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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.

15 Responses

  1. I’m really looking forward to this.

    For those who say it’s on 4 nights a week, please reread the article. It’s on 3 nights a week for 4 weeks.

  2. I enjoyed the previous run of the show but five hours a week seems a bit much. The content wasn’t that engaging but then again the run is only four weeks so if my maths is right it should be half the run time of the orginal series.

  3. The networks are back to their old tricks again, programming similar shows against each other, Farmers vs. Geeks. Wonder if Masterchef will see a lift here, though it’s heading to its finale anyway. And then we’ll also have The Bachelor.

  4. “Less is more”.

    I know that the cupboard is getting bare at Nine, but there’s no need to strip a former weekly show into four nights a week.

    1. You’re right, but Seven have done it with Holey Miley and Tag, Nine with Ninja, apprentice (and the block I believe), 10 with everything, (Masked singer, Bachelor franchise, MasterChef, Survivor, Amazing Race all built as weekly episodes originally).
      That’s just what these networks do now. They dug themselves a hole.

          1. Well Big Brother was first I guess.

            Would be interesting for you to do a flashback article to say 2005 to look at how different a week’s schedule was back then when each channel didn’t just build the entire week around one stripped show.

          2. Yes Big Brother daily show, from memory 7 – 7:30pm, did precede Biggest Loser. And I suppose if we want to get technical Going Home on SBS before BB. But Biggest Loser was first to take a weekly show and strip it into 7:30, then MasterChef. Neither format was created as stripped until the Fennessys adapted them.

  5. I certainly enjoyed the first run so will be watching this to see if it can still give me enjoyment as the previous. Especially the make over section.

  6. I really quite enjoyed this show as a guilty pleasure in it’s previous iteration on seven. Would I invest four nights and about six hours a week to it – not a chance! Presumably most of this will be up against the Olympics, so don’t see it setting the world on fire.

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