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Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris

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As someone who grew up with the genre (The Carol Burnett Show was a Saturday-night staple in our family), I would love to see the return of good variety shows -- the key word being "good."  I'm willing to give Neil's show a shot, but he's got an awfully high standard to meet, in my opinion.  There's a reason that Carol's decision to end her show nearly 40 years ago signaled the end of an era.

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Ah yes, speaking as a 41 year old, I can tell you that the 70's was the decade of the variety show.

Everyone from Dean Martin to Donny & Marie, Pink Lady & Jeff to The Brady Bunch, everyone had or appeared on a variety show back then.

Carol Burnett and Barbara Mandrell pulled the variety show kicking and screaming clear into the 80's, but let's face it, like disco, it only could exist during that certain time.

The previous attempts to revitilize this genre (remember Nick & Jessica, how about the Osbournes Reloaded) have all ended in abysmal failure.

The ratings for the first show may be good only because hardly nothing else is on,

but come next week, and subsequent weeks after, expect a nosedive in viewership.

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The pace is... ahhhhh... brisk.

I'll give them credit, this can't be easy to do live.

[Credits indicate the director is Glenn Weiss, veteran of many live shows like the Emmy's, Tony's, New Years Eve shows, Peter Pan Live.  Obviously not his first rodeo] 

Edited by kib
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To be honest, this show would be way better if it was given some time to breathe. Having this be live was not a good idea.

The only segments that I liked were the one where he gave away the bundle of prizes and the sing along parts.

The "We followed a couple for two months and didn't tell them" felt both creepy, fake and on top of that it was unfunny.

Will not be tuning back in next week.

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Good news: Neil is game for ANYTHING and his years of hosting shows works in his favour. He did a special variety show for the Just For Laughs festival in Montreal in July which got great reviews (and that I was bummed to miss.) 

 

The problem with a live variety show is the awkward pauses that happen when a joke doesn't land and neither your partners or the audience isn't responding fast enough. That happened a lot with him and Reese in the beginning and the audience was kind of dead.   But when all the pretenses were gone during the skyscraper and the competition was on, it got better.  Well as better as you can get when you have Nicole what's her name and Matt.  

 

That and Neil is a professional stalker. 

 

For now I may switch between this and Limitless but this needs a lot of tightening up.  Focus on maybe 3-4 different "best (blank) ever" at most. The end of the show show felt less frantic than the rest of it!

 

PS little Neil: I hope you end up throwing the book in rage like I did. 

Edited by mtlchick

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A lot of this felt like "Knock Knock Live" to me, with audience participation "game show"-like stuff was just annoying. You just can't turn that into good TV anymore.

 

The games were stupidly easy too. Karaoke where you just have to get one word right? That "Get Lucky" game where someone got all those prizes for answering 7 easy questions?

 

The celeb bits were better, but NPH (who is legitimately talented and funny) can do better than this dreck.

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All the stalking stuff seemed like so much work for a few (not that great) seconds of content. (Yeah, I know that's how TV works. But it seemed like such a waste.)

 

Also weird to see an Oscar winner serve as sort of an Ed McMahon/Andy Richter afterthought.

Edited by nowandlater

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Well, I may be the only one, but I loved it.  I do love NHP, but it was fun, he's charming, and since about the only of the celebrities I recognized were Reese and Gloria Gaynor.  I also, as someone who doesn't always agree with the karaoke lines, loved that what she sang didn't always match the on screen lyrics.  I think her version wins, of course, as it should be.  I'm in, and maybe I'm less critical, but I just wanted to be entertained, and I was.  I also didn't see desperation/falling flat, stalling, what ever that the reviews seem to talk about--I just let go and enjoyed the ride.

 

Also, despite everyone and their cousin calling it a variety show, NPH has been adamant in every interview I've seen that it is NOT a variety show.  It's something different.  But everyone insists upon calling it that--even before anyone could possibly have seen it.  Since, you know, live!

Edited by Ailianna
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I'm with Ailianna, I enjoyed it. It was exactly what I expected and lots of silly and fun moments. And that was a generous package of prizes for some relatively easy quiz questions.

It's a variety show in that there's lots of variety, I guess. It's not a variety show like older viewers might be thinking, in the vein of Sonny & Cher or Donny & Marie or Carol Burnett. No musical performances for the sake of the performance, no silly skits.

The frenetic pace worked well. If you didn't like something or a joke fell flat, there was something else 30 seconds later. So Carrot Top came out on the off chance the wheel of selection would choose him for the challenge? I don't like Carrot Top, but that's sporting of him.

NPH had said in interviews that several celebrities (or their publicists/managers) were reticent about participating in something when they didn't know what it was, but it wonder if they will want to participate now. Some big names there, considering.

