Best Time Ever Premiere

Neil Patrick Harris' Best Time Ever: Did the Variety Show Live Up to Its Name?

When you call your show Best Time Ever, you’re setting the bar pretty high for yourself. Fortunately, human Fun Dip and über host Neil Patrick Harris was largely ready for the challenge during Tuesday’s big premiere.

Following an enthusiastic (if not slightly spastic) introduction from guest announcer Reese Witherspoon, NPH revealed to an unsuspecting couple in the audience that he’s basically been stalking them for the past few months. Like, he was even secretly present at their wedding in Alabama. (Damn it, Harris, you’re lucky you’re so cute.)

The surprises continued after the first commercial break when several viewers-at-home learned they were being thrust into a game of Russian Roulette karaoke, led by the legendary Gloria Gaynor. Unsurprisingly, most of them knew the lyrics to “I Will Survive.” (I know I joked about Russian Roulette earlier, but can you imagine if the losers got killed, aka didn’t “Survive”? Maybe they’re saving the really dark stuff for sweeps.)

A third segment called “Neil Versus” pitted the host against Witherspoon in an American Ninja Warrior-style battle of brawn. Though Elle Woods put in a good effort — seriously, I got tired just watching them climb that massive structure and zip-line down to safety — it was Doogie Howser who emerged victorious. (Don’t worry, Reese, you’re still America’s sweetheart!)

Best Time Ever got back to the pranks with “Undercover,” a segment in which Harris disguised himself as the new host of Austria’s The Voice. Though Carson Daly, Gwen Stefani, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Pharrell Williams seemed genuinely surprised by the reveal of NPH’s true identity — following a few awkward interviews and one super-uncomfortable audition — the subsequent plugs both for The Voice‘s upcoming season premiere and for Daly’s appearance on the Today show made it all feel 20 percent less genuine.

The premiere concluded with an assault on the senses (Dancers! Acrobats! Pitbull?), which felt very on-brand for the over-the-top show — though I do have a few questions about what was in Little NPH’s glass at that bar. (Milk? Yeah, OK.)

But what did you think of NBC’s take on 21st century variety? Will you return for a second Best Time Ever? Grade the premiere below, then drop a comment with your full review.


Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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58 Comments
  1. Michelle says:

    Loved it! We need more crazy silly fun out there! NPH is absolutely insanely talented and crazy and I love him!!!!

    • bg says:

      IMO. A really bad show. As I watched it, I kept wondering if it would be one of those shows, which would be quickly cancelled after only one episode was aired? Ellen Degeneress already is doing this show daily

    • Becky says:

      We do NOT need more crazy, silly fun on TV. There is enough silliness. This was awful.

    • Kim R says:

      I loved it as well. Thoroughly entertaining! If I had a negative (and it is slight) it would be the zip lining segment. Looking forward to next week! :D

  2. laurelnev says:

    More like most “meh” time ever! It was almost like he was trying to do Barney Stinson the whole time. And was Reese channeling Elle Woods? On 2nd thought, Elle was less of a dumb blonde type than Reese acted tonight. I may give it one more week, but I’m thinking with a crowded Tuesday night coming up when the season gets in full swing, this may be the 1st cleared off (or stacked up, unwatched) on the DVR. I was expecting better from NPH somehow.

  3. Kris says:

    Loved it!!!

  4. Jerry says:

    I’m curious on how some of the bits worked.. I assume for the stalking segment and the karaoke some family members are in on it and signed them up for it?

    As for the “Neil vs” segment, where he “didn’t know what was going on”, well, I thought it was implausible he wasn’t aware of the huge thing being set up outside the studio. And sure enough Reese blew it after the contest with “Neil said we were going to do a little prank”, or something similar. Woops.

    I’ll take a little more “real” in the segments, or more obviously spoofed. This grey area makes for meh entertainment.

    • Susan says:

      They even spun the wheel to see who would do the challenge with NPH. Reese “won”? Then she spoiled it at the end when she said “this is not what you said it would be. He emailed me about doing a little stunt” Really?? People are stupid, yes, but not that stupid.
      It was still a fun show but why lie?

