Jump to content
Tara Ariano

Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge

Recommended Posts

I'm finding it hard to find someone to root for! I'm not crazy about Russ, but other than that, they are all kind of meh.

I agree with you. They seem pleasant enough but no one really stands out. My favorite part of this show so far is Brian Henson & his bits of info. The tip about sunscreen & talking about big bird having to fly in first class is just fun stuff to hear. It also made me laugh when The Dude (perfect starri) name dropped & called himself on it.
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I was sad to see Lex go, especially considering she took the brunt of the construction on herself. I don't think she could have come close to winning, but it really seemed like Jake should have gone home. He didn't seem to contribute a whole lot to their creature.

Yes, it's sad to see that ducking work/responsibility "paid off" for someone.

Share this post


Link to post

.And I really don't like how they're dressing the host! Good grief, find her some pants that fit!

 

Not to mention maybe a dress that doesn't look like she's standing there buck naked.

Share this post


Link to post

Really happy to see Neville.  I think he's an excellent judge of what can be realistically accomplished in these short time frames. Plus, his laid-back style meshed well with the other judges.

 

Wow, Ben was really impressed with himself, wasn't he?  Until that smack down, of course! There's a fine line between self-confidence and arrogance, and I think Ben is balancing on dead center.  I didn't like his attitude with Julie, and he was certainly snarky about the other builds.   And his creature was not even original.  Snot.

 

I really thought Melissa's creature was adorable. Good for her getting a 2nd win.  

Russ was smart going old school on his eyes.  One of the first really smart things we've seen him do. Of course, he then promptly rips the arm off his creature.  *LOL*  He did well, though it had Yoda ears. I was no huge fan of Russ, but I thought Ben should have gone before him on this challenge.

 

Everybody did really well, and the premise was hilarious.  I loved the eating sounds.

Share this post


Link to post

One thing that bugged me about this episode and in general is when they get dinged for having creatures that are "too cartoony" or "too Muppety." Maybe they get specific briefs about how realistic or fantastic their faces are supposed to be, but when we don't see that, their getting criticized for making creatures that look too cute seems unfair.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

I loved this challenge. It was great to see individual work, the premise was really interesting and the results were charming. I especially appreciate when the judges in a show like this actually judge by the same criteria the contestants are given to work with. (I'm looking at you, Project Runway.) (Oh, and at you, Ben.)  I wonder if the criticism that a creature is too cartoony or too Muppety is a shorthand for known characteristics that should be avoided, unless the brief specifically calls for an exaggerated-in-a-childish-way creature.

Share this post


Link to post

Glad Russ is gone. His energy made me uncomfortable. I don't like people who get upset out of proportion to what is really happening and then shut down.

 

Brian Henson was wearing a harness for no reason.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Figured Russ would go and he did seem a bit out of his depth, but was half rooting for Mr. smug to get the boot.

My only real complaint was that none of the creatures truly had organic camo, as opposed to just having swamp stuff stuck to them, but I imagine trying to create hair that looks like grass, but isn't grass, etc in the time frame would be difficult. However, I thought both the top creatures were very cute with lots of personality.

Mr. Smug's creature would have been a ton better if he had created a mech that opened more like a turtle shell. At least it would have been more believable as a camo creature, rather than a creature that lives in a hollow mechanical rock.

Share this post


Link to post

I have convinced myself that Brian's harness was an equipment holster, although I didn't see the actual holster part.

Share this post


Link to post

Russ left with more grace than I might have expected, but as much as I wanted him gone a couple of weeks ago, I wouldn't have been unhappy to see Mr. Smug leave instead this time. That guy needed this slap-down and we'll see next week if it made a dent in his arrogance. Oh, well, at least the sound guys will have to insert fewer beeps now -- Russ did overuse his expletives! I liked both the top two, and was happy Melissa won. Fun challenge idea.

Share this post


Link to post

The top looks I loved; both seemed to fit with the theme and spirit of the challenge. Loved the beak on the grass creature, and the lilypad flower eye was great.

