Beauty & the Geek
Nine revives and stretches a fairly slight dating show, without offering much new.
When Beauty & the Geek aired on Seven for six seasons from 2009 – 2014 it screened weekly for up to 10 episodes.
Now in 2021 on Nine it will be stripped across multiple nights for 4 weeks, in episodes that expand to up to as much as 1:45hr.
Self-confessed bogan Sophie Monk is now host for the Ashton Kutcher-created series which brings together 10 males and 10 females in a quest for true TV love and a $100,000 prize to share.
So what else has changed? Yes there is some racial diversity amongst the cast, but the geeks are all still male while the beauties remain female. Unless there are ‘intruders’ coming in to shake up the definitions I’m struggling to work out why this show is back.
But I digress.
Episode one sees our trusty host pair up our singles on a jetty in Sydney Harbour. Amongst the geeks are a maths teacher, an ER doctor / wrestling fan, a motorsport fanatic, cosplayer, video gamer and martial arts expert. The girls include a theme park princess, a tanning and gym lover, a red
carpet reporter and a criminology student and model. And they are all positively weak at the knees when Cupid Sophie pairs them together. Aww.
The first challenge at Taronga Zoo tasks our new couples with working together as Seal Show presenters, entertaining a crowd as Oscar the Seal splashes all and sundry. Aww.
Residing at the very colourful sponsor hotel, the girls room in pairs, as do the geeks. This isn’t MAFS, no hanky panky, despite being in the very same timeslot. While the boys are nervous about impressing their ladies, the girls gossip over the attributes of their new fellas. There’s already some wandering eyes….awww.
“I’m a bit nervous when other girls want my geek… water your grass and it will become green,” 23 year old Kiera will declare.
After two winning dates there’s a
cocktail party (Sophie: “Sorry wrong show”) mixer party, as the group interacts. This lends itself to some fleeting conflict before Sophie surprises with some couple switch-ups. It’s not exactly swinging ’70s key clubs, but it did leave me confused as to why this was happening. Then I remembered…. an episode needs some kind of final act if it isn’t eliminating a couple as the old format demands. This solution felt very imposed and wasn’t narratively justified in my mind.
Sophie Monk is a good fit as host, managing to personify both aspects of the title in her character, and proving better at the ad libs than the narration. The casting of the singles looks quite good (and what a shame the geeks can only get makeovers once).
But while Nine’s own Lego Masters has shown us girls can be geeks, and Love on the Spectrum found authentic ways to showcase less-conventional dating, what will this very costumed reality construct add to the conversation? And could it do it in half the time? You bet.
Just get to the makeovers, that’s what we’re here for.
Beauty & the Geek airs 7pm Sunday, 7:30pm Monday & Tuesday on Nine.