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Tara Ariano

Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge

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I'm VERY excited for this show, I used to know some puppeteers and they take this so seriously and it's super cool to see some light being shed on this awesome career! 

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Here's Monty's post!

I love how positive and generous everyone was with another (apart from that pair that hated each other). I'm sure they're slightly cleaning things up to be on TV, but working at the Creature Shop seems like the gentlest, most kindergarten-y place to work on earth.

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Passive agressive dude and manic lady are a great combo! 

My only knock against this episode is that it seems unfair to start with a pair challenge, especially where the producers put together the two guys with equally limited skill sets.

ALSO: Goodbye weird love child of Seth MacFarlane and New Spock!

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The team that lost had two people I couldn't really tell apart, so I'm glad one of them went home. And I thought Russ was unfair to Tina, while at the same time thinking Tina wasn't going to make it through the competition.

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And I thought Russ was unfair to Tina, while at the same time thinking Tina wasn't going to make it through the competition.

I thought he was unfair too, she's SUPER annoying and terrible at communicating and would not stop talking BUT he never said any of those things to her so to then say he couldn't get any ideas in was really unfair. I'm glad Henson called them out on being unprofessional.

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This was really cool, and I agree it is somewhat kinder and gentler than a lot of reality shows; lovely to see that being Henson's legacy.

The creature that won was by far the coolest; kind of killed the suspense when those two winners were not with the safe crowd and standing there at the end with the two obvious loser teams. Hmm...who could it be?

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I'm not sure how I feel about this show.  Watching this first episode, I felt kind of like I was watching Jim Henson's Low Budget Face Off.  One of the teams was okay (the one who used wheels and, in my opinions, should have won).  The rest... ranged from meh to awful.  They should have sent home both people on the team that didn't get along.  I just hope that it gets better.

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I think the one that lost, lost because it was so hard on the puppeteer rather than how it looked. If someone has to be in a costume for any length of time, it would probably be a good thing if they could breathe.

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I didn't like either Tina or Russ. Tina seemed like she'd be incredibly difficult to work with while Russ seemed perpetually gloomy. Just about every other thing coming out of his mouth was how whatever they were trying to do wouldn't work.

It seems like they started with an 'easier' challenge to weed out the people that couldn't handle basic stuff. Based on the season preview, it seems like they'll get to the more complicated fabrication methods pretty quickly. I'm also hoping the judging picks up a bit. I like all three of them so far, but everyone (including Gigi and the mentor they brought in) seemed really stiff. 

While I'm pretty sure the Henson Company can't legally use Kermit for anything at this point, I found it kind of funny that the cameramen used the Kermit statue at Henson Studios for scenic transition stuff. Kermit's still there, even if Disney owns him.

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DH, DD and I really enjoyed this! 

We are die-hard Face Off watchers and we were so excited to see how they would do this one as a complementary show.  I am really glad to see that they are continuing the tradition of constructive criticism judging and generally wishing all the contestants well in pursuing industry careers.  Reality shows where the judges, mentors, or teachers seem to live to tear everyone apart are depressing and horrible after awhile.

One of the things we love most on Face Off is how they specifically point out in their critiques how certain make-ups would be great or not great in a studio or on a location shoot for very specific reasons, e.g., B&W films need makeups with lots of shades of gray, there has to be some way for the actor to see so s/he can walk, and seeing the actor actually moving facial muscles can be really crucial for some things.  It was great to see the Creature judges mentioning the same aspects.  When the one team lost, not really because they had the worst design but because the performer couldn't manipulate the creature properly if this were a real filming situation, it was a fascinating look at something we didn't really know must be considered.

I think the judges do need to watch a bit of Face Off judging, though, because they seemed a bit stiff and not really knowing what to say.  It seemed that they knew their creatures, just not what to say about them.  Super start to a new show.

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After looking forward to seeing this since I saw the first ad, I finally got to watch. I'm telling myself it probably needs a few episodes to settle into itself because if felt a little awkward in places. I think FaceOff had to find its groove too. The show felt oddly short & I'm not sure why that was. I couldn't help myself & let out a little squee when Gigi appeared. Oh, oh, oh it's Chiana!