 

Of the other three, I liked the big green goblin. It could've meshed in better with its environment, but IMO it was a better product than the Rock or the Stick creatures; either of those ones should have gone home compared to it IMO.

 

Oh and another great Anecdote of Jim's past, with the story of the crazy looking creature Jim had designed to emphasize "Things aren't always as they seem."  

Edited by Taeolas
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Did anyone else think that Melissa's creature's face looked like the Grinch That Stole Christmas?

 

I started out this episode thinking that I was disappointed in this show thus far, but of course they finally did something that I enjoyed. I loved the top two looks, and I'm glad Melissa got her second win. I suspect the guys have been underestimating her.

 

Ben was annoying, but I do think his creature was better than Russ's. 

 

I'm still convinced that this show is one big long job interview in which just about everyone will get hired and the winner will get the equivalent of a signing bonus.

Share this post


Link to post

Ben was really getting the dick edit this week.  It may be he's always that about himself and his 'talents', but him winning, what was it, two challenges in a row?  That does not make you a Master Above the Realm. 

 

Jake's creature was weak, imo.  Very little movement or range. 

 

Glad Russ is gone.  His creatures didn't come *near* what he attempted to sell them as, anything that went wrong he made some stupid excuse, and he was not a good team player.  I would think... working for the Henson's, they'd certainly want someone who had good people skills, adaptability, finesse, and excellent communication skills in triplicate.  Throughout this entire competition, I would think about all of what the Henson's visions and work has provided - education, fantasy, creativity and wonder.  Every time Russ would swear, lose his temper, slam things around, etc I would just *cringe*.  His actions were completely incongruous to how I saw Brian and the crew.  Russ is who he is, but I really think he would have wanted to temper his 'vulgarness' to suit where he was eventually wanting to work.  I don't think they are saints by any means, but I highly doubt Russ would have been acceptable in any Henson working environment.   My opinion, but I can't see Brian Henson being bleeped out or smashing his head on foam.

Oh - and nice back-pat you incorrectly gave yourself on your exit.  You think you went out like everyone *should* - a professional?  You weren't once a professional while you were there.  I think you knew you were bagged when it was yourself and Ben, Mister Bottom Feeder At the Judging Table and had time to compose yourself before walking off.

 

Good on ya, Melissa!  Glad you were able to work well with the mechanics and get the eyes working pretty well.  I loved the cattails within the grasses, and truly, her character blended right in and hid.  Loved the tucking of the face into the hands.  Honestly, she's done well and I am glad to see it.

Share this post


Link to post

Haha, I forgot about the harness! Dave and I talked about it for several minutes. "Suspenders?" "Extremely light bondage gear?" He has made some really terrible style choices this season; there was a terrible necklace a few episodes ago too.

Share this post


Link to post

I'm pretty sure that Ben referred to himself as a "Panther" not Robert, because I was irritated and they were clearly painting Ben as the arrogant again.

Share this post


Link to post

 

I don't think they are saints by any means, but I highly doubt Russ would have been acceptable in any Henson working environment.

 

IMO, the issue with Russ is more his temper than his vocabulary or anything else. The people that Jim Henson hired could be pretty bawdy, but always pretty good-natured. Russ doesn't seem like someone that can stay good-natured when stressed out.

 

After the Purple Vest of a few weeks ago, I shouldn't have been surprised by Brian's harness thing. And I'm pretty sure that that necklace is an all-the-time thing for him.

Share this post


Link to post

 

Did anyone else think that Melissa's creature's face looked like the Grinch That Stole Christmas?

 

Yes!  That was the first thing that came to my mind. 

 

I liked both of the top two creatures.  I like Melissa but I preferred the lily pad because I thought making a hidden creature from what was essentially a flat surface took more creativity plus the eye opening was a neat surprise. 

Share this post


Link to post

If you think about it, the Rock and the Lily pad were basically the same thing; the true creature was out of sight until it left its hiding hole.