  5. Sunshine says:

    I loved it! I haven’t actually laughed or giggled during a show in a long time (not even during Last Comic Standing). This was fun. My husband who is pretty stoic had a smile on the entire time. Reese was on point! Nothing wrong with any performance! People who don’t like it may be “too cool” and shouldn’t be home on a Tuesday anyway! Quit complaining, people.

  6. michael says:

    Didn’t waste the brain cells on this one and it sounds like I made a good choice to miss it. If I want to see nph on tv I will watch HIMYM on Netflix or reruns of Doogie Howser on the rerun channel.

    • Jack says:

      So, to summarize, you did not watch it. In other words, your point is moot.

      • michael says:

        I have very few brain cells left so I really didn’t want to waste them on this “show”. I “guess” I was “wrong”. I’ll download it “later” so i can see what I “missed”. Sorry guys.

  7. Shirl says:

    My guess is that it will be cancelled within 3 weeks. Stupid waste of time.

  8. Leela says:

    Saturday Night Takeaway is better. Basically the same show but with NPH! I was very happy to see Ant and Dec on stage during the End of the Show show!

  9. Ben Wilson says:

    Good clean FAMILY fun.
    I liked it.
    Would have loved to had more time to get more of a personal connection with the couple NPH stalked, the karaoke contestants etc.
    would have loved seeing their reactions in their living rooms after they had been “Got”

  10. John says:

    Stupid show. Insipid people with forced laughter trying to pretend their immature pranks are fun. Get a life. Total FAIL.

  11. Terry says:

    As much as I like NPH, I couldn’t make it through 10 minutes of the show.

  12. ondiscibilia says:

    We really enjoyed the show! Didn’t play my phone for the entire show! I was so impressed with the talents of Neil Patrick Harris! We can’t wait to see the show next week!

  13. Tom Jones says:

    This was super fun and awkward and exciting and weird but so enjoyable. And live! The nerves on a first show like this must’ve been cray. I still enjoyed it and hope this gets better and better and lasts a very long time. I’d rather watch this than Real Housewives, Kardashians, and every other “reality” turd.

  14. lrdslvrhnd says:

    I was frankly creeped out by the stalking. And “hidden cameras in your living room!” didn’t make it better.

    Over all, it wasn’t at all what I was expecting from “variety show”, which I guess explains why they kept saying it wasn’t really a variety show. I’m not a big fan of pranks or hidden cameras or such, but the Skyscraper climb was fun to watch, and the ending was AWESOME. Loved Reese’s comment about how she feels about karaoke!

    • Amy Waters says:

      That wedding stalking was strange. Not sure still if I even get it. Was he actually there or was it all photoshopped? The Voice prank was iffy but the the reactions seemed genuine. Who knows. I know you can submit yourself to be chosen for the trivia challenge online. Not sure about the karaoke tho? How did they do that? Cams in people’s homes across the country’s? Creepy. The show was fun but there was too much scratching of my head the entire time. I had a good time despite being confused how it all came together.

      • Gravity Jones says:

        have cameras been set up on all our cable boxes for the karaoke challenge? Frightening!!! We are all being watched!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Paloma says:

    Awkward and unfunny. I will not give it DVR space next week.

  16. Valerie Parris says:

    Roll Tide!
    REALLY, You didn’t need to do this to convince me.
    NPH posesess a large piece of class tied with personality, anchored to humanity that makes him the next door neighbor to the world.
    He is the best friend we all wanted and very much still desire.
    I, personally, cannot wait to see what “The Best Time Ever” has in store for us all.
    Fingers crossed….I hope he will call me for *almost* anything.

  17. Terri says:

    Entertaining and different. Loved the end with the pogo jumpers. Impressed that NPH did his stunt. But too hurried thru the bits with the ‘real’people aka non celebs. I agree with prev comments on lying about some of the bits not being prearranged. Why bother pretending that Reese was chosen by a spin , just be up front about the bit, still entertaining that they did the stunt. Also show more appreciation to the ‘real’ people, not that they should feel so lucky to be on the same stage with America’s royalty; celebrities .

