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Reality Check: Artificial Intelligence on 'Beauty and the Geek'

If you’re interested in gathering evidence to prove the theory that pretty girls cause otherwise intelligent men to act completely obtuse, look no further than “Beauty and the Geek,” the CW series that premiered its second season on Wednesday.

You know the drill — or, unless you’re a man currently being rendered mute because you’re in the presence of a beautiful woman, you can figure it out from the title. Hot girls with low IQs team up with nerds that are so far beyond geeky that they’re actually oddly adorable to learn great lessons from each other.

While the show is far more substantive than your standard reality fare and actually does a solid job of highlighting the judgments and prejudices we all make and have about one another, it also causes these inarguably intelligent men to seem far more humiliatingly thick-witted than the girls (which is quite an accomplishment, seeing as the girl challenges included having to pronounce the word “enigmatic” and name the author of a book they’d read that day).

When Cecille — a sweet blonde who’s so flirtatious with all the guys that it almost seemed entirely selfless, like it was her personal mission to let each of them believe there was at least one girl who would sleep with them — put one of the guys in curlers and makeup, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him.

But when he raved about how lucky he was — explaining that he did, after all, get to spend time alone with her in order to be transformed into this unintentional drag queen — I had to wonder just how many IQ points breasts and platinum hair can deduct from a person’s mind.

I thus also had to consider the plight of Piao, an accountant with a perma-smile who gladly turned down a $20,000 offer to leave the show because he didn’t think he’d ever have the chance to be around eight good-looking girls again, and asked his humiliated-by-proxy date, Sheree, if she thought he won the stand-up comedy challenge after managing the nearly impossible feat of being utterly crude without making one person laugh.

But there was no one made sillier than Sanjay, a medical school student who actually — for my money, anyway — was the best-looking of all the geeks but had his hands full with a Dewey Decimal system-ignorant model named Tori.

The girl was really a disaster — crying in the library, asking one of the “Freakonomics” authors only about parenting as though she’d mixed him up with Dr. Spock and failing to produce even a guess as to what NYSE stood for — but she blamed Sanjay for her failures.

How, you might ask, did she do this? By getting angry at him for not telling her she didn’t stink after the “Freakonomics” debacle and snapping, when he mentioned that she might have performed better in the challenge had she actually read the book, that she “has a right to get some rest.”

Sure, the guy was in a tough situation, but when he talked about how much he wished she’d accept his apology after this ridiculousness, I wanted to shake him and explain that he’d done absolutely nothing wrong.

While Tori’s performance managed to get their team axed from the show, it wasn’t all bad news for Sanjay, who did learn from Tori before she went psycho that “booty” could refer to sex and not just a pirate’s treasure. And isn’t the temporary loss of a few IQ points worth being able to gain knowledge like that?

Anna David has written for The L.A. Times, Vanity Fair, Premiere, Parenting, Cosmo, People, Us Weekly, Redbook, Self, Details, Stuff, TV Guide, Women’s Health, Ocean Drive, Teen Vogue, Variety, The New York Post, LA Confidential and Maxim, among others. She answers sex and relationship questions on G4's Attack of the Show and speaks about pop culture on FOX, CNN, NBC, MTV, VH1 and E! Her first novel, "Party Girl," is coming out in June 2007 from HarperCollins.