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Love was in the air on tonight’s episode of Beauty and the Geek as “life-sized Barbie model” Erika (provided Barbie had snacked on a few ring-dings) and “life-sized Tom Cruise model” Brad (provided Tom Cruise had snacked on a few reality checks) engaged in that oh-so-taboo activity: inter-species romance! Yes, the Beauty and the Geek crossed social boundaries by officially becoming lovebirds; thus serving as the most encouraging bit of news for Mensa members since Summer Roberts first locked lips with Seth Cohen on The OC. But lo! Could the social fabric of our high schools be upended by such revolutionary cheerleader-on-geek action? Or would the powers-that-be destine Erika and Brad to a fate much like Lisa and Eric’s on season three of Big Brother? Read on to find out…The episode began with the Pet Shop Boys (late of “West End Girls” and your local gay pride parade) singing away on the opening credits. Sort of a subversive note, considering the underlying themes of the show promote a healthier, happier heterosexuality. Nevertheless, the lyrics appropriately suggested that brains and beauty should work together for money; so I guess it did sort of make sense as an opening theme. Can’t wait for the closing credits by Cher though (I suppose “Believe” would be an apt anthem for the show’s uplifting “You can be better!” message).
Anyway, after having survived the dreaded ELIMINATION ROOM (did anyone else feel that cold wind blowing through their room?), Joe and Erika ascended the staircase back to Beauty/Geek civilization where they returned to their anxious peers. Brad expressed relief at seeing his Barbie come back, noting “It could have been Erika leaving rather than Cheryl. And she would have been gone.” No shit, Sherlock. That’s some high level logic you got going on there. Brad went on to explain, “I could have closed the door. And then it would have been closed. Anyway, I’m going to eat. And then I will have eaten.”
Meanwhile, despite Brian McFayden’s warnings last week, the girls were all shocked that evicted Cheryl and Eric would not be returning (sorry, ladies. Kind of kills that whole “elimination” thing if they come back). Jaws were dropped all around as they realized they wouldn’t be able to say goodbye to their beloved historian (Cheryl was of the camp that 1942 was when Columbus sailed the ocean blue), but this glum news couldn’t destroy the women’s spirits. No, for that we relied on the shirtless duo of Bill and Chuck who the next morning both managed to blind their roommates and America with their radiantly white skin. Perhaps it was a study in doughy flesh, or maybe The WB just wanted to make Chad Michael Murray look really, really pretty in comparison. Either way, the sight was rough for anyone unlucky to have encountered it. But wait! This show isn’t about hate! It’s about love — happy, happy love! So I’m gonna throw away my snotty demeanor and embrace the pasty! And then maybe throw up, but mostly embrace the pasty.
Anyway, Bill and Chuck’s physiques weren’t the only things driving the women up the wall. The girls simply could not understand how none of these guys had any sort of social lives at all (meetings for the Dukes of Hazzard club notwithstanding). Mindi’s head seemed ready to explode when she learned Richard spent his twenty-first birthday dining with his parents and then going to sleep (wow, I thought he was like nineteen). The guys, on the other hand, expressed similar shock/dismay when they saw how much maintenance the women put into getting ready in the morning. This was evidenced by Erika who appeared to be a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT WOMAN just out of the shower. I don’t know how long she puts on makeup and does her hair, but I’m thinking five to six hours for that transformation.
Also annoying the geeks was the generally inane chatter coming from the women. Mindi, for instance, shared this nugget of childhood splendor: “I got my first sunburn when I was eight, and I was so excited.” She then added, “I threw a party at the Hilton for my first melanoma.”
Brad’s response to all this was sort of a universal comment: “You’re making me dumber by telling me this stuff.” Seriously, watching these girls is more damaging to my brain cells than smoking pot from a bong the size of an oil drum. And yet, I get just as high. Rimshot!
Well, it’s been a fun show, but every Beauty and the Geek faces an inevitable truth: Brian McFayden must surface. Yes, the pseudo hip host with the semi man-tits and the partial bangs reared his waxen head to inform the boys and girls of their next challenge. The beauties would learn about car maintenance. The geeks would learn about massage. And Brian would learn about talking with his upper lip. Okay, maybe not. But dare to dream!
