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SyFy Face Off — Who’s the New Who?

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Face Off, Who's the New Who

It’s Face Off time, when Seussian whimsy turns into nightmarish reality, hearts are broken, fur is fun, Grazers graze, and even Glenn cracks a smile.

First, the big news earlier this week was that Face Off has been renewed for a fourth season. Season three has been pulling in decent ratings, better than season two. Congrats to the producers, and high fives all around to SFX fans like me who love the show.

As the episode begins, Alana is sad about Rod leaving. It actually seems like Alana is sad at the start of every show, but it’s just because this group seems really tight, and Alana’s heart is two sizes too big. You can hardly fault a girl for being loyal to her friends.

The gang heads to the Whoville set on the Universal back lot, where McKenzie introduces them to producer Brian Grazer (Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, How the Grinch Stole Christmas). I have to take a second here to note how freakin’ amazing McKenzie Westmore looked here. She always brings the glam to Face Off, but she melted my TV this week.

Grazer looked…well, rather Seussian.

Which, hey, clever segue, is totally appropriate because the task this week is to pick a character from a fairly obscure Dr. Seuss book (Sleep Book) and create a human-Seuss hybrid monster that would leave the children of the world quivering in feverish, frantic, sweaty dreams for the rest of their lives. Or at least, I assume that was the off-camera direction, because holy crap, every last one was pure nightmare fuel. I thought maybe they’d go with Seuss’ anti-Germany propaganda film, but no. Sleep Book.

There was sort of an inadvertent twist in that no one other than Roy seemed to have any clue what any of the characters looked like, so they picked them blind, on name alone. What could have been a really cool challenge ended up a bit lame because virtually all of them looked the same. Pudgy, furry little dudes with floppy ears and pointy noses. Laura got a cool dragon/dog, and Alana got stuck with a big fluffy blob. The look of horror on her face when she first saw it was priceless.

Alana dove right in for quote of the week by pleading with an oddly reticent Derek for design help: “How would you do this bitch?” Her only real competition was from Nicole’s dozing model, who in full Seuss regalia drowsily wondered, “Did I drool?”

Ve came by for a walk through and had some good advice for the contestants. The really interesting thing here, and I noticed this last week as well, is that McKenzie got really involved in discussing the designs. That’s awesome – previously, she did not comment at all (or anything she said was edited out). Given her family background and work on TV, I’m pretty sure McKenzie has plenty to say. Thank you, producers, for bringing that to the fore.

On to the designs. Two cutesy challenges in a row was a little much for me, so I was not as excited about this one as I probably should have been. Next week, killer cyborgs, yes! Now, the judges seemed to find some of the designs cute, but they were all actually terrifying in the way that only something that is trying to be cute but is really an abomination can be terrifying. Roy’s Planet of the Baboona creature was unnerving, with its coquettish eyes and corpulent belly. Sarah’s hornblower had a rictus smile that could only be the result of horrific knife torture, and Derek created this stoned-out Ziggy Stardust thing in red pajamas.

Laura came through again with a grey beasty with a red mohawk. She was worried that there wasn’t enough color, but the splash of red in one place worked brilliantly, and as the judges noted, the airbrush work was stunning. For many of the artists, the paint job comes down to, “I hope my paint doesn’t f!@& up my prosthetic,” but Laura’s painting was essential and added so much texture.

Nicole made a funny-faced thing with curly hair and fun fur. I didn’t think it was bad, but it didn’t strike me as a winner either. Still, glad to see Laura back on her horse. Apparently it will be a thing now where you can tell who will win an episode by whoever they interview at the beginning. As soon as someone says, “I really need to win it this week,” there’s your bellwether.

Alana. Oh Alana. I feel I was a little too hard on Alana last week by saying she wasn’t talented enough. I think the opposite may be true – she has a ton of talent, but she’s been crippled by self-doubt since the first episode. Without the support of Rod, she kind of fell apart this week (although everyone really helped her out in a big way). Hey, what was I doing at 21? Nothing this cool.

Unfortunately, though, that creepy puffball of an Ooft was pretty bad. She actually executed the makeup very well, but the paint was lacking again, and the overall design was just…wrong. The costume looked like a couple of couch cushions. That tiny, pinched face will haunt me. If this had been a different challenge (“Design a terrifying creature based on garden vegetables…Alana, you get onion.”) then it might have been a top look.

Ok, I’m just going to come out and say it: I’m going to miss Alana. I might have to retire quote of the week in her honor. I can’t argue with the judges’ decision, but I can be sad about it.

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Posted by on Tuesday, October 9th, 2012. Filed under Dark TV, Headline. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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