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Now, when I went back to Florida this past December, my brother (the wonderful soul that he is) got me hooked on Studio 60 and the Sunset Strip.  Since my television is good only for watching movies, I rely instead on the wonderful powers of online episodes to get my fix.  These are hosted on the NBC.com site for a few weeks, before they vanish into the ether.  Now, I'm sure that I could look up and find out when the next episode is going to be aired, but it's amusing to me to check back in on the site every now and again, just to see if they've updated (which they haven't for a few weeks, the bastards).  While there, I stumbled across the first full episode of Thank God You're Here (which I posted about awhile ago.  I wouldn't find the link, but I don't really care).  Now, it's actually supposed to air tonight at 9pm, so I don't know if someone just messed up or what, but it's online.  Because I like to share my thoughts with people, I will be doing much the same as I did for the Oscars and liveblogging these (meaning that I'll update this periodically, as watch).  Yes, it's all under the cut to save your flists.

So, without further ado, I present the first episode of Thank God You're Here

So, the premsis of the show seems to be slightly different than Whose Line (thank god).  Basically, they have four actors (which I haven't seen in anything recent), who will get costumes, props, and sets, but no scripts.  There is one person, who is not the introducer, that acts as a judge.  He has a lovely button that makes a loud "oooo-ga" sound, that he'll push to end the scene whenever he feels like it.  Apparently, the winner of this gets a trophy (made out of the finest shatter-resistant plastic!).  How quaint.

The first person to come back on stage is Wayne Knight (who I know best as Newman from Seinfield or as Don from Third Rock from the Sun).  I guess the others aren't in this scene?  He's wearing a doctor's coat, and a different shirt.  He goes through the door to find... the set of a morning show, with two other people there (which weren't part of the four we were introduced to. lovely).  One of them seems to be a techniction of some kind and says the opening words "Thank God You're Here."  I can only hope that they don't open every scene this way.  It would get old incredibly fast.  So, the lady seems to know what this scene is supposed to be, she's a morning show host and is introducing Wayne as a maker of these pills that are supposed to make you healthy.  So, you get one guy who has only the foggiest of ideas what's going on, and another person that knows by and large what's supposed to occur.  Gee, if this doesn't sound like my life everyday...

She asks him questions about his products, which he wings.  Come on, I could do this.  "Melody, I understand that this product is not to be taken orally.  How is it supposed to be taken?"  "Well, gee, dear.  You take this little pill and you jam it up your...."
Ok, so I might get kicked off for language. *whine*"But Mel, it's during the family hour, and it's on NBC."  Yeah, well, tough.  Wayne's answer was actually all right.  "Well, you see, I designed this to be taken with my line of bicycles.  You place one of these pills on the seat, and then just pedell your way on."  Slide show that he's supposed to talk about.    Her laugh is really annoying me.  I hope she's not in every scene.  Please, God, don't let her be in every scene.  Brought out other guy who's in on the joke.  He's rather old, and frail, supposed to be the "after" when the before was young and relatively fit.  Went two months on product Wayne is promoting.  "You laugh, but he's actually lasted longer than anyone else who has taken this product." And the button is pushed!  The scene is over. Definitly not as good as Whose Line.

The man who introduced them (I forgot his name.  I would look it up if I could be bothered to care) has come back on stage.  He's standing next to Wayne, and asking the judge (who I know as that main dude from News Radio) what he thought of the scene.  What is this, American Idol?  And I didn't know this guy was an improver.  What makes him qualified to judge?  I mean, the least they could do was get a qualified improver out there to judge, rather than random Actor dude.  I liked him in News Radio, but I'm aware that the skills needed to be an improver are not always found in everyday actors.  Wtf, man.  Just wtf.   Recapped what he was impressed with in the the skit (which weren't what I considered to be the best bits).

Introducer Dude is telling us that it takes a lot of nerve to get up and preform these skits.  And so, they're now going to show us the "warm up" exercises that they taped yesterday to get the actors ready.  Joy.  Look, this is my happy face.  What, you couldn't tell?

