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SyFy Face Off — “Year of the Dragon”

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Face Off 303, Year of the Dragon
As the contestants scrambled to create Chinese dragon designs that will stand up to an acrobatic dance routine, Alana discovered that the seventh cut is the deepest and we got the most ironic Face Off ending ever.

I only said that last part so you can drive yourself crazy trying to prove that I used the word “ironic” incorrectly. Enjoy your ten-thousand spoons.

Meeting at a Chinese temple to see a traditional dragon dance, the contestants were divided into teams of two and sent off to find inspiration in the temple architecture. I loved the huge amount of enthusiasm and positive energy as the teammates were bouncing ideas of each other and developing their concepts. That kind of thing is why creative collaborations can be so amazing to be a part of. The feedback loop of creativity was pretty cool.

Later, the teams got to work at the lab. For some of them (Tommy and Derek), the creative harmony played on. For others (Nicole and Rod), creative conflicts bubbled up through the initial excitement. To be sure, Rod and Nicole handled their disagreements in the most affable, drama-free way I’ve ever seen on a reality show.

Alana managed to injure herself again. At some point I’ll stop mentioning that in each week’s recap. It did give Rod the quote of the week, responding to Roy’s, “That girl is an accident waiting to happen,” with: “Waiting?!”

The short segment about Rod’s habit of running everywhere was cute, but it also pointed out something important about this show. As Rod said, they’re doing in three days what would normally take a month. The pressure is ridiculous, and if the final products don’t always look like Hollywood perfection, consider what these people could accomplish with a few months of pre-production and a decent budget.

Day two featured what has become Face Off standard operating procedure: mold drama. Every episode has at least one contestant freaking out about trying to get a mold open. This week it was Sarah. She almost had quote of the week with, “This is the _____ mold I’ve ever _____ made.” Go ahead, play Mad Libs with it! Don’t worry about parts of speech, just throw some words in there. Porcupine. Zeppelin. Fuchsia. Spicily. Putrescent. Butter. Perforate. Constabulary. Vex.

At the final showdown, McKenzie Westmore was working her usual Hollywood glamour. For some reason I love the contrast she provides. There are all these weird creatures around, the contestants are wiping sweat from their brows, Glenn is glaring out from behind his hair, and in comes McKenzie looking like Veronica Lake, all haughty looks and enigmatic smiles.

Alana and Laura’s goat/rat creature seemed to go over well with the judges, but I was underwhelmed by the paint job and lack of integration of the dragon theme. Roy and Jason’s snake/rabbit was pretty bad, and not just because of the spotty paint job. Bad color choices, bad decision to cover the cool chest piece , and kind of a weird face piece that looked like a cheap Halloween mask.

Sarah and Eric’s monkey thing lost, but I actually liked it. It reminded me of King Caesar, my favorite kaiju, which is admittedly Japanese and not Chinese. I thought the use of fur was interesting, and the vibrant color scheme, which the judges criticized, seemed a lot more interesting to me than Alana and Laura’s “realistic” paint job.

The best designs by far were Rod and Nicole’s rat-faced dragon with head tassels. The face was expressive, monstrous, and somehow traditional, and the kinetic effect of the headdress was perfect. Tommy and Derek’s demon ox was a terrifying beast to behold. With the turgid whiskers, nose ring, bronze color scheme and wicked cowl, that thing looked seriously bad-ass. And when all five dragons danced together, it was quite a sight – five very different creatures bouncing and swirling around the stage.

In the end, Tommy and Derek won, with Derek taking the meaningless (no booty this week) first place. In a sad twist, Derek’s brother Eric was sent home for his lackluster work on the monkey man. This week also saw Tommy complete his rise from nearly crashing out week one to being on the winning team, and Sarah going from a big $5K win to narrowly escaping elimination.

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Posted by on Tuesday, September 4th, 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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