THE GEEK WHO GOT THE GIRL
Channel Seven’s Beauty and the Geek reality show airs tonight at 8pm and then reaches the season’s climax during tomorrow’s final episode, when one couple will win $100,000
IT’S the ultimate story of social redemption, when the dorky guy reveals a stunning new look, finds his confidence and lands the pretty girl. That’s the scenario which has played on Channel Seven’s Beauty and the Geek, with several big transformations and two hot hook-ups this year – and there’s another romance brewing behind the scenes too.
The show, which reaches its anticipated end tomorrow night, has a simple premise: take a group of geeks, throw them in a mansion with a bevy of beautiful women and film the results.
But it’s no shameless stunt, host James Tobin insists. It’s about transformation – a physical and emotional one.
“Everyone is different after,” says Tobin. “The way they stand, their smiles, their self-esteem all just change straight away. They have a spring in their steps. They have swagger.”
Finding that new sense of self was enough for Alex Tomisich (pictured, with fellow contestant Nicole Burns) to pluck up the courage to ask out one of the beauties, Sara Macnamara, when the cameras stopped rolling.
“I obviously made a reasonable impression on the show and then I think my newfound confidence after sealed the deal,” Tomisich, 19, says.
“She’s my first girlfriend and it’s pretty crazy. Oh man, there’s so much to learn about dating.’’
The young couple have been going strong for the past few months, even though he’s in Melbourne and she’s in Sydney – and despite their first official date ending with a hospital visit.
“I took her to this indoor trampoline place and she dislocated her shoulder,” he said. “Our next date was much better – we went out for a nice dinner on the water, which was lovely.”
He’s not the only geek to win the heart of a beauty.
During the show, James Van Schoonhoven and Chrystal Rachuj formed a strong connection almost immediately, and their romance has played out on screen to the delight of viewers.
“We occasionally get a kiss here or there, but to have the L word this year was huge,” Tobin says. “It was a proper relationship and it was really beautiful to see it blossom.’’
Tate Putnins also scored a few smooches from Nicole Burns – Tomisich’s competition partner – although the pair have since gone their separate ways.
“Any sort of romance on a television show is always going to be tough because the circumstances and environment are so unusual,” says Tobin. “You’re in a real pressure cooker situation.”
A passionate kiss isn’t the only thing Putnins landed, walking away from the show with an international modelling gig with underwear brand aussieBUM.
Tomorrow night, one couple will be crowned winners and walk away with $100,000 cold, hard cash in a finale that Tobin describes as “unexpected”.
“Just when you think you know how it’s going to play out, there are extra twists and turns that change everything.”
You don’t get to be the longest-running children’s show in US TV history by doing the same thing over and over.
So even though parents who grew up watching Sesame Street can still see old favourites like Big Bird, things on the street have changed since the show debuted 45 years ago in November, 1969.
Cookie Monster now exercises self-control and sometimes eats fruit and vegetables.
Millions of children watch the show on phones and computers instead of TV. And there’s less time spent on the street with human characters.
They’re just not energetic enough for today’s viewers.
In Britain, a BBC kids’ show, Blue Peter, is even older — on since 1958 — but that Sesame Street still exists in the US at all, given the competition, says a lot. In 1973, it was one of two shows on US television for preschoolers.
Now it’s competing with 84 kids’ shows. Yet Sesame Street still holds its own, ranking 20th among kids aged two to five with 850,000 viewers per TV episode in the US.
But now half the viewers watch it in digital formats.
And touchscreens have been “a magic wand for us in terms of engagement,” says Sesame Street senior vice-president Scott Chambers.
Kids can now trace letters or point to colours or shapes.
Sesame Street also has the highest “co-viewing” experience – adults watching with kids – of any preschool show: 49 per cent of viewers are over 18.
“We’re very proud of that,” says Chambers.
“We design the show to engage the parent because that’s more educational. If you have a parent watching with you, you’re going to learn more.”
That’s why sketches often have contemporary celebrity guests or pop culture references that two-year-olds don’t get, but adults do.
Elmo and Abbey from Sesame Street