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S07.E02: American Gangster

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The artists must create Dick Tracy-inspired gangsters based on the nicknames of real-life  ones.

 

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Hmm, this might be a good challenge if they don't all go the monster route. It doesn't sound like monsters, so they shouldn't, but that's never stopped the contestants before. I wonder if we'll see Dick Tracy version of Lucky Luciano, or Al Capone, Meyer Lansky?

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I was not that impressed with the fat suit, sorry. But I wasn't impressed with much this week.

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I really didn't like the winning look, though I could appreciate the over-the-top caricature and skill in fabrication.

 

I felt bad for Dina, being stuck with that loser suit.  She really wasn't able to show much creativity, and certainly nothing pretty. Of course, not all challenges can involve pretty, but a little finesse would have been good. 

 

Barry was cannon fodder. 

 

My fave was actually typewriter guy, with everybody's names "typed" into his skin.  If had been done a little cleaner, it might have won. 

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"Wow, what did they sculpt it with, a hammer?" Neville, I adore you.

 

It seemed like everyone had a really rough week. The tuna suit was the best of it, but there wasn't a whole lot of competition. I did kind of love Sasha's quick about-face, though. She went from wanting to be a good teammate to, when she knew they were in the bottom, immediately saying that the concept was her partner's. 

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But the concept was his. She should have been more forceful about getting their original idea away from the rat and back to the clock. Personally, I would have gone with a black and white look incorporating the grandfather clock silhouette in the body, number tattoos, and, if Barry was adamant about the rat, the could have a small one as a pet for the gangster. (The black and white paint job is an allusion to one of my favorite short stories, "Repent, Harlequin, Said the Ticktock Man.")

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Wow. Potential for a great challenge - no monsters or aliens! - brought down by boring concepts and really poor paint jobs. Dina, girl, what happened? You were so good last week!

 

It's not very original, but I picture the tick-tock man looking something like the Mad Hatter: oversize top hat and pocket-watch. Hey, it's better than a rabbit/rat face.

 

Didn't care much for the 'clear winner'. Maybe they really have reached the  bottom of the barrel, talent-wise.

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Big Tuna was the obvious winner. I'm not sure it looked like a Dick Tracy character though. Cig's fat suit won it mostly because the others were meh...

Poor Barry. But when Westmoreland asks you a question, you better know where your design is headed.

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I pictured the Tick-Tock guy as a nervous old clock with a bunch of rats nesting in his clothes. To reinforce the snitching thing, maybe the pockets could have been filled with shredded paper with gangster names, address segments, and speakeasy passcodes like the rats were gathering information for the G-Men. How cool would it have been if the model acted like he was trying to sneak handfuls of paper to the judges? Such a wasted opportunity.

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I would have liked the typewritten names to be done in black or blue--they were too hard to see in that reddish color.  Barry was so in love with the rat idea that he couldn't let go of it and see past it to other possibilities, and unfortunately, he steam-rollered his partner.  I never got the idea of the peanut guy--it looked like they were trying to make a tacky Mr. Planter's Peanut jewellery box with a gangster attached.  I thought the truck guy was pretty cool, actually.

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Totally agree with the judges this week on just about everything, which is rare. From the winner to the loser, it all seemed appropriate.

 

Dina is lucky that another team sucked so much more than her group. I did not need to see the mangy stomach of Mr. Peanut. Planters needs to sue for defamation of their icon. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for men with furry tummies, but that was traumatizing. As for the actual losers, I even thought the bomb prop was poorly made, and would have been embarrassed by that prop if that was my chosen profession.

 

Moving on to the better looks, I really loved the idea behind Mr. Typewriter. While I was amused by them putting the names of judges and the other contestants on the guy's head, it got really awkward when they all pitched in to help. Nice to see that aspect of the show is still in tact. Loved Mr. Fish, especially the disgusting (in a good way) gill/neck skin folds with the puffing cigar sticking out. However, I could have done without the bad Italian mafioso accents. I'm placing my money on Vince and Cig Neutron right now.