 

The difference between the rock and lily pad though, is the eye-flower. That made the pad part of the creature and part of its disguise. The rock was just a rock that the creature hid in and had no real element otherwise. I agree with the judges in that had the rock moved when it moved forward for the snap, it would have been more effective; the rock would be a turtle shell instead of just a rock element. 

Share this post


Link to post

I could very well be wrong about this but they seemed to be referring to flat black pupils painted on a white ball for eyes when they referred to something being "too muppety."  Eyes seem to be a big thing for Henson and judges, though it seems rather mysterious to me that the eyes provided seem rather large, and large eyes immediately take something into the cartoony or cute range of things.  Is there an alternative?  I don't know (though the completely blank eyes for the bird last week were strangely effective), but so much time is being spent on getting the eyes right that I think other elements are being slighted (of course that could be an illusion thanks to film editing).  I liked Melissa's little grass creature.  The lily pad beast was very clever too.  They well deserved the praise they got.  It struck me, as Russ finally left the room, that Brian Henson is really good at dismissing people without making it seem mean.   Maybe it is just his manner and voice more than what he says.  Or maybe it is my imagination. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I'm pretty sure that Ben referred to himself as a "Panther" not Robert, because I was irritated and they were clearly painting Ben as the arrogant again.

 

OK, so I'm no fan of Ben. As a matter of fact I hope that, when he's eliminated, it's humiliating and humbling. I'm just evil that way when it comes to arrogant blowhards. That said, he was actually joking with the panther line. His creature's head was falling off the table, and he caught it before it hit the ground. Someone asked, "Wow. You caught that?" Ben replied, "Because I'm made of panthers." I actually hated myself for laughing at his joke, but I will be using that line anytime I do something awesome.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Eyes seem to be a big thing for Henson and judges, though it seems rather mysterious to me that the eyes provided seem rather large, and large eyes immediately take something into the cartoony or cute range of things.

 

Since eyes seem to be such a big thing, I wish in the first episode they would have given a good solid lesson on the servos and how to use them most effectively. Given that most of these folks may not have seen or worked with that type of technology before just a basic lesson would be helpful and maybe reduce the redundency of each episode having a whole segment about making the eyes work correctly.  To me, the eyes segment is getting boring fast.  

 

I loved Melissa's work and I'm glad the guys are underestimating her. I like her and actually am hoping she pulls the whole thing off. Of the remaining creatures, I did think Russ's was too amateurish. I didn't think his blended well at all and the color was completely wrong to blend with juniper. On my screen, at least, it looked kelly green and juniper is much more blue green. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

One of my biggest peeves with Russ was that nothing (negative) was his fault or doing.  It was someone else... sorry it's not 'reading' for you, must not be able to see it on the monitor, it must not be coming across well, blah... if it wasn't personally someone's fault (team member), then it was ill-perceptions on who was making the comments.  He couldn't own any criticisms.  Then thought himself some pillar of professionalism on how he 'left'.  I seriously wondered if the judges would cringe watching him working - the cussing, the slamming of his head, and instantly high frustration response with anything that went wrong.  I could honestly say I'd refuse to work around that.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

That's a great point about Russ, and probably a big reason why I haven't liked him all that much. He did give me a good belly laugh, though: When he was talking about how he rigged his eye mech, he made some snarky comment about how delicate the servo mechs the other contestants were using and how they'd have to be careful not to break anything. And then promptly broke the arm on his puppet. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Quite the challenge, and the final products were very impressive. The 4th best (because there were no worst this time), was the right choice, but man it had to be a tough call.

 

I did like the second one; I think he won for the eyes and the way it opened up; both great calls. Those eye mechanics were fantastic and really did pop out on screen. 

Share this post


Link to post

What I really liked about this challenge is sort of the same thing that I like about this show in general. The challenge brief was extremely specific and the judges seemed to grade on the basis of how well the contestants met that challenge. None of the subjective randomness of Face Off or Project Runway, where it almost seems as if the judges are using their own arbitrary criteria that the contestants aren't allowed to see.

