Thursday 15 October 2009

Could Beauty & The Geek save Australian television?

Guess what's on Channel Seven tonight?

The best Australian-made show since... well... gee I don't know when. The Australian version of 'Beauty & The Geek' snuck under the radar before its debut and still drew over one million 'viewers' whilst being the 7th most watched show last Thursday night.

Episode Two airs tonight at 8:30pm on Channel Seven and goes up against CSI on Channel Nine, Rush on Channel Ten, Dave in the Life on SBS and Whale Patrol on the ABC.

It'll cover Ten and SBS but the ABC's Whale Patrol doco and the Morpheus-led CSI will give it a run for the timeslot money.

I didn't see the first episode of 'Beauty & The Geek' live, in fact I didn't even know the series had started yet. But while out for dinner Saturday night - the show came up in conversation over coffee. Having already watched a few episodes of the American version of 'Beauty & The Geek' in the past, I am a big fan of the concept because it produces truly entertaining television. So when said Australian version was available to watch after dinner, I jumped at the chance.

I was not disappointed.

Case in point - the map of Australia (see picture left) is a beauty... just think how entertained the children who were being 'taught' were by it.

Once you got through the staged, heavily scripted introduction portion of the first episode, the spun gold began. The girls and boys have next to no idea how they are coming off to the audience but it's kind of endearing rather than a degrading way that is brought out on television. By that I mean - although you spew forth comments like 'you've got to be kidding' or 'no way!' and 'no no nooooooo!' while watching both groups do their thing - you are thoroughly entertained. Which is exactly what a format like this can do.

I've got a lot of respect for both the girls and guys for going on the show and putting up with being told what to say in the 'interview sections' - because they make Australian television watchable once more.

Only a handful of Australian produced shows have caught my interest in the past few years (most recently Talkin' 'Bout Your Generation & The Hollowmen) because they were able to freshly squeeze out entertainment. This is what 'Beauty & The Geek' does just as well - sure it's cringe worthy but it is fresh and vibrant thanks to the cast.

The host and 'special guest' judges however... well Molloy Meldrum was solid but did Jessica Mauboy say anything that Molly hadn't already said before? And the host, Bernard Curry, has a better spray tan than the entire female cast!

And that takes some doing.

So check out 'Beauty & The Geek' and don't let scripted dribble like Curry's summation of the first two challenges scare you off - and I quote: "Beauties you scored an A-Plus teaching a class and Geeks you rocked the mike and busted out some serious moves with your mus---BLEURRRGGGGHHHH (that's me throwing up)."

Trust me the show is ridiculously entertaining, so get on it - and save yourself and Australian television from the current plague that is stale clichéd dribble like Packed to the Rafters, Home & Away and Neighbours.