 

The only other thing that really stood out was Doc modeling Mr. Porcupine's hair after his own. That was a pretty cool character/idea too. And despite Glenn's snark, Mr. Mac Truck was pretty good.

 

Lois grew on me a bit this week despite (or maybe because) of her joining in with the bad fish/mob puns. Hate that they're bringing back the Judge's save cause it fits in with the life or death theme this season. Speaking of which, I've over that already.

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I had to go back to the beginning of the show to see what had happened to MacKenzie's hair. I could have sworn she had a short bob when she was at Universal Studios and then long hair at the judging. I guess she had just pinned it up loosely at the beginning.

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What a disappointment compared to last week. Apparently "over the top" is code for "monster". We're back to this kind of crap already. Nothing impressed me this week.

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This was a disappointing week, but then the names that they had to base their work on were pretty stupid.  I quite liked the shark gangster.  Otherwise I was unimpressed, especially by the tuna gangster.  I didn't like that at all; it just didn't say tuna to me at all.  I am so glad that Barry was sent home.  WTF does a rat have to do with tick tock???  And to not be able to explain yourself at all?  Stupid.  You should have listened to your partner!

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She started sketching a Clock character with a big moustache and a general grandfather clock type look to it (think of Cogsworth from Beauty and the Beast); and even that quick sketch looked better than their final result. It had a lot of potential that was just missed.

 

Peanut was mediocre. I'm not sure if I'd have put it in the bottom two, but it still fits. Still they needed a second for down there, so I'm wondering if they wanted to put a bit of 'fear of elimination' in those two to hope they tighten up going forward.

 

I did like the typewriter look; it just needed another hour for finishing touches in general to smooth things out. (Which is basically what the judges commented on). A neater look in general and they probably would have nailed #1 easily. And if they were going for a more Jig-saw type Horror villain, that look could have nailed that challenge too. 

 

The winning Tuna guy I liked too and have no problem winning. My only real flaw with it was the neck folds with the cigar. It didn't seem to fit for me for whatever reason. But the rest worked well. 

 

The truck one was the one that had the shiny metallic paint right? It was an interesting look, but I'm not sure if it would have quite fit the Dick Tracy theme they were looking for. Dick Tracy tends to have fairly flat colours IIRC, so it would have been a bit out of place in that respect. But maybe on a Dick Tracy cartoon it would have fit well. 

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I was a bit surprised the shark wasn't in the top looks, but they only had two this week so I'm fine with the two they chose.  I liked aspects of the tuna-the color seemed off to me, but it could have been much better in person.  Barry just rolled over Sasha and I think she went with it because if they ended up in the bottom, she could shift the blame (which she smoothly did...).  I don't understand why Barry thought the rat would be acceptable...all of the gangsters were 'rats.'  The criteria was cartoony and Sasha's drawing seemed to be heading in that direction.  Of course, I didn't see the life/death theme in this challenge, so am unsure of the importance of that theme.

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The winning Tuna guy I liked too and have no problem winning. My only real flaw with it was the neck folds with the cigar. It didn't seem to fit for me for whatever reason. But the rest worked well.

 I thought those were gills and he was smoking through them.

 

MacKenzie did not look good at judging.  I think it was the makeup. Her eyes were drifting into Taylor Dane/Janice the Muppet territory.

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@morakot

I too thought "Oh, McKenzie looks so cute with that new short cut. Makes her look younger".  Then saw it down at judging and was disappointed.  

 

I will give huge props to Doc & Stella for creating the Needles character.  He's got to have the most Glenn Hetrick/Sonic the Hedgehog looking hair of any we've seen...*LOL*

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If he had to go with a rat theme, he could have justified it with the Hickory Dickory Dock nursery rhyme. 

 

I actually felt a little uncomfortable with the whole challenge.  These may have been nicknames, but they were basing these characters and their interpretation on real people who didn't really die all that long ago and who probably still have family around.  It seems disrespectful, even if they were criminals involved in organized crime. 