Takes place in the U.S. customs apparently.  They brought all the actors in (seperately, of course.  Can't have them helping each other, god forbid) and had a guy there with a clip board, going through things.  "According to this, you've been to *long rattling list of countries here* in the past six months."  One actor *the chick that was the step-mother from Cinderella Story) says something "I was trying out all the new Starbucks" the rest move on to the next question.  "You have nothing to declare at this time?" Different actor (father from Malcom in the Middle) "I can declare that I had a good time." Shown a bag, that's supposed to be theirs.  Random shot of the third male (which is the guy that hosts E!'s Talk Soup), who doesn't really have anything funny to say at this time.  I guess they just wanted to show that he was still alive.  This scene so far is more funny because of the Custom Agent's lines, then their reactions, which are all sort of the same flippancy.  We've seen Wayne enter the room, but nothing since.  Maybe the Customs Agent ate him?

Shown the Custom Agent placing a lot of cigarrettes in front of them (apparently, it's the same scenerio for all of them, we're just supposed to be amused by their different answers).  First shot of Wayne, who has the best line yet. "I have Narcolepsy, if I don't get a sufficient ammount of nicotine, I might just..." *pretends to pass out*  As I said, best line yet.  Handcuffs are tossed on the table, "How do you explain this?"  The Only Female is flashed too, and probably says something that we don't get to see.  Tossed back to Wayne who declares "I believe those are earrings."  Bottle of alcohol, and Malcom's Dad is laughing "Ooopsie!"

Yeah.  Ooopsie.  I can't believe I'm still watching this.  Still, maybe it gets better.  Maybe, if I can stop comparing it to Whose Line for a second and accept it on its own terms, as a show about improve... yeah, not happening.

The best reaction to the alchol that we're shown is by the Talk Soup dude, who either pretends to or actually does drink from the bottle.  "Oh, sweet, dude."  We don't get all of what anyone is saying, so it's hard to make comparrisons between them.  I don't know what they're pulling, but I'm not really enjoying it.    We're flashed back to Malcom's Dad, who has a bag of glitter or something on his table that wasn't explained to us.  He's been asked to empty out his pockets, and as he reaches into the pocket of his Wardrobe Supplied jacket, he pulls out a brown bra.  And smells it.   For the first time, we are shown someone else's reaction to the same thing, as Wayne is shown pulling out the bra as well.  "Well, um." Puts it down on the table.  Customs: "You want to explain that?  You going to explain that?"  Wayne is cupping his chest.  "Look, I need a little support."  And I'm having flashbacks to the Bro (a bra for men!) episode of Seinfield.  Great.

I think part of my issue with this segment is that they're not actually handling any of the props.  In the few occasions that props were used on Whose Line, the person explaining was generally the one using it, so was able to work it into their character.  Here, they have know idea what's going to come out of the bag next, and thus have no idea of who their character is really supposed to be.

Customs: "Is there anything else that you would like to declare?"
Malcom's Dad: "No."
Customs: "Is there anything else that you would like to declare?"
Malcom's Dad: "No." *customs guy's hand reaching into the bag* "Well, maybe."  *customs guy pulls out what appears to be a tennis racket in it's case*  "I'm a tennis player."  *customs guy pulls on the handle, to reveal a machette* "A dangerous tennis player."

Talk Soup Host:  Uh... you've never played machette tennis?

Only Female: *tries to keep from laughing and fails*


Customs:  "Do you have anything else to declare?"
Talk Soup Host (who has probably really been drinking, as the bottle appears emptier than at the beginning of the segment): *puts bottle on table* "Yeah.  Faith Hill is over rated."

And this was the end of the taped segment, and the beginning of the first commercial.  Thank God, it's here.

Annnnnd we're back.  Introducer guy is on stage, making a funny.  "We're TV's only show where the actor has no idea what's happening in the scene.  Which basically describes my entire career." Yeah, sure.  Not.  Judge's name is apparently Dave.  Psh.  He's still the Judge Guy to me.  Malcom's dad is introduced, and he's in a rocker outfit, complete with wig.  Long wig.  yay. He's been using a fake British accent, and goes through the door to... a record executive's office.  So, it completely fits the outfit.  Joy.  Again, the scene starts with "Thank God, You're here..." and Malcom's Dad is hamming it up with the fake accent, and has now kissed the guy who's supposed to be his manager.  Wow, apparently improved slash is universal.  Go figure.   Random other female is in the scene, and now she's making out with Malcom's Dad.  I guess she's supposed to be his girlfriend.  Or not.  Manager: "Who is she?"  Malcom's Dad:  "I don't know, I was hoping you would tell me."  And now another guy, who knows what is supposed to be going on, is introduced as "Abe SomethingorotherthatIcan'tbearsedtoremember", the president of Capital Records.  And Malcom's Dad kisses him too.  So much kissage.  Wonder of wonders, Abe dude actually pucker-ups for it.  He still looks a little uncomfortable, so Malcom's Dad tries to diffuse the situation with "It's all right, it's really all right.  I'm British."  Like the fake accent wasn't enough of a give away.  And isn't it the French that are supposed to kiss each other...?

