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'Grease' and the 'Geek'

I wasn't sure what to expect with Grease: You're the One That I Want, the new reality show that will cast Sandy and Danny for the new Broadway production of the classic movie/musical. But after watching the first episode Sunday, the whole thing feels like a rehash. The first round of singing auditions is more than reminiscent of American Idol, and the tiny bit that we saw of the dancing auditions felt straight out of So You Think You Can Dance. It will probably start to feel more unique when the acting and the viewer voting get added in, but so far, I'm yawning.

On the other hand, I caught up with the third season premiere of Beauty and the Geek, and I continue to adore the show against all odds. I thought it sounded horrible and mean, but it's much sweeter than I expected, most of the time anyway. In the premiere, the beauties and the geeks met and chose partners. In their first challenge, the women had to find three books based on the Dewey Decimal System, and the guys had to accomplish three tasks -- find a stranger to rub sunscreen on their back, to give them their phone number and to let them borrow a cell phone to make a quick call. In the next challenge, the guys had to do a standup comedy routine at a club, and the girls had been given some study materials on current events. When they got to the venue for the challenge, they were told that they'd be reading the TelePrompTer and interviewing the author of Freakonomics, which was part of the study materials they'd been given. That challenge was a disaster on almost all fronts. The comedy club bits were almost impossible to watch, but Nate and Mario both pulled through, especially Nate. And Sheree seemed almost professional in her interview and really impressed the judges, with Nadia doing reasonably well (though by the time she went, the judges were happy that someone could pronounce "enigmatic").

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Tori wasn't happy with Sanjay for not praising her (disastrous) performance in the interview, and she didn't seem willing to take his apology. Eventually, they got sent home, but I'm getting ahead of things. Meanwhile, Andrea seemed to relish yelling at her partner, Matt. She talked a big game about wanting to do anything to win, but she sure didn't seem to study -- she was totally unprepared for her interview. You'd think a self-proclaimed beauty queen would know how to prepare for an interview and would know something about current events. But not this one. She flat-out angers me.  But everyone else seems great. Frankly, I'm not convinced that Nate is really that much of a geek -- I mean, sure, he's in a Star Wars tribute band, but being capable of performing on stage takes guts and writing songs takes creativity, so he doesn't necessarily fit the "incapable of relating to people" model they seem to be looking for in their geeks on this show. (And, yes, it's possible that as someone with at Yoda figurine given to me by my dad sitting on my desk, that I don't really consider Star Wars-related things as a good barometer of geekiness.)

Anyway, I'm definitely looking forward to the next episode tomorrow night. If you like shows that have some personal growth to reveal, check this one out. It's on the CW.

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