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This was the first time I've watched the show, and I've got a couple of questions about the judging:

1) Are the judges considering how the makeup/mask will look on film, or just how it looks in the room with them?

2) Is the judging Top-Chef style, where supposedly the contestants have a clean slate each week, or do the judges consider the full body of work when sending someone home?

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It was nice to see a different type of challenge though. Sadly, next week we're back to aliens. Damn. :(

 

(The black and white paint job is an allusion to one of my favorite short stories, "Repent, Harlequin, Said the Ticktock Man.")

 

Was that Harlan Ellison? I seem to remember reading that one. Funny since I'm not a scifi fan but I LOVE his short stories. Djinn No Chaser is my favorite.

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Definitely Ellison! His short stories can have wonderful titles--in addition to "Repent, Harlequin," he wrote "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream."

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Yeah, that was a disturbing tale for sure. Most horrifying 'A.I. gone wrong' story I've ever read.

 

(Sorry for the hijack, back to talking Face Off!)

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I prefer to reserve any real judgment until after the majority of the "team" challenges are over and done with and we get to solo work. I think this type of competition is very difficult for a team challenge of 2. Maybe 3 or more works better, but with only two its always one person steam rolling the other and/or one person being a doormat in the name of "being a team player". With 3 or more on a team it tends to be a team captain mentality that plays out and works much better.

all this said...The Big Tuna and the Typewriter looked best. The Needles guy wasn't terrible but Glenn was right, the concept was a bit cliche and perhaps too predictable. My counter to him would be, "Look, we are on the second challenge, how out of the box do you expect me to be man." Its simply not time for going out on any limbs, and to be perfectly honest all of the riffs on the gangster names were fairly cliched!

As always however, I am as amazed as Monty at how these contestants always work together and never seem to act petty or backstab one another. If someone calls for help...everyone helps. If someone asks for advice, everyone gives it freely and without judgment. It is quite refreshing.

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I don't understand why Barry thought the rat would be acceptable...all of the gangsters were 'rats.' 

I don't think so. The term "rat" isn't slang for any gangster; it's slang for a snitch. The gangster they chose was a notorious rat. That being said, Barry was an idiot for suggesting that they capitalize on that aspect of his character instead of his nickname as instructed, and he was a total ass for not compromising with his partner. Also, it didn't appear that he took appropriate responsibility for steering the project into the crapper.

 

Like others, I momentarily thought McKenzie had cut her hair into a youthful bob and was disappointed that she was back to her usual shenanigans at judging. Why oh why does she insist upon the hairspray-helmet hair and painted-on dress? Her silhouette and overall look never change, and while I'm not denying that she's hot, I think her signature look actually ages her.

 

I'm happy to be getting to know this new set of contestants. Per usual, they seem like a nice and fairly talented bunch.

Edited by Portia
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2) Is the judging Top-Chef style, where supposedly the contestants have a clean slate each week, or do the judges consider the full body of work when sending someone home?

I think it's been a little of both. If there's a clear loser, that's who will get the axe, but if it's close, they'll factor in each contestant's prior work.

 

I'm not sure I buy that the "random" assignment of teammates was as random as implied. It looked more like they divided the group into two based on last week's performance and randomly matched a talented contestant with an anchor.

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I wasn’t overly impressed with any of the make-ups this week.  For me, the Big Tuna make-up won by default; I didn’t see anything particularly innovative or creative about it.  To me, it seemed a very literal interpretation of the nickname.

 

Oh vey, that rat was all kinds of sad.  I half wished that the team had stuck with the idea of the face being a clock with the mustache being the clock hands; while that was yet another literal interpretation of the nick name it would have been more interesting than that grey horrid rat.

 

I have no idea what Mr. Peanut was supposed to be; couldn’t they have somehow miniaturized his features?

 

I really thought the team with the most innovative concept was the Typewriter – I liked the idea of the brass knuckle typewriter keys and the names “typed” into his skin – it failed in execution.

 

I just can’t with that Cig guy … between the affectations and not one, but two name patches I find him pretentious.