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I enjoyed the ep. I thought the winning creature was pretty cool and the right loser was chosen. Russ is my least favorite sort of reality show personality. The passive agressive guy who whines in talking heads about how overbearing his partner is , but does nothing about it but make mopey faces. I bet he's the sort of person who always says "I don't care" when you are picking a place to eat and then gets all sulky because you picked somewhere they didn't want to go.

And of course, he claims throwing Tina under the bus was the "last thing he wanted to do," when it was literally the first thing he actually did and pretty much un-prompted to boot.

I was kind of surprised that one of the judges thought that purple crab thing with the alien face was "something we've never seen before." I thought it looked way too similar to the beetle creatures on Dark Crystal.

Aside from the winner, I also liked the creature that was on wheels.

Edited by Joystickenvy

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I really enjoyed this.

I know the personality conflict we saw was in danger of taking this closer to icky Ink Master type territory than the professionalism and admirable contestants we are more used to from Face Off, but even so I didn't get the sense the show was overly exploiting how badly those two got along.  it just had to face it, because there was no hiding it.


 

While I'm pretty sure the Henson Company can't legally use Kermit for anything at this point, I found it kind of funny that the cameramen used the Kermit statue at Henson Studios for scenic transition stuff. Kermit's still there, even if Disney owns him.

I was thinking they couldn't even MENTION the Muppets, until we heard one of the Henson guys use it as a descriptive term.

Even so, I wish there was some loophole that allowed the show to at least SHOW them, even if they aren't extensively talked about, used in challenges, etc. 

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While I'm pretty sure the Henson Company can't legally use Kermit for anything at this point, I found it kind of funny that the cameramen used the Kermit statue at Henson Studios for scenic transition stuff. Kermit's still there, even if Disney owns him.

I'm sure it's like Sesame Street's right to use old Kermit skits.  They can't make new ones, but anything that existed prior to the Disney buy-out is fair.  They also have special dispensation to continue to use the word "Muppet" because even Henson can't technically use it any more.  Because no matter how evil Disney is, even they wouldn't want to go against Big Bird in the court of public opinion.

What was the most fun about the long shots for me was the camera trying really hard NOT to focus on Kermit, while it having the complete opposite effect to the viewer.

What I found refreshing was that (please forgive me, but I couldn't keep anyone's name straight, so I only referred to him as Meth Teeth) the other losing teammate that didn't go home is openly gay, which is something I don't think Face Off has yet managed.

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When the one team lost, not really because they had the worst design but because the performer couldn't manipulate the creature properly if this were a real filming situation, it was a fascinating look at something we didn't really know must be considered.

 

I loved that the team that came in 2nd first thought about movement and how they wanted the actor to move and then built their costume around that. I also loved that they had a complete story built around their creature like the small pale colored eyes. The eyes were vestigial and in a few more generations gone altogether. I thought that was a brilliant move on their part. 

And of course, he claims throwing Tina under the bus was the "last thing he wanted to do," when it was literally the first thing he actually did and pretty much un-prompted to boot.

 

 

Heh. That was my first thought too. That seemed to be the only thing he did. 

I never watched Face Off and only stumbled across this (and turned it on) because of the Henson name. But I really liked it. 

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The creature designers are given the chance to reimagine the fictional species Skeksis from "The Dark Crystal." Later, their characters appear in a screen test for the original 1982 film.

First Air Date 4-1-2014

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Yes! I was hoping for a Dark Crystal challenge and this did not disappoint. Nor did the elimination. :)

I hope they do a small challenge where everyone designs alone.

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Glad that they had 3 days to build, and SOOOOOOO glad that Tina is off my screen. Looking forward to the rest of the season.

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I'm glad Tina was eliminated, but I was much more sympathetic to her this week. She's obnoxious, but she also seemed to realize early on that she was in entirely over her head. It was almost a mercy elimination.

Russ was a lot more likable, too. It's a big difference to see him happy with what he's working on and being allowed to do. And I loved the winner's (Robert's?) little statement that he had grown up loving The Dark Crystal and that it meant a lot for him to win. It has to be really gratifying for the Creature Shop people - especially Brian, who worked on a lot of that stuff - to see how indelible those creatures and films have been, considering how poorly they were received when first released.

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Did anyone reference the Skeksis' counterparts, whose name I don't remember, the ones who were their other half split by the crystal? Because in the movie, they were the ones who took the journey to the castle and I remember their clothing really showing it by the end, as the one judge mentioned to the Russ/Tina/Ivonne team.

