Jim Henson’s Creature Shop ‘What Lies Beneath’ Recap: Episode 01.01

Jim Henson's Creature Shop
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Gigi Edgley (Chiana from Farscape) introduces the Contestants to Brian Henson, who lets the team know what’s at stake, a job at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop! Judged by himself, Creature Designer Kirk Thatcher and Creature Fabricator Beth Hathaway, the contestants will have to bring there best to win this amazing opportunity (seriously, this is my dream job).

Inside the Creature Shop the group gets a first hand look at where the magic of Jim Henson’s worlds were made. Brian Henson delivers the first Creature Brief (challenge), an undersea creature untouched by man, made in 2 days time in teams of 2.

 

The Teams:

Melissa & Ben

Russ & Tina

Jake & Yvonne

Chaz & Robert

Lex & Josh

Fluid movement and believability are key. Creative Shop Supervisor Pete Brook oversees the first challenge, helping the Challengers find their feet.

Russ proves to be difficult soon into the challenge, throwing a temper tantrum instead of communicating like a grown up, which is integral for any job that requires constant team work as production work does. The rest of the teams seem to work well together. Skills are tested, many are using elements they have never used before. Lex learns a lesson in using unconventional materials, donning Josh with the title of Hot Glue King, after seeing his melding of tinfoil and hot glue to make an impressive set of teeth for their creature.

During the team’s Master sessions with Pete Brook, time management issues in the first challenge become apparent. Chaz and Robert have difficulties figuring out how their puppeteer will maneuver in their piece. The elder members of the group are skeptical of their younger teammates. All are nervous at the end of the day.

On screen test day the teams rehearse with their professional performer. The work done in only 2 days is pretty impressive. Tina tries to offer solutions to her team’s creature issues, but Russ acts belligerent, yelling and cussing. His attitude gets old very fast and has no place in Jim Henson’s studios.

In judging, an underwater set is revealed to showcase their creatures. The judges are introduced, and the screen tests begin. All the pieces are impressive for the time allotted for creation. Lex and Josh’s creature stands out for its incredible textures and lights used innovatively. Robert and Chaz’s costume looks too cartooney to the Judges, but I agree that it does look the most Muppet like. Their actor is removed from the puppet, unable to breath comfortably. Russ throws Liz under the bus immediately, causing a meltdown between them on stage and leaving a poor impression for the Judges. Russ continues his mean behavior back stage, as the Judges talk over the contestant’s creatures.

Safe: Melisa & Ben, Yvonne & Jake

Strongest Team: Lex & Josh

Weakest Teams: Russ & Tina, Robert & Chaz

Winner: Josh         Sent Home: Chaz

I am so disappointed that Russ was allowed to stay and Chaz was sent home. As an artist that often has to work in collaboration, it pains me to see someone with talent let go instead of someone that is incapable of working well with others, which is a true necessity in the industry. There is nothing more frustrating than working with someone who comes to the table with no ideas, then complains about the ideas offered. Tina did not seem unwilling to hear him, so much as he seemed unwilling to speak. I wish that the Judges would look at footage of the Contestants working in the shop before making a decision, when something like a job working in a fabrication shop is on the line. I did agree with the winners of the day, and it was interesting to see what the Judges are looking for. It seems that order is for less Muppet, more realism, at least in this challenge. Though, the kid in me really loves the happy gaping mouths and bulbous eyes of creatures like the Fraggles and Muppets. One day I will have a Doozer of my very own…ONE DAY! *Shakes fist at the sky*

 

 

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About the Author

Ruby LeRouge
is a long time slave to the Silver Screen, and all around media junkie, with a strong interest in the study and archival of classic cinema reels, scripts, press releases and props. A professional artist, dabbling in prop fabrication, costuming, and practical effects makeup in her spare time. She credits much of her artistic inspiration to her life long love of movies, and holds a special adoration for stop motion animation, film noir, and classic B movies. She writes a movie editorial blog called Sleepless Cinema, sharing her candid view on all media, new and old. Insomniac and cinephile, coffee swiller and media collector, has silver screen scream queen dreams, and she lives her life in technicolor. "While the world sleeps, I watch". - Ruby LeRouge
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