Beauty and the Geek Finale (7/6): A Few of Their Favorite Things
It’s time for the finale of Beauty and the Geek, the WB’s surprise hit (well hit in WB terms) from the mind of none other than Ashton Kutcher. Who would have thunk that was possible? The only thing more surprising would be to learn that the American Psychiatric Association has asked Tom Cruise to be the keynote speaker at its 2006 Convention. Over the weeks, we’ve gotten to know seven beauties and seven geeks to varying degrees. The most unexpected thing about this show, at least to me, has been how heartwarming many of the scenes have turned out to be. I was sure this show would come with guaranteed catfights and mocking of contestants. Sure there is the ongoing Richard/Chuck feud but that’s nothing; especially, if you watched the last version of The Bachelor. On the whole, it’s been the feel good success of the reality summer. Let’s get on with the show, shall we?
Kickin’ It With Chuck
After a review of the show from the beginning which ends with Shawn and Scarlet’s loss in the Elimination Challenge to Richard and Mindi, the finale opens with Chuck and Caitilin sitting on the bed in their room. Chuck is hoping that it will be Scarlet and Shawn who walk back up the stairs. Chuck says that the main reason he wants them to return is so that he can spend more time with Scarlet. The fact that he detests Richard might also be a factor. When Richard and Mindi walk through the door, Richard insists on hamming it up beyond belief as usual. Rich tells us that he didn’t look Chuck in the eye because he was afraid Chuck would karate chop him. Mindi asks Chuck if he is okay. Chuck says yes.
Chuck tells the camera that with Scarlet gone, the house feels a lot bigger and a lot colder. He almost feels panic coming on so Chuck decides he’ll work out to try to burn off his feelings. We then see Chuck accompanied by the theme from Rocky performing one handed pushups and shadow boxing. At least we were spared him punching out meat carcasses.
Richard comments on how Chuck is nervously pacing around which is highly ironic coming from the geek who can’t sit still. Now that there are only the four of them left in the mansion, he figures that he ought to try to make up with Chuck. Richard tries to relate to Chuck by telling him that he took a couple karate lessons. This conversation takes place with Chuck standing in the bedroom doorway and Richard standing on the far side of the bed. Mindi, in the meantime, is lying in the bed reading a book and totally ignoring the two of them. Richard proceeds to try to show off some of his moves much to Chuck’s amusement. The scene looks like one of those old ninety pound weakling advertisements as Chuck exerts almost no effort while looking like he could snap Richard in two.
It continues to dawn on Richard that antagonizing Chuck is not good for his future health. In his campaign to get in Chuck’s good graces, Richard joins Chuck in meditating shirtless in front of a mirror while sitting in a lotus position. Richard can’t quite maintain a straight face and is lucky Chuck had his eyes closed so that he couldn’t see Richard giggling. Richard does admit that although he couldn’t find his “inner Chuck” while meditating, he did feel better. He doesn’t rule out trying it again.
Mindi asks Richard if he and Chuck had a moment. Now that is a visual I need even less than shirtless Richard. Rich says that he’s my new best friend and I’m going to let him win tomorrow. Yeah right. Mindi thinks it is remarkable that they went from being like enemies to meditating together.
All four go downstairs for what they think is the last challenge. Brian informs them that when they arrived, all of them possessed specific talents but had many areas in which they were lacking. Brian goes a little overboard and says that throughout the course of the game, they have opened their minds and hearts to their partners. As a result, they have broadened their horizons and learned a whole new set of skills. Basically, Brian sounds like a proud papa giving a speech at a college graduation.
Now it is time for each of them to demonstrate their strengths. They will each have the opportunity to show their partner something they excel in and that is part of what makes them unique. Brian tells them to enjoy the final two days before the showdown where the winner will be determined.
Chuck is excited to have a sort of day off. He is looking forward to introducing Caitilin to the martial arts which he cares deeply about. At first, Chuck doesn’t have much luck getting her to use her voice as a weapon. In fact, she sounds kind of like she’s trying to get the attention of the local librarian. Chuck is patient with her, however.
