin just improvises the styles he has them go into, rather than reading them off cards

Whoopi has the right kind of word-emphasis for the televangelists style. “HYAAA gonna get up on this POLE now…”

I love the way Ryan comes upstage clapping wildly

Wayne comes in and turns his bell-ringing into some Gospel harmonizing, which is a very clever move

Colin, to Ryan: “Remember, HE’s the hideously ugly one.”
Ryan:
Screen Shot 2020-01-14 at 7.26.57 PM.png

Whoopi’s main thing in the cheerleading number is just going ‘HOO’ in the background of Wayne’s. Colin enters, literally yelling ‘cut’ until people stop clapping
Colin: “…what are you doing there, Hoopi.”
Whoopi, smirking: “…hoopin'”
Colin: “NO HOOPING ON MY SET.”

Colin draws out the last one “Do it like you’re…NEW YORK…INSULT COMICS.”
Whoopi:
Screen Shot 2020-01-14 at 7.32.26 PM.png
Whoopi is just trying her best to keep up with everybody, and for the most part is right there with them, but even she can’t help but be thrown by Colin doing a lapse.
Colin sees this, and goes, right to Whoopi, “YOU HEARD ME. NEVER QUESTION MY WORDS.”
And that perfect. He sees she’s going, and he makes sure she’ll crack up further

There’s a very clear moment where both Ryan and Whoopi are waiting for the other to do something, which is kind of expected for improvisers who don’t really know each other’s tells. Ryan eventually goes for what he had.

Whoopi, after Ryan’s yo mamma joke: “If you HAD a mama, you’d know this pole wasn’t for us.”

Wayne brings back his Chris Rock/Redd Foxx character from E8, going ‘IS THIS THING ON?”, and asking Ryan to “TOUCH THIS HUMP, CAUSE IT’S THE CLOSEST YOU GON’ GET TO ONE.”

A very frenzied, insanely loose HD playing. I think it worked overall, but the looseness, and the stumbles that everyone made, detracted a bit

Drew gives points to everyone but Colin, for “abusing his power”, but Whoopi and Ryan give him half their points
Ryan, chuckling: “people are gonna lose track at home…”

Song Styles: Wayne sings to Whoopi as Tina Turner

Proof that this is a S5 Song Styles? Instead of singing to an audience member, Wayne sings to a guest, and this time, Drew acts like he’s going into the audience but wanders to Whoopi’s chair

Wayne’s quickly-sung line of “she’s a black woman with the last name of a Jew” is…so wonderfully Wayne

Whoopi does end up dancing with Wayne around the stool, as he just keeps listing more movies she was in [he wasn’t given a TON to work with]

It’s just a very fun Wayne-Whoopi combo number, as he’s just getting her into it more and more, and overall he’s just excited he gets to sing to Whoopi, but without making this a full worship number

Wayne halfway through, “HEY MOM, I’M DANCING WITH AN OSCAR WINNER!”

A pretty classy number, even if it’s not exactly a career high. Best part is Whoopi appreciated it, as you can hear her thank Wayne as they head back to the seats

Dubbing: Colin is a brilliant French designer in love with his temperamental star, supermodel Whoopi (Wayne’s voice), as she is practicing her catwalk routine backstage, her jealous photographer boyfriend Ryan bursts in

Drew: “Colin, you’re gonna act out a scene with Whoopi Goldberg, joined later by RYAN Goldberg…”

Colin’s french character is just goofy enough to work [“BONJOUR BONJOUR BONJOUR…I’M FRENCH.”]
Wayne: “BONJOUR BONJOUR BONJOUR, I’M AFRICAN AMERICAN.”

Wayne, on Colin’s latest creation: “OH MY GOD, THAT IS STUNNING-”
Colin: “that’s just the thong..”

I love Ryan’s detail of snapping several photo once he enters

Colin: “I’ll say this in a language you perhaps can understand, SOMETHING HAS DEVELOPED.”
YES

Ryan: “You’re in love with this dutch guy?”
HA

I love Wayne and Ryan trying to sing a song in unison, all while Whoopi, frightened, looking back at Wayne to make sure he’s still going

Ryan and Colin fighting with thongs is a very silly visual

An alright Dubbing. Kind of clumsy.

Scenes from a Hat:

Oh yeah, with S5, we get a BRAND NEW SFAH hat, now the more patriotic, redder, more cowboy-esque hat that we’d see til the end of the Drew run

Wayne does one with Whoopi for ‘bad things to do as you walk down the aisle at your wedding’ where he farts, so Whoopi gets back at him by scratching her ass, which Wayne loves

“If Classic Movies Had Nude Scenes” is a great one for this group:
Wayne’s Bogart is amusingly bad
Whoopi evoking Cyrano de Bergerac is a visual that this audience may not have fully embraced
Colin disrobing then going “I AM SPARTACUS” is hysterical
Ryan’s pelvic thrust as ET is just enough

“If Cartoon Character had adult conversations” first leads to a conversation between Ryan as Scooby Doo and Colin, who doesn’t understand Ryan until he starts yelling “ROO SREEPING RITH RY RIFE??”

Colin and Ryan do reteam for a good one
Colin: “What are you doing with my wife?”
Ryan, as Snagglepuss: “EXIT, STAGE RIIIGHT”
TWO STRAIGHT SHOWS INCLUDE SNAGGLEPUSS IMPRESSIONS

“Inappropriate Times to Use Baby Talk”
Wayne, to Whoopi: “Yeah, girl, you ready for the POONKY-DOONKY-DONKY?”
Whoopi: [cackles]

Ryan: “MY FELLOW AMERICANSugoosywoosy…”

I also love the one where Ryan and Colin are boxing while doing baby noises.