 

Also, it seemed like something that an actual creature design team might have to do. The script for a movie might simply say, "An impressive looking alien walks to the podium. Its head opens up somehow to reveal a smaller creature inside, who delivers a speech." Then a producer or director might say, "Our budget is foam for this part, and latex for this part, and I really want to see those eyes moving or something, ok, team? See you in a week!" You know what I mean? This challenge was one of the most "life-like", or more accurately put, "job-like" task I can remember ever seeing on a reality show competition.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

I thought it was really cute how each of the aliens were listening intently and reacting while the judges were speaking with each contestant.  Just a little thing, but it was a nice touch from the puppeteers, and a fun little bonus.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

I was really impressed with the amount of work they got done in such a short time span. I'd been a bit concerned about how each challenge could improve on the one before it, but the contestants really stepped up their game. Jake was the right one to go. His sculpt was only marginally better than Melissa's, and everything else on Melissa's seemed better. Ben's and Robert's creatures were both fantastic. 

 

For some reason, I think it'll come down to Robert or Melissa. I think Ben has more skills than Melissa at this point, but she's shown how capable she is of learning quickly. And both Robert and Melissa seem really comfortable with the people that could be their bosses. Ben still seems ill-at-ease.

 

From the previews for next week, it looks like Brian will have more input into the design process or meet with the contestants individually or something. I'm looking forward to that, as every week he offers really helpful tips after-the-fact. If there's a second season, I'd much rather he be in the mentor role and have a rotating cast of judges. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

I'm impressed by the level of the work and how supportive the four were of each other.  If they don't have genuine respect for each other, they are doing an awfully good job of faking it.  I think the right ones are going forward (I am so glad they didn't do what some other reality shows do which is say "Oh, you're all so good, we're going to send all four forward; I don't like judges who can't make a decision).  The creatures were fun, and I do admire the puppeteers who have so little time to figure out how to work them.  I'm looking forward to the finale.

Share this post


Link to post

drmka9 - very well said. 

 

I really believe that Brian puts a very high mark on creativity and craftsmanship, but also on teamwork and whether someone is genuinely a good person.  When Melissa won and she received first pick, she said "since it was a team win, Ben can pick next" and Brian appeared very pleased.  She's said and done things that he seems to really appreciate with regards to how motivating, positive, and people-oriented she is.  And the other judges are just as impressed with how much she's learned and grown in just two weeks.   She's a bit of a young 'valley girl' in some ways, but she's also appreciative of others' work, complimentary (appropriately, not ingratiatingly so), and doesn't seem to have an ugly competitive side.  She's competitive, yes - but hasn't (from what I recall) once been ugly or dismissive about any other Sketestants.

 

And I am the first to say that she irks no end with her flagrant OVER use of the word 'like'.  Kills me.  And I really didn't want to like her because of it.

 

I am not saying she's the *best* designer/creator there in all areas.  I do like Robert's stuff (although yes, his alien this week looked a lot like two of his other creations and was even noted as a cross between two well-known characters) and I really think he has talent.  I also think, however, he sells himself short and doesn't show as well as he could if he had just a bit more confidence.  I wonder if Ben's double-win twice in a row did something to his confidence.  I think he felt he had it 'in the bag', come to find out Ben took the win.  I don't know if he's come back from those losses. 

 

I don't see Ben letting go of his ego any time soon.  The negative things he's said about all of the others shows poorly on him, in my opinion.  I can't see a company like this wanting someone who speaks of others like that in their employ.  Even the judges respectfully disagree, and there isn't a harsh word between them.  Ben's "I'm in a whole different caliber" attitude can be very off-putting. 

 

Hope Jake makes it into the company at another time, once he finishes school.  He seems completely geeked about what he's doing and it's great to see.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

 

What I really liked about this challenge is sort of the same thing that I like about this show in general. The challenge brief was extremely specific and the judges seemed to grade on the basis of how well the contestants met that challenge. None of the subjective randomness of Face Off or Project Runway, where it almost seems as if the judges are using their own arbitrary criteria that the contestants aren't allowed to see.