Like a Duck to Water
When we get back from commercial, Caitilin says in confessional that she learned some basic moves from Chuck. She was a little uncomfortable with how close his fist came to her face a few times when he was trying to show her how to throw a punch. Chuck clearly throws himself into the martial arts with the same passion he approaches everything else. Well, everything other than women.
Meanwhile, Mindi is taking Richard kayaking. She pretty much grew up at a lake and thought the experience would be great for Richard. Richard starts out looking incredibly awkward and asks Mindi if the kayak has a seatbelt. Mindi explains that a seatbelt would be dangerous given that it would keep you from being able to get out of the kayak if you capsized. As he steers into some docked powerboats, things aren’t looking good for Richard’s future in kayaking.
Chuck tells Caitilin to focus in on hitting a target, namely Chuck’s midsection. Caitilin seems to have a hard time grasping that he actually wants her to hit him. She asks incredulously, “Hard?” Chuck tells us that Caitilin brought a tremendous effort. When he asked her for more, she brought it. Hmm, that sounds vaguely dirty. We see proof of her effort when Caitilin really hauls back and whops him one in the stomach.
Richard starts to get the hang of kayaking and actually appears to be enjoying himself. Mindi was proud that he didn’t want to turn around and go in immediately. Richard confesses that if he can learn to kayak, anyone can. He also says that Mindi is a really good teacher. Ultimately, he even admits that kayaking is relaxing. A shocked Mindi asks him if she really heard that come out of his mouth. I wasn’t nearly as shocked by that as by what we hear coming out of Mindi’s mouth a little later.
Caitilin’s martial arts lesson is over. She says that it was fun to see Chuck in his element having a good time. In the end, she felt really proud of herself and tried to gain something from the lesson.
After Mindi and Chuck finish kayaking, they sit on a hill and have a picnic together. Richard tells her that it is beautiful in a tone that makes it sound like he’s never seen grass or water before. Mindi is enjoying the newly calm and very sincere Richard. He confesses to her that this is the longest time he’s ever spent with a girl and that he feels like he’s learned a little bit about how things work. I think he means he’s learned a little about dating, but I’m honestly not sure.
At this point, Mindi has a moment of insanity, is suffering from sun stroke, or has consumed two bottles of wine by herself as she tells Richard that if they win, she’ll make out with him. Richard is clearly delighted at the notion. Subtitling indicates that Mindi says “Don’t think I wouldn’t do it.” What we actually hear is “Doomf fink woodt du is” through the chicken she is stuffing in her mouth. This is all the incentive Richard needs. Now he wants to win not only for the money and to beat Chuck but also to get to make out with a girl for the first time.
That night, Chuck and Caitilin come back to the mansion where it is Caitilin’s turn to demonstrate one of her talents. She is cooking him a meal. She explains to Chuck that the next time he has a date of some sort this is a meal he can prepare by himself. I’m pretty sure she didn’t mean the “of some sort” as a slam. Chuck says, in other words I can give the illusion of competence.
Caitilin was excited to have the alone time with Chuck. Chuck admits that the two of them really do get along great and have a great time just talking. While Caitlin cooks a meal of salmon and what appear to be sweet potatoes, Chuck half-heartedly attempts to help. We learn that Caitilin’s mother is a great cook.
Richard is looking forward to bringing Mindi into his world which he plans to do with a vengeance. They walk into a room in the mansion furnished with a grand piano, candles, and flower petals on the floor. Mindi is clearly impressed. Richard gives us a little TMI declaring that he just wanted to make love to the piano. He does say that Mindi looks ravishing in her red dress. I can’t disagree.
The two of them sit down at the piano and Richard lets Mindi pick out a Scott Joplin tune for him to play. She tells him she wants something upbeat. Richard decides to play “Maple Leaf Rag.” It sounds good to me and Richard is in his element for the first time that I’ve seen on the show. Mindi says that he seemed like a totally different person because he was so at ease. She had a phenomenal time just watching his fingers as he played. Richard feels like the two of them got very close after that.