This actually sketch actually isn't so bad.  If it weren't for the fact that I know that Malcom's Dad (oh bother, I'll just call him Hal) is improvising all this while the other's have more solidly defined characters, I wouldn't find this out of place on a show like SNL or MAD TV (probably SNL, there isn't enough vulagrity for MAD).  Apparently, the non-improver's have a series of questions that they're supposed to work into the scene, in an attempt to stump the four "contestants."  Abe Dude asked about Hal's childhood ("Yeah, I can't remember a bit of it, but it was amazing."), and his former band ("Ha Ha Ha.  No, that's what we were called...").  And now, another female has entered, calling Hal babe.  Kissage ensues (Hal has now kissed everyone in the scene).  Apparently, she's supposed to be his wife.  Female he previously kissed is rather PO'd at this, and whining about why didn't Hal tell her that he was married.  Well, sweetheart, if he's a big a star as he's supposed to be, you should have known. Wife is getting pissed, Hal is trying to say that he told First Female about being married (he's decided that she's in the band, and just wait until you hear her voice), Wife is about to fake cry ("You promised me you wouldn't do this again!"), and has put Hal into a bit of a tight spot.  "Don't you remember our marriage vows?"  "Well, of course I do!"  "Well, I want to hear them right now."

This scene is obviously being directed by the four other people, and Hal is just sorta along for the line (for all he's supposedly the "center").  It is better than the first scene, and I think it's more because of basis than because of Hal or Wayne's personal skills (although Hal's accent is amusing).  Hal is able to get his way out of trouble with The Wife (and Judge dude is laughing in the random flash we have of him), and now Abe Dude wants to know what the title track to his new album is going to be (and its looking like we might get some singing, too).  Hal turns to the two females on set, "This is dedicated to you, and you."

"I love you
And I hate you
But I love you
A little bit more"

And the Magic Button of Not-Buzz is pushed, ending the scene with a standing ovation, because it was a really good scene.  Here that everyone?  If you can wait until after the first commercial, the show gets better!  Introducer Guy is back, and talking to Judge Dude again.  Apparently, Judge Dude had a hard time pushing the button, because he was hoping for a key change.  Commercial break two.


The Second Return, mwahahaha.

Introducer Guy (man, I really have to find out his name sometime) is back on stage, to introduce Talk Soup Guy.  Who is in a safari outfit.
"And, what are you thinking?"
"I'm thinking that I wish I was born around 1860, cause this outfit is AWESOME"
"And I'm thinking that I'm glad that I wasn't born around 1860, cause that was a bad time for my people."  And, the race 'jokes'.  Have I mentioned how much I loved them?  Introducer Guy tells Talk Soup Guy to walk through the door.  The Door, which is locked.  Apparently, they're doing somethng a little different.  Introducer leads Talk Soup around the corner to a black fabricy area, and hands him a lantern.  He's supposed to go through the fabric, I suppose simulating a cave or woods, or something.  Eh, I'll find out in a moment. 

It is a cave, or at least a tunnel.  He crawls through it (we get a nice shot of his ass), and enters by a pile of skulls to an Egyptian Tomb (complete with standing sarcophogi, because having the bodying being laid down is obviously taking up too much room).  There are three other people that we immediately see.  Random Female who has a clip board and Western Dress, Random Male 1 who has feathered fan and native dress, and Random Male 2 who is also in Western Garb and seems to be inspecting something that requires him to kneel.  Whatever Talk Soup guy was expecting, it wasn't this.

"Professor, thank god you're here!"  Can we stop using this phrase, plzkthx?  Apparently, Talk Soup Guy expected to be hunting, as his first comment upon inquiry as to where he was is such: "I was shooting some big game.  I shot an antelope.  And a bison.  And a giraffe.  And a Zebra.... and an Oompa-Loompa."  He's 'asked' to read the hyroglyics (yes, I know I can't spell), and first tosses some large urns out of the way (which are made from something rather light, as he tosses one, and it bounces without really making a noise).  He, it seems, likes physical comedy, as he's interacting with the props more than Hal or Wayne were.  He also likes making random comments (like the Ooompa-Loompa).   *reading* "He who finds this tomb will find great riches, and a wonderful vacation for four people."

