The name Jim Henson is just synonymous with awesome for me. I remember when I was little and wanted to be a puppeteer when I grew up because I was so amazed by Fraggle Rock, the Muppets and Sesame Street. I mean, before Jim Henson, did anyone care about puppets? Without Jim Henson there would be no Avenue Q, no Forgetting Sarah Marshall, dare I say, no Team America? So, needless to say, I was pretty excited to check out Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge which is exactly like Face/Off, which I also enjoy, except with huge puppets instead of make-up. Though, honestly, it seems like a lot of the skills overlap. I love reality television, though, and if the challenges actually require a legitimate skill, I’m even more pumped to watch. The premise of the show is that the contestants design and build their own creatures which are then put through a series of screen tests and judged by a panel of experts, one of whom is Brian Henson, Jim Henson’s son and chairman of the Jim Henson Company. The winner of the show gets a job as a creature designer at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop and 100,000 dollars. This show makes me wonder where the puppetry class was when I was in high school! Seriously, why am I a high school teacher and not a puppeteer? All of my old childhood longings to create and control crazy characters came back in full force while I watched the opening credits. There are ten contestants all with varying degrees and types of creature creating experience who are mentored by a different expert each week. The first challenge was to design and create an original sea creature that is discovered on the ocean floor by a submarine search light. Cool idea for a first challenge, in my opinion. They only have two days to complete the challenge- cue the nervous looks. They’re also randomly teamed up- cue the catfights. As could be guessed, there are some people on the show who are socially awkward and don’t quite pick up on the signs that they are rubbing people the wrong way. Poor Tina. She has no idea she is driving Russ insane. And of course, Russ refuses to be direct with her and let her know how miserable he is so they can get past it and work together to make a kick ass creature. Russ literally says at one point, “Working with Tina is a disaster.” Chaz and Robert provide a little more drama with their inexperience with foam work, which seems to be a pretty important skill for creature creators, so I’m wondering why they aren’t comfortable working with it. There’s a lot of foam and clay sculpting in the workroom just like in Face/Off, but then they bring in the puppeteers for a practice session! This was the best part of the show because you really get to see how talented these performers are as they bring these creatures to life. The puppeteers’ goal is to be completely invisible inside the creature and let the creature come alive through their movements. Chaz and Robert make it extremely hard for their puppeteer to perform inside their creature, and he later throws them under the bus by telling the judges that he can’t breathe inside the creation. Speaking of throwing people under the bus, Russ immediately sells out Tina during judging at the first sign of the tiniest of criticisms. Oldest trick in the reality TV show book, but still not cool, Russ. Tina defends herself and then ends up looking like a jerk. Backstage fighting ensues. Tina cries. I blame Russ for not speaking up during the creative process and waiting to air his grievances in front of the judges. That’s totally lame no matter how bad your partner is. Josh and Lex’s creature is the clear winner. It was creative, different, and gave the performer cool movements to execute. Russ and Tina are on the bottom because their creature isn’t creative enough and they fought in front of the judges. Chaz and Robert are on the bottom because they made their creature too hard for the puppeteer to perform in, and Chaz gets eliminated. Poor Chaz, we barely knew ye. Russ and Tina live to fight with each other another day. The puppeteers are really the stars of the show for me. They really brought to life the crazy sea creatures by making them scuttle across an ocean floor sound stage. It’s even more impressive when you realize that the point is to hide that there is a puppeteer involved at all. I’m seriously considering packing it all in to try my hand at a new career path in puppeteering. I’m almost certain that Brian Henson would hire me because, after watching the show, I’ve decided that Brian Henson is the coolest person ever. He would be the best boss because he is super nice, calm, and soothing. He just has an air about him that says, “supportive mentor.” He was always pointing out the positives of every person’s work, even when it wasn’t all that great, like in the case of Russ and Tina’s. Even when he’s chastising Russ and Tina for their “appalling” teamwork, he still comes across as someone who is just being harsh because he cares. Overall, I give the show a 3/5- I think it will get better as the competitors have more time to let their personalities show. As of right now, the best parts are the puppeteers in action and Brian Henson, because of his kind presence. Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge 1.01 "What Lies Beneath"3.0Overall ScoreShare this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.