Now I personally thought the girls had a tougher assignment ahead of them because their challenge actually required learning specific skills, but after seeing the guys’ reaction to massage, it became obvious that this would be a much more even playing field than expected. Richard for one looked like he had just encountered the schoolyard bully as his face became crestfallen and vacant. “He’s ghostly white!” exclaimed Mindi. Uh, “more ghostly white” actually.
Anyway, the teams all headed off to study, and we soon caught up with Joe who was performing the most awkward massage EVER on Erika. It wasn’t so much that he was kneading as he was pinching — sort of like he was hunting for an extension chord under a big, thick carpet. Lauren meanwhile took a crash course on vehicle upkeep courtesy of Bill, the reigning car expert from Hazzard county. When he pointed to the car jack and said it was capable of lifting two and a half tons, Lauren misheard and balked, “That’s two and a half tons???” Yes, Lauren. It’s the heaviest car jack in the world, and you could lift it with your bare hands. God, I love this show.
Did I say that Joe gave Erika the most awkward massage ever? I apologize. That honor was reserved for Richard and Mindi who entered low-level Annie Hall territory with their attempts to massage each other. First came Richard’s feeble effort to touch, let alone massage, Mindi. Similar to Joe, he seemed unable to grasp the concept of kneading, preferring to lightly graze with the tips of his fingers instead. Frustrated with his antics, Mindi decided to demonstrate proper massage techniques on her partner, but this plan soon met with disaster. Richard quickly recoiled from her touch, and even though Mindi had barely applied any discernible pressure, he squirmed in pain, ultimately protesting, “My shoulders are damaged!” Apparently his shoulders were made of sugar wafers.
Realizing that it was better to give than to receive, Richard and his brittle shoulders swapped out again, opting to take a second chance on Mindi. “I am your masseuse!” he declared confidently — although, technically he was her masseur — you know, because he’s male. Unfortunately, the second time was a no-go since Mindi had seemingly caused irreparable damage to Richard’s osteoporosis. Because his shoulders hurt so badly, Richard called off the entire exercise, saying that they should try again the next morning. I would call him fragile, but I don’t want to insult egg shells across America.
The next day, teams met up with Brian McFey-Dumb (heh, that was sweet. I questioned his intelligence AND his masculinity) and learned that the girls would have to check a car’s oil, replace the air filter, and then change a tire. First one to complete all three and honk the car horn would win. Oh, and they’d have to do all this whilst wearing Daisy Dukes (and yes, Bill did have an enormous boner over that). Well, the challenge got underway and for the most part, everyone was doing surprisingly well. Everyone except Erika, who clearly was not the life-sized version of Auto Mechanic Barbie. It wasn’t that she had trouble checking the oil or replacing the filter or unscrewing lug nuts. No, her problems were more basic: she couldn’t open the hood. Now, I think we’ve all had those three mortifying seconds where we question our self-worth as our fingers search for the latch under the hood, but seriously, FIVE MINUTES?? Mindi had similar problems, but eventually she was able to get the damn thing open – without the help of Richard no less who gazed upon the car as if it were a giant masseuse coming to snap his bones.
Ultimately Caitilin won the competition (that’s pronounced like Kite-illin’ — yeah, I know. Poor girl), and despite getting dirty and breaking a nail, she was pretty psyched. Next up was the guys’ competition. Unsurprisingly, they had to massage the girls. Did I say “unsurprisingly?” Apparently this was a very surprising revelation for Krystal who registered complete shock at this turn of events. Seriously, did she not notice that she’d spent the past twenty four hours teaching Brad about massage? Anyway, the girls all sauntered out to the tables in bikinis, and immediately Richard had a look of pure fear on his face. It was like he’d been ordered to execute them with a shotgun. Of course, things soon went from bad to worse as the guys placed their trembling mitts on the women. Richard immediately noted a certain “thrill”, which we’ll unfortunately assume was a massive erection. Joe, meanwhile, tried to explain his various techniques, ultimately revealing his plan to employ “fisting.” Wow, he’s really become quite comfortable with the female body, yes?
