The disturbing untold truth of Beauty and the Geek

For reality TV fans, the early aughts can be considered somewhat of a golden age. It was a time where anything was possible: Xzibit could mysteriously pop up in your driveway to put a cotton candy machine in your cheap Craigslist car; MTV could tear you out of your bed in the middle of the night and give a future date a blacklight to inspect your embarrassingly messy room; and The Swan, arguably the cruelest reality show ever created, was somehow greenlit. 

Meanwhile, in the middle of Ashton Kutcher's wildly successful original run of MTV's candid camera prank series, Punk'd, he also producedBeauty and the Geek. Touted as a social experiment rather than a run-of-the-mill reality show, it brought together polar opposites — the geekiest, most socially awkward men casting directors could find and seemingly shallow bombshells — and forced them to work together to complete challenges. 

The show's popularity erupted into international success with offshoots in both the UK and Australia, but not everything was as happy-go-lucky as it seemed on the surface. From alleged stunt casting, to manipulative editing, to a cast member losing his virginity on set, here is the disturbing untold truth of Beauty and the Geek.

Playing a geek is easy if you're an actor

It's no secret that reality TV producers know how to pull the juiciest scenes from their subjects. It also helps if one of their subjects is a professional actor. Beauty and the Geek Australia came under fire after "geek" Bendeguz Daniel Devenyi-Botos (above) admitted he was a professional actor who joined the series to help his career. We're going to guess the "geek" in Beauty and the Geek isn't referring to theater nerds.

According to The Sunday Telegraph, the mustache-clad reality star studied acting and theater at a number of performing arts schools. He had "a professional headshot and casting card," yet Beauty and the Geek apparently "concealed" his background from fans. They claimed he was a "historian;" he claimed he dropped out of school to pursue acting. According to SheKnows, the alleged geek had "more than a dozen acting credits" ranging from stage to film.

Devenyi-Botos told The Sunday Telegraph that producers absolutely knew he was an actor because they approached him to be on the show after seeing him perform. He claimed to have joined the cast to give his acting career a boost. Needless to say, fans felt duped.

Hide your children, hide your girlfriends

Beauty and the Geek and it's international counterparts have touted their loveable but socially awkward geeks as basically incapable of talking to women. After all, they go on the show looking for love. This is why fans were shocked when it was found that Corin Storkey, a contestant on Beauty and the Geek Australia, fathered a child with his live-in girlfriend .

According to Herald Sun, the PhD student lived with his organic chemist girlfriend while he attended college in New Zealand. They dated for four years and had a daughter named Beth.

"She was the main relationship of my life after we got together when I was 18," Storkey told Herald Sun, "But we split up just around the time she got pregnant and she has since married."

Fans accused Storkey of being a "fake" alleging he couldn't possibly be the virginal, socially inept geek the show painted him to be if there was definitive proof that he was, in fact, not a virgin. Of course, a rep for the series claimed they never cast geeks based on their sexual history. They were more concerned with Storkey's interests than his past relationships.

Need a friend to talk to? Too bad.

We already know that reality TV shows tend to hide their stars away from the rest of the world. It happened with Big Brother, where contestants were allegedly stuck in a hotel room and not allowed to even glance at their competition during the casting process. It happened on Jersey Shore, where housemates weren't allowed to have cell phones, watch TV, read, or listen to music. Apparently, drama stems from complete boredom.

Beauty and the Geek allegedly took the isolation to a brand new high. Nate Dern, who appeared on Season 3 of the CW series, told UCB Comedy it was a "crazy experience" because contestants weren't allowed to "talk to [their' friends," "look at the internet," or "read a newspaper."

"I've never been to prison, but it might be a little bit like that," Dern said.

In an interview with Alloy, Season 3 contestant Niels Hoven claimed cast members were sequestered in a hotel with very little outside interaction the week before filming. To make sure there are no leaks about who gets eliminated, contestants are sent back to a hotel when they're voted off. They must remain there, with limited human contact, until filming wraps.

Can't help feeling in love

What's a reality TV show without an all-star editor? A series is only as juicy as the drama is cut to be. Apparently, the editors on Beauty and the Geek were so good at their craft that they actually almost fooled a contestant into believing he had a real relationship on the series. Boy, was he mistaken.

Season 3 geek Nate Dern (above right) told UCB Comedy that he ended up kissing "beauty" Jennylee Berns (above left), a UFC ring girl, during one alcohol-fueled night. Their minor romance was completely transformed in the edit room.

"They heightened it and made it like this love story that spanned all eight weeks of the show, which wasn't really true, but they made it into this big thing," he said. "And then, you know, it's crazy, and you're like 'maybe I do have a romance with this person' and you start questioning yourself."

Dern claimed that when he saw Berns again she seemed kind of embarrassed that they had hooked up in the first place. At that point, she had apparently fallen into the arms of Frankie Muniz.

It's extremely difficult to have a relationship after filming

Any relationships that might have spawned on Ashton Kutcher's Beauty and the Geek were doomed from the start. Though the show was touted as a "social experiment" rather than a dating show, any time you pair up eight dudes with eight women, sparks are bound to fly. Be it the time Mensa member Brad Hooker locked lips with model Erika Rumsey or a steamy game of strip poker, the relationships on the show seemed oh-so real. Unfortunately, they were effectively forbidden after the series, at least until it aired on TV.

According to Nate Dern (above left), castmates aren't allowed to talk to each other after filming until the show airs on TV. Though this might keep nosy fans from knowing if anyone fell in love on set, it also makes it difficult to have a real relationship. Dern admitted it was six months before he was able to see his on-screen paramour Jennylee Berns (above right).

"I get there, and it's very clear that any magic or chemistry that had been between us was completely gone," he told UCB Comedy.

