So Whose Line seems to be falling into some patterns, and when you really love something, sometimes an intervention is in order. Even though they have always been known for playing with TV and film conventions as well as props, this season they are doing too much genre-dependent and object-focused material. Wayne is the bright light when this sort of play rears its overdone head, and he really keeps the creativity alive. Ryan usually keeps the sass going with host Aisha, and Colin still has his fabulous deadpan humor on occasion. The guest comedian most usually just fills space, albeit energetically. This is definitely the case with this week’s Jonathan Mangum.
What happens when the games are centered around genre play (Hollywood Director, Sideways Scene) the games are about referential humor rather than what is actually happening in a given scene. This means that the actors can make a clever reference and the audience goes wild. They don’t have to make a coherent scene, just give people the “in-joke” that makes them feel on par with the performers.
Instead of dialogue-based games that require more complexity and time to execute, the show seems to be gravitating toward lots and lots of props. In this episode we saw What’s in the Bag. This game isn’t about plot—it’s just about being clever with things found in audience members’ purses. The basic concept of this game is a little weird to me. “Hey, ladies! Give us your bags and we’ll rummage through them and make fun of what you have!” I suppose audiences really like this rather than actual content, as the story line is the same in every sketch. Wayne is some character who is hurt and Ryan and Colin have to come to his aid. Wayne gets to be a prop, just like the Legends Football League special guests!
Another physical game that has me rolling my eyes besides Helping Hands is Living Scenery, especially as it appeared in this episode. I am getting very tired of the constant guest stars on the show, most of all the scantily clad female props. I am not going to go on a feminist rant, as who doesn’t like looking at some beautiful women once in a while, but I can’t help but see this choice as alienating to members of the audience who don’t like to objectify women. I mean, it literally uses women as props. We already had the end-all-be-all of this game with the famous Richard Simmons playing, and that was notable because it was an eager male-bodied person acting as the prop. Whose Line doesn’t seem to be very aware of itself of or its past this season.
I suppose it’s a consensual situation, and it’s “all in good fun”, but even these badass women football players are just amounted to how hot they are. I saw the title and (realizing my gender assumption) assumed the football players would be male guest stars, but of course the show isn’t going to have hot buff male guests for people to fawn over or other men to interact with. The audience even laughed (or was edited to appear to do so) when Aisha simply said “You ladies are going to be the props for this scene.” It sounded weird and ominous.
When it was time for the ladies to come out for Wayne and Jonathan to sing to them, the whole song was essentially cheap come-ons, one of the most memorable lines being “Put your hands on my balls!” This isn’t comedic gold, people. This is was an episode of cheap laughs with no classic Whose Line sense of subversion. I feel like the producers got together and agreed, “Let’s just stick to the easy stuff.”