To reference my previous post, it turns out the very first thing to be said would be references to Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, AND eBay. I'm gonna go ahead and assume this was an intentional "Hey, we're in the 2010s now!" shout-out.
If you have read my REBOOT post you'll know how I feel about quirks that force the performers to kiss the other performers. I sure did sigh two minutes in when reading Colin's LMAD quirk. Ryan's quirk is amusing enough, but it does raise that issue I have about quirks that don't make sense within the concept of its game. If Colin's character is a love robot, how the heck does he have parents? And even if Colin wasn't a robot, why would both of his parents be the third contestant on this dating show? Gary's guess for Ryan is actually better than the actual quirk, since "thinks he's bachelor number two's parents etc etc.." makes more sense!
Here's a complaint more about The CW than about the show itself, exactly. I was annoyed by the on-screen hashtags. I sort of understand the way most TV shows use them, something to do with establishing one definitive hashtag to use to discuss a show as it's airing on Twitter and Facebook and whatnot. So the #WhoseLineReturns on the screen I can live with. But what the heck was up with the game-by-game and moment-by-moment hashtags? What's wrong with just using #WhoseLineReturns throughout the hour? Do we really need a hashtag for each game? The show isn't THAT popularly discussed online! (There sure was a percentage of the people on my Friends Feeds who excitedly posted about Whose Line's revival but didn't even get around to watching it on the night it aired.) Surely the more hashtags you ask people to use, the less likely the overall subject is to start trending! And I can even maybe accept the game-tags, if the excuse for them is that they tell someone who's just come into the room what's being played, but the ones that really bugged me were the ones specific to moments in the show. Colin kisses Ryan and on the screen flashes "#bromance." First of all, I'm not not claiming to be an expert on the very subject but there's a difference "bromance" and "kissing another dude for the sake of a laugh/because you had to for the sake of the scene." Maybe Colin and Ryan could be said to be bromantically involved, but that moment itself was not what bromance is. Secondly, it's distracting! It's like some weird outside party has the power to make comments on the show by typing words that show up on the screen, and it does not at all jive (or do I mean jibe?) with the spirit of the production. Thirdly, if someone does use one of the hashtags like #bromance or #nicecatchkevin, it's not going to make sense to anyone who doesn't know you're talking about Whose Line, in which case you would/should be using the #whoselinereturns hashtag anyway, which means you don't need the redundant additional one anyway!
If you watch(ed) the show on the CW website then this doesn't matter at all because the web videos don't show these hashtags, which means in addition to fewer commercials and more freedom of time to view there's yet another reason to rather not watch the show on broadcast television.
And now, my bit about the guest stars.
I've never seen The Walking Dead but have heard good things about it (or maybe I'm thinking of the books). If she hadn't been introduced as a guest star I would've thought Lauren Cohan was just a regular audience member. I hope she's a better actress when she has a script on her actual show than she was when she didn't know what to do ahead of time! I talked previously about watching other show to see people from Whose Line - is The Walking Dead the type of show to have fans that would watch Whose Line to see Lauren Cohan on it? Are there any Glee fans - particularly Kevin McHale of Glee fans - who would go out of their way to see Whose Line because Kevin's on it? Are there many people who were on the fence about checking out the new Whose Line but persuaded when they found out Lauren and/or Kevin were on the premiere episodes?
These are all questions that make me wonder why the heck they were chosen as "guest stars." At least people like Richard Simmons, David Hasselhoff and Jerry Springer are universally known and associated with a very particular image. You know Simmons is going to be jubilant and energetic. You know Hasselhoff is going to play up being a parody of a hunk-type. Springer will be...I dunno, Springer-esque. And also, they're all the sort of people who've been mocked on the show before. The Multiple Personalities at the beginning of his episode is a perfect example of this. Whether or not their appearances made good episodes is another matter, but I can at least understand the reasoning behind choosing them to be special guests.
