Beauty and the Geek

You know, I can actually appreciate the “social experiment” of The CW’s show Beauty and the Geek. It’s not deep television, reality or otherwise, nor is it a groundbreaking idea – pair up eight gorgeous, socially skilled women with eight incredibly smart, socially inept men and see what happens, if boundaries are broken down by the interaction. It’s mildly entertaining to watch, and nice to see as the beautiful (usually self-absorbed) women start seeing the geeks as people…and vice versa. It’s nice to see people normally equipped with blinders to anything but their own interests start broadening their horizons.

I just have one thing to ask – would this work if it were eight beautiful, socially adept, rather  daft  men and eight plain (not even nearly as geeky as the guys on the show are now, because goodness knows that would never happen on TV), socially inept, intelligent women?

I’d like to see them at least TRY. Why must the women be the “pretty but dumb” ones in this scenario? Are “dumb” women more acceptable and amusing to watch than “dumb” men?


  1. scarlett says

    Actually one of the things that really intrigued me about the series was the idea of teaching stereotypes about one another, and how stereotypes are dumb – I believe the way they eliminated couples was that the couple who had learnt least about each other was the one to go?
    Anyway, I thought it was the most thought-provoking concept I’d heard of from reality TV, although I agree with your thoughts of ‘why can’t we see the women as dowdy geeks?’

  2. says

    I finally got my blog decent enough to release to more than a few people, and one of the upgrades was a blogroll. You’re on it! Thought you might like to know. 😀

  3. says

    Well, I did hear that they were going to make the third season of BatG with nerdy women and hot men. Then guess what, the CW happened, and that one sunk like a stone.

    I do not think “ugly” women are going to be allowed on television, ever, especially since I suspect the 18-25 geek male audience is what they are going for with this show. And I mean REAL-looking “ugly,” not just a hottie given glasses and a bun.


  4. Patrick says

    It is rather noticable that the entertainment inductry knows what an plain-looking man looks like, but their idea of a plain-looking woman is a pretty woman wearing glasses (prominent example: the beautiful Rachel Leigh Cook in She’s All That).

  5. Jennifer Kesler says

    Exactly! “Ordinary men” are played by fat guys, guys with big noses or weak chins, tall gangly guys, etc. But “ordinary women” are the exact same batch of actresses that play “super-hot women”, with some prop, hairdo or makeup distortion we’re supposed to translate as “plain”.

  6. sbg says


    I do not think “ugly” women are going to be allowed on television, ever, especially since I suspect the 18-25 geek male audience is what they are going for with this show. And I mean REAL-looking “ugly,” not just a hottie given glasses and a bun.

    It’s disheartening, isn’t it, that everyone seems to have no problem seeing an average-looking – nay, an ugly – man on TV, but that a normal-looking woman hasn’t a shot.

    I cannot stand the “glasses = geek/ugly” thing. I really can’t.

  7. sbg says

    There are exceptions to the rule, as always, but generally? That’s true, and kinda sad.

    I’d even like to see what would happen if the bachelorettes on that horrid reality show The Bachelor were a mixed bunch instead of all being hand-picked by their bust/waist/leg measurements? I swear I read once that one of the major criteria to “qualify” for that show is looking good in a bikini.

    Well, sorry. I wouldn’t wear a bikini, but that doesn’t mean I’m not “qualified” for a chance at love. (Not that I think that show has a whit to do with love.)

  8. MaggieCat says

    I remember watching the first season of this from sheer morbid curiosity, and I was pleasantly surprised. What I thought was the most interesting was that the most common thread was that the women were all really excited to be doing things that required them to use their brains (the one that I remember the most clearly was the girl who won a challenge that involved putting together a car engine) because virtually no one had ever asked them to do that before. Nobody they’d encountered anywhere else had ever expected them to be anything but pretty and they’d all lived down to those expectations admirably. The men seemed changed for the better too. Yeah, there’s always a ‘makeover’ at some point, but so many of them have mentioned that the biggest change is that they’re not intimidated by the idea of talking to women anymore. Surprise!- they’re just people. Plus the show is setup so that while the girls are learning about ‘geeky” things, the guys have to learn about “cool” things so everyone gets to be the teacher at some point, and no set of skills is treated like it’s more worthwhile than the other group’s skills.

    There just seems to be a huge confidence boost for almost everyone involved, and the people who genuinely dislike their teammate have thankfully been few and far between. This is probably the first reality show I can think of that has an overall positive message. According to IMDB the third season is starting in February, and I want to know if they went through with the gender flip because that could be really interesting.

  9. Jennifer Kesler says

    Sounds like it could teach an unsuspecting audience some tolerance and appreciation for people they usually dismiss, too.

  10. scarlett says

    Ugh, hated that movie – I was always, ‘well, duh, of COURSE she’ll be a knockout with a few minute’s effort’. I’ve beedn meaning to write an article about that, if I can sit through it again :(

    There’s actually a great ongoing joke about it in Not Another Tean Movie, where the ‘pretty ugly girl’ is obviously a stunner in unfashionable glasses and a bun, but apparantly she’s so ugly, it would be easier to make conjoined twins or an overweight albino meet traditional beauty standards.