He seems (to me) to be straddling the line between being fully imersed in the scene, and not knowing what the hell is going on.  Hal threw himself into his scene completly, he was this British Rocker who kissed people and got married while naked in the water.  Talk Soup Guy is this professor, but not really.  He'll say a line that is completly in character, and then something that would be better suited from a Bit of Fry and Laurie sketch.  We get more music now, background music as opposed to the introductory of Wayne's scene, or the actual song from Hal's.  We're all in the middle of suspense, because what does Talk Soup Guy have in his pocket? "Dear Lord. "  "Sir, what is it?"  "It's an ancient hockey puck."  Annnnnd we're out of the scene again.

Random Male 1 (who, judging from the voice is actually Random Female 2, opps), runs over shouting in what is supposed to be Egyptian, or possibly Arabic.  It's not like they're really trying to keep the language real, after all.  More noise, and it's supposed to be the releasing of a really awful smell ("And that is my food poisoning, possibly).  Talk Soup takes the Feathered Fan from Random Female 2, and declares it to be an ancient hockey stick, to defeat... something, with.  Stage may or may not be actually shaking (camera sure as hell is), and foam bricks are falling from the "sky".  Apparently, Talk Soup guy has broken an oath, and the curse is upon them all.  Random Male 1 (fomerly Random Male 2) keeps shouting Professor and seems to have forgotten what it is he's supposed to be asking him.  Random Females are fake screaming, and it's really distracting.

We are now aware of why the sarcophogus was standing.  Because it had a mummy inside (come on, who guessed it?), who is now wandering around.  Talk Soup Guy is sticking to his hockey terminology ("I'm going to body check him!")  And the people who sorta kinda know what's going on are prompting Talk Soup Guy into "repeat[ing] the chant to break the curse!"  Because that's the way all mummy's are statisfied.  With chanting.  In English.  And the Magical Button is pushed again.

The Judge is apparently Canadian, and wants to give Talk Soup Guy the trophy right now.  Ha. Ha.  Commercial break three.

Introducer guy is on stage, re-introducing Judge Guy (who doesn't get his real name back until I see some acting, damn it).  Annnd we get another clip that was taped yesterday.  Apparently, they stuck the actors out on the street to be "interviewed" about a breaking news story they know nothing about *coughNewsflashcough*.  Sorry, something stuck in my throat.

They're all wearing a police uniform, and are at the scene of something that we don't know, because the backdrop doesn't tell us much of anything.  Random scenes with each of them, Wayne has developed a Southern Accent, Only Female has her hat over her eyes, Talk Soup Guy is excited about a Six Flags, and Hal really doesn't know.  Scene ends as randomly as it began.

Only Female (Jennifer sometime) is onstage, as it is now her turn in the Set of Doom.  Dressed in an evening gown, tiara, and Miss Caicos scarf-thing, she appears to be a beauty contestant or pagent winner.  Let's see.  And it's the Ms. Constellation 2007 award show.  Again with the "Thank God you're here" (you know, it wouldn't be anywhere near as annoying if the contestant was the one saying it).   It's the personal interview section, so it's not clear how much the other three "contestants" for Ms. Constellation will be saying in this sketch.  They've given Only Female insanely high heels, which she's almost tripped over quite a few times now, and we're not that far into the sketch.  I do hope that they don't end up breaking her ankle.  Miss Caicos has to describe her home.  "It's an Island.  It's an Island surrounded by sea..."  Oh lord.  She has no idea what's going on, and doesn't really know how to get the scene back.  Of course, it could just be that she wants her character to be an idiot, but somehow, I don't think so.  She has started realizing how stupid she sounds, and is playing it up, to her best line yet.  "We're here in Greece.  What has been your favorite thing about your stay here?"  "The men here really like each other."  This playing up of the stupidity is really just too much.  And thank goodness, the Button of Not-Buzz.  Judge Guy says somethings that are forgettable, and it's commercial four.

Time for the final challange, which apparently includes all four contestants.  They're dressed in various Superhero/villian costumes.  They are the Fairness League of SuperHeroes of America (because other countries just aren't loved).  They're asked to stand up, state their name, and their super power (but it's funner when they get to name each other!).  Talk Soup Guy is "O", and he has very good vision (can see through buildings and planets and cars and glass).  Wayne is The Human Roach (can move very quickly in the dark).  Only Female is Golden Donut Girl, who can shoot golden donuts out the back of her at a million miles an hour.  Hal is commander lightning rod who can do everything very, very fast.   Wayne references his previous segment, and then a Wardrobe Malfunction, with one of his antenni falling off.  "I can't see! I can't see!"

