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Episode Recap: The Laughing Dead


It's time for a Foundation Challenge! Dontcha just love those? Alumnus judge Patrick Tatopoulos (we love him, too!) is here to tell us who created the best original Grim Reaper and award them immunity in the upcoming Spotlight Challenge. There are some great ideas, like Tate's Hades gatekeeper, Roy's decomposing ghoul, and Eddie's tree god, but it's Laura's use of brow prosthetics covering the mouth and jaw that, expertly applied and painted, that win Patrick's favor. She feels a wave of relief, but won't use the win to slack off - this is Laura we're talking about, after all.

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The next day finds the contestants at the historic Laugh Factory where Ve and McKenzie fill them in on their next assignment: a funny ghost. Ve, who won an Oscar for her work on Beetlejuice, knows a thing or two about blending comedy and spooky stuff, and reminds them that it's all about contrast - colors, textures, and obviously, moods.

In the lab, most of the artists get off to a speedy start, but Eddie - whose initial concept was a doctor who was killed trying to find the cure for cancer - decides, three hours in, that cancer isn't very funny. He scraps most of his sculpture and starts over on a cartoony baseball player who gets so angry that he throws a bat that circles back and strikes him in the head. Roy, who realizes he's been on the bottom mostly because he's trying too hard to please the judges, decides to go with his own personal style. Win or lose, he has to make work that he loves making. He decides on the Vaudevillian trick of having two little people - one sitting on the others' shoulders - wearing a trench coat to make them look like one tall person. He's so delighted with how the lower half turns out that he tries it on and scuttles around the lab for everyone's delight. The other artists share a moment of gleeful envy that he made something so cool.

Laura is also slamming out a monstrous amount of work. She sculpted and molded an entire chest piece on the first day, so on the second day she's able to pre-paint it. She even makes an extra falling-off ear for her mad scientist (killed in an experiment) who doesn't realize he's dead. Tate has made a character named Bonecap Bill, a cowboy who moonlights as a children's show host in the netherworld. It delights Michael Westmore in his walkthrough, and Tate is confident that he nailed the parameters of the challenge, so much so that despite his promise to himself to stop helping other people, he has to step in when he sees Laney struggling with her character's hair. He tips her off to a heat-sensitive styling product that will make her sticky liberty spikes much more obedient.

On elimination day, Eddie looks at his work and realizes that his sculpture is not quite adhering to a single concept but is rather an amalgam of odd choices. He does his best to make it work, but the resulting makeup is surreal and disturbing - not funny. He winds up in bottom looks along with Laney - the backstory of a rock guitarist electrocuted in the rain doesn't come through, and they find the harsh angles and grey color odd choices for the character. Ultimately, the judges felt that Eddie's work was farther from the requirements of the challenge, and they send him home. He takes the news with his characteristic smile, grateful to have had this experience and proud to have made it as far as he did.

Tate and Miranda are safe, and Laura and Roy are in top looks. Laura's bushy eyebrowed, frizzy haired scientist is delightful, and the judges are once again impressed with how seamless her edges are, how stellar her sculpting, and how original her painting, though Neville wishes she had pushed the concept further and gone for something laugh-out-loud funny. Roy actually manages to make the judges LOL - even Glenn! He really made his concept work, and the face of the bottom little person looks real from a distance. The little touches, like the stogie in the mouth and the successful arm gag of opening the trench coat to reveal the two people, carry the judges away, and the new old Roy wins his first challenge of the season.