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Episode Recap: American Gangster


After their first night in the gorgeous house as real contestants (so exciting, squeeel!) the artists meet McKenzie in New York. Just teasing, not New York, New York (is there an echo in here?), but New York Street at Universal Studios. She pairs them up into randomly assigned partnerships, and they each choose one of the mysterious props next to her. Those props, as it happens, represent a real-life gangster with a funny nickname – but if we catch you laughing, it’s curtains for you! And no, “Curtains” McGee is not a gangster from real life.

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To guide them on their journey to create their own, over-the-top crime boss is a man who knows something about funny names and gangsters: Doug Drexler, makeup artist for the classic gangster/comic book film, Dick Tracy. As they get to know their gangsters – John “Peanuts” Tronolone, Opal “Mack Truck” Long, and so on – they should create a makeup that’s original and inventive, but stays relatable so it can tell the story clearly. He’ll be joining the judges at the reveal stage, and bids them ta ta for now.

Sasha and Barry choose a clock, representing Allie “Tick Tock” Tannenbaum, a gangster who got a reputation for being a stool pigeon. Since he “ratted out” his compatriots, Barry wants to do a rat makeup. Sasha, however, has an idea for a grandfather clock that she’s been wanting to do for ages. Barry thinks her idea isn’t very tough, so they go with his concept, but when Mr. Westmore does his walkthrough, he balks that they didn’t include the actual prompt of the challenge – the clock. Together, they discover a solution: the rat can be a mad bomber, holding a ticking time bomb. Sasha gets to work on that prop, and she’s relieved she doesn’t have to deal with the icky rat makeup anymore!

George and Cig chose Tony “Big Tuna” Accardo, and they’re right in sync with how they want to realize their character. They create a guy so big that his rolls of fat fall on his neck like gills – a prop cigar emerging from the gills is a goofy addition. His hair and jowls complete the fishlike appearance, and he stands so intimidating that the judges name him THE top look. Because Cig fabricated an amazing fat suit that really sold the character, they award him top prize this week.

Another standout look was Vince and Rachael’s “Typewriter” (they etched the names of his victims into his flesh, and gave him brass knuckles like typewriter keys), but it lacked the shading and depth that would’ve made it great. In bottom looks were Dina and Jason’s John “Peanuts” Tronolone – he was basically just a guy with a broken peanut for a head, though the model had a mean dance for the character. Sasha and Barry’s “Tick Tock” character, since it was missing the essence of the challenge, was the roughest, according to the judges. Since it was Barry’s concept driving the piece, he goes home this week. He’s sad to be eliminated so early in the competition, but maybe he’ll go home, make some creatures, and get back on the proverbial horse.