Credit: Beauty and the Geek: Justin Lubin

Beauty and the Geek, the Ashton Kutcher-produced reality series starting its second season, insists that it’s a ”social experiment.” Eight dim-bulbed, hot women (of the usual reality TV definition of ”hot,” meaning about half of them are bleached, tanned, and bikinied into approximations of ”hot”) are paired with eight brilliant, dorky men (of the usual reality TV definition of ”dorky,” meaning they have bad hair and button themselves up aggressively). The ladies introduce the men to eyebrow plucking and karaoke. The men teach the women book larnin’. The pair that most successfully self-improves wins $250,000.

Thus, Beauty and the Geek has an altruistic angle suited to the current, upbeat strain of reality TV. (Fine, it’s a tad annoying that women are assumed to be the idiots in this setup — but I’m hoping The Stud and the Study Hall Monitor can’t be far behind.) B&TG is also savvy about casting. While Average Joe and The Bachelor are stocked with dead-eyed pretties, the women here are in the amiable, smart-dumb Jessica Simpson vein. ”When I see a large book, it’s very intimidating to me…when I see a large menu, it’s very intimidating,” one girl chirps, and a Chicken of the Sea classic line is born. The geeks — including a guy who ”tracks monkeys with lasers” and a D&D dungeon master — are painfully aware of their lowly social status, and articulate enough to be amusing about it. ”Couldn’t they put down a children’s pool first and then move up to the hot tub?” begs neurotic Josh upon facing a Jacuzzi dip. This is a funny series, and a surprisingly sweet one — you can’t help but adore Tyson, a Rubik’s Cube record holder who talks of getting out of his ”comfort zone” with the earnestness of an A student scanning his latest syllabus.

Beauty and the Geek
  • TV Show