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Beauty and the Geek
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the show plays on stereotypes -- the "beauties" are attractive young women who aren't very bright and the "geeks" are smart but unpolished guys with limited social skills. Contestants live in the same house, and share rooms, often with one bed. The beauties dress skimpily, and one episode featured a strip poker competition. Ultimately the beauties and geeks build friendships and respect for each other.
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What's the story?
BEAUTY AND THE GEEK matches eight socially-challenged men with eight intellectually-challenged women. The pairs compete in challenges that test social, academic, and fashion skills. Geeks compete in karaoke or room-decorating challenges while beauties assemble a computer or engage in political debates.
Is it any good?
This "social experiment" is based on the stereotype that beautiful women lack smarts and intelligent men can't attract the opposite sex. But despite the silly premise, this reality show offers some surprising insights. The men and women genuinely learn lessons and skills from one another. They have conversations about social issues, what's acceptable in society, and why. Both the beauties and the geeks end up recognizing the value in their newfound-knowledge -- be it social or academic.
The conversations that ignite when contestants are sitting around the house are far more interesting than the challenges themselves, which involve contrived competitions that are meant to reinforce stereotypes -- is it supposed to be amusing that a beauty doesn't know who the vice president is? Still, it's refreshing to see these young people getting past their differences and sharing their strengths with each other. That said, Beauty and the Geek is still a reality show -- with tension and drama to keep the show edgy. Parents can watch with teens and talk about stereotypes and how they play into dating scenarios.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the stereotypes that serve as the show's premise. Are these stereotypes shattered or challenged? What values and lessons are learned? Would these contestants ever get to know each other if it wasn't for this show? Can people with such different interests find love?