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 I am so glad that Barry was sent home.  WTF does a rat have to do with tick tock???  And to not be able to explain yourself at all?  Stupid.  You should have listened to your partner!

The first thing I thought of was Hickory Dickory Dock (the mouse ran up the clock) when I saw it, so I wonder if that was something they thought of, but it didn't make the show. Other than that, I can't think of another rodent/clock connection.

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I actually still like Cig. I'm glad he's still being relatively cool, or I'd feel stupid for saying I kind of liked him last week. I also thought the tuna was the clear winner...it was just the right balance between man and fish to fit into the vibe the judges were looking for. I thought they might have a problem with typewriter guy's head--it was disproportionately big for his body, I thought. Great idea, though.

 

We also don't have a crier yet, and I'm thankful. I could do without an Alana or Chloe this season.

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thought they might have a problem with typewriter guy's head--it was disproportionately big for his body, I thought.

I'm guessing since it's a Dick Tracy inspired challenge that is okay, the Dick Tracy goons generally had disproportionate heads(either too small or too large) as part of the general caricature look they had. IMO what really made the Typewriter and Big Tuna work is that they really went with the whole caricature idea and ran with it, they didn't look like people or people-object hybrids but caricatures of people(like I could see a political cartoon of a politician looking like Big Tuna if they wanted to signify something was fishy with him).

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I am pleased to have another challenge that steered the contestants away from monsters and outright eliminated the possibility of aliens.  I am pleased by who won and who went home, based on the merits of their concepts and execution.  I am not pleased by the lack of "wow" makeups and preponderance of mediocre work in this challenge.  Step it up, boys and girls, it needs to get better.

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Rachael looks like Melissa Gilbert to me. That's why she distracts me. I thought the tuna man was far and away the best. The rat was just sad. Re:MacKenzies hair, why does everyone think a bob cut would look "youthful"? Just wondering. I like her hair myself.

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I thought that the typewriter concept was going to have the words on his head written in black ink which would have made the design bolder and more interesting to me. From more than a few feet away, it just looked like he had bad skin.

 

I totally agreed with Sasha as soon as she said that she wasn't fond of rat face makeup. It's hard to do well so most of the time it ends up looking like a nose prosthetic with a bunch of fur. Too bad her partner didn't listen to her because I thought the clock face with the moustache sounded much more interesting.

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If I were the type who squeels with delight, I would have been squeeling when everyone came over to help one team (typewriter guy, I think) get their mold cleaned and poured before the end of day two.  This is why I love this show.

 

I don't think Barry steamrolled as much as Sasha laid down and played dead (Barry is no Autumn).  She told him her idea, he had doubts and was excited about his concept, and she decided to go with what he wanted.  She should have asked him "How does this rat-man go with the name Tick-Tock?" When Mr. Westmore asked basically the same thing, Barry looked like he hadn't even considered the name, so I have to assume Sasha never pointed it out, perhaps because she didn't think of it either. 

 

Cig reminds me of Sheldon on Big Bang Theory.  Part of it is the build and a slight facial resemblance, but I can also picture Sheldon thinking Cig's sideburns and outfit at judging was cool.

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Portia, thanks for pointing that out to me.  You're right-the term rat in this instance was for snitching.  I was just thinking a different direction.  Nevertheless, I think the decision to go with a rat was the wrong way to go.  After looking at the photo in the recap, I can see more depth to the make-up of the tuna, so agree that it was the clear winner.

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I think the people with the Peanut were really lucky the rat didn't meet the challenge's requirements because otherwise i'm pretty sure it would have been one of them up there, because that was straight up hideous on every level(I can at least give the rat that it had a competent face sculpt and no glaring edges).

 

I'm surprised the Needle guy made it into the top 3 but the Shark didn't. The Needle guy besides the hairline has really bad edges showing, especially around the mouth where they're about as abrupt and visible as the hairline. The Shark is a bit on the nose, but the sculpt and paint job were really good.