 

I've also noticed the judges are very concerned about the contestants meeting the challenge, and I really like that. I wonder if it's because part of the grand prize is a job with the Henson Company. The winner being able to follow specific creative direction is in the judges' best interests as employers/coworkers.

Share this post


Link to post

One thing I *did* notice was Robert's character was named Marklar from the planet Marklar.  A complete steal from South Park.  Not very original

Share this post


Link to post

 

She's competitive, yes - but hasn't (from what I recall) once been ugly or dismissive about any other Sketestants.

 

Exactly.  It's "healthy competition", as opposed to obsessive, win-at-any-cost competition filled with anger and bitterness towards the others. 

 

 

I don't see Ben letting go of his ego any time soon.  The negative things he's said about all of the others shows poorly on him, in my opinion.  I can't see a company like this wanting someone who speaks of others like that in their employ.  Even the judges respectfully disagree, and there isn't a harsh word between them.  Ben's "I'm in a whole different caliber" attitude can be very off-putting.

I don't know if Ben really realizes that everything he says & does that's captured on film is part of his job interview.  I truly believe Melissa & Robert do, because they are very reserved about bringing out anything critical or negative regarding their competition.  I think Ben is talented, but I don't think he has the maturity or maybe the capacity yet to work in a truly collaborative environment like Henson's shop.  

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

You are all hitting the nail on the head for me about Ben.  His stuff is really good but the ego just kills it for me.  I was imagining, this episode, if he did win and his attitude toward his future co-workers.  I pictured him condescending professionals in the shop he'd be working in and how quickly they'd show him the door.

 

I would love a Melissa or Robert win, though.  I think they really have a bright future!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I've worked with personalities like Ben's in a creative setting. When new to the job, they arrive expressing excitement and a willingness to be part of the team. Within a week or two, they've made up their minds who is "above" them (in terms of skills and authority) and who is "beneath them" (in terms of skills) and their behavior alters accordingly. They create bad feeling, they are subtly (or not so subtly) disrespectful to the ones they've judged and found wanting, they tend to become argumentative, and they make all kinds of trouble for the collaborative atmosphere. And they are nearly always wrong about their relative skill level. I do hope I am wrong about Ben, because he is talented, but that's definitely the vibe he is giving off, imo.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

 

I don't know if Ben really realizes that everything he says & does that's captured on film is part of his job interview.

 

This reminded me of an interview with Brian I read maybe a month ago. The production crew was apparently very particular about how they edited the talking heads. The specific instance he gave was Robert saying that the Henson Company was better than Disney, which they left in because it was something Robert had repeated and seemed to genuinely feel, as opposed to just saying it for screen time. It makes me think that they've been very careful about how the contestants have been portrayed, which is likely bad news for Ben.

Share this post


Link to post

This reminded me of an interview with Brian I read maybe a month ago. The production crew was apparently very particular about how they edited the talking heads. The specific instance he gave was Robert saying that the Henson Company was better than Disney, which they left in because it was something Robert had repeated and seemed to genuinely feel, as opposed to just saying it for screen time. It makes me think that they've been very careful about how the contestants have been portrayed, which is likely bad news for Ben.

Which is even more impressive.  It says to me that they all understand 'reality tv', competition, and what those two things can do to people/reveal in people.  And instead of giving a poor edit of someone, or allowing them to slit their own professional throats over one statement or a bad day, they are careful to accurately represent the competitors.  There really seems to be a core philosophy they not only follow, but promote.

 

Here's hearting Jim Henson and his legacy even *more*

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Season 1 ends with the final three receiving help from contestants who were previously eliminated as they face their toughest challenge, which is to design, build and perform a full-body mystical creature, complete with props and special effects, for the chance to win a job at Jim Henson's Creature Shop.