With Lauren Cohan and Kevin McHale...I can't. Their respective shows debuted after Whose Line was last on the air! Neither is more famous than their most well-known character! Even still, both of their most popular shows are on another network (Cohan is on Supernatural and Vampire Diaries, but neither is mentioned on her appearance)! Were they on just to plug their shows in a talk show guest sort of way? That would explain the scenes based on their shows, unless that was just a lack of imagination on the scene-writer's parts. Which by the way gives me strong "Trust Us With Your Life" vibes. At least Whose Line didn't do the thing where the guest explains what happens in a scene and the performers just repeat what the guest already said is going to happen, play-by-play. I worry that most of the season's episodes will be Trust Us-clones in this way, since I have heard there will be more special guests to come (the way the CW labels the episodes by the name of the special guest isn't encouraging either). But I also know there will be at least one other episode for each taping. Did any of the tapings have more than one special guest? We can hope not. Because it would be nice to see the fourth seater play more than two games in an episode.
And if we must have Special Guests From Other Currently Running Television Shows on Other Networks Who Aren't Very Famous, may I suggest one of the actors from ABC's Nashville, Charles Esten? He seems a mighty fine crooner. Maybe he could join in with Wayne for a singing game!
And now that I've mentioned fourth seaters. I'm surprised I haven't heard anyone comment on Gary Anthony Williams. He didn't get to do much, but he had more participation than Aisha Tyler, and she was criticized already, but more on her a little later. I was pleasantly surprised with how comfortably Gary seemed to fit with the flow of the show; he was raring and able to jump it in the few moments he could. His brand of humor didn't really mesh with my sensibilities, but I didn't find him unfunny or seeming as if he was trying too hard to be funny (can you guess which other fourth-seater I have in mind when I say that?) either. Heather didn't have any shine-worthy moments either, to the point where I would have been skeptical of her talents had I not already seen her in DCIAG already, but I do hope to see both of their other episodes from the same tapings.
That's how I felt about the new performers. How about the new host? I've read some people having negative reactions to her, but I've yet to read a convincing reason why they don't like her yet. The thing is, she didn't really do much in just those two episodes! I could understand if she participated in the Drew game and didn't do well in those, but as she didn't her main contributions were, let's say, 70% reading off of a card (do we not think she did that well enough) and 30% putting in her own two cents, which was, what? Five lines between the two episodes? Is that really enough to form an opinion? I don't know if you noticed it, but neither of the first two episodes featured any verbal audience-contribution games, so she never even had the job of picking out suggestions! How many would be enough to fairly judge her as a host? Oh, I don't know. But hey, there's only 10 (12?) episodes - how 'bout we call it after that?
There is one thing I'd like to bring up, but I'll save it for a future post.
New game thoughts: What's in The Bag?
I could describe this as a cross between Whose Line (the game) and Infomercial. In short, I liked it! I do feel like it's a limited-use type of game, if I'm correct in assuming there are only so many different things one can find in a random woman's handbag. Then again, maybe I'd be surprised! Also, pills in a baggie I can understand (you know, if you're sharing the same bottle of aspirin with another person? Right?) but ... is keeping shoes in one's purse something that women-who-are-not-my-wife do? Anyway, part of what I liked about this game was that the number of things the audience members had in their purses was comical itself, almost to the point of a cartoon bag of holding.
If there are any women, or even men who happen to carry handbags for that matter, reading this post, I would like to hear your thoughts on how much and how many different stuff you would carry with you to your average television show taping.
Scenes From a Hat thoughts (both episodes).
Yes yes, we all liked the "Things you can say about x but not your girlfriend" scenes, but dead horses and all. And yes, I thought Colin's "This doesn't spread like it used to" line, but also Colin can easily make me laugh with very many other non-things-you-can't-say-about-your-girl
Also, I'm sorry but "[laughter]" is pretty much the most obvious "joke" for the "things not to say while/after making love set-up. It is! Making that same joke twice in a row doesn't help. I will admit that I was surprised by Wayne's instantly inflating ...er, inflatable.