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Not impressed by this week's creations, even by the winning Big Tuna. With every character, either the contestants lacked skill, or their concept felt uninspired. I'm really surprised noone tried to go either old comic strip or Sin City, as far as colors, design & style go. You could have done a striking, bold gangster with a b&w paintjob, and really accentuated features & shading.

Edited by Kaoteek

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I thought that the typewriter concept was going to have the words on his head written in black ink which would have made the design bolder and more interesting to me. From more than a few feet away, it just looked like he had bad skin.

 

I thought they were crazy for molding the words into the head piece. It would have been more visible and possibly simpler to do stencils to added on during last looks, then say they were tattoos. I was surprised that the carved words survived the molding process.

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I really liked this challenge....it wasn't a tired twist on "Here, make a monster!" Or an alien. Which we're back to next week, oh joy.

 

I missed Ve more than I thought I was going to. She always has such entertaining comments, and when she likes something, she really likes it. When she doesn't, she's snarky about it in a respectful way. (There's a sentence about reality television that I'd NEVER thought I'd type.) My jury is still out about Oldies Ramona Quimby. I'm not sure if it's the accent or what, but I don't see her growing on me.

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A few things I forgot to add earlier: The guy running around in the fat suit was hilarious in the teaser more than in the episode itself, but was still sorta funny. The guest judge looked and sounded very much like a gangster himself. Cig and George's bromance after winning was a little... bizarre.

 

1) Are the judges considering how the makeup/mask will look on film, or just how it looks in the room with them?
2) Is the judging Top-Chef style, where supposedly the contestants have a clean slate each week, or do the judges consider the full body of work when sending someone home?

 

Your guess is as good as ours. Sometimes it does; sometimes it doesn't. However, they have commented occasionally on some of the nicer creatures as being "film ready". Therefore, it may not be a hard requirement, but one that they're pleased to encounter when it happens. I think they have judged on filmed work alone before, though I may be confusing it with Jim Henson's Creature Workship Challenge, which always judged on both live and film appearances every week. I second LoneHaranguer's answer for the second part.

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Loved some of the one liners people have pointed out, in particular Glenn and Neville during judging with the Boardwalk Empire and "sculpted with a hammer" observations.  But overall, a pretty meh week and a sad reversion to poorly done monstrous faces; unreal paint jobs, flat look; about all that's going right this week is some decent silhouettes.

 

I did find some of the work flow choices to be odd.  For example, the typewriter guy... this seems like a classic "less is more" costume, where they should have done just a cowl and some minor prosthetics or very thin/light layer on the face so he still looked human, albeit with cartoonishly large chin/flat nose etc to signify "mob thug" in a way that is, well, Dick Tracy like.  As it turned out, the head looked blocky, unfinished, and like a bad Halloween mask.  However, with the saving grace of the letters concept... it was a nice idea, which is good enough in a weak episode to move on.  Still, all that effort, hand-making the stencils (because... you can't just buy/find a stencil in the lab?), then hoping the mold would retain the fine-grained detail, all to have a flat, barely visible set of letters on a poorly painted square face?  Why not do a regular cowl, then burn or carve into it the typewriter symbols- and spend more time making those brass knuckles look like real metal typewriter hammers, as if he branded himself with his own brass knuckles after each kill?

 

The "Big Tuna" was clearly the best of a poor bunch, and it's a promising sign that they chose to do hints of fishiness without a literal, over-the-top design like the Shark, although I thought they missed an opportunity to make him less blobbish.  From the original sketches, I figured it would be more like a cartoonish corporate exec look, all pinstripe suit, cigar, and with hints of blue and yellow in the skin tone to emulate a tuna.  Plus, the skin tone was so silly putty looking it didn't seem quite camera ready.  Still, Glenn was right: there was really only one top look/winner this week, and the wealth of lovely details- the GOODNIGHT/sleep with the fishes weapon, the hair tufts reminiscent of fins, the lit up and talcum powder puffing cigar, and the fat suit, to name a few- just took this over the top.  Better execution on the skin tone/paint job, and we probably have a top look of the season.

