Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Whose Line Is It Anyway: Season 3, Episode 9

On Monday, the world of entertainment lost one of its most legendary, hilarious actors when Robin Williams died from a suicide that was brought upon by depression at the age of 63. For me, Williams brought to me years of light-hearted, but immensely clever entertainment. Like several young children, I was introduced to him by his appearances on Sesame Street, which included a handful of sketches ranging from what a stick can be used for, what is alive, and a conversation with a robin (as the two share a name). As years went on, I had the opportunity to watch films such as Jumanji and Night at the Museum, with which he possessed a knack for a kooky, but lovable personality, much of which had to do with covering up his nervousness that he possessed in real life. While I had yet to have an opportunity to watch Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society, and Man of the Year into their entirety, I have my eye on watching them to their completion, especially the middle option, as a literature major. For the latter comes a favorite quote of mine, political leaders, "are like diapers, they need to be changed often."

I have not conducted reviews for Whose Line is it Anyway in awhile, but I will resume this trend today, as I will do at my pleasing. During the Drew Carey version of the show, he had the opportunity to find some relatively high profile rotating guests. On two occasions, he had Whoopi Goldberg in the guest's chair. On one particular episode, he happened to have Robin Williams, perhaps the guest with the highest profile throughout the show's sixteen-year run in America and this DOES NOT count the last two seasons (which have not lured in high profile guests). Looking back at this episode, which also featured Wayne Brady, Colin Mochrie, and Ryan Stiles, we saw so many magical elements as to why this was the golden age of Whose Line. Williams held his knack throughout the episode, but that's what made it all the enjoyable.

They started out with Hollywood Director, with the theme being Ryan and Robin working as Italian pizza makers that are interrupted by Wayne the machine-like pest controller. As always, Colin was the director. To see Ryan and Robin acting as Italians possessed a good-hearted humor that in turn captured the show's essence. Like always, the game had them exercising different suggestions, which included acting as hillbillies, as if they were in Riverdance, or (hilariously enough) as if they had a sexual appetite for one another. Duets was performed in its original intent, where an audience member was selected and Wayne and Robin would sing to them in a designated style. In this case, the audience member was Jeremy and he was an air traffic controller. The theme was gospel, so Wayne and Robin started as if they were conducting a sermon, but got to the point where they were flying around as if they were kids pretending to be airplanes. Once you give Robin Williams that kind of prompt and look out!

Their next game was Party Quirks. While the guest performer has primarily taken on the role of the host in this most recent season of the show, Colin was the host this time around. As for the guests with which he had to guess personalities for, Wayne was a sitcom featuring Richard Simmons, Charo, and Mr. T (absolutely hilarious), Robin a fashion cop, and Ryan an individual who thought everyone's rear end was a Magic 8-Ball. This was just another reason to say Williams fit in to his element of improv comedy. From there, they played Scenes From a Hat, a game played more moderately on the Drew Carey version. Some of the topics included "if funerals had elements of entertainment" and this led up to "what is Robin Williams thinking right now?" Playing Scenes From a Hat with Williams as the guest is just one of the perfect mixes, just as all of these games happened to be.

The last game was Props, which allowed Robin and the others the opportunity to think up of as many ways of using designated, random objects. Unlike the last two seasons, the winner (in this case Colin) would be able to sit out of the last game and Drew Carey would participate (to which he seemed to enjoy doing when he hosted). Wayne and Robin had fluffy, round devices that looked like gigantic dust bunnies, to which they used as wigs and a few other outlandish things. Drew and Ryan had what looked like yellow ram's horns with which they used as curls (like Princess Leia curls) and as a sleigh, where Drew pretended to be Santa and Ryan pretended to be Rudolph. Surprisingly, the amount of bathroom humor, sexual innuendos, and genital references were minimal. Perhaps the audience between 2000 and 2014 really has transitioned...

The closing with which they read out the credits was in the form of Riverdance and in this case, they all participated.

What can be said about this episode is what can be said about each of the episodes with which a well-known guest performer participated, THIS is exactly how the show should operate. The fourth performer is there for a reason and Robin Williams was an excellent choice for a fourth guest. Of course, the traditional fourth performers (like Greg Proops and Brad Sherwood) have been a positive asset to the show, but Whose Line is meant to cater to guests such as Robin Williams instead of offstage guests such as low-budget television stars that appear on CW television shows. The production during this particular time took the effort to pursue one of the great improvisational comedians of our generation and it paid off! We had zany sketches that came right off the cuffs of the performers and it played off as classic Whose Line is it Anyway is supposed to play off.

If for some reason there is an anniversary collection for this series, this particular episode should DEFINITELY make an appearance. I am not saying this just because it features Robin Williams, but it features some of the most enjoyable bits of improv comedy and is helped by the appearance of Robin Williams.

Verdict: 10/10

Remember, if for some reason you or someone you know is depressed to the point they feel the need to end their lives, there is always someone that is willing to help. I am completely aware that this is much easier said and done, but depression does not need to overtake anyone as it did Robin Williams. Depression is a brutal condition, but it can does not need to control or consume.

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