My Love of FaceOff

When a reality competition show has been on for a few seasons, the viewing experience could become a little tired. Challenges become repetitive, contestants struggle, (and sometimes) overcome struggle, get praised then chewed out by the judges, go to hell and back, and ultimately one person takes home the grand prize. Yawn. How many times can we see a rocker on American Idol fail during R&B week? How many times can you listen to the judges on Chopped say that an appetizer made of goose liver, gummy worms and banana peels isn’t creative enough?

Enter FaceOff, SyFy’s “movie monster” makeup competition. Currently in its 9th season, with 2 cycles per year, special effect artists on the show are tasked with creating makeups and characters that range from angels and demons to fish people, to aliens, to whimsical Tim Burton-esque organisms. What these people can do with silicone and prosthetic noses!

Hosted by actress McKenzie Westmore (whose father, Michael Westmore is a mentor on the show and legendary Star Trek special effects artist), each week usually consists of a Foundation Challenge, a mini competition that awards immunity to the winner, and a Spotlight Challenge – the basis for which an artist is eliminated. Each challenge is unique, and tasks the artists with showing off their makeup/prosthetic/painting skills. And boy, do they!

This season, the show added Focus Challenges, which task the artists to get certain aspects of a makeup just perfect, “focusing in” on a character’s facial details, for example. Also introduced this season: The Gauntlet, a series of 3 Foundation Challenges back to back, in which the artists are scored and ranked; the lowest ranked artist is eliminated.

What the show does really well is it focuses on the actual challenge, and the artistry. It’s not (or it least it doesn’t feel) contrived; there’s no “Here are the artists at home, fighting after a long day.” It’s leave the studio, quick B-roll of a sunset, a sunrise, then back in the studio. The focus is on the artists and their talent, as it should be! Maybe they don’t fight at home; maybe they do. I don’t care, because I’m more interested in how they’re turning Bob into a crab man from Mars.

FaceOff also does social media right; viewers are encouraged during the show to talk about the artists’ creations on Twitter, but I doubt anyone really needs the reminder. The show tweets out GIFs and videos of the models’ transformations into their characters, and really tries to make it an interactive experience.

Words can’t really do the show justice; to see is to believe. While there are still reality competition shows that I really enjoy (why are there not 2 cycles of Top Chef a year?), FaceOff is just getting better, and weirder, with age.


The Last Man on Earth S2 E3

Dead Man Walking

I had hoped that every season Carol and Phil would find new people to hang out with.That route probably would have been much more interesting (and provided the chance to bring in different actors/comedians) and much more funny. Instead they find the Tuscon crew in Malibu.

After accidentally killing Gail’s lover Gordon Vanderkruik (Will Ferrell) after scaring him in the last episode, Carol and the crew hold funeral on the beach. They welcome Carol back, and she tells them Tandy (still easily the worst nickname ever) is dead, from a fall off the Grand Canyon.

The Tuscon crew doesn’t seem to care that Tandy’s dead, and honestly who could blame them? As they’re on the verge of giving him another chance, Tandy comes in waving a gun in their faces. Whenever I want people to forgive me, I apologize at gunpoint, too. /sarcasm. Tandy ends the episode in stocks (yes, like medieval stocks), and apparently he’s going to stay that way until next week. Sigh.


Gail: (To Carol, about Phil) Did you scare him to death, too?
Carol: Well hardy har har, Phil. You’re like a regular Brad Garrett today.
Carol: Maybe hello would have been a little less… death-causing.

Family Guy S14 E3

Guy Robot

A pretty standard episode of Family Guy. Brian becomes a stand up comic and uses Stewie’s social media feed as material. Stewie builds a robot, Lyle, as a friend. Lyle, in turn, builds some robot friends for himself and they end up bullying Stewie. Lois and Peter get a new mattress, but after Lois won’t sleep with Peter on it, he goes to get the old mattress back. Brian destroys the robots, and Peter and Lois ditch the old mattress.


H. Jon Benjamin voicing Carl impersonating Bob Belcher and Sterling Archer, all in the same voice, was amazing.
Children in trench coats pretending to be adults is still funny in 2015.
Meg was only seen from behind in a cutaway and not voiced in the episode.
Peter found a thrill on Blueberry Hill.


Peter: (Drunk) We act like we didn’t take a lot from The Simpsons, but we took A LOT from The Simpsons.
1950’s Doctor: (Referring to Joe) All cripples are insane. Euthanize this man!
Brian: It’s done; I sprayed them with the hose.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine S3E3

Boyle’s Hunch

The phrase “The bloom is off the rose” is what I think about when watching this show this season. It’s still funny, but the 2 previous seasons were just – funnier. It’s enjoyable, but I don’t find myself laughing. This week they abandoned the “Who’s the Captain this week” gag, which I thought had a lot of potential, even though Bill Hader and Dean Winters weren’t exceptionally funny, IMO. We’ll see how and when Holt gets back to the 9-9, but hopefully they’ll have some knock-out guest stars before that happens.

Boyle meets his perfect woman – sorry, Mary Lou Henner – in Genevieve (Mary Lynn Rajskub), who is unfortunately on the wrong side of the law. He and Jake get on the case to clear her name, after making up a song to the melody (?) of Fergie’s My Humps, naturally. They prove her innocence and save the day…

Holt asks Amy to be part of the NYPD’s new positive image campaign, much to her delight and Gina’s annoyance. It fails, and he comes up with a very modern take on the very real NYPD. Gina’s reactions were the highlight of this story, and makes me want her back at the 9-9 ASAP.

Rosa and Terry try to figure out who’s stealing ice cream at the precinct; Hitchcock and Scully are the prime suspects. Hilarity doesn’t ensue.


Jake gets a spider-partner with questionably funny names.
Rosa likes Moose Tracks ice cream, thanks to Marcus.
James Urbaniak (as Genevieve’s ex Nick) is everywhere these days!


Rosa: Step one: put a delicious pie in the fridge and cover it with poison.
Terry: That’s step one? What’s step two?
Rosa: Tell their widows they were thieves.

Gina: Because this campaign, like 3 out of 5 Backstreet Boys, is inconsequential.

Jake: If she farts in that thing, does it blow up like a balloon?

Gina: It’s tacky to take credit for stuff.

The Simpsons S27 E3


This episode opens with a nice callback to Mrs. Bouvier’s Lover with Burns and Grampa vying for Jacqueline’s affections! Patty and Selma find out their dad actually died of lung cancer and vow to stop smoking. Selma falls off the wagon, so Patty moves in with The Simpsons – more specifically, Maggie. In the end Patty goes back to the status quo, and all is right with the world.

Meanwhile, Maggie has a special (and whimsically animated!) adventure with some animal pals. This is very reminiscent of the short before The Simpsons Movie; this time Maggie and an animal crew rescue a possum from Cletus and family. Nothing of note here, except this was the B-storyline of the episode, and perfectly fun to watch.

Jon Lovitz voices a cigarette with a lonely Selma.
Homer bleaches his (and Bart’s) eyes to avoid Patty in the shower.
Spider-Pig (Harry Plopper?) returns!

Homer: No one out fats me!
Disco Stu: Disco Stu needs a Zoloft or two.