Why “Face Off” Is The Best Reality Competition You’re Not Watching

Now in its fourth season, SyFy’s Face Off pits movie make-up artists against one another. And it’s still the most entertaining reality competition on TV. posted on

1. The concept is completely unique.

Nicole Wilder/SyFy

Do you know how hard it is to find a fresh reality competition concept nowadays? Face Off is the only show like it on TV, providing insight into an industry that’s always been behind-the-scenes. For horror, sci-fi, and fantasy geeks, the show was long overdue.

2. The contestants are delightful oddballs.

Nicole Wilder/SyFy

Have you ever met a make-up artist? They’re a little wacky! Not all of them, of course, but who wants to watch a reality show filled with socially well-adjusted individuals? Face Off is a good mix of eccentric personalities who are a little off without being Real Housewives damaged.

3. Host McKenzie Westmore is more than just a pretty face.

Nicole Wilder/SyFy

McKenzie Westmore is the SyFy Channel’s Padma Lakshmi: tall, gorgeous, and very knowledgeable about the subject at hand. McKenzie also has fun rapport with Face Off’s Tim Gunn, Michael Westmore, who happens to be her dad. Did I mention she starred on Passions?

4. It values make-up over CGI.

Nicole Wilder/SyFy

Ugh, remember when George Lucas turned Yoda from a charming puppet to a CGI abomination? Look, I get that there are exciting new innovations in the field of special effects, but there’s something wonderful about traditional make-up that is too often lost in favor of glossy (and fake-looking) CGI monstrosities. Face Off promotes the old school style.

5. Sometimes the work is hilariously bad.

Nicole Wilder/SyFy

When you pair up two artists with conflicting visions — or two contestants that hate each other — you get a horrifying mishmash that would get laughed off an actual movie set. As is always the case on shows like this, schadenfreude is part of the thrill.

6. And sometimes it’s really cool.

Nicole Wilder/SyFy

Like, seriously creepy and effective. These are professionals, after all, and more often than not, their visions produce something that’s at least fun to look at. Every once in a while, it crosses the threshold into nightmare fodder.

7. And sometimes it’s a little of both.

Nicole Wilder/SyFy

I think this image speaks for itself.

8. The models go through some serious shit.

Nicole Wilder/SyFy

Pay attention, sadists! No other reality competition puts its models through the ringer the way that Face Off does. I hope these people are well compensated for their hours in the make-up chair, complete with heavy prosthetics and giant color contacts. I wince just thinking about it.

9. You actually learn something.

Nicole Wilder/SyFy

Top Chef is fun and all, but I’ve never walked away from it with a better understanding of cooking. Face Off walks you through the steps every week, so you at least feel like you know how to do make-up and prosthetics. (You don’t, but it’s fun to pretend.)

10. This is the face that will haunt you if you don’t watch.

Nicole Wilder/SyFy

Sorry, I don’t make the rules.

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