Share this post


Link to post

I really want Melissa to win. She seems really likeable, eager to learn and talented. I think those would be the perfect traits to work at Henson

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I thought Melissa was the clear winner, But I'm really happy for Robert. But then, I was ABB (anbody
but Ben).  

 

Very cool they brought in the family members. 

 

Ben lives with his MOM? And he's 24 years old?  Wow, that kinda explains why he's acted like a
spoiled, over-indulged child at times.   I actually liked his creature concept, but he ruined it
be being....well, Ben....*LOL*

 

And how did Ben and Robert both do ET looking characters?  Do people not see it when they're sculpting?
Same triangular-shaped faces, same oval eyes and similar flattened noses.  At least the paint job & the
hair of Robert's thing gave him more of a monkey look.  Ben's just looked like a neon turtle to me. 

 

I'm so in love with Brian Henson.  He's just so wise, and kind and sweet.  *sigh* Plus, I think
he's adorable.

 

GREAT show, I hope they bring it back for another season!

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

I think the mouth on Melissa's creature killed it. Everything else on it was great. Overall, though, I think Robert had the better portfolio of stuff. I'm just glad Ben didn't end up winning. His "it's really hard to trust people when I know I can do it better than them" really made me dislike him.

 

 

 

I'm so in love with Brian Henson.  He's just so wise, and kind and sweet.  *sigh* Plus, I think
he's adorable.

 

I'll 'fess up to having had a bit of a crush on him years ago, and a soft spot for him ever since. He's always come across as a genuinely nice guy in interviews and behind-the-scenes stuff.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

That was quite a final challenge.

 

I was very impressed with Brian's final one-on-one advice session with the finalists. I was especially impressed when he flat out told Ben he had to be more collaborative, and if he just did "the Ben show," he wouldn't win. It's been so clear that the contestants were being judged on attitude as well as skill, and that Ben was consistently falling down on that attribute. And even after Brian's perfectly clear warning, Ben was still moaning to the camera about having to let go of controlling every aspect of his creature himself. I thought it was ironic when it turned out one of Ben's big mistakes was missing the big gap at his creature's neck, and when he tried to defend himself by saying he had been inside the creature, testing it, Brian simply said, "You have to look in the mirror." Obviously, Ben didn't have anyone else looking for weak points while he did the testing. And, personally, I had a big problem with his story about the last embryonic creature. I kept thinking - if he's the last of the race, who is he going to reproduce with? I mean, if there's only one of a species left alive, it's over, isn't it? Unless the species is capable of asexual reproduction. Yes, I think too much.

 

Melissa was funny and capable, as always. It was nice to see her pleasantly surprised by the skills of the guy who was eliminated first. I also thought it was kind of great of the show to give him so much screen time being effective and creative (although it did make Lex disappear). I bet that did something to ease the sting of being the first one to go. I hoped very much she would win and I thought when Brian was toting up the areas in which each designer excelled that she was coming out on top. My one regret for her is that she wore that tight horizontally striped dress. She's a zoftig woman, and that dress made her look like a barrel. So unflattering.

 

But I'm OK with Robert winning. Even if his special effect didn't actually work.  He made other creatures that I thought were really good, and he's a nice guy who I think will make a success of his career.

Edited by Ketzel

Share this post


Link to post

I thought Robert's was the best. It was the only one that I really found myself forgetting it was a puppet.

 

For some reason, Ben's teeth were really distracting me. It looked like he was missing a tooth in some shots and then it was there in others.

Share this post


Link to post

I was happy with the finale.  I liked Robert and thought he earned the win.  He looked absolutely stunned and speechless.   I imagine Melissa was a close second.  She'll probably go on to do very well.  She's creative and talented and likeable.  Ben's final creature looked like a green turtle sticking it's head out of a cloth bag with a drawstring.  That gap between the creature and the shell was a big mistake.  Overall, I was impressed every week by how much the contestants could accomplish in a few days.  I hope there's a season two.  Loved Brian Henson.  Loved the show.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×