Apparently, the Human Roach (Wayne) is working for Dr. Idon'tgiveashit, and the others must fight him.  Talk Soup Guy steals the antenni, Only Female leans over and and shows him her butt, before pushing him, and Hal runs over to kiss the man that gathered them all there today.  Because he can.   And it lasts for a few seconds.  Yep, still kissing.  And the guy has pushed him away.  Judge Guy has had enough, and the Button of Non-Buzzness is pushed not once, but twice.  Introducer guy is back, and it's commercial break five.

Judge Guy is now going to award his trophy.  Drumroll, and drawing outness ensues to award it too......







Hal.  Which I agree with, amazingly enough.  And then it cuts to end credits, because this was totally worth coming back from commerical for.  Definitely.



So, now for my Final Thought(s): This is no Whose Line.  Nor is this SNL or MAD TV, or any other numerous sketch comedy shows on televison currently.  It has to potential to be highly amusing, as Hal showed.  However, with the "Thank God You're Here" at the beginning of every scene, and some obviously sub-par performers, I will probably never truely enjoy it.

There were six segments and I'll will rank them as follows:

Segment 1, Wayne is a Fake Doctor promoting his pills: 3 out of 5
Segment 2, Hal is a British Rocker: 4 and a half out of 5
Segment 3, Talk Soup Guy in the Tomb: 4 out of 5
Segment 4, Only Female and the Contest of Insepidness:  2 out of 5
Segment 5, All Four as Superheroes: 2 out of 5
Segment 6, The Award and Credits: 1 out of 5
Watch it online. Skip to the parts you want. Ignore the rest. I'm going to bed now, good night, and good luck.

Date: 2007-04-09 08:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] desiredeffect.livejournal.com
You know you're a little angry at this whole TGYH thing. It's not THAT bad. At least the australian version isnt. I hope. Or I'm just easily entertained. *gnaws*

Date: 2007-04-09 08:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] simplysly.livejournal.com
Well, we all know that you're easily entertained, honey. And, since I've never seen the Australian version, I can't comment on it. But, the US does have a history of taking good shows from other countries and crappifying them. And yes, I have decided that crappifying is a word now.

Date: 2007-04-09 08:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] desiredeffect.livejournal.com
I like it. :P
And yeah. Like Red Dwarf. And possibly now too Kath & Kim.

Date: 2007-04-09 08:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] simplysly.livejournal.com
... what, now? Yeah, I'm a little out of the loop of television shows. By like, a decade or more.

Date: 2007-04-09 08:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] desiredeffect.livejournal.com
'nother Australian tv show that's been absorbed by America. Brought to you by the guy who stole Ugly Betty and turned it into an American TV show!

Date: 2007-04-09 08:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] simplysly.livejournal.com
...Selma Hayek?

Date: 2007-04-09 09:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] simplysly.livejournal.com
It's finished. I sleep now. Talk to you tomorrow.

Date: 2007-04-09 09:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] desiredeffect.livejournal.com
Night bizzatch! <3

AWWWW Man!!

Date: 2007-04-09 02:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] the-empressar.livejournal.com
I was wanting to watch the first ep of that...grrr I missed it...I wonder what in the world we would do without you!!!!???? I'm going to read this later on but I did want to comment here now. I am so glad it's different from Whose Line, but I was remarking, I can't remember to who, that they should have some or all of the cast members on there for guest appearances....by what you saw of the show would that be a good idea??? No one can compare to the Improv saints before or after...I wonder how long this show will last?? And agrees with your crappifying comment...except I think some things are improved...I do like the US version of WL marginally better than the UK version.

From what I saw in the previews for this show, it looks like it could be pretty funny, its got a few nameable peeps...we shall see hey? Did they say they were going to replay it anytime soon?

Re: AWWWW Man!!

Date: 2007-04-09 06:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] simplysly.livejournal.com
No, sweetie, it's on TONIGHT at 9pm. It's also still online at www.nbc.com.

Re: AWWWW Man!!

Date: 2007-04-09 07:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] the-empressar.livejournal.com
OHHH!! Well how kewl is that??? I think I'll watch it online...cause I'm pretty sure I wont have time tonight or I'll forget or something...:) Thankies again for taking care of us...you are the BESTEST!!!!

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