Whoopi, with the sinker: “Dearly beloved, we’re here to BURY-WURY YOUR WIDDLE DEADY-GUYYY.”
GENIUS. And the crowd goes wild
Wayne, back at the side: “WHO’S A DEADY? WHO’S A DEADY GUY?”

Colin, Inappropriate things to say to the Queen: “…have you ever thought about how uncomfortable testicles really are?”
Oh, Colin..
Whoopi: “Do you use the maximum size, or the minimum?”

Pretty good SFAH, though not as strong as some of the other ones.

Drew actually hits a camera with his hat fling, and he’s damn excited about it. Perhaps his most successful hit, but not his only hit of the season.

Foreign Film Dub: Whoopi & Drew act out the Chinese film ‘Soba Noodle For You’; Colin and Ryan dub

Drew mentions he gets to act with an Oscar winner, smirkingly going “I’m sure you’ve seen me in Geppetto”
Ryan, shaking his head: “YEEEAH, WE SAW YOU…”

They originally think the guy said ‘sew my noodle’, so Ryan and Colin start miming that

Thankfully, Drew goes for a non-stereotypical, semi-accurate Chinese rather than the racist kind.
Ryan: “DO YOU HAVE A RESERVATION FOR LING.”
[Whoopi mistakenly thinks to go right ahead without waiting for Ryan, but is righted soon enough]

Whoopi says a lot
Colin, of course: “…yes I do.”

Drew ends a line in this pose:
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Ryan: “…GET DOWN, BOOGIE OOGIE OOGIE.”
I just love how straight Ryan says that
Drew:
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So Drew starts dancing

Whoopi, in response, gives Drew a lesson on how to REALLY dance
Colin translates this with a very silly ‘COME HAVE MY NOODLES’ song

Ryan turns a Drew line into professing his love for Whoopi
Whoopi:
Screen Shot 2020-01-14 at 9.40.08 PM.png

Colin: “I have 25 children, I don’t need this.”
HAH

A pretty good FFD, and I appreciated Drew and Whoopi’s chemistry as well as their non-racist Chinese. There were a lot of funny bits of this.

Overall: Here’s the main thing I noticed about this show. Drew and the cast made a lot of efforts to emphasize that WHOOPI GOLDBERG was on the show, and made several references to that, rolled out the red carpet for her. And yet her actual improv and scene work in this show didn’t really need the capital letters. With Robin Williams, he’s gonna take over every scene and be this big name. Whoopi, on the other hand, was extremely lawful, and got a sense of team and collaboration in her scenes tonight. She never needed the capital letters. And yet it felt like the idea of someone like WHOOPI GOLDBERG, the celebrity and Oscar-winner, paled in comparison to the Whoopi Goldberg we actually got, who played by the rules and did the exact thing you’re supposed to do in improv- make your scene partners look good.

Is it the fault of Robin Williams for setting the bar so high that no other guest star can reach it even by doing what is expected of you on an improv program? Maybe? I equate Whoopi to Catherine O’Hara- she did so much in her episode of UK WL, made so many good jokes, and worked so well with the cast, that it didn’t hurt as much that she didn’t come off like a scene-dominating performer in every game. Whoopi did some great work tonight, and worked insanely well with Wayne, Ryan, Colin AND Drew, additionally having some great lines, and working well BECAUSE she was, deep down, herself.

Would this had been a better show had the producers, and Drew, not tried to set up Whoopi as a scene-dominator like Robin, and had just treated her like another improviser who happened to have an Oscar? Yes. The stakes were so high that any show would have sunk under them.

So what we’re left with is, while a fine show with good moments, a disappointment. This show is merely alright, which is painful in the shadow of the exemplary Williams show. No games were truly bad, but some games, like Song Styles, suffered from the show’s inclination to cater the show to Whoopi, while others suffered from being tied to some admittedly sexist scene descriptions that are made even more clear when someone like Whoopi is thrown into them. The only times the show really shone for me were games like SFAH, where everyone’s on the same playing field, and Foreign Film Dub, which reminded me a lot of the Josie Lawrence one because of how Drew worked with Whoopi here. The other games aren’t bad, but I felt like Whoopi was wasted a bit in them.

Now, unlike the Robin show, there is another episode’s worth of material from this show coming at the beginning of S5, so that’ll be another way to judge this taping’s worth, but…just from this episode alone, I felt like it could have been so much better under much different circumstances.

Show Winner: Wayne
Best Performer: Whoopi Goldberg. Yeah, despite all that, she still wins the show for me? Why? Because of the little moves that impressed me, like chucking a thong out of her ass and handing it to Colin, or her baby-talking priest, or most of her gestural moves in FFD. It gave me the sense of a performer who was doing her best despite the restrictions of the show. She wasn’t Robin Williams, but…she was still Whoopi Goldberg.
Worst Performer: Ryan came up short for me, despite some good lines throughout. This was a very Whoopi-Wayne-centric show, so Ryan didn’t have much to do. Which is a good problem to have in a very Colin-Ryan-centric era of the show.
Best Game: Scenes from a Hat did the most for me.
Worst Game: Song Styles was very basic.

COMING UP NEXT: After one dip into S5 with a salute to an American comedy icon, we take one more look into S5 and we Salute…American Television! Our first look at a Brad taping that pulled out all the stops to make great television, including booking to TV icons as guests, and having the first ever themed show. It’s definitely an intriguing one, and I’m excited to cover it.