What makes a reality television show good? Is it dependent on the glamour level? Is it the intensity of the competition? NO! You idiot! Of course it’s not! The key ingredient in a successful reality show is conflict. Yes, the main reason why we watch a scripted drama series is also the selling point of the unscripted ones. So then why are reality shows seemingly omnipresent, whilst their well-acted, well-planned equivalents dwindle in numbers by the day? It’s because of one vital, but oft overlooked, factor; unintentional comedy. Unintentional comedy is extremely hard to find in a modern day drama series (key exceptions: Days of Our Lives, Passions etc.) because, let’s face it, we don’t watch these shows to laugh at them. However, it has long been a staple of reality television, and it’s for this reason that I believe Beauty and the Geek (Australian version) will end up being in the hall of fame for this genre. The basic premise of the show groups 8 “beauties”, i.e. good-looking but ditzy girls, in with 8 “geeks”, i.e. intelligent but socially inept guys. The opening episode, screened on Thursday night, was the funniest hour of television I have watched all year. That’s not an exaggeration: there were moments of comedic genius perhaps beyond even the scope of the king of awkward comedy, Ricky Gervais. So I thought, what better way to celebrate this piece de resistance of Australian television than with a running diary. Here’s what transpired:
(Note: I actually missed the first part of the episode and had to download it, so I fudged the times and resultantly they may be a bit different to what you have recorded. If they are indeed different, then I implore you to get a life.)
8:30- And welcome to the series premiere of “Beauty and the Geek: Australia”. I sit here alone tonight, as the rest of my family are either:
a) In America; or
b) In the other room, watching a documentary about the socio-political climate of…ah, who gives a crap.
The show claims to have “searched the country for the geekiest guys”. Well, at least we know we’re getting the crème de la crème of the nation’s geeks; who knows what it would have been like if they had done ungeeky things like play sport or drink alcohol. Probably a lot more sex would be my guess.
8:31- Now the potential beauties are being shown, and are immediately unfairly stereotyped as ditzy and dumb. Oh wait, maybe that’s not that unfair; when asked who wrote Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, one of them confidently answered, “John Farnham”.
8:32- The geeks make their entrance into the mansion on Segways. Does anyone actually know anyone who has one of these things? They seem to be a geek staple, but for the life of me I’ve never seen one, and I know my fair share of geeks. Also, why must these shows always be filmed in such expensive houses? Just once, I’d love to see them being forced to coop up in a Formule 1 for 3 months, eating McDonald’s for breakfast and drying their underpants on the bar heater. It’s a reality show, people!
8:34- Bernard, the host, is greeted by Xenogene and Corrin (they’re geeks, in case you were wondering) with the Star Trek finger split thing. Really not doing much for their cause, are they?
8:36- The beauties arrive in stylish Mercedes Benz’s and Lisa instantly reduces our expectations of them by claiming that her life goal is to be a soap actress.
8:38- Despite having never seen the show, I can safely say that Corrin looks exactly like one of the guys from the Big Bang Theory. Wait, isn’t this just a real-life manifestation of that series? Thank God I don’t know how it turns out, the mystery would have been shattered.
8:41- Corrin is the first geek to introduce himself to the beauties, and having not seen a man for perhaps 20 minutes, the beauties inexplicably go crazy for him. When Lisa selects him, he says to the camera, “She’s pretty. That’s the first thing you notice about her.” Uh, what about the breast implants?
8:47- Deciding that his appearance isn’t solely sufficient to terrify all the girls, Xenogene demonstrates his musical nous (or lack thereof) through a self-penned song, “Physics”. I don’t think I need to tell you how that went.
8:51- After much deliberation, Hadassah decides to bite the bullet and be Xenogene’s partner, for the reason that “it would be a challenge for me”. Has anyone in history ever turned off a group of attractive women more quickly? He could have worn a necklace with a vial of his own blood on it and it wouldn’t have had as much of an effect. Actually, that may have excited them even more; it seems like the kind of thing Robert Pattinson would do, and he’s MASSIVE. And yes, I needed capitals to emphasise just how massive he is. And no, I’m not talking about his appendage.
8:52- “Jeremy gave me a flower that he’d made out of balloons, because he makes balloons”. Now what part of that sentence is wrong?
8:55- Down to the last pairing, it appears Miss “I’d rate myself 11/10” Kimberley is going to be coupled with Nathan the comic book collector. This is just a horrible match, in my opinion; the ultra confident man-eater with the geek who seems most likely to be able to attract females. I’m betting she sleeps with him in the first week, causing him to become infatuated with her, and then plays hot and cold with him for the remainder, causing him irreversible damage when it comes to associating with the opposite sex. What a bitch.
8:58- Line of the night so far: When talking about how he felt having eight attractive women going into a spa, Peter responds, “My mind immediately raced to thoughts of the mating habits of the Panobo chimpanzees”. Despite this (and an unhealthy excess of back hair), he’s still one of my favourite geeks, right up there with Jeremy and Nathan, and way above Alan and Xenogene.
9:02- Move aside Peter, there’s a new leader in quote of the night! Jenna claims that the challenges they are set will help her discover “who her components will be”.
9:03- $100,000 cash prize for the winner of the challenges! This is all too much for Kimberley, who says, “I almost wet myself when I heard it. Money!” By the way, did you know the executive producer of the original series was Ashton Kutcher? He has to be the smartest dumb guy in the world. I am officially in awe.
9:05- The first challenge is a rap battle for the geeks. Toby takes this opportunity to tell us that he is a musical caveman, and doesn’t have any music on his iPod, which begs the question: what the hell is on there?
9:06- Yet another “beauties as airheads” montage is shown, though for some strange reason I am yet to tire of this. In fact, I don’t think I will ever tire of this; it makes me feel that much better about myself.
9:07- Oh my god I HATE Kimberley.
9:08- The beauties’ first challenge, teaching a class, is off to a brilliant start, with Lisa drawing a map of Australia that resembled… well, nothing really. Oh, and she left off Tasmania, but I’m personally alright with that.
9:09- Quick update on the map: Lisa tacked on Tasmania onto the bottom, but when dividing Australia into its states, discovered that somehow Queensland doesn’t exist. By the way, for those of you who feel that Barack Obama shouldn’t have won the Nobel Peace Prize, I have to say that it’s not so much what he personally achieved as it is what he stands for. I know it’s the World Peace prize, but when someone becomes a symbol for the uniting of the world’s most powerful country, that has to be rewarded.
9:12- Five things that were on the First Fleet according to Michelle: A piano, cows, kittens, puppies and a shovel. Convicts, anyone?
9:15- High comedy, as Paul showcases his go-to dance move: the “dog wiping his bum on the carpet”. And for those of you who say that this show is designed purely for the lowest denominator, well, maybe you’re right. But I am following this up by tuning in to Q&A, so there shouldn’t be too much of an overall decrease in my IQ.
9:23- The guest judges for the rap battle are Jessica Mauboy and Molly Meldrum. Toby claims not to know who Mauboy is, and putting two and two together, works out that she is Molly’s girlfriend. Uh, what?
9:26- Somehow Corrin is declared the winner of the rap battle, even though Peter blew away both the audience and yours truly. I’d like to see Peter and Michelle win the whole thing; Peter because he’s such a well-meaning guy, and Michelle because she’s mega-hot. And that’s just about a wrap. In conclusion, I’d like to say: nothing.