As I said last season, the thing I like about Beauty and the Geek is that unlike other reality TV shows, this one tries to change its formula, even if slightly so, season to season. Unfortunately last season's experiment, to me anyway, was a bust. The concept of having a male beauty and a female geek was intriguing, but I was convinced that the male beauty was actually an actor playing a beauty, and what the female geek was supposed to reap from the show was never explained.
This season's twist is that it's not just Beauty and the Geek, it's beauty versus geek--instead of the guys each getting paired up with the girls, the boys compete as a team versus the girls. So far the only ramification of this seems to be that the girls are in-fighting earlier and more loudly than usual.
However what is a more interesting development in the show is that one of the geeks this season, Greg, is gay. I'm glad that the show doesn't try to cover up that his role on the show may be different from the guys--he obviously doesn't need to learn how to pick up ladies. In fact, the girls swooped upon him and decided they adored him from moment one, which is worth its own discussion. Is it stereotyping on their behalf to assume that he's just a fag waiting for a hag? Or does it reveal more about them that they feel safer around him because he poses no sexual threat? We'll see how this turns out: already, in the phone number getting challenge (wherein the beauties are made under, which has been done before but is nonetheless entertaining), he was supposed to get the numbers of the opposite sex, but of course that doesn't help him in real life. The footage we saw of him was him bluntly asking people if they were gay or not.
Some additional conversation could also be made about the girls' makeunders--with prosthetics and extreme makeup, they were a little over the top, but one could argue with the option to put a girl in a fat suit, one that actually probably made the girl look fairly normal, weight-wise, in comparison to the rest of the country, and still pretty cute, I think.
This season's crop of characters seems pretty decent: the girls seemed to have a sense of humor, some of them anyway, after their make-unders. Leticia will be one to watch, as she seems to be a little bit sharper than the rest, and Amber too will probably stir things up, as she seems willing to manipulate the game ruthlessly, even if she can't come up with snappy ways to call a girl fat.
Anyway, this is why I like the show--it's fluffy feel-good fun that occasionally does spur some decent conversation if you care to pursue it. In the end of course people will learn lessons and hug and cry but we'll still have fun watching it. And hey, you know, maybe we'll learn something in the process. Probably not, but it could happen.
--Is the show skipping the casting session episode this season? I don't miss it, per se: there is something uncomfortable about watching girls brag about how stupid they are. But I would have liked to see Dave and Jasmine come back.
--I'm not going to name names but there are a few beauties who, well, look more like they have great personalities.
--On that shallow note, it's fun to see which will turn out well in the makeover sessions. Sweater vest guy and Jonathan, for instance.
--So John got eliminated. I had no feelings one way or another about him until he had his little meltdown after the elimination, after which I figured it was best he left.
--I think there are dumber things than assuming that roadside memorials are grave sites. Cough.