Easily my favorite line of all... Colin's gag about canker sores. I will now explain why I find it brilliantly crafted. Ryan had a line about taking out his teeth, and the premise of that joke is, ew, it's funny because kissing someone without their teeth is gross." It would've been as mediocrely funny if Colin had just said, "Oh, I hope you don't mind my canker sores." But he stepped it up by not only doing that thing where someone tries to make a positive out of a negative and fails, but phrased it in such a way that you are essentially tricked into imagining what it would be like to not just touch another person's canker sore with your tongue, but what it would be like to feel ... not just a canker sore, but more than one! THEY'RE RIDGES. "Love bumps" would've been kinda funny, but "love ridges," by being a more specific description of the tactile sensation, is therefore much more hilarious. I've gotta wonder. Do you suppose this was a joke idea that Colin had come up with previously, and - knowing full well that a world's worst lover set-up would be sprung upon him again - stored it away for future use, or was it something he came up with truly on the spot? I'm inclined to assume most of Ryan's material comes from his vast and impressive database of Jokes to Use (not to knock him, most are great jokes). But with Colin it's harder to tell, since he seems more likely to just let his unfiltered stream of consciousness get the best of him. To wonderfully giddiness-inducing results! Whether it was prepared or not, the fact that Colin can come up with something like that at all is something just so special.
Living Scenery was your standard Living Scenery, what with the jokes about how using people as props leads to those people being touched or almost touched in ways that would otherwise be inappropriate.
Is it Song Style now? Not Song Styles? You know, I'm pretty sure the reason it was called Song Styles was because the style would be suggested by the studio audience. Maybe now it's Song Style because every time it's played from now on it'll always be Gospel! I hope not. That would be not cool. Nothing against Gospel itself, just the repetition. One of the things I was looking forward to with the new season was hearing new improvised styles I hadn't heard done before - one of the promo clips had Wayne doing a Japanese pop Greatest Hits song! So I was rather disappointed with the use of what is probably in the Top 5 of most-often-done Song Styles.
I'm not sure how I felt about this one exactly. The song itself wasn't the type that I can imagine wanting to listen to more than once, and I do like how Kevin was willing to participate when prompted to, but...that's about it. There wasn't anything particularly funny about it (though I was oddly amused that Wayne knew that Kevin used to be in a boy band), but there wasn't really anything bad about it either. Wait. I know what I can compare it to. It's like how the ending of too many computer-animated family films where there's a dance sequence and the idea is that watching others enjoying themselves and having a good time to music is supposed to make you feel good, but really you'd rather have something more substantial when it comes to entertainment. That's how I felt about it.
Hold the phone. I just realized something. Wayne's an executive producer of the show now, right? Could he have known or have had part in the selection of the guest stars? I always assumed the performers weren't privy ahead of time to the Special Guests - Greg certainly seemed surprised - but of course Drew would know ahead of time, and maybe Ryan could have too, being an executive producer? Would an executive producer have enough say in what goes on in the show without knowing which special guest might be on it? Do they maybe know that there will be a SG but not know who it is? I'm just hoping that Wayne wasn't asked to sing to Kevin McHale knowing ahead of time that he would be doing so. I can't help but wonder what would happen if he was asked to sing a song about a "celebrity" that he happened to know nothing about.
"All right Wayne, you're going to sing to Lucy Hale, star of ABC Family's Pretty Little Liars, in the style of disco."
"I-uh haven't actually gotten around to watching -"
Why does the camera sometimes cut to Colin speaking? Is it to make sure the home audience understands what's going on? Come to think of it that could be the same reason the camera would sometimes cut to Ryan during Sound Effects (I), though I also thought maybe it was to show that Ryan wasn't "cheating" with any props, and was really just using only my mouth. Or maybe the Colin cuts were just for editing purposes. Anyshoe!