  18. JK says:

    I really liked it. And for everyone wondering/complaining about the “stalking” and karaoke, Neil has said in all the interviews he has done, that someone in the family or a friend knew about everything. He said he’s been filming all over the country this summer. He said he gets into a city, does what he needs to do & no one knows. He jokingly said it’s kind of his version of Borat. Lighten up, it was entertaining. It was the 1st night, mostly live. It needs to work out a couple of kinks.

    • Geller says:

      Yasssss!!! If you don’t like the show or NPH why bother coming on here and spreading your toxic energy. Go have a drink and relax. Don’t you have something better to do? Seriously.

  19. KevyB says:

    OMG so SOOOOOOOO stupid and 100% laugh-free! And it’s “LIVE” yet it’s feels way over-scripted. It insults smart viewers by pretending so much of this is spontaneous. Yes, I totally believe that Reese was “randomly” chosen to do that boring climbing contest which would’ve required some major insurance. And how did nobody from The Voice not realize that was NPH? He looked SLIGHTLY different but he sounded kind of EXACTLY like NPH, who has a pretty distinctive voice. Do not even get me started on that moronic ADHD finale either! The Get Lucky portion did come off as the one bit that wasn’t over-pre-prepared or entirely stupid, but do we want to watch NPH play game show host? NPH deserves so much better. We all do!

    • Samantha says:

      The show is live! A small percentage of the segments had pre taped portions but come on. Calling this show not live is lazy and incorrect. What makes you think you “deserve” so much better? Who are you? Jesus??

  20. Karen says:

    Interesting, but stupid. Harris is pretty amazing but, like others, I hope future shows give the guests and support talent more of the spotlight. Did find the mini nph spots creepy, especially the finale…

  21. Tara17 says:

    I enjoyed it, would have liked more sketches and comedy- so more snl, less ellen. But I’ll keep tuning in.

  22. Joey Padron says:

    Like first episode, it was good and fun. Neil is great as the host of the show. I’ll keep watching.

  23. Mr. Tran K says:

    I give it an A. NPH is having the “best night ever”.

  24. Sennis Dziadowicz says:

    I am a big fan of Neil Patrick Harris and would watch him in almost anything. Note the word almost. Every performer has a giant debacle on his resume. This is Neil’s. This was advertised as a variety show, and I looker forward to it. Instead what it was turned out to be a cross between a game show and a reality show. Someone needs to shoot this show and put it, as well as us, out of our misery.

    • You totally took the words out of my mouth. I’m wondering if this show appeals to a certain demographic of which I don’t belong. I found it soulless and gimmicky. I guess I was expecting a variety show in which extraordinary talent is showcased. While I have enjoyed NPH in several of his projects (Tonys, Harold and Kumar, first couple of seasons of HIMYM), this was a complete dud. I immediately removed it from my DVR queue.

  25. RUCookie says:

    I smiled a lot while watching it. NPH is infectious. I could see myself watching this again. It is an instant mood enhancer.

  26. SAMP says:

    WOW I am generally surprised 1 person liked it but this many? What? Have you all never had a good time before to think this is good? I’d rather watch a late night infomercial.

  27. Name says:

    Reese Witherspoon isn’t “America’s Sweetheart.” That’s Julia Roberts.

  28. Terry says:

    Definitely the worst time ever.

  29. mary kay venet says:

    Lame. Pointless. So totally unfunny. Seems so overly scripted to be spontaneous but absolutely mocks spontaneity. The highlight of entertainment was when it was over. Can’t believe NBC could think this is what anyone wants to watch

  30. mary kay venet says:

    Lame. Pointless. So totally unfunny. Seems so overly scripted to be spontaneous but absolutely mocks spontaneity. The highlight of entertainment was when it was over. Can’t believe NBC could think this is anything close to entertainment , funny or anything we want to see