Revisiting ‘The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell’ – The Good, The Bad and the Potential Behind Her New YouTube Series

The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell

By the time I’d heard of Christine McConnell, she’d already amassed more than 250,000 followers on Instagram. By the time I watched her Netflix series “The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell” it had already been canceled by the streaming service. So while I’ve clearly been late to the Christine McConnel train more than once, I’ve grown an appreciation for the artist and baker who I now aptly refer to as “The Macabre Martha Stewart.”

Following the debut of her new YouTube series “From the Mind of Christine McConnell” and ahead of the “Curious Creators of Christine McConnell’s Show” panel at Midsummer Scream I decided to revisit the series and reflect on what I think worked, what didn’t and why I think her new Patreon supported YouTube series has a ton of potential.

For those unfamiliar with the series, “The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell” premiered on Netflix last October and stars real-life baker and artist Christine McConnell as an exaggerated version of herself. The series invited viewers into McConnell’s home, “where the strange and unusual are safe and welcome.” Here McConnell lives with a motley crew of puppet creatures, most notably a re-animated raccoon named Rose and a snarky mummy cat named Rankle. Part cooking and crafts show, part sit-com, the series was unlike anything previously seen on television and was quickly axed by Netflix just six months after it premiered.

The Good

The Characters

From resident re-animated raccoon Rose, whose talents included, “binging on trash and an insatiable libido with the neighborhood dogs” to newcomer Edgar, the stray werewolf the cast of supporting characters made up mostly of puppets created by Henson Alternative, an offshoot of The Jim Henson Company, were a highlight of the series. The characters’ over the top personalities, adult humor, and occasional quips kept the show interesting and added the perfect amount of flavor to McConnell’s more soft-spoken, often saccharine persona.

Christine McConnell with Edgar, Rankle, and Rose

The Format

If “The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell” had solely been just a macabre take on Martha Stewart, I personally don’t believe it would have worked. While it was fun to watch McConnell’s artistry, the cooking and craft tutorials were way out of the league of most viewers, something I’ll speak on more later. But by injecting a sit-com-like element into the show it made McConnell’s advanced demonstrations seem more like a part of her show’s character and less the focal point of the series.

The Aesthetic

Netflix did an amazing job at making McConnell’s show feel on brand and the intricate sets transported you into a world as unique as McConnell herself. Retro pastel interiors were given spooky accents, like the spider web kitchen cupboards, which could be seen regularly in the background of McConnell’s instructional segments. The show mirrored the aesthetic McConnell had made popular through her Instagram account. An aesthetic, which she once shared was born of the cinematic world of Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands. “I feel like so much of my style and creativity was born out of that world,” shared McConnell in a 2018 interview with Thrillist. “Winona Ryder looking like this pretty pastel person juxtaposed next to scary things.”

Christine McConnell in her fictitious kitchen in "The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell"

The Bad

There’s only one thing I feel really didn’t work for this show and that’s the series namesake, The Creations. The show’s first creation, a peanut butter, pretzel cookie bone felt doable even if McConnell’s techniques felt a bit advanced towards the end of the project, but nearly every other creation after that felt impossible to replicate. As an example, the series concluded with a massive gingerbread house that McConnell admittedly spent upwards of four days on. In the end, the instructional segments served more as a way to highlight just how talented McConnell is and likely only offered value to creatives of similar skillset who might pick up a technique or two from what little instruction McConnell did provide.

Christine McConnell working on a Halloween gingerbread house

McConnell’s built-in audience who already had a love for her work and viewers like me who enjoyed the other elements of the series could likely look past the limited instruction, but viewers looking to the show for ways to create spooky crafts and treats were likely left unfulfilled and I feel this may have hurt the series.

Looking Ahead

With the debut of “From The Mind Of Christine McConnell,” McConnell is again focused on creation. But this time rather than instructing viewers on how to do something, she is focused more on documenting the making of the creation. Ironically, McConnell actually shows more “how-to” elements in this series by documenting the process than she ever did in her Netflix series.

Christine McConnell in "From The Mind Of Christine McConnell"

This new format works because it features McConnell in her element. The focus is less on the story or the characters around her and instead makes her artistry the star. Those interested in her unique creations and her approach to a project are sure to find the series captivating and the bonus perks available to Patreon supporters are sure to keep a steady viewership.

While we lose the memorable characters, some of the dark humor, and the budget of a Netflix series, “From The Mind Of Christine McConnell” lets McConnell showcase her artistry and gives her more freedoms as a creator thanks to the series being funded by fans. And who knows, maybe we’ll get lucky and familiar faces like Rose, Edgar, or Rankle will stop in and make an appearance in the new series. I know I plan to ask if its a possibility given the chance at her panel at Midsummer Scream.

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