Geek like me

I’ve been going through a bad patch, authorially speaking. I just haven’t been able to write. I’ve completely blown the deadlines for my next two travel books (on Lesotho and Swaziland – plug, plug) and I am still struggling to get my arse into my computer chair on a regular basis. I think I’m a bit burnt out from a couple of months of frantic activity, which was way too much like hard work for my liking. The upshot of all this, basically, is that I’ve been watching a lot of TV lately.

Now I don’t proclaim myself to be a fan of reality TV, but the rigours of my procrastination schedule are such that I am often forced to watch the most pitiful drivel. And I’ve got a new favourite.

‘Beauty and the Geek’ has been on before. But I happened to catch this new season from the audition phase, and once you get to know the characters, it’s impossible to walk away. I call it ‘car-crash television’. It’s awful, but you gotta keep watching.

For those who don’t know the set-up, the tenuous concept for this ‘social experiment’ goes like this: a bunch of very clever but incredibly nerdy men are put in a house with a gaggle of beautiful but incredibly stupid girls. They have to do challenges, and there are twists and surprises and great hilarity ensues as the social inept geeks try to interact with the dumbass eye-candy. At the end of it all, the great American public vote for a winning couple who get some money and 15 minutes of fame. You know the deal.

It’s just another in the long line of shamelessly exploitative franchises that peddle human frailty and stupidity as entertainment. And I love it. It fills me with delicious schadenfreude and makes me feel superior. Hey, I know I’m not the coolest guy on the block but, damn!, these geeks make me look like George Clooney.

And don’t think that I’m just hating on the geeks. Those chicks (for that is unquestionably what they are) are equally pathetic. Not everyone has to be a genius but, for pity’s sake, these air-headed morons are technically retarded. With baby-doll voices, vacant eyes and big titties (for that is unquestionably what they’ve got), they are eye-wateringly stupid. Listen carefully and you can hear the wind whistling gently through their ears.

So, on Friday nights I make sure to PVR the Series Channel for ‘Beauty and the Geek’. I cringe at the math-loving, Jedi-worshipping social misfits. I howl at the idiotic beauties who give bimbos a bad name. And I root for my favourites.

At the moment, I like the nerdy Jewish guy (not the chubby one – the one with the schnozz, I can’t remember his name, I think it’s Josh), because he is the über-nerd and I can’t quite believe he’s real. And I adore Jasmine, who is so stupid she’s actually clever. Plus, she’s honest and happy. She’s simply too dim-witted to formulate a lie or contemplate unpleasantness, but I see those as positive attributes, overall.

Then, and at the end of the episode, I go back to my life with a spring in my step, because no matter how bad things get with me, I’ll still be better off that those losers. And that’s good TV. IMHO.

[Originally posted 03/09/2008]

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