It was great to see Wayne, Colin, AND Ryan return to the show as regular performers. These guys were excellent during the Drew Carey era and it feels as if nothing changed. Wayne was as flashy as ever, Colin was as quick and blunt with his humor as ever, and when Ryan wasn't feeding the media's poking fun at the conservative agenda only or the fact that we like to make New Jersey the butt of all state jokes, he was quite the riot! In addition, the guest performers were a good batch to choose from. The best of the bunch has to have included Nyima Funk, Jeff Davis (who was also in the Drew Carey version), Jonathan Magnum, and my personal favorite, Keegan-Michael Key from MAD TV. These guest performers were able to fit in quite well and provided us with some outrageous humor. The only thing I would ask is that these guest performers are provided with a bit more time on the program, which we eventually got to see as the season progressed.
The one thing that we don't always need is the celebrity guests on all except one episode. On some occasions, the celebrity guests would get just as much or more time on the show than the guest performer, which isn't a good thing. If I'm not mistaken, there were more celebrity guests in this season alone than there were on the whole duration of the Drew Carey era of the program, but Carey made the most of his guests (Jerry Springer, Richard Simmons, Florence Henderson, Sid Caesar, Lassie, etc.). This time around, the guests were b-rate. I did like Wilson Bethel, who played along very well with the notion of the program. Perhaps the best celebrity guest sketch this season was when he, Wayne, and Ryan performed a "three-headed song" titled, "I Just Can't Live Without Your Rubber Duckie." If there are particular guests I wasn't fond of, it would be Kevin McHale, who was irritating and had way too much air time (in addition, I'm not a fan of Glee) and Maggie Q, who was just painful to watch, because she put no effort into her participation. In the "Dubbing" sketch, she didn't even move her lips on some occasions. If I were arranging the episodes, I would cut the celebrity guest appearances to about 33%. It's far more powerful to have three meaningful guests on the program for the season than eleven b-rate (I would go as far as declaring some of them to be c-rate) performers that eliminate performance time for the meaningful guests.
I also hope that Whose Line Is It Anyway captures much of the essence that made them great under the Drew Carey era. While it wasn't my favorite sketch was I was younger, they need to bring the "Hoedown" back, because a lot can be done with this sketch at this point in time. Allow the "winner" to sit out and either have Aisha Tyler or the celebrity guest (if we choose to keep having time) perform with the other three. Speaking of the Carey era, they need to bring back some of those performers to participate on the program. I would like to see Greg Proops, Brad Sherwood, and Chip Esten, maybe even Whoopi Goldberg, Stephen Colbert, among some of the others that made the show magical. If the tenth season features a concentration on the guest performers and at the same time highlight their main three, this show will be a mainstay on CW.
What I liked a lot about this season was the execution of the one-liner sketches, such as "Scenes From A Hat," "Props," and "Online Dating Profile." These sketches allowed each performer to provide us with samples of the best they have to offer. In "Online Dating Profile," I saw some of the most outrageous, but hysterical examples of undesirable profiles of men you wouldn't want to date. Colin's was so outrageous that it stopped everyone's train of thought. I also enjoyed "Hollywood Director," "Greatest Hits," and "Weird Newscasters." Ultimately, if they're able to incorporate different material and perhaps some new material that they only use every so often on the program, then the show could see a flow that allows them to reach even higher marks than it did in this ninth season of the show.
The tenth season, which will be much longer, should definitely be something to check out. It should be far more outrageous now that things are back on pace and with more episodes, there will be more opportunities to come up with was incredible improv!
Verdict for Season 9: 8/10