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Face Off – Buggin Out

Posted by Ed Grabianowski on February 20, 2013

Face Off Bugging Out

A bug-themed challenge gives everyone the creeps, something “which has never before occurred” occurs, and the judges seriously blow it for the first time this season on this week’s Face Off.

Things begin with the fakest of fake reality show conversations as some people relax back at the apartment. “What will things be like now that Jenna’s gone?” someone asks expectantly. “I wonder who will be eliminated this week?” someone ponders ponderously.

There’s no field trip this week, and the special guest judge for the foundation challenge is someone from one of the sponsors. It’s Face Off’s version of the Bottle Episode! To win immunity, contestants must transform a model into an iconic storybook character (I hear that stuff is big these days). But there’s a twist! They have to be “bad girl” versions. That’s not super original, but I do love those terrible 90s bad girl comic books, so I’ll let it slide.

There are some really cool designs on this foundation challenge, most of which we see for about two seconds. Oh well, it’s not like the point of watching the show is to see the cool things these talented people come up with or anything. We’d better get that stuff out of the way so we can watch judging. Fox wins immunity with a Red Riding Hood in the midst of transforming into a wolf. I can’t believe he did that in the tiny amount of time allotted.

The main challenge starts with a semi-blind selection (again, no field trip, they’re in the studio). Everyone picks what appear to be microscope photos. Then it’s revealed that they’re actually designing bug/human hybrids, and they have to use the texture in the photo. Credit where it’s due: that’s pretty cool.

This is one of those challenges where the show’s time constraints become utterly ridiculous. Could we maybe give them an extra day for some of these, especially when they’re not in teams? With nine separate designs being assembled, most of them get very little camera time. We see almost nothing of Autumn, Eric Z., Fox, or House while they’re working. No time for that. Because judging.

Oh, Anthony had this week’s obligatory mold drama, and it was the silliest of mold dramas. Like, he couldn’t get his mold closed for about 10 seconds, then he sat on it. Drama!

Then suddenly it’s time for judging. This segment begins with 25 minutes left in the episode, or just under half. I’m going to keep mentioning this, because it sucks. No one really wants to watch the judges talk for half an hour. They’re great judges and all, but we want to see the contestants at work, making something from nothing, dealing with problems, hacking together solutions, taking (or ignoring) Michael Westmore’s advice. Judging should take maybe ten minutes.

Middle looks: House’s bee was fine, but even he admitted it was nothing to write home about. Eric’s mosquito had a clever touch with the blood bag, and the pale pink and white color scheme gave the creature an eerie vibe. Fox’s wolf spider did not work for me, mainly on account of a leg coming out of a boob, but he knew he had immunity so Fox just went crazy, and I appreciate the strangeness he accomplished. Autumn’s beetle was really quite good – those creepy mouth parts felt truly insectile.

Wayne was a top look with his firefly. He did a great job on the sculpt and created an impressive glowing abdomen. The way he disguised the model’s eyes was amazing. Sadly, he wasn’t given the win because he forgot to bring the elements that included the textures from the photo (Glenn’s melodramatic pre-commercial cliffhanger, “We have a situation which has never before occurred,” although I’m pretty sure it has).

So they gave the win to Kris (whose name I have been misspelling all season – my bad, Kris!). And despite the fact that they gave it to him on a technicality, there’s no doubt that he deserved it. From the incredible detail on the face to the beautiful chest piece, and visually striking wings, and the vivid blue color scheme, it was a great design.

At the bottom we had Anthony for the first time. He was just uninspired this week and never managed to bring his ant design together. It wasn’t terrible – I think Glenn’s description of the “Ninja Turtle” texture was very accurate.

Meagan’s moth was…well, my notes just say, “Oh my.” I want to say there were things I liked about it – the face sculpt was cool, and I actually think her use of fur worked pretty well. Even the bizarre blotchy paint on the wings worked for me in a strange way. But the overall effect was just a mess. I think the real problem was the way the wings seemed to jut out of a very anatomically weird place under the model’s arms.

Alam’s grasshopper was also quite a strange creature. There were certainly flaws in her work, but I enjoyed the overall effect. The head had a weird, alien profile to it. Alam just has a different sensibility – she comes up with designs that no one else would.

In the end, Alam’s glitter flip flops doomed her. I think this was a tremendous error by the judges. Meagan has talent, but she doesn’t have an eye for design. When she’s tasked with coming up with something original, the result is just not really cool. I’m thinking of her superhero, “Freedom Fighter.” Alam may need to improve some of her technical skills, but I loved seeing the ideas in her head brought to life each week. I’m disappointed to see her go.