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Bleh. I was so looking forward to this show, and it fell so flat. Maybe I'm not in the target demographic, under 30 male, but I love NPH and I like variety shows. I loved the Maya Rudolph special a couple years ago.

Despite this "not being a variety show" I feel I could have liked it. The "I'm a creepy stalker" theme running through the episode was just weird. Carrot Top felt like a half hearted attempt at a bad pun. His co host or whoever that was just showed up halfway through and I didn't understand her role. I barely laughed through the entire episode. My SO fell asleep.

NPH wasn't quite as charming as he tends to be. And his timing was off. His hands were actually shaky at the beginning, so I'm assuming it was nerves.

The stunt was fun. And there is still some potential, so I'll watch another week.

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Sorry to say I didn't like it.  I really like NPH and Reese Witherspoon, but for some reason I didn't find the show funny or natural.  It felt very rehearsed.  The married couple stalker skit was obviously fake, which would have been fine if it was funny but it just wasn't.  My favorite part was Neil and Reese climbing the building or whatever it was.  However afterwards I wish his production people would have thought to powder his face while they were attaching his mike and what not because he was sweating his ass off when he was talking to Carson Daly.  I don't think I'll be tuning in again.

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So how many weeks till it's cancelled?? Place your bets people! My guess is that it airs no more than 3 times. I pegged this one for a loser just from the commercials.

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Don't forget - this is the network that gave us (read tortured us with) Sound of Music Live!! with Carrie Underwood, and Peter Pan Live!!! with Alison Williams. 

 

Why do you hate us, NBC? 

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If it was anyone other than NPH, this couldn't have worked at all. I'll give it another chance, but this seems like a show better suited as summer programming, so I'm surprised it's a fall show. I did wonder what page of Gone Girl they had little NPH staring at. Every page in that book is pretty serious.

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Wow - I had to stop watching after the climbing/ziplining stunt. It's.... odd. This might work okay as a summer show - maybe - but in the fall, against shows with actual content, not so much. I was expecting a variety show, but this felt like a collection of goofy and not very funny tricks.

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I haven't seen this yet, but just from the media coverage I was surprised at how outright they copied stuff from the UK original ("Ant & Dec's Saturday Takeaway"--a show that frankly didn't NEED to be copied). Even down to the host(s) having "mini" versions showing up. 

 

NPH had said in interviews that several celebrities (or their publicists/managers) were reticent about participating in something when they didn't know what it was, but it wonder if they will want to participate now. Some big names there, considering.

It's like the Internet doesn't exist sometimes with these people. While it's natural that most US celebs won't have been in the UK to see their crappy take on this, I doubt researching it takes much more than finding out what it's adapted from and searching YouTube.

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To be fair, maybe they don't know it's copied from a UK show. I saw NPH on two different promotional interviews on major shows and he never mentioned it once that's based on a British show. And I doubt it's because he's trying to hide that fact; the US has copied dozens of Brit shows over the years and no one cares.

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Someone forgot to tell NBC that product placement only generates money if they advertise something other than their own shows. Unless someone is running a money laundering scheme where they route funds through as many internal departments as possible?

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Wow not what I was expecting and not what I wanted at all. It was more of a game show than a variety show.

 

Nicole Scherzinger is to Best Time Ever  what Crissy Teigan is to Lip Sync Battle.   Neither a good thing. 

(ETA:  I swear I wrote this before I read the write up)

 

If that was the Best Time ever for anyone I feel really sorry for them.

Edited by tom87
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My husband and I liked it. It was silly but fun. I obviously share NPH's sense of humor and I love his goofy disguises. Both of my kids (ages 9 and 6) watched and enjoyed it. It gets extra points for being something we can all watch together.

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tickets are available on 1iota.com. It is filmed in Kaufman studios in long island city, NY.

 they provide tickets like 6 weeks in advance of shows, and right now are just taking waiting list tickets, but last week there were lots of tickets available. 

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To be fair, maybe they don't know it's copied from a UK show. I saw NPH on two different promotional interviews on major shows and he never mentioned it once that's based on a British show. And I doubt it's because he's trying to hide that fact; the US has copied dozens of Brit shows over the years and no one cares.

Disingenuous at best.  I noticed in the credits that ITV is associated with the production, so that alone blows the "We didn't know" theory.

Edited by kib

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Also, despite everyone and their cousin calling it a variety show, NPH has been adamant in every interview I've seen that it is NOT a variety show.  It's something different.

 

It's a variety show in that there's lots of variety, I guess. It's not a variety show like older viewers might be thinking, in the vein of Sonny & Cher or Donny & Marie or Carol Burnett. No musical performances for the sake of the performance, no silly skits.

