The last few weeks have been obscenely stressful.
I moved to a new state, started a new program and job, and have found myself in a place completely devoid of papusas and good vegetarian food. It’s been a difficult adjustment, and during this time, I have found myself leaning on an old fall comfort viewing: “The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell.”
“The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell” was a 2018 Netflix show that only ran for six episodes before its tragic cancellation. If I had my way, the show would have gone on for six seasons and a movie, but sadly I do not work at Netflix and have no power.
“The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell” was a curious little show starring artist Christine McConnell and a bevy of puppet friends. The episodes were all written and directed by Kirk Thatcher, a writer, director, and producer who’s worked extensively with the Muppets. Henson Alternative, an arm of the Jim Henson Company, helped to produce the show, and anything that involves the words “Jim Henson” goes immediately on my to-watch list.
In the show, Christine plays a fictionalized version of herself, a quirky artist (baker, seamstress, and mad scientist) who lives at the top of a hill in a beautiful house that’s just a tad haunted. Christine spends her days caring for her monster friends, baking elaborate cakes for her loved ones, and flirting with a possible serial killer.
Christine may be the show’s mad genius, but the side characters often steal the scene. The monsters in her home include:
- Rose, a raunchy raccoon-thing that Christine brought back to life after an unfortunate incident with a trash compacter;
- Rankle, the imperious mummy of an Ancient Egyptian cat that Christine resurrected;
- And Edgar, a shy, insecure werewolf with a taste for human blood.
Regarding human stars, Dita Von Teese makes an appearance as Vivienne, the ghost of a woman who can come alive only on Halloween.
The show is a delightful combination of spooky, sweet, and silly. Each episode contains a simple plot that turns into an event for Christine to demonstrate the elaborate construction of her whimsical creations. For example, one episode begins with a neighbor angrily complaining about noise from her home (as well as the amorous attention Rose pays to his garden gnome). Christine embraces this complaint as an opportunity to create gift baskets for the neighbors. Then, as she carefully puts together candles, peppermint sticks, and candy apples, her monster friends try to take matters into their own hands and hold the grumpy neighbor hostage. What follows turns into a minor battle of whims: Christine wants to kill the neighbor with kindness, and her monster friends just want to kill him.
The stories in “The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell” are told with a combination of ghoulish relish and wholesome whimsy, making the show feel a bit like the DIY cousin to “The Addams Family.” The craft section of the show was also incredibly fun. Some critics of the show did not understand the craft portion of the show as they did not think the average person could recreate one of Christine’s masterpieces.
Would I ever make peanut butter pretzel treats coated in white chocolate, shaped to look like a femur, and specially painted with brown food coloring to mimic the shadowing on real bones? Dude, no, I would not. I have other important crap to do, like write about underrated miniseries or rewatch the Z-O-M-B-I-E-S movies, that prevent me from making realistic-looking confectionaries. But just because I wouldn’t do it myself doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy watching Christine put together a haunted gingerbread house for Halloween. The DIY portions of the show are as entertaining as they are strangely soothing. I love watching Christine put together a tea set made entirely out of chocolate while her gentle voice provides instructions in the background as if I’m going to attempt the same thing at home. The effect is almost hypnotic, as if Christine is distracting me from my problems by pulling me into a world where one has endless time to make decorations out of cookies.
As I’ve been feeling stressed, I’ve found comfort in watching Christine effortlessly put together a haunted ouija board. Her work is only possible with meticulous planning, careful attention to detail, and endless patience. I may never craft a haunted gingerbread house, but as I watch Christine do so in honor of Halloween, I wonder what my haunted gingerbread house could be. Maybe it’ll be my thesis or that sci-fi book I’ve been working on for years.
I have had a lot of stressful days in the past few weeks. The endless assignments and exams are grinding me down, in addition to the work I have to do to keep my life and that of my pets functional. Watching Christine McConnell do everything she does, in addition to raising the dead and making delicious treats for her friends, is a little inspiring. I feel as though “The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell” had many stories that it could have told and more creations to bring to life. I would have liked to see what other shenanigans Christine and her monster friends could get up to. I still enjoy tuning in to Christine’s Youtube page to see her artistry, but the Netflix show had a magical quality that is difficult to replicate without the help of the Jim Henson Company.
Although I will probably never get that second season, I still appreciate being able to rewatch the one that Netflix and Christine brought to life. I think that show was something special and I hope that in the future Christine has more chances to display her curious creations.