Just when I was ready to rev up my snarky engine even more, Krystal then had to come along and rain on my parade with a thoughtful comment. She noted that the guys really underestimate themselves and really could do so much more if they only believed in themselves. Dammit, you! Why must you bring substance to this show?? What is this newfangled reality show notion that people think of others??
Anyway, Chuck won the competition, consolidating all this week’s power between him and his partner Caitilin. Richard immediately began an ingratiating and annoying campaign for their affection by coating his nose with mud (brown nosing, get it? I do hope he realizes the origins of that pun lie in feces though…) and waltzing around with a giant sign. Everyone thought this was the most annoying thing ever except Scarlett who bizarrely thought it was HILarious! Then again, she thinks lamp shades and tinfoil balls are funny too.
Well, Chuck HATED this performance and chided Scarlett’s giggling, saying “Don’t reinforce that.” THANK YOU. A lot of people think Richard is an actor playing the dork, but having met enough dorks like Richard in my life, it’s a sad reality that when these socially repressed people suddenly feel comfortable, they seem to explode into bouncy nine-year olds. Not to speak in generalizations or anything, but, well, it’s true. And I am a social psychologist. Okay, now I’m just talking out of my ass. Point is, I believe Richard is truly like that.
Finally, it was time to find out who would be heading into the ELIMINATION ROOM (window shutters banging! Crows flapping away!). Before facing Brian McFayden (I wanted to say McFeydumb again, but thought it would be too much), Mindi was kind enough to teach Richard about the virtues of a “good, natural tuck,” and honestly, if that’s the only thing he changes, that will be enough. Dayenu!
Well, Caitilin burst into tears as she elected Erika and Joe to enter the Elimination Room, and in the most Shakespearean twist yet, Chuck sent in… Krystal and BRAD! Oh no! The love that dared not breathe now faces certain extinction! Star-crossed indeed! Actually, it may be a good thing because according to Brad’s lower lip, he may just have herpes. Of course, herpes or no herpes (it’s about suppression), Erika immediately became a mess, bawling that she might never see Brad again. Uh, it’s been six days. I think you’ll manage. At least she drew some introspective conclusions from this Geek-Beauty romance, saying “I am kind of shallow.” Maybe if you want to meet more guys like Brad, you can try being, I don’t know, less shallow?
Anyway, my favorite part of the show began: the light trivia of the ELIMINATION ROOM (thunderclap!). Actually, even better than the basic questions is the peanut gallery, which always provides entertaining commentary. This evening, my favorite remark came from Joe, who when Erika answered a question surprisingly correct, told Brad, “THAT SUCKS!” Eh, you had to be there.
The biggest shock of the evening was that the girls each went three for three on the questions, with Krystal bringing the A-game to properly answer “viscous” at one point. Faring less impressively were the guys who faltered on the massage questions. Ultimately, Joe lost it for his team, incorrectly identifying a loofa sponge as a “massage rag” (gross) and reflexology as “thumbing” (GROSS). I’m glad they didn’t ask him what stone massage was. He probably would have called it “Rock molestation.” Anyway, as the girls re-entered the room, a teary-eyed Erika embraced Brad before her partner Joe (oh SLAM!), who in turn seemed ready to let the waterworks loose as well. In the final minute of the show, we were then treated to a sweet montage of their experiences in the house as the two shared thoughtful, friendly sentiments about themselves, their outlooks, and how they’ve grown. Must… not… cry… Okay, just kidding. I wasn’t choked up, but I was filled with that cheesy, gooey happy feeling I imagine housewives get after watching Oprah.
Honestly, I’ll be sad to see Joe and Erika go. He had a funny, subversive sense of humor, and she had a surprisingly introspective reaction to the show. More so than anyone else, Erika seemed to actually learn and grow and think outside of herself. I would have liked a few more weeks with them. At the same time, I don’t know which team I’d want to sacrifice instead (probably Krystal and Brad). It’s the mark of a great reality show when you never want to see any of the characters leave. Damn you Ashton Kutcher. Why must you produce such a gem!
What did you think? Who’s your favorite couple?