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Picks and Pans Review: Beauty and the Geek

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WB (Thursdays, 9 p.m. ET)

REALITY

Geek, just into its second season, remains one of the few reality shows with a good heart. Coproduced by Ashton Kutcher, it has some of the dumb humor of an American Pie movie, but raised to a higher plateau by our nation’s creed of self-improvement.

The show pairs off gorgeous girls whose eyes are wide and empty but eager to take in knowledge—one of the new contestants didn’t know John Kerry ran for president, for Pete’s sake—with guys who’ve carried their nerdiness almost to the point of the sublime. One geek proudly wears a T-shirt that says, “I put the stud in study.” If the show ever wanted to turn cruel (besides the usual backstabbing), at some point a bus could pull up and disgorge hulking college quarterbacks who also have Phi Beta Kappa keys dangling like epaulettes from their shoulder pads. Instead, the geeks try to improve the girls’ minds, explaining things like the ozone layer. The girls coach the geeks in style—with a miracle, maybe one of them will become Adam Brody.