Written by: Ron Bricker
A few months ago I was browsing the acting gigs section on Craig’s List and ran across a posting for the CW show Beauty and the Geek. They were casting for their fourth season to be filmed this summer. I’ve always thought of myself as slightly geeky (i.e. I watch Star Trek, can quote Star Wars, have Transformers posters on my wall, etc.) so I decided to apply. With a carefully selected picture of myself dressed as a super hero in spandex (taken from a film shoot, I SWEAR), I sent in my application. I’ll admit I was surprised to hear back from the casting agent right away, but I was downright blown away by how enthusiastic he was about me. I mean, I can’t be THAT geeky, can I?
After a few e-mails were exchanged, during which I was told to play down the fact that I was an actor with the next person I spoke with, I was given a call to discuss my application with a “more important” casting agent. He informed me that he would be in DC in about two weeks, and that he wanted to interview me. Now at this point, I’d like to point out that I am not a fan of reality TV. In fact, I despise it. I don’t find it very interesting, and I when I watch TV I want to see fiction. I want stories that are made up and are fun to watch and help me escape reality. This so-called “reality” genre just seems to me to be the worst of both worlds; neither scripted nor organic, they play out like forced improvisation, and sound like a bad liar trying to make a fabricated story believable. Nevertheless, I sacrificed my principles and said yes to the interview. Integrity be damned, the prize money was $250,000.00, and that was too good to pass up.
Two weeks later, I found myself in a hotel room in DC meeting with two casting agents, one male and one female, and a camera that was to film everything I said and did. They proceeded to guide me to answer some questions about my life. But let’s be precise here: it was not my REAL life they were asking about, but this hyper-real life that they informed me they wanted to see in potential candidates for the show. Now as I’ve said, I do have some tendencies that could be described as geeky (what guy my age doesn’t?), but I never thought that these traits would be enough to get me on a show that seems to celebrate social retardation, so by mutual agreement between me and the casting agents, I played up the geeky side of my personality. I slicked my hair down, wore my glasses for the first time in weeks, and brought with me to the interview some Star Trek toys and my saxophone (that my parents had sent me from my childhood bedroom especially for this event). I answered all the prerequisite sorts of questions about my life you’d expect, and then they started to ask me to recreate certain things. They asked me to put on Vulcan ears and act like Mr. Spock. They asked me to use the Star Trek communicator I brought and act out a little scene. When I showed them my model of one of the starships they asked, “Hey, don’t those ships make sounds on the show? Can you show us how they fly and sound?” And of course they wanted me to play my saxophone, so I played the theme to Star Trek: the Next Generation. And I want point out that I was told at the beginning of this session that while the guys on this show are called “geeks” they are well respected, and they would not be mocked on the show. However, I’m not sure if this rang true for me while I was whooshing the Enterprise past their camera as though it were my idea to do so.
The interview concluded after an hour-and-a-half with me dancing (poorly) to some hip hop song that I still can’t identify (which was exactly the point). But the female casting agent was dancing with me (which was also the point), so how can I complain? I was given the background check forms and informed to make a “home tape” that would show me in my everyday life (or at least the “me” they wanted to see). The agents seemed pretty sure that I would make the show and told me that while most interviews lasted twenty minutes, mine was the longest and best they had ever conducted.
So I was riding high. At least sort of. On one had there was a chance I would be on national TV and possibly win $250,000.00. On the other hand, I would lose a month-and-a-half of my summer, to be on a reality show. Called Beauty and the Geek. Where I’d be one of the geeks. But I had to see this damn adventure through, so I made the home tape and sent it in. About three days later, I received a call from yet another casting agent, who asked me to please send in more pictures of myself from my high school band (yes, I was a bandie. Maybe I AM geeky enough after all…). I sent those in, and waited for two weeks to hear if I had made it.
I’m guessing you’ve figured out by now how this story ends. I did not get cast on Beauty and the Geek and you will not be able to see me on the new CW this fall. But don’t despair, I hear the World Series of Pop Culture is going to be casting for season three soon, and I think I see a light at the end of THAT tunnel.