One geek lost his v-card on set

Beauty and the Geek claimed that they didn't care about their geeks' sexual history, but that doesn't mean the show was without its virgins. Though one v-card didn't last long on set, producers somehow spared the audience the excruciating experience of watching a grown man awkwardly lose it on camera.

The incident took place during Season 3 of Beauty and the Geek Australia. A then 22-year-old Lachlan Cosgrove (above left) had fallen into the arms of his beauty Jordan Finlayson (above right). There was a hot tub kiss and the romance was pretty much sealed in reality TV stone.

What most of us didn't know — at least until she blabbed on national radio — was that Finlayson took Cosgrove's virginity. During an interview on The Kyle and Jackie O Show (via News.com.au), Cosgrove was tight-lipped when asked if the pair had ever gotten "naked with each other." Finlayson wasn't as discreet and told Australian listeners that the star had been a virgin and is "secretly proud" of their behind-the-scenes hookup. According to The Fraser Coast Chronicle, Finlayson's disclosure of the nitty gritty details almost "derailed" her relationship with Cosgrove.

The breakdowns were darker off-screen

Unlike most reality shows that use editing to carefully craft intense drama, Beauty and the Geek might have actually cut out the most intense moments. The show was occasionally even more grueling off-camera than it was on (despite the exaggerated love affairs). We already know Season 3 of the Australian version saved us the details of a castmate's lost virginity, but the American version was also equally as dulled down.

Niels Hoven (above), who appeared on Season 3 of The CW series, told Alloy that the show actually "toned down" his near breakdown and a lot of what was said in the house. The star was cut off from his phone, the internet and anyone who could give him outside support, making the situation particularly difficult. As a result, his near-nervous breakdown lasted 12 heated hours. Producers cut it down to just 10 minutes.

"It just didn't come through as intense as it was really," he said. "It was really tough because we were cut off from outside contact."

Producers switched the premise behind the cast's back

It's one thing to cut off your reality stars from the outside world (that's just the cost of doing business). It's another thing to mislead them and put them on an entirely different show. That's pretty much what happened during Season 5 of The CW series when the geeks awaited their beauty teammates. Instead, producers decided to pit beauties against them rather than with them.

Beauties vs. geeks apparently didn't go down that well. The geeks signed up for the series to better themselves with the help of the beauties. This wasn't really possible if they were batting for different teams. In an interview with Reality TV World, Season 5 contestant John English admitted that none of the 18 contestants appreciated the unexpected twist. The boys weren't thrilled about sharing beds with each other and felt the premise was unfair because they "were the kids that were picked last at dodgeball."

"We were pretty disappointed with the whole thing," he said. "I think after we got in the house and the girls got to know us a little better, I think they really did start thinking, 'You know, we're pretty disappointed about this too.'"

Some of the challenges made contestants feel dirty

Though Beauty and the Geek didn't require contestants to live in the dirt and gulp down insects like Survivor or Naked and Afraid, the series still made contestants feel dirty in different ways. Shawn Bakken (above), a geek who appeared on Season 1 of Ashton Kutcher's series, admitted that one of the challenges made him really uncomfortable because it went against his morals as an assistant scoutmaster.

During the episode in question, the geeks had to walk around a mall and get phone numbers from women who were shopping. Not only did Bakken resent the idea of "interrupting people when they're busy," but they had to lie to obtain the phone numbers.

"We could tell them anything except the truth. 'If you say it's for a reality show, it doesn't count.' Boy Scouts are supposed to be trustworthy," he told  Stacy Juba in an interview. "Getting phone numbers under false premises ... I honestly felt dirty afterward."

Bakken dolled out some advice for anyone considering applying for a reality TV show like Beauty and the Geek: "Don't do it."

The beauties weren't really that dumb

Beauty and the Geek hinged on the premise that intelligent, socially awkward "geeks" and shallow, ditzy "beauties" had nothing in common but stood to learn a lot from each other. Throughout the series, beauties shared wildly vapid and shockingly uninformed statements like "every girl should use her looks to get what she wants" and "I've got a really high IQ; I think my IQ is probably about 500" (for comparison, Einstein is believed to have had an IQ of about 160). Viewers balked, "Could they really be that dumb and shallow?" and we all kept watching anyway. The truth is the beauties weren't all that dumb. In fact, a few of them may have been genuinely be smart and highly educated.

Former beauty Jennifer Carter attended the competitive college Northeastern on a full scholarship for crew. Though she admitted to having "a lot of blonde moments," she graduated with a degree in journalism and told The Huntington News that she dumbed it down for the cameras.

"For sure during the audition and those initial questions, I kind of wanted to make sure I didn't sound like I was a graduate of Northeastern," she said.

Matthew Herman, an MIT alum who appeared as a geek on the series, shared a similar sentiment. He told The Tech that a lot of the beauties were "incredibly smart — they just have incredibly different priorities."

The geeks weren't that socially awkward

Beauty and the Geek managed to unearth humans from the nerdiest corners of the world — be it lead singers of Star Wars-themed bands or PhD students. They were painted as men who were so socially awkward they couldn't land a date, but could it be they just needed a good night out?

It was rumored that some of the geeks on the Australian series were "pre-styled" to look slightly geekier and a little more unique. Others admitted they weren't anywhere near as socially inept as the program made them out to be. Matthew Herman, who appeared on the show in 2007, told The Tech that he didn't feel uncomfortable around women and had no problems talking to women. His uneventful love life was a symptom of his priorities.

Niels Hoven, who also appeared on the American series, shared the same sentiment. In a blog post, he admitted that chose to spend most of his time researching and doing homework for his PhD while he was at Berkeley rather than socializing. "As for the guys, none of us were doomed from birth to a life of social ineptitude and isolation," he wrote.

Perhaps the beauties and the geeks weren't as different as the series made them seem.