You're forgetting PInk Lady and Jeff.  But this entire show was silly skits, mostly involving "regular folks" in a truly repellent "point and laugh" kind of way.  The lead in show to this, America's Got Talent, actually IS a variety show in the way that older viewers (like myself) might be thinking and it would have made sense to present another variety show to an audience that has already tuned in to see one.  I've often wished AGT was not a competitive show and just a show that presented a variety of performers, including performers who did more than just singing, dancing and telling jokes - it is that circus aspect of it that is the most fun and unique. 

 

This was SO much worse than I thought it would be - I like Neil Patrick Harris and I was surprised at just how bad it was.  

Edited by ratgirlagogo
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This felt like the game segments Ellen does on her daytime show.

I made it through the climbing thing and then it put me right to sleep.   The games and audience participation stuff are done elsewhere and better (so far) and I think NPH is a better performer than host.  It felt kind of desperate to me.   Maybe it was the nerves from being a live show.    And the part with following the married couple for months was way too long and not that interesting.

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"This time, Witherspoon ends up getting the call to oppose Harris in some kind of climbing/ziplining BS that's a not-especially-clever commercial for NBC's own American Ninja Warrior."

A show that had its season finale the night before. Great timing!

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To be fair, maybe they don't know it's copied from a UK show. I saw NPH on two different promotional interviews on major shows and he never mentioned it once that's based on a British show. And I doubt it's because he's trying to hide that fact; the US has copied dozens of Brit shows over the years and no one cares.

Well that said, it's a British show that never SHOULD have been copied. The original is a total piece of shit.  Anything I've ever seen posted about it by Brits is either them acting totally ashamed of it, or in that militant "must defend it (but secretly hate it and won't admit it)" mode.

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is a pretty solid warning of the shiteous material yet to come.

I see what you did there. *g* I will have to use "shiteous" now when referring to the most horrible of things.

I did like:

*The synced up fancy bartenders

* the pogo guys

*Ms. Gaynor's dancers

*Reese's dress ( it was pretty and sorta summery with that turquoise.)

*Little NPH ( ITA w/ Tara: Free Little NPH!)

I didn't hate the stalking as much as I could have; I think if it had not been NPH, then there would be much more hate for the stalking and photobombing and wallowing on their honeymoon bed. (Yes, a trip to Antigua is nice, but it feels like an apology for retroactively grossing up your actual honeymoon memories.) There is a level of trust the public has with Mr. Harris, so I think TPTB were leaning heavily, if not full-on reclining on, that fact.

Hating on regular folks' dor? So you're going to not only "surprise" them with being on live TV to nominally fill-in karaoke lyrics, but dis their taste? Shut up, dude. I will admit, I was a bit jealous of the $25k of Kohler for the gal's bathroom. DH and I are trying to fix up the newish house we bought. $25k is a nice amount to not have to pay for. Plus, the same lady lucked into $5k "in cash", so she can get someone in to install that Kohler stuff korrectly.

I looked at the clock at about 43 after the hour. I told DH that it was the fastest draggy show I've watched. Then again, it felt like the segments were painfully draggy. They may not have been, but it felt like it and by the time "Jurgen" showed up, DH and I were openly mocking the screen about how pranked these world-travelling musicians were by NPH and his bog-standard, stereotypical US version of a Scandinavian accent should be. At least it wasn't the Swedish Chef (Bork bork bork!)

I loved variety shows when I was a young child. Unfortunately, it seems folks want to reinvent the wheel. To quote Chuckles, " A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down the pants."

I will give the next episode a try, if there isn't something that seems more interesting. I like NPH, so this was disappointing.

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Shermie

It's not a variety show like older viewers might be thinking, in the vein of Sonny & Cher or Donny & Marie or Carol Burnett.

 

ratgirlagogo

You're forgetting PInk Lady and Jeff.

 

Barbara Mandrell, Hee Haw, Brady Bunch,

Starland Vocal Band (remember them??  Hey, look, it's Dave!!!  Our Top 10 list tonight: Top 10 Reasons I Never Put This On My Resume)

I can go all day long folks.

But seriously, the variety show belongs back in the 70's.

(I know, Carol Burnett and Barbara Mandrell dragged it kicking and screaming into the 80's, but still)

Earlier attempts to revive it (Nick and Jessica, Osbornes Reloaded) have failed spectacularly.

This will too.

This decade (unfortunately) belongs to the reality TV show.

(I can't believe that somewhere the Kardashians are watching this and are saying "Wow, what a piece of crap.")

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I watched the first part of this show - I think I stopped when they had the challenge between RW and NPH.  I decided to come on here and see what everyone thought - see if it was worth trying to finish later on.  I still don't know.  

 

I like NPH - he didn't quite seem himself, which I will chalk up to it being the first episode and live - I think he will find his normal rhythm if the show lasts long enough.  Not sure I am going to be able to like Nicole S - She annoyed me, seemed too stuck up for someone who peaked, career-wise, years ago.  