 

I didn't get why the shark and Mack truck were "safe"; while I'm not wild about their spot-on choices, they met the challenge fully, the looks were clean and well-executed, and they definitely should have been there over the sloppy Needles and possibly the Typewriter, as executed.  They seemed the most "Dick Tracy", although that wasn't explicitly part of the challenge, so I was kind of surprised that the Mack truck didn't at least make it to the top looks.

 

Okay, yeah... that rat was beyond terrible- and the poor attempts to salvage it with a lame backstory, like the sloppy, off-balance ear being because of a bomb, should have been called out as "You know perfectly well that's just a bad ear job, and not your planned backstory of an explosive mishap"- although I guess Neville's comment was about as close as theyd' get while still seeming professional.  It's laughably bad that there was no "tick tock" there except the timebomb, which is exactly what Michael Westmore threw off as an idle suggestion; they didn't even try to come up with their own idea, apparently.  They honestly had time when Michael Westmore was saying all that stuff to ditch the rat and go with a low-prosthetic clockface guy. Someone above mentioned the grayscale idea; I think that would have been brilliant for this costume, something like this, so as to seem like he just stepped out of a newspaper or old newsreel, making him look weasely but without explicit rat features.  Then add in the grandfather clock elements- the facial hair done like markings around a clock, with the mustache as hands, and a tie that looks like a big brass pendulum.  Then, when the bomb is added, it looks that much more fitting- more of a clever accessory like the GOODNIGHT tuna than a pathetic saving throw to pretend you remotely adhered to the challenge.

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I've been thinking it might have been cool if they had given Tick Tock a pocketwatch instead of a prosthetic eye, and some random watches as part of his costume, with a few missing fingers or teeth or other obvious bomb damage and then had a couple of random mice cavorting from his pants pocket, up his shoulder, across his head, and back down the other side (no I don't know how they would have done that, but some kind of fishing lure pulley system maybe).  Of course that would presume that they knew his name was Tick-Tock and that the clock was central to his character.  I guess I would have been going for a mad bomber who kept botching the job.  I would at all costs have avoided anything remotely Cogsworth.

 

This was my first-ever episode of this show, and I really enjoyed it.  Can't believe (with my local theatre background) I'd never seen it before.

Edited by magpye29
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Every time they mentioned Big Tuna, I expected to see Andrew Bernard and Jim Halpert.

 

One of the things I love about this show is that the contestants are competitive but are still willing to help each other. When they ask questions about technique, people answer honestly and make an effort to educate each other. When someone needs help with a mold (which has happened before in past seasons), people come running to help because they know that it's just bad luck when that happens and that it's really frustrating to deal with. I don't know if I've seen THAT many people come help with a mold before though. I love seeing that kind of camaraderie and generosity.

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Re:MacKenzies hair, why does everyone think a bob cut would look "youthful"? Just wondering. I like her hair myself.

When her hair was pulled back loosely, it looked bouncy and fun to me, whereas I find her usual style a bit stiff and old-fashioned by comparison. :-)
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I thought this was actually a very hard challenge and that none of the contestants really stretched to meet it, although Big Tuna and the Typewriter came closest to illustrating the nicknames without being overly literal about it. Given the parameters, I thought the team working on Peanuts had the hardest assignment because, for the life of me, I can't imagine how to portray that character without getting in Mr. Peanuts territory.

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I thought the team working on Peanuts had the hardest assignment because, for the life of me, I can't imagine how to portray that character without getting in Mr. Peanuts territory.

 

Maybe go the elephant route?

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I thought this was actually a very hard challenge and that none of the contestants really stretched to meet it, although Big Tuna and the Typewriter came closest to illustrating the nicknames without being overly literal about it. Given the parameters, I thought the team working on Peanuts had the hardest assignment because, for the life of me, I can't imagine how to portray that character without getting in Mr. Peanuts territory.

I think they could have given him skin like a peanut shell instead of a giant head like a peanut shell

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