nick730 (nick730) wrote,

The geek shall inherit - slight return

When I posted about Beauty and the Geek last week, I think I proved myself a bit too right - I was going to talk about how the show's format had made the contestants' personalities stand out, and then proceeded to just go on about those personalities, ignoring the format I had intended to look at. So, very quickly, I think a couple of things that contributed to this may have just been accidental. I suspect that the lack of a presenter was simply a way of saving money. But it meant the beauties and geeks came centre stage at all times. The only other on-camera person most of the time was a silent butler, so the tasks were announced by the contestants reading off a card; and during the final face-off every week, the teams would ask each other the questions. Having so much focus on them at the tense moments of the show made you really feel for them, without a Sarpong to distract the viewer.

Also the choice of David Mitchell as narrator was genius; I've made numerous comments while slagging off Boys Will Be Girls that Colin Murray's sneery voiceover brings the show to a level of sheer nastiness it could have avoided. Mitchell on the other hand may make fun of the contestants but it comes across as good-natured, as his own TV persona, especially in his best-known role on Peep Show, is itself very geeky. And the show's makers aren't let off the hook, with some of the more ludicrous aspects of reality TV being given a bit of a poke in the voiceover - most memorably when one of the geeks, Ben, was upset and was seen going off for a walk in the castle's grounds. Mitchell's voiceover commented, in the audio equivalent of a poker face: "Ben wants to be alone. So we sent a camera crew with him."

Unfortunately the makers did drop the ball a bit at the last minute, with the climactic episode being pretty badly flawed. It seemed as if the ways the finalists were given to pass their time on the last day (showing their partner their idea of fun, followed by a dinner party for all four of them) hadn't delivered as much footage as intended, so 2/3 of the show was unecessary "highlights" of the series so far. The final third was the face-off itself, and that was well put-together, very tense and even went down toa tie-breaker, with my personal favourite, tiny John, getting the win at the last minute.

But the final mistake made by the producers was that at the end, the contestants left the castle and... credits. If once again I use Faking It as the gold standard where this sub-genre of reality TV is concerned, those last few minutes where we see how the faker's life has been changed a few weeks or months down the line can be among the most memorable parts of the show. As BatG was meant to be life-changing to a greater or lesser extent, I wanted to know which beauties had stopped acting dumb in their outside lives, which geeks had kept their makeovers and started socialising, which pairs had kept in touch afterwards, and which contestants on both sides had simply gone back to acting 100% the same as they had before. But nothing. We didn't even get a quick interview with the winners after the T4 repeat on Saturday. A real shame in a show where we were so successfully encouraged to get interested in the participants, not to be allowed the chance to ease out of their company as they ease back into their normal lives.

So, some big mistakes at the very last hurdle, but if they can sort those out then the proposed second series should again be an interesting watch.

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