In this week's episode, the big challenge was a talent show! The geeks instantly came up with their idea and started working on it. They decided to go with a geek rap with breakdowns in it for each team member to show off their individual skills. The beauties did not have it so easy. They quibbled among themselves for two hours straight. A few of the girls wanted to do something other than model and dance, but most of the girls did not know how to do anything else.
The day of the performance the beauties were terrible. The only theme they came up with was to dress like schoolgirls. They danced around on stage without any unity. The audience booed them off the stage and started chants for the geeks. The geek rap went off without a hitch and each of the geeks did well in their individual talents. The audience enjoyed it, laughing through most of it. The boys were the clear winners.
The geeks then had to decide which of the beauties to eliminate. In one of the funniest displays of geekdom ever seen on the show, the guys held a meeting while rigorously following Robert's Rules of Order.
Two of the girls decided to try a different tack than studying to stay out of the elimination room — flirting. Amanda hung all over Josh and later admitted to the other girls that she was only doing it to stay in the game. Meanwhile, Leticia had a hot tub party with nearly all the guys. She did not admit it was a strategy. The other girls were even more pissed off at her than they were at Amanda.
At the stair ceremony, even more drama. Amber was angry that she was picked for elimination and claimed that Leticia should have gone as well. Cowboy Joe had a shouting match about it with her.
Thankfully, in the elimination room, Amber was eliminated. Hopefully she took some of the ridiculous drama with her.
Beauty and the Geek claims to be a "social experiment where two people become more than a beauty and a geek". This season, though, it is starting to look more like any other drama-ridden, train wreck reality show.
The problem comes from this season's new twist. Instead of pairing beauties with geeks, the show's producers decided to mix it up. This season it is Beauty vs. the Geek. The point of the show is for both the beauties and geeks to look more than skin deep. The geeks are supposed to learn social graces, and the beauties are supposed to learn to use their brains. It makes no sense not to pair them up if that is the true motive of the show. In previous seasons, the pairings was where most of the personal growth of the contestants came from. Being forced into a team with someone totally opposite of them; contestants learned to accept each other and saw beyond stereotypes. The best qualities of their partners often rubbed off on contestants. Beauties learned they could use their brains, and a few even went back to finish college degrees after the show. Geeks learned how to relate to the opposite sex and improve social interaction in general.
Beauty vs. Geek destroys many of the dynamics that caused individual development in previous seasons. First of all, pitting beauties against the geeks just re-creates a high school atmosphere. The cool kids hang out with the cool kids, and the nerds hang out with the nerds, with little crossover. The geeks already know how to hang with geeks, that does not put them out of their comfort zone at all. Many of the beauties expressed their distaste with Jonathan's velociraptor imitation. Another said he was not cute. What if one of the beauties was his partner and had to learn to put up with him? They might see his good qualities as well. Leticia and a few of the other girls hung out with the geeks in this episode, but was that because the girls lost the challenge? In this episode, some beauties learned the important lesson of leading a guy on to get what they want. The geeks are not really learning to relate to women, they are relating to them in the same way they always have been. Women are manipulating them or being cast by them as evil shrews that are not worth getting to know anyway.
The challenges in previous seasons were better tailored to the aims of the show. Beauty challenges would usually be mentally stimulating or involve approaching a situation without beauty. Previous challenges include teaching grade school subjects and getting the most phone numbers after a "make-under". Geek challenges were generally social skill challenges and learning to deal with the fairer sex challenges. Former challenges include getting the highest score on a blind date and giving the best massage.
This season's challenges cannot hope to help the participants much if they continue to be Beauty vs. Geek. The first one was a contest for which team could get the most phone numbers. The handicap was that the girls received "make-unders". That was a successful enough challenge with good lessons for both sides, but this week's was a talent show and next week's is a game of flag football. The geeks performed admirably in the talent show, but I'm sorry, that does not make you any less geeky. It might make you geekier in fact. The girls may have learned an important lesson from their failure, but it does not look like it. After Amber was eliminated she said she was not going to change. She was a beauty and going to use that for as long as she had that and that she was still going to be bitch. It is clear this experience really helped her — helped her enforce all the stereotypes she was already living with.
Previews for next week promise yet another change to the game. I hope that it will be something to put the show back on track.