I laughed when Russ handed the remote over to Tina during judging. Kind of a "this was your thing" gesture, that he knew would go wrong.

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Count me as another one who's glad to see Tina go. She was hands-down my least favorite competitor. If I was one of her teammates I don't think I could have stayed as calm and focused as they did. Someone just flitting around and not really accomplishing anything would drive me insane.

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Count me as another one who's glad to see Tina go. She was hands-down my least favorite competitor. If I was one of her teammates I don't think I could have stayed as calm and focused as they did. Someone just flitting around and not really accomplishing anything would drive me insane.

Ditto ditto ditto

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People like Tina are the reason I always hated doing group work in school: the only thing worse than the people who, like Tina, over-promise and then fail to deliver are the ones who dick around and do nothing on the theory that the other group members will pick up the slack so everyone doesn't fail.

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There's a "Tina" in every reality show, no matter the theme.  We just get really lucky when they are eliminated quickly!

I love how Tina added that she had put SO many projects on hold to do the show and now she could get back to them.  Right..... That popsicle-stick model of the Liberty Bell won't build itself, Tina!  *LOL*

 

I love when they mentioned that the bugs in the movie were just wind-up toys they added feathers to.  That kind of inside info is fun to hear about. 

Edited by leighdear
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The peeing cat-monkey was reason enough for a Tina elimination. Overall, I thought the creatures were pretty impressive and the judges made the right decisions.

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Oh I don't know, Russ was a sour puss but Tina sure was a steamroller.  Seems anytime Russ interjected, Tina got defensive.  It could be that he just gave up and stewed in silence.

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The team that lost had two people I couldn't really tell apart, so I'm glad one of them went home. And I thought Russ was unfair to Tina, while at the same time thinking Tina wasn't going to make it through the competition.

I think it was that reality competition move where they pair the highly skilled person with the homecook/selftaught/high strung person to see if they can mange to interact well. Russ failed just as much as Tina because he lacked the interpersonal skills to figure out how to work with her and reign in her scatteredness. Then he tattled to the judges first chance he got. They had a germ of a good idea and that's saved them, but they got a well deserved dressing down from the judges.

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Good for Russ. I don't know if if was nerves on the first challenge or if he realized he needed to step up and behave like a professional. Tina was still a nut job, but I wasn't as embarrassed for Russ. Tina was in over her head and needed to go. I like that this show and Face Off rarely dick around with sending home the right people.

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People like Tina are the reason I always hated doing group work in school: the only thing worse than the people who, like 

Oh my goodness this over & over again. The one you always dreaded being paired with. I see it now with my kids. Certain projects they do all on their own just to get it done & not have to mess with the Tina in their class.

I was thinking about this show when the guy who won was geeking out so sweetly about winning. The overall winner gets a job at the Henson Company don't they? I think that's a pretty amazing prize honestly. I don't know the employment terms, and admittedly they may suck, but if your dream is to get into the industry I would think that's a big in. 

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There's a "Tina" in every reality show, no matter the theme.  We just get really lucky when they are eliminated quickly!

 

And that's how you know this show is on SYFY and not say Bravo, Fox, Lifetime or Food Network. On any of those episodes Tina would've made it to the top 4 or 5 with the other eliminations being so BS as to defy belief. 

The peeing cat-monkey was reason enough for a Tina elimination.

 

Agreed. I thought her first explanation was the Skeksis was drinking its pee? So weird. Just a cute little critter like that other team did would've been fine.  

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I don't think Robert was bullshitting on his being so touched at winning this particular challenge:  His bio on Syfy.com specifically mentions Dark Crystal.  I'm just a bad person and having a knee-jerk reaction to rooting for the openly gay contestant, but I'm having a hard time decided whether to root for him or Melissa.

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I love how Tina added that she had put SO many projects on hold to do the show and now she could get back to them

And that she could work on them at her own pace!

Actually, I totally believe she has that many projects on hold because I don't think she knows how to actually finish one.

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Happy to see Tina go, and I really like the show, but...

...I really felt the winner, while making a good-looking Skeksis, didn't really follow the challenge. At least the other two had some connection to their assigned environments, even the losing one, made a big effort that way. One of the judges even said, "I don't see the forest connection' but they gave it the win anyway. That's kind of a pet peeve of mine so sorry it happened here. They really should have been second, imo, not first.

