I'd like to point to this game as an example of how I feel get the impression that while Wayne is really stoked to be back on the show and willing to show how much he's grown even more as an improviser, Ryan is ... maybe taking the opposite transformation. Here we see Wayne act out a quirk that requires and uses no show-offy physical actions whatsoever, and while he still does that thing where he only briefly mentions the idea of sports, he makes the most of the impression by giving it a little "twist." It's not the funniest routine in Weird News history (and I blame that on it not being a funny quirk with which to work), but what matters is that he makes the effort. Ryan, just like in the previous WN, doesn't seem too happy with his quirk, (but methinks he might just not be happy with playing Newscasters at all anymore?) and acts it out halfheartedly with little inspiration. The chest-alien-hand gag was only unexpected in the sense that I wouldn't have expected him to resort to that. Gary A. pulled off his part pretty flawlessly, but it would've been funnier if the description of the quirk itself didn't have the "hard to understand" part and if Gary had just decided on his own to play it that way (which for all we know he might have). Sometimes the unnecessarily long quirks are spoilers like that. Colin's story is an improvement from the last one. I am 80% sure that it's a reuse of a joke he'd tweeted before, but I'll let cross-media joke recycling slide.
Did I hear Aisha's muttering correctly, that Gary "already took his shirt off earlier?" If so, this was surely a reference to something else that happened at the taping but did not air! I wonder if we'll ever get to see the game with shirtly Gary Anthony? WELP THERE'S ALWAYS DVD BONUS FEATURES, RIGHT?
Garynthony and I must be soul mates or something, because when the musical style was announced I also connected it to the name of the special guest and thought "Wilson Pickett." And apparently this is another one of those situations where the singer(s) don't actually know anything about the guest, since the only things they end up singing about him were the things they learned when and after he was announced as the guest! Points to Wayne and Gary for doing what they could with the little with which they had to work. And Mr. Williams is either genuinely turned on by Mr. Blethel or willing to make like he is for the sake of the song, even though as far as I know motown is not a style of music normally known for its man-on-man love songs.
Honestly I thought it a bit weird for them to make such a fuss over this not-all-that-famous handsome guy, because I don't think he's that much more handsome than, say, Wayne Brady, or, say, Charles Esten. Would Aisha be making comments towards Chip about taking his shirt off if he were a fourth-seater this season? Maybe this is just me. I just find myself thinking this because Wilson Blethel's soap opera-grade good looks makes me think of Charles Esten's soap opera-grade good looks, and that in turn makes me think of how Esten should've just been the special guest for this episode instead of him. You know, he also has a network show he could promote (which I would bet is more famous), and he would already know how to play Three-Headed Broadway Star and Helping Hands, and I have a feeling that, had he been asked, he would be willing to join in on this silly little improv show. Anyway, I encourage feedback on this issue, so feel free to comment on who you think is a hotter heart throb: Wilson or Chip?
When I joked about Gary Anthony Williams playing Sideways Scene, it was because I was thinking about how he is...how should I put this...not as physically adept as, say, Wayne. I hope it's not too mean-spirited of me to point it out, but if anything at least I'm not so cruel as to actually write out and make him engage in an actual scene in which he plays an out-of-shape guy who is to be trained by Wayne Brady! I'm trying to give the benefit of the doubt in that it could've just been a generic scene written out before the writer even knew who would be in it, but...it's hard to accept that as a possibility.
I like how Aisha describes one of the styles as "a paranormal activity movie." Oh, you mean like...the movie "Paranormal Activity?" Or did she say it like that to specify that they could act out any of the movies in the series, and not just the first one? You know, like how she also says "a penguin documentary," meaning it could include or be any other than THE penguin documentary.
Sideways Scene has started to become so one-note that I'm starting to even get tired of the comments about how one-note it is, but there are two things worth singling out about this playing: Wayne standing up, which I did enjoy but then realized it's a gag that can only be funny once, and Gary picking up Colin, which is deserving of points because it simultaneously serves as a "Sideways Scene dynamic" sight gag AND an action that actually attempts to move the scene along. Those are hard to find nowadays.
