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Neil Patrick Harris’ new variety show debuts on NBC – and raises some questions

🕐 3 min read

If you sat through the first episode Tuesday night of NBC’s “Best Time Ever,” you may have some questions. Namely, “What … was that?”

Technically, it was Neil Patrick Harris’s new live variety show adapted from the popular British series “Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway.” But if you tuned in and spotted Carrot Top and Reese Witherspoon chatting while Harris stood on top of a bar with his child doppelganger and some guys jumped on pogo sticks and a Pitbull song played in the background – well, it’s not entirely obvious what exactly was going on.

Aside from that fever dream, we have a lot of questions. Someone please help.

1) How did NPH stalk that unsuspecting couple for months?

The very first act of “Best Time Ever” included NPH pulling a “random” couple out of the audience, and he let them know that he knew a few fun facts about them: For example, they just got married a few months ago. How did he know that? Why, he secretly crashed their wedding! Cut to video from the couple’s wedding day, where the camera caught NPH sneaking around and photobombing their pictures. Turns out he also pretended to be the doorman at their New York hotel when they flew into town to see the show, and earlier, dressed up as a mascot and followed them to a college football game.

How did NPH pull that off exactly? No explanation was offered, but the couple looked sufficiently freaked out. Less so, however, when NPH revealed they would be receive a free trip to Antigua. Hopefully, he won’t follow them there.

2) Why did Reese Witherspoon act so dumb?

Witherspoon, an extremely savvy actress and producer, was the special celebrity announcer. So she had dialogue that went like this after NPH announced the aforementioned couple’s trip to Antigua:

Witherspoon: “It’s so romantic. I love antiquing!”

NPH: “No, it’s Antigua.”

Witherspoon: “I know! It’s where the antiques come from.”

NPH: (mischievously) “You sure about that?”

Witherspoon: (very confidently) “I’m pretty sure, Neil.”

Cue the laughter from the audience, though it just made us cringe. Sure, it’s all for fun, but why make her play the dumb sidekick? Things got better – or maybe worse – when Witherspoon and NPH competed in an “American Ninja Warrior” type challenge, which included a frighteningly tall platform and sky-high zipline.

3) Really, none of “The Voice” coaches recognized NPH?

For a prank, NPH dressed up as a mysterious stranger who told “The Voice” coaches that he was the new “Voice” host on the Austrian version of the show. So he asked them (Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Pharrell, Gwen Stefani and host Carson Daly) all sorts of random questions while they stared, extremely confused. Except even in his get-up, he looked exactly like Neil Patrick Harris … just in a wig. Finally, he revealed his true identity after pretending to audition, but none of the coaches seemed too shocked.

4) How many NBC shows did “Best Time Ever” plug?

At least four: “American Ninja Warrior.” “The Voice.” “Last Call With Carson Daly.” The “Today” show, by virtue of Carson Daly’s presence.

5) Was Gloria Gaynor distracted with all those back-up dancers and roller skaters as she sang “I Will Survive”?

As the singer helped out with a lip-sync challenge, there sure was a lot of madness going on around her.

6) Did those people in the front row mind when Nicole Scherzinger massaged their faces as she lip-synced “Don’t Cha”?

NPH’s permanent sidekick/former Pussycat Dolls singer literally sat on a man in the audience and stole his glasses as she mouthed the words to her own hit.

7) Why did Carrot Top show up holding a fish?

Perhaps some things are better left unexplained.

8) What will happen next week?

We can only imagine, but Twitter had some ideas:

“Can’t wait till next week when Neil Patrick Harris dances the tango with Paul Giamatti through a subway tunnel filled with bees.”

“I fully expect next week’s episode will begin with Neil Patrick Harris yelling “It’s Showtime!” In a subway car.”

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