Still, nice to see how creative everyone is. And the teams seemed to work well together--I liked Russ last week (just thought 2 days of Tina would break most anyone) so I was glad to see he was determined to make it this time--and had another, better, partner to help.

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Damn. I was hoping Russ was out.  Sad about Josh.  Shouldn't he have known before he started on this show that he wasn't going to accept the job if he won?

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Damn. I was hoping Russ was out.  Sad about Josh.  Shouldn't he have known before he started on this show that he wasn't going to accept the job if he won?

Agreed on all points.

Pretty much agreed with the judges on this challenge. The winner made the best use of the junk yard material and it was an interesting character.

I thought the wolf-rat had the best movement and the ape creature had the best face.

The losing creature kind of looked like a giant fuzzy bedroom slipper turned on its heel with an eye stuck to the top. Worst thing so far this season by a long shot. They're so lucky someone quit.

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Russ is becoming as exhausting as Tina was, seriously.

John Criswell for host! He was awesome and has such an easy way about him in front of the camera. Actually, all of the masters who have been on this show would be better hosts than the current one. She's as awkward and stiff as Luke Tipple, he of Opposite Worlds infamy. I don't even get the association to this show (I haven't watched Farscape, but does that show use a lot of puppetry or something?)

My favorite part of the episode was seeing a cast of Hoggle in the background.

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Yeah the Top 3 were great, and I would have been happy with any of them winning. The Bottom 1 was obviously the worst. As soon as I saw it, I realized there was nothing to focus on, and it's something the judges pointed out right away and pounded on them. 

I'm thinking the "Can't move his family" is a cover story for something else, just to make it more palatable. I wonder if he actually got a job opportunity that was too good to pass up (An offer from Disney perhaps?), and they did the family excuse as a catchall. I can't imagine there's much puppet work in North Dakota if he wants to stay in the biz. in any case, it's not really any of our business. I hope he can still come back to help with the final challenge (as is the norm for these types of shows).

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(I haven't watched Farscape, but does that show use a lot of puppetry or something?)

Yeah, Farscape had a number of puppet characters. Brian Henson was really involved with the show overall, as well. I don't think Gigi's terrible as host, but it seems like very few people on the Henson side of things are all that comfortable being in front of the camera. The contestants all seem fine with it, funnily enough. There's a decent interview with Gigi where she talks about how quick the decision was to take the job and how much she's struggling with the judging/elimination aspect of the whole thing.

I was sad to see Josh go, and kind of hoped it had been Russ instead. I'm amazed, though, that I still have about three people I can actively root for. That doesn't usually happen with a reality show.

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I hate quitters.  That being said, I'm sure most people that go on these shows really don't understand the toll it takes on them physically and emotionally.  Some people just aren't cut out for high-pressure and huge expectations being put on them.  But that's why it's called a competition, not a slumber party....*LOL*  

I like Gigi ok.  I have VERY low expectations for hosts on reality shows, since I don't dial in to watch them and generally tune out most of what they say & do.  Mackenzie Westmore on Face Off is an exception, since I think she's fabulous, and I love her working with her dad!

Fun challege with all the gizmos & junky stuff.  I really like all the contestants, though Russ seems to be ramping up to a major meltdown.  I would say I'm rooting most for Lex, since she seems to be really calm & focused.  

Edited by leighdear

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I thought Russ would go home for sure. To be on the bottom 3 weeks in a row regardless of partner kinda  means it's you, not them, that's the problem.

ETA I don't much like the host, and I hated her pants tonight. You could see every pore on her skin through them!

Edited by SherriAnt

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Russ can leave my screen any time - soon.  His team has been in the bottom each and ever time due to him.   I agree with SherriAnt that it's him.  He whines, he bitches, and he deflects as nothing is his fault, but he's the only constant in all three teams.  I think his ego far outweighs his expertise and talent.  Big fish in a very small pond syndrome

Regarding teams, I like that they do them for the sheer fact that it does show the judges how they will work within a team if they are hired, which I think they will do much more so than not.  If they see isssues there, there's no real reason to bring on a 'lone gun' to a team workshop.  I would, however, like to see what each person does on their own.  Looks like we may be getting the chance to see that soon.

Edited by Mz Anthrope
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