Time for speculation on why this isn't called Three-Headed Broadway Star anymore, especially since they're still doing it in the same musical style anyway! Ummmm. Maybe it's, uh. Because...hmm. I got nothin'. I guess the reasoning here is that if Drew can play this game, anyone can. But to Drew's credit, at least he understood the premise of the game: a singer with one body and three heads. This means the left "head" can only show his left arm and the right "head" can only show his right arm. I suppose if we're accepting the idea of a man with three heads, the idea that said man could have more than two arms shouldn't be so far-fetched, but then again the game isn't called Three-Headed-And-Three-Armed (Broadway Star/Singer). Drew would also make the attempt to sing the words more than just speak them.
Other than that it's hard to judge the players' performance on a single given 3H(B)S playing, since, unless someone is making an obvious mistake like speaking more than one word or out of turn, it's hard to pinpoint who's being "good" or "bad" at it. All I can really say is that sometimes it just clicks and sometimes it doesn't. I don't hear any clicking this time around.
Fun fact: This was the first time this season we see Aisha as the host actually make the hostly decision of choosing a topic from the audience. She has a point, too. It is a very adorable topic suggestion. It's so adorable that I'm surprised no one's ever written a song about a rubber duckie before..
If you're reading this review, I will assume you've seen the episode where, in Helping Hands, Colin accidentally pours hot coffee on his own hands and afterward Drew goes on about how he was confused as to why Ryan didn't visibly react to it right away? I admit I had the same thought as Drew the first time I saw this. I mention this because Helping Hands can play with your head, can't it? So do you suppose it's possible that, even just for a moment, members of the studio audience got caught up in the moment and really thought that that that little cup might have contained actual urine? I didn't, myself. I skeptically thought to myself, "Why is everyone making a big deal out of this? It's just apple juice! There are several reasons why it isn't really pee!" But on second thought, MOST WL gags are based around the idea of the performers pretending to do something they're not really doing but your job as the viewing audience is to suspend your disbelief and play along. When Ryan stuffs a plush cat into a cauldron as a kitty bay leaf, of course that is not an actual cat and therefore no actual cat is being harmed or tormented in the process, but for the sake of the joke one should imagine that it is so. Not that actually drowning a cat would be funny. But it's funny because it's not a real cat. Wait, let me start over.
I think what ruins the suspension of disbelief with the pee-pee cup is that, while the kitty bay leaf makes sense (well, joke-logic sense) within the context of a witch brewing a spell, Dr. Ryan only even considered the prospect of drinking the stuff because he was playing Helping Hands. The very idea of Ryan drinking the apple pee juice up only comes up when and because you're jerked back to "reality" and thinking not of this goofy doctor being weird but of Ryan Stiles behind a table being obligated to have things put in his mouth. And when you're thinking of it that way, you realize that it is just apple juice, so then why is it funny for him to hesitate in drinking it? And why then does Wilson feel the need to drink it on his behalf? Even if you do find yourself mentally going the route of imagining the scene as a scene, it's then really bizarre that this doctor would have this unexplained urge to drink from an open sample cup, and even more bizarre that his doctor-in-training would choose to drink it instead. The drug sampling afterthought doesn't quite cut it. Going "back out of the scene," though, it is a very rare instance in which downing apple juice leads to enthusiastic audience cheers and applause.
I did laugh the moment I saw Ryan make that face of realization just after Colin picks up the cup, but I was laughing at the very gall that whoever set up the table made a point to not only place on the table a urine sample cup, but to give it contents, knowing FULL WELL that Ryan would be expected to drink it, because that means said proppeteer is then guilty of setting up a joke about drinking someone else's pee. It's one thing to make a disgusting joke on the spur of the moment, but at least it's more excusable than setting one up after time has been given to think on whether it is a good idea or not. I'm thinking maybe just having an empty cup there would've been just at the edge of acceptable, since it is then on Ryan how (in)appropriate his use for it becomes.
I've talked way plenty enough about the faux wee-wee, so how about this one: That Vaseline (TM, Ryan!). Is petroleum jelly normally available in that yellow color, or did they just put butter or something else in the container? It's common to use vaseline on own's mouth, but is it unsafe to have it in one's mouth? I consulted a jar to find that there is a "If swallowed..." warning, but did some OSHA consultant think that Ryan WOULD swallow it?
SUGGESTED QUESTION TO ANSWER IN A REPLY: When Ryan makes a remark about tasting alcohol during Helping Hands, is he being serious or just saying that as a joke?
Horff horrf! Colin makes a joke that only makes sense to those who've been to or read a report from a taping! Well, it doesn't really make sense because what does it mean for a drink to never finish?
Not enough Colin magnetism in this one. But it was good to see more of Gary Anthony Williams, - so to speak.