Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Thank God I'm Here!

First off, sorry I haven't been here (see, this post's title works on two levels). I've been out enjoying the springtime snow flurries here in my fair city. Yeah. At any rate, let's talk Thank God You're Here, an Australian import on NBC. It's a next-gen Whose Line is it Anyway?, but with less funny cast regulars (so unfunny I'm not gonna bother looking them up) and a funnier judge.

The premise is that they take a random comedian, put him/her in costume, and toss 'em through a door onto a set they've never seen before (like an Egyptian tomb, or the stage of a beauty pageant). One of the regulars starts the scene off with, "Thank God you're here," and it goes from there. Last night's episodes were funny enough, I suppose, but nothing to write home about. There were two main problems. First, unlike Whose Line's relatively stable lineup, the guest stars don't get to practice this type of improv over and over again until they're great at it. In fact, much of the humor is derived from their confusion and stumbling around. Which is funny, I guess, but not really enough to base a series upon (not that I'm advocating Whose Line as anything to live up to, but still...).

My second problem is that it didn't feel like true improv, in that the scenes can't go anywhere. The regulars steer the guest comedian in a predetermined, semi-scripted direction, which both dulls the potential for comedy and the freshness of the show. It ends up seeming more like, "Let's watch the guest stars try to figure out what the scene is supposed to be about," rather than, "Let's watch the guest stars make a really funny scene," which is fine, but not really my comedy cup of tea. That said, there were certainly some funny moments, and the guest comedians they've recruited are largely very talented. But, I don't think I'll be watching again unless nothing else worth watching is on.


ndef said...

Really? I enjoyed the show A LOT. Not so much that I wouldn't have rather had Donnelleys, but still. I laughed pretty hard.

Well, let me qualify that. I thought most of the structure was pretty strained - the scripted banter between the host and the judge didn't thrill me. But the scenes themselves were great. Some of the guests took to it very well, and others struggled a bit more, but they were all funny. And the ones that were good were very, very good.

Of course, I've always been a big fan of Who's Line, too, so maybe it's a matter of taste.

vance said...

SERIOUSLY, Dave Foley needs a better agent. He should be doing more stuff like New/Old Christine instead of crap like this. Still, thank god you're here!

Liz said...

I dunno, ndef. I just didn't like the flow of the scenes--some were good, but most seemed really forced to me.

And yeah, poor Dave Foley. You're better than this, Dave! A fact which I forgot until I caught a NewsRadio rerun the other day and remembered that before Celebrity Poker Showdown and the weird gray hair, he used to be more than a sad funny guy collecting a paycheck.

Bob said...

Kids in the Hall was enjoyable as well.