  11. Patrick says

    Admittedly, in SAT, they never claim that she is plain – she’s picked for the Pygmalion bet because she is “scary and antisocial.”

  12. sbg says

    They didn’t have to say she was “ugly.” The shocked and astonished reactions after she got “cleaned up” were enough. 😉

  13. Jennifer says

    Me either.

    I wear glasses, and while I’m perfectly fine with not being the hottest hottie around, it annoys me that I’m considered automatically ugly due to them even if I was model-attractive. I could probably walk around topless (and I’m a double D), but with glasses on, nobody but the cops would even notice. Because glasses = UGLY!

    I can’t get contacts or LASIK (I am majorly eye-squeamish), but I wouldn’t anyway even if I could, though. I keep my glasses out of sheer perversity. Screw you people who think I’m ugly with them and should take them off to be attractive to you. If a guy can’t take the OMGUGLY glasses, forget him. What would he do if I couldn’t put contacts in to pee at 4 a.m.?

  14. Jennifer Kesler says

    Personally I think some individuals – female and male – look better with glasses than without. A lot of others look good both ways.

  15. sbg says

    In makeover before and after shots, it’s a guarantee that a bespeckled person will always be shown the way of contacts. I’d love to see a makeover where the person might get updated frames, but they’d still have eyeglasses.

    I like both options, myself, except lately I’ve started wearing my glasses more and more often. Less eyestrain and definitely less dry and redness.

    Also, I find it inexplicably sexy when guys wear glasses. Not just any glasses, though. I’m a bit snobby – the frames have to be at least moderately in style. No John Denveresque frames, please. 😉

  16. scarlett says

    Actually, growing up, I thought the sexiest woman on television was Gillian Anderson in The X-Files because she had that whole intellectual thing going. I think from an aesthetic perspective (momentarily disregarding the fact I’m legally blind and need my glasses to see more then 10 cm’s in front of me) glasses can be like any other piece of clothing or accessory, ranging fromugly and utterly innapropriate to very cool and sexy. I wish TV and film would portray that more – I’ve seen so few examples where glasses actually looked cool.

  17. MaggieCat says

    I watch far too much reality TV and have occasionally gotten burned by the genre. (Last summer’s season of Big Brother that I only watched so I could tear it apart with my mother, I’m looking at you. The finale made me physically ill and is probably the single most misogynistic thing I have seen in years. Maybe my entire life.)

    But no matter how offensive BB was (trust me, whatever you’re imagining, it was worse) networks love reality shows because they’re cheap to produce and can draw in huge audiences. So any reality show that might prove they don’t have to be degrading to the participants is a huge step in the right direction, in my opinion.

  18. Jennifer Kesler says


    I’ve been looking for someone to rip apart reality shows for us. None of us have the guts to watch the stuff.

  19. Jennifer Kesler says

    I was just thinking that! I actually like his looks better with the glasses, and fashionable glasses wouldn’t be “Daniel”. He might look good with fashionable glasses as some other character, though.

  20. sbg says

    Hee hee, and I’ve been thinking he could use a new frame for a long time. I think he might have finally got them this past year – not even Daniel and Teal’c could keep me watching SG-1, alas, so I don’t know if that’s true. I did see promo pics, and he had an updated frame.

    In any case, he’s certainly not ugly with glasses – old or new frames.

  21. MaggieCat says

    This is not going to help the reality twelve-step I was looking into… but I guess I could suck it up for the greater good. 😉

    There really aren’t many on right now, Survivor and The Amazing Race both just ended, and I cannot watch Dancing With The Stars or anything involving Donald Trump. American Idol is starting though, and that’s always embarrassing (just how they insist on referring to the groups as ‘Men’ vs. ‘Girls’ despite the fact that the age limit is now up to 30 grates), Top Chef is only midway through, and BatG is supposedly starting in February if sbg doesn’t want first crack at it…

    Wow, I watch WAY too much reality tv.

  22. sbg says

    Maggie –

    I should have clarified. The reason for my post was because I caught the premier, which aired last…Wednesday? Whatever night it’s on. 😉

    And the beauties are still women, the geeks men.

  23. Jennifer Kesler says

    Maggie, you could still post on the ones that are over. Look how old some of the shows are that I write about. 😀

  24. MaggieCat says

    Hmm, that’s annoying. I forgot to always question IMDB’s accuracy on airdates. Thanks for the heads up though. :-)

  25. Patrick says

    While on break at work today, a talk show announced that they would have America Ferrera, the star of Ugly Betty, on the show. I pondered for a moment how the show presents her with glasses and braces, Hollywood indicators of unnatractivess (since they’ve never actually seen an unattractive woman), and wondered what she would look like out of costume.

    She is, of course, gorgeous. I don’t think anyone here is remotely surprised by that.

  26. Jennifer Kesler says

    Not a bit.

    And yet we could all name about 50 not-good-looking male actors with lead roles in TV shows without breaking a sweat.


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