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Geekerboxxx/The Love Below (The Double OTB)
Travis Eberle

Desperate times call for tough decisions to be made. There are two shows that I want to write about. One is on a network that may not be here tomorrow. The other is a limited run program that will be wrapping when I get to do this again in two weeks.

Chairman, I'd like to invoke the Double Dip, please.

(C-Note: Double Dip invoked *Double Dip cue*)

This Tuesday, a program wrapped that has not been covered by GSNN. It was a quaint little 'reality' show, but with an altruistic bent. PAX's "Cold Turkey" gave ten smokers the chance to kick the habit, and share in up to $100,000 in cash. The show had all of the required elements: a devious twist at the beginning (players tried out for a reality show that didn't exist... not new, but certainly devious), intriguing challenges, the right host (A.J. Benza was particularly good in his role) and a wonderful cast of characters who you want to see succeed.

But there was more to it than just earning money and not smoking. We watched as the contestants go to various hospitals in the California area and seeing up close the many perils of smoking: an X-ray of a blackened lung, pieces of diseased aortas, and meeting people who had undergone tracheotomies. Each of these parts was handled delicately, and there was no reason to believe that this was just for shock value.

It's a great premise all around, and I wish that it got more press than it did. I also wish that the show was run on a network that wasn't floundering in financial problems (NBC's in cahoots with PAX... Say, THERE'S an idea). Bravo to PAX for taking a chance on an 'out there' show. I, for one, enjoyed it.

The other show that has caught my fancy is the alleged 'social experiment' on The WB, "Beauty and the Geek." The masses may lump this with other reality series this summer, but make no mistake; this is as much a game show as "Studio 7". Seven brainy but socially inept guys team up with seven stunning beauties who would rather read Cosmopolitan rather than Scientific American. The result is a mix of hilarious hi-jinks (watching the women build model rockets and the men learning about pop music and high fashion) and heartfelt triumphs. Additionally, Brian McFayden (yes, the MTV VJ who fronted the forgettable "Cupid" and "Superstar USA") shows that he has what it would take to host a serious quiz show. Watching the elimination challenge gives me goose bumps.

Underneath the layer of the goofy game show with a twisted concept, the show shows us the transformation that the contestants are making; the women seeing that there's more to guys that what's on the outside, and the men getting out of their comfort zones, talking to women that they might not look at normally.

The show resonates for me because I'm a proud geek. I never danced with a cheerleader at the prom, scored the winning goal, or anything like that. It's sort of a "Revenge of the Nerds" thing for me. I enjoy seeing these awkward guys getting to do the sort of things that I can only dream of.

On the plus side, "Geek" is getting renewed next year, so even more people will be able to see the greatness that I've been a part of. On the minus side, Pax's impending move may leave the former out in the cold.

Travis Eberle doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, and is a goody-two, goody-two, goody-goody-two-shoes. E-mail him at traviseberle@gmail.com.

 

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