I certainly prefered the Kevin scene to Lauren's, not that I'm biased toward Kevins or anything. Two of my favorite Ryan lines between both of the entire episodes were here: "You sound like an old Canadian!" and "Fifteen minutes later!" And Kevin seemed more kompetent than Lauren, though that could just be because his scene didn't require much action.
Again mentioning that I've covered something in a (or more than one) previous review, Sideways Scene does strike me as the type of game that is hilarious the first time you see it and...not as hilarious subsequent times. At least that's how I feel. What I did like about this one was Wayne's "I came from the attic!" and how it made the inclusion of an actual door (as opposed to the silouette bed and light) completely superfluous. I don't blame him for not wanting to roll his body over a jamb! It's a new take on the "it's funny to cheat" idea.
Call me dim, but when I first saw Ryan sitting on the SFAH step, I was wondering, "Wait, I must've missed something. Is Ryan participating in this in some special way? Is he going to do a voiceover or something?" until I realized, "Oh, he's just sitting there so he can see without blocking the screen." And if I was that easily confused, imagine how confusing this would be for someone who - not having seen this game before - walks into the room after the game already started, probably not even realizing the backdrop is a screen, and wondering what the hell is going on and what everyone is doing and what does the world even mean? If even for that person's reaction, I'm glad this game got the chance to see the Whose Light of day, and heck, it's worth it for those who did understand what going on but had never seen it on a Colin & Brad show or TrUsWiYoLi before. Can't say I hope to see it done again very often, though. Maybe if a new twist was introduced? I do like the idea of the performers trying to handle various props that they've never used in the game before - what if Sideways Scene was combined with What's in the Bag?
Also...really? More prepared styles that are obviously chosen for the format of this game? And do I even have to make the comment about switching styles without bothering to continue the scene? Well I just did anyway.
At least we got to see Heather in a game. Hey, I wonder if we'll get to see Gary Anthony Williams playing Sideways Scene! Imagine THAT!
DIDJA NOTICE: Kevin is given a jacket to wear for this one? Why, I do not know. It was understandable when, say, Kathy was in that Helping Hand scene as Ryan's lover and she was given ladies' pajamas or whatever, that's fine. But if Kevin is playing the part of just a tourist visiting a carnival... then... is that sort of blue jacket associated in any way with carnival tourists? If anything I would've said that what Kevin was already wearing was more like something a carnival tourist would wear! Unless the prop guys were super-concerned about water from the tiny fishbowl splashing onto Kevin's own clothes and him suing them for that or something, or maybe the powdered sugar or something even messier and more likely to stain that we never saw used? Anywuzzle, Kevin doing a British accent is probably the closest thing we'll get to seeing a British performer on this series of 'uze Line, so I'll take it. It is funny to imagine a British tourist having never seen a goldfish before.
Kevin's popcorn catch was a highlight of the night, because, and not to belabor my point, it was unexpected! And it is something that has not happened before! Let's just hope that we don't see any future quirks that try to recreate this moment, like "Colin is the co-anchor, but he likes to spit food into other people's mouths." And in case you missed it on TV, yes, there was a hashtag that showed up on the screen immediately after it happened: "#nicecatchkevin." Which I would prefer to use to refer to my Superhero name.
After watching the first two episodes I only then found out that the two-hour premiere that I had heard about (didn't Colin tweet it? Where did I read that?) was only a one-hour premiere, which is okay with me, because, yes, let's spread it out a bit. My initial reaction at the end was just "It's a start." After letting it all sink in my reaction turned to, "Is this the return of Whose Line...or the return of Trust Us With Your Life under the Whose Line name?"
Judging these two episodes on their own, they were worth tuning it but I don't think I'm going to find myself wanting to look them up again to re-watch in the way I did with the older episodes. When I think back to my favorite bits, most of them were Colin-based, which helps confirm that if you put Colin in anything I will want to watch it and laugh at and be weirdly charmed (not to be confused with bromanced) by Colin. It's too bad my local library (or even any affiliated Ohio libraries!) doesn't have his new book, because I would be all up on that if it did.