The first episode of this new show was broadcast live last week. This week Neil began (live) by announcing that Best Time Ever was the number one hashtag show last Tuesday. And then he showed one of them – this one from VenusRetrograde. It read:
“WTF is happening? This shit is bonkers.”
This really delighted me, because while I had definitely liked the show, I also agreed with VenusRetrograde totally – the show IS bonkers. Too much is happening, and it can be ANYTHING. Then Neil did his surprise-an-audience-member thing, which had been very funny last week. An attractive young woman named Jamie was brought out of the audience to the stage and shown a supposedly live feed of her boyfriend – sleeping on their couch back in Las Vegas. Neil questioned her a little about the guy, and she was impressive, never taking the bait to knock him. For instance, Neil gave her a choice between “not very spontaneous” and “lazy”, and she said, “He’s wonderful.” This was followed by staged appearances of him (his name is Curtis James, so I’m gonna use “Curtis” from now on) where he was rapping on “America’s Got Talent”, then letting James Samboni of “Animal Planet” and some helpers wrap a reticulated python 25 feet long around his neck, then coming out of the stands to compete on “American Ninja Warrior”. Neil emphasized that Curtis had done all this to show Jamie how much he cared. Then they turned the “live” feed back on and he was gone. This was followed by shots of Curtis coming out of their house, jogging down the street, by a Welcome to Las Vegas sign, on the highway in the desert, somewhere in Utah, Iowa, stopping at a serving window on a sidewalk in Philadelphia to grab a bite of a steak sandwich, and then – a bridge away from New York. The audience cheered and I got a frisson down my spine. Then Curtis was running past a flashing sign, “Go, Curtis, Go” and arriving at Astoria Studios where he got a phone message from Will Ferrell saying how proud of him Will was, and being high-fived by a child who resembles Neil and is called “Little NPH”. Once inside the place he ran up stairs to go through Neil’s entranceway which changes your clothes, emerging in a suit and tie. Nicole Scherzinger handed him a bouquet of roses and he ran down stairs to the stage where he gave Jamie the flowers, talked to Jamie and Neil a second or two, and then proposed. And Neil gave them a 10-day trip to Tahiti.
It was finny, inspiring, touching, romantic, and schmaltz all the way, but it was wonderful.
And still-to-come there were all of this: a “knowledge of the news” quiz pitting Neil against Seth Myers, “Singalong Live” with Bonnie Tyler singing “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and stopping so people at home could sing the next line for prizes, “Voices in Your Head” – an unrehearsed sketch with Britney Spears interviewing bodyguards while Neil and Joe Jonas told her what to do and say through an ear-speaker, “Get Lucky” with an audience member answering questions and maybe winning from an array of gifts, and an amazing closing production number with Bonnie and Nicole singing a duet while Neil joined a troupe of acrobats who jumped out of small openings in a scaffolding to land on a trampoline and bounce back into the scaffolding. And Alec Baldwin was the week’s Guest Announcer (last week it was Reese Witherspoon).
So see? Bonkers!
And that’s why I will be watching this show on whatever day, at whatever hour NBC chooses to show it (a time-change has already been announced).