Beauty and the Geek (Wednesday, 7 p.m., CW) returns with its unnatural agenda: putting eight nerdy guys in the same room with eight glamorous women. They pair up with the goal of transformation, the nerds trying to be more suave, the sexpots more intelligent. It's true that the series traffics in objectionable stereotypes, but I enjoy every single minute. What can I say ' I obviously need to try to be more intelligent too.
You can tell the guys are nerds because they wear glasses. They're into computers, comic books and Mr. Spock. 'If it came down to a woman or Star Trek, I'd have to choose Star Trek,' says one of the geeks. But to be honest, it's unlikely to come down to that.
The women are bikini models, beauty pageant contestants and Playboy bunnies. They're all proud about using their looks to get ahead in the world; and, indeed, they don't seem to have many other weapons in their arsenal. 'I think my best feature is when I pout,' says one comely contestant. 'I can get what I want when I do it.'
In the season premiere, the geeks were asked to approach women on the street and get their phone numbers. The beauties faced an even tougher challenge: finding library books based on the Dewey Decimal System.
I'd love to tell you what happens this week, but I have to go practice my pout.
Grease: You're the One That I Want
Sunday, 7 pm (NBC)
This reality series asks America to choose the leads for a new Broadway production of Grease, scheduled to open in July. We'll watch the contestants sing and dance and then vote for our favorites.
Folks, I think we're in way over our heads here. I mean, we can pick presidents like George W. Bush, but casting a Broadway show takes real insight and experience. With judgment like ours, I wouldn't be surprised if the winners ended up declaring war on off-Broadway and setting up illegal detention camps for the cast and crew of Cats.
Gay, Straight or Taken?
Monday, 7 pm (Lifetime)
In this enjoyable reality series, a single woman is confronted with three dreamy guys. One is gay, one is straight and one is taken ' and she has to figure out who's who. If she picks the straight guy, she gets to go on a fabulous vacation with him. If she picks the gay guy or the one who's taken, they get to go on the fabulous vacation with their own partners.
It's fun to play along as the woman looks for clues in the guys' behavior. Is Chris gay because he wears a teeny-weeny swimsuit and sings opera? Is Luciano straight because he gives her the world's best backrub? Is Mike taken because he doesn't flirt convincingly?
I myself picked Chris as the straight guy. But that's probably because I'm gay.
Or am I taken? (See how complicated it gets?)
Tuesday, 7 pm (WHA)
The science magazine reports on recent efforts to build a Space Elevator ' a 22,000-mile cable that could one day transport people into outer space.
Can you just imagine the awkwardness of avoiding eye contact with other people while you wait for the elevator to hit the 22,000th floor?
Taste of America
Tuesday, 7 pm (Travel Channel)
Here's how the Travel Channel describes this series: 'Host Mark DeCarlo travels across America in search of destinations made famous by their delicious food.'
In this week's episode, DeCarlo visits Shelby, N.C., and tries livermush. Then he's off to Brussels, Wis., to drink an ale called 'Belgian penicillin.'
These dishes make me question the phrase 'delicious food.' They even make me question the word 'food.'
People's Choice Awards
Tuesday, 8 pm (CBS)
The People's Choice is the one where fans vote for their favorites, meaning that Carrie Underwood has an extremely unfair advantage in the Favorite Female Singer category. The American Idol winner never, ever loses in a democratic polling situation, so I'm guessing that fellow nominees Shakira and Faith Hill won't even bother to show up.
In fact, if Underwood made even a casual comment regarding a presidential run in 2008, I'd advise Barack Obama to immediately concede defeat.
Wednesday, 8 pm (A&E)
The good news: A&E will begin airing HBO's mob masterpiece, giving those without premium cable a chance to see the great American epic starting with season one. The bad news: The network will edit out the violence, nudity and bad language.
Note to A&E: The Sopranos shorn of its ugliness is not The Sopranos. What are you, f***ing nuts?
In Case of Emergency
Wednesday, 8:30 pm (ABC)
If you make a comedy about losers, you'd be well advised to make them lovable losers. In Case of Emergency neglects the 'lovable' part, apparently thinking we'll want to tune in every week to watch very unlikable losers. And who knows, we just might have if the series displayed an ounce of comic flair. Instead, it piles on the loud, leaden farce, as if an overload of kookiness could extort a chuckle from our throats.
In Case of Emergency is about old high school classmates whose lives have turned sour. Kelly (Kelly Hu), the valedictorian, has become a prostitute. Sherman (Greg Germann), a diet guru, hijacks a pastry truck when his wife leaves him. Jason (David Arquette) is a white-collar criminal bent on suicide. Harry (Jonathan Silverman) is a schlub who visits Kelly's whorehouse and feels bad when she doesn't remember him.
You won't remember him either in a couple of weeks.
TV Land Myths and Legends
Wednesday, 9 pm (TV Land)
This series wastes everybody's time exploring trumped-up Hollywood mysteries. Was there really a Poltergeist curse? Is that really the ghost of a 9-year-old boy seen through a window in the film Three Men and a Baby? Is Long Island's Amityville Horror house really haunted? Was Barry Williams really high on the set of a 1973 Brady Bunch episode?
And were TV Land's producers really high when they dreamed up this series?