Chuck and Caitilin are enjoying their dinner. Chuck thanks her and tells her it was a great idea. Caitilin feels like she learned a lot more about Chuck and why he is the way he is over dinner. We learn that Chuck had a horrible time in high school and that he is oversensitive to things that involve being judged on appearance and looks. I’m thinking either Chuck was thin as a rail and short in high school, or he was chubby because now he is not a bad looking guy at all.
Chuck and Caitilin each give confessionals. Chuck says that because of this experience he feels like a different person and is comfortable with who he is. Caitilin tells the camera that she is so proud of Chuck. She feels like he has made a wonderful transformation and the two of them have grown so close. Chuck tells Caitilin that they’ve teamed up on another victory on the delicious dinner. I think Chuck may be taking a little more credit for the final product than he deserves but everyone say “Aah” anyway.
Richard tells Mindi that he has written her a little “tuneski” that kind of captures their time together in the mansion. He also gives her a little part to play so she can participate. The lyrics to the song are some silly rhyme about Mindi and windy. It is goofy beyond belief but also very sweet. Richard feels like it couldn’t have gone better. Mindi repeats in a wondering voice that it couldn’t have gone better. She wishes that they had had a piano the whole time because she doesn’t think she would have been nearly as frustrated with Richard.
I Want Him to be Sedated
The next day Chuck is contemplating the fact that this is the last day of everything; the last day of the competition, the last day of living in the mansion, and the last day of being partnered with Caitilin. He is experiencing simultaneous feelings of wanting everything to speed up and everything to slow down. The thing that is making him the most anxious is not knowing what the final Elimination Challenge is going to be.
Nervous, twitchy Richard is back. I wish he was playing the piano again even if I have to listen to him sing his Mindi tribute another 100 times. He first asks Caitilin if she is going to prepare for the challenge. She says no. She’s ready. Caitilin then retreats to her room to pack her bags. Richard then goes to find Mindi who is sunbathing outside and looking completely relaxed. Mindi tries to talk Richard down as he frantically asks her what he should study. He is pacing back and forth around the pool area spewing verbal diarrhea. Mindi, who is a much nicer person than I am, continues to show infinite patience and asks him to reflect on what he has learned from his experience on Beauty and the Geek. When he says he doesn’t know, she reminds him that he has learned to get up in front of strangers and dance and to ask girls for their phone numbers. Mindi ends her pep talk by telling him that she thinks he has learned a lot but he needs to just dig down and think of what those things are.
Chuck is dressed up in a shirt and tie for the elimination. He explains that they had a little time to sit around and cap off the whole experience before heading downstairs. The four of them have a nice conversation about how sometimes it seems like they have been at the mansion forever and other times it seems like they just got there. Chuck gives Richard a slip of paper with the names of his favorite two meditation books and Richard has the good grace not to toss the paper away. In the middle of all of this we see Caitilin confess that she already feels like a winner and Richard saying that he wants none of that. He wants to win. I fear for Mindi. At the end, the four of them exchange hugs. In fact, Chuck manages to pop Mindi’s back by lifting her off the floor in a big bear hug. Mindi thought it felt good. I’m pretty sure that if Richard had tried that he would have thrown his back out rather than popping Mindi’s.
The next several moments are a study in contrasts. We keep flashing back and forth between Mindi and Richard and Chuck and Caitilin in separate rooms. Chuck seems to be entering a zen like state while Caitilin is also remarkably calm. The two of them have a nice conversation during which Caitilin reassures him that she won’t be mad if they don’t win the $250,000. Mindi, on the other hand, is dealing with Richard Nervosa again. At one point, Richard describes being in his shoes as like being in Dante’s Inferno. I’m sure there are several people who have wanted to cast Richard into all of the circles of hell so that seems appropriate. In the end, all four proceed down the stairs abreast in slow motion. It looks a little like one of the cheesy scenes from Who Wants to Marry My Dad. Not that I’ve ever seen that show mind you.