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I'm sorry, but I just didn't like this. It was too much. Too much like too many other shows. A little of Lip synch battle, a little of that knock on doors show that was too stupid to bother remembering the name of, a little wild n out, a little fear factor. None of NPH. Nothing original, and following that couple around for months like that was just creepy. I gave up after the sky scraper fear factor bull crap. It was..."What's the POINT????" Too much of that.

I won't be back. I don't think I'm the target audience.

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I really enjoyed variety shows back in the day (Carol Burnett was the queen of variety), but I thought this was awful.  Why does everyone think they have to give stuff away to audience members all the time now?  I only lasted through about the first 1/2 hour and won't bother again.

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Just to address the issue everyone has with NPCH "stalking" that couple "for months"--it was clear he had help from the family, and their wedding was 8/1/15--only a month and a half before the live showing.  Just like the people whose houses he had cameras in for the karaoke, the person's family was obviously involved.  Do we really think like ten people are in that one guy's house at 10 pm for a new show for no reason?

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The thing is ALL of the bullshit--the celeb announcer, the celeb practical joke, the civilian stalking stuff, the Mini-Neil, the Karaoke skit with "surprise" home audience members via webcam.., they really did shovel ALL of this shit wholecloth from the stupid Ant & Dec original.  And since Ant & Dec are idiots, that's why it still comes off that way. So in truth they didn't have to invest even an ounce of originality in this adaptation.

To give this turd one minor prop, I do think remembering that it's live, that Neil (and even Reese) did their line readings pretty well.

Nicole S.? Meh. I mean she got the words out. And gave some guy in the audience a stiffie.

Edited by Kromm
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I enjoyed seeing Amy Acker sitting in the audience far more than I did any of the segments so this did not work for me.

 

I did like Gloria Gaynor but I do wish it hadn't been ruined by silly "karaoke challenge" that involved getting 1 word right. The physical challenge was fine though I never doubted taller, stronger Neil was going to win so not suspenseful.

 

The Voice promo was bad, the stalking could have worked with maybe a more animated couple, but as it was felt very flat. I'd like to win those 7 prizes but watching it was dull.  

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I tuned in and Nicole Scherzinger was giving an older man in the audience a faux lap dance--pulling off his glasses, planting a kiss on the top of his bald head.  It was horrifying.

 

Please tell me that was the lowest point of the night.

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I really enjoyed variety shows back in the day (Carol Burnett was the queen of variety), but I thought this was awful.  Why does everyone think they have to give stuff away to audience members all the time now?  I only lasted through about the first 1/2 hour and won't bother again.

All i can think of for bad shows  like this is they stay until the end in case they get something free , otherwise they might have waled out.

 

Edited by tom87

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Looks like David was having the best time ever. He looked so proud and attentive every time he got some screentime.

Well if they gave screen time to Ant & Dec (who almost zero percent of the US population know) then why not also give it to the Spouse?

If anyone cares, Ant & Dec are the two blokes knocking back beers around 10 seconds into this:

http://youtu.be/K5xzr7XkbbY

Edited by Kromm
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I think NBC sees potential because of the ratings of America's Got Talent.  (And to a lesser degree "I Can Do That".)  The challenge is that vareity worked when we didn't have VCRs or cable.  VCRs and DVRs let you fast forward through the bits you didn't like, taking the commericals with you.  Cable let you find other choices so you can get more of what you like.  That made it hard for variety to last, though Carol Burnett and the Mandrell sisters gave it a noble effort.  YouTube adds to the challenge:  if you like people doing (pogo stunts, bartending stunts, etc.) you can find it there. 

 

That said, if anyone can make this work, it's NPH; he's got a wide variety of skills.  This would also be a good venue for Wayne Brady.  Doing it live gives it more of an edge.

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Some of this show's success or failure will depend on how it uses its guest stars.  I thought Reese Witherspoon would have been more interesting if they gave her a chance to sing (instead of, for instance, the Voice crossover prank.)  There was a lot of potential, but especially for a live show, there's going to be a challenge finding the right pace, etc.

 

I liked the "NPH can do anything" live montage at the end, though that might have been exhausting to reherse. 

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I would have liked to see NPH do a bunch of magic tricks. Also, he couldn't even bother to shave? Also I extremely dislike Nicole whatshername, so her promised continued participation is not a selling point for me

Edited by annabel

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I'm getting somewhat over NPH.

Right there with ya', Locutus.

Usually I see a NPH tease and it's an automatic, NPH? I like him!

This time? My reaction was more along the lines, Him? Again???

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I sort of enjoyed it? I agree it was a bit frantic. I think it could be good once they find their groove.

 

The end of the show show was a mess...yet oddly entertaining. I was impressed NPH did the backflip off the pogo stick.

 

Off to check the ratings...there doesn't seem to be much chatter here, I wonder how it did.

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