Drew Carey's Green Screen Show adds to its Whose Line elements the twist of animation. Every week, Drew and his cast of exceptional ad-libbers work in front of the title backdrop, hoping to hit upon some semblance of humor. The raw footage is then shipped out to be reworked by talented artists. Using all manner of animation techniques -- stop-motion, hand-drawn, CGI -- the artists create scenery and build energy.
As each skit begins, Drew announces the situation and physical circumstances. Suddenly, the Chroma Key dissolves and the image enhancements "magically" appear. The illustrations become a crucial part of the sketch. Sometimes, a joke will be outright illustrated, at other times the animation provides a witty visual aside. While many of the jests are obvious or antiquated (how many different ways can you tell a joke about water breaking?), the animation makes them seem fresh. Like the combination of cartoon and live action in motion pictures like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the mix here celebrates the anarchy made possible in animation while expanding the possibilities of bodily comedy.
Green Screen is structured around commercial breaks, so that each skit or skill game has a chance to breath, growing or grinding to a halt within its five- to seven-minute window. Small "blackout"-style sketches follow each ad intermission, often some of the best material in the show. As for the long form funny stuff, it is clear that Green Screen has lots of potential. Its success will rest on the performers' shoulders, but they have that nifty buffer provided by the surrealism of the hand-drawn settings.