Pressure? What Pressure?
Brian welcomes them to the Elimination Room and congratulates the four of them on making the finals. He takes great delight in pointing out the irony of Chuck and Caitilin facing Richard and Mindi who they sent to the Elimination Round three times in a row in the finals.
As it turns out, the finals will test each pair on how well they got to know each other. Each pair will be asked a total of ten personal questions about their partners. Chuck and Caitilin are first while Mindi and Richard are sent to separate isolation rooms. Since a lot of the questions to both pairs turn out to be the same, it wouldn’t have been fair for Richard and Mindi to be able to discuss the answers. Chuck and Caitilin get off to a bad start when Caitilin identifies Chuck’s birthplace as Sioux Falls, Iowa. In fact, Chuck was born in Atlanta, Georgia. From there, the two of them do much better answering correctly questions about what colleges Caitilin attended and where Chuck is going to medical school as well as a question about what medicine Chuck is allergic to. The only other question they miss is when Chuck also misidentifies Caitilin’s birthplace. Probably, the most impressive correct answer was Caitilin knowing that it was the play Romeo and Juliet which inspired Chuck to take up the martial arts.
With eight out of ten answers correct, Chuck and Caitilin feel good. Caitilin describes the feeling as being like having 100 pounds lifted off of her. Given that she probably doesn’t weigh much more than 100 pounds, she might want to consider keeping the weight.
Brian welcomes Mindi and Richard back into the room. For the first time, Mindi seems to be affected by the situation. She says that it was looking pretty grim, and she was worried she was going to crack under the pressure. It doesn’t help her tension level that she misses the first question and then Richard goes against his better instincts and answers Italy although his gut told him to say Spain to a question regarding what country Mindi visited to perform at the World’s Fair. It turns out his gut was more reliable than Survivor Lex’s as Spain was indeed the correct answer. As we go to commercial, Chuck and Caitilin are trying not to grin like Cheshire cats and Richard realizes that he and Mindi will have to get eight questions right in a row to force a tie.
What is in a Name?
Richard is envisioning his chances of making out with Mindi circling the drain as Brian asks Mindi the next question. She gets it right. Once they have run off six correct answers in a row, Chuck and Caitilin visibly tense up again. The ninth question is to Mindi. Brian asks what size waist Richard has. Mindi says 28 or 30. Correct! Now it is up to Richard to force the tiebreaker. I wait for Richard to faint. Instead, he correctly answers that Mindi has two tattoos.
The tiebreaker round is simple. Each team will receive one question per round with the partners alternating rounds to answer. If each team answers their question right, there will be another round. The ladies go first. Brian asks Caitilin, “What size waist does Chuck wear in pants?” What? As compared to what size waist he wears in a skirt? Caitilin knows this answer and immediately says 34. Brian tells her she is correct. He then asks Mindi, “When you and Richard were talking about drinking, he said he got a hangover from what brand mouthwash?” Mindi grins and responds Listerine. She is also right.
The next round of the tiebreaker involves the guys. Chuck is asked what Caitilin’s middle name is. He correctly answers something that sounds like Asimo. I have no idea how to spell it. It comes down to Richard again. He gets the same question about Mindi. After hesitating, Richard responds “Jackie?” Brian tells him that is incorrect. Chuck and Caitilin win! Richard and Mindi congratulate them although it nearly kills Richard.
Afterward, each pair talks about the experience and how close they feel to each other. Richard appears to be most disappointed about losing the chance to make out with Mindi. Freed from whatever adrenaline rush made her make that promise, Mindi does give him a little peck on the lips so that the Richard Kiss O Meter hits 3 girls kissed.
Next week, the WB is promising a Beauty and the Geek Reunion. The teasers include a glimpse of Chuck looking fine in a scruffy beard, a hint there may be a couple from the show dating, the promise to reveal whether Richard is for real, and a pledge by Joe to auction his virginity on e-bay. I can hardly wait.
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