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'The new NSFW cooking show on Netflix I binge-watched in one night.'

I am not a fan of cooking shows. To be honest, I find them mildly nauseating – I guess I just prefer to eat, than to watch other people create.

The only shows that have held my attention have involved a lot of swearing, and, admittedly, someone I find who isn’t a wanker – ie, anything with Gordon Ramsay in it. Or, like the snort-out-loud Nicole Byer in Nailed it!

But the other day, whilst flicking through Netflix with my 11-year-old, we came across a show called The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell. It was so good, we binge watched it in one sitting.

If you’re like me; if you like your food with a side of dark humour, mild horror, and a pinch of sexy talk – you’ll love it, too.

The basic premise is that Christine McConnell – a jaw-droppingly talented baker, artist, and seamstress – has a penchant for the macabre. What this woman can create with food – wow. You couldn’t call her a chef – she’s an artist.

All of her ‘curious creations’ are unusual, eccentric, and brilliant. She can make everything from the most realistic, edible human bones, to chicken pie shaped like an actual chicken – using ingredients most of us have never heard of.

That’s what makes this show so different; most of us could never re-create any of what’s made, it’s that intricate. And yet, watching her process is a feast for the senses.

 

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As Christine creates, she narrates her actions in a phone-sex drawl (and I mean that as a genuine compliment). Yes, she’s the goth version of Martha Stuart, and has that sexy Dita Von Teese vibe going on. In fact, Von Teese plays a regular role in a few of the six, 25-minute episodes.

Christine conveys her sex appeal not only in the way she looks (she’s god damn beautiful) but also with what she says. One of the running themes in the series is how unperturbed she is by the darker side of life – or, even, the after-life.  She meets a suspicious man at a cemetery, and rather than be turned off by his strangeness – and the fact that he always smells like fresh blood – she regularly declares how much she’s turned on by him. (Which is the reason why this show is NSFW – not safe for work.)

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Not that Christine is a killer herself. Far from it – she’s the kindest soul.

Christine lives in a creepy old house, with a bunch of wild, stray “animals” whom she’s collected over time: formerly dead raccoon Rose, a mummified Egyptian cat named Rankle, and a wolfman called Edgar.

 

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These house guests have excellent banter between them, and provide levity in the show with their acerbic wit – meaning that you will heartily chuckle as much as you will be creeped out. But they themselves are also ‘curious creations’ – puppets from the Henson Alternative, overseen by Jim Henson’s son, Brian.

So, in that way, the show reminds me of the movie, Labyrinth. And despite its mild horror element, I was able to watch it with my 11-year-old – which was a vast relief from the usual PG-rated things we watch together. It made both of us feel like ‘grown ups’.

One of the reasons the show was so binge-able is that it has a semi-solid plot to it – involving Christine’s dating life, and her long-lost cousin – so you really want to know what happens next.

Of course, the show has dropped just in time for Halloween – but I imagine it’s something we will re-watch at some point, because it really is so rich in detail between its plot, the baking, the making, and the decidedly non-Masterchef humour.

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