The first episode of E4’s latest reality television show, Geeks, aired on Monday 25th. Its premise is this: “awkwardness on a grand scale ensues as groups of nerdy boys and geeky girls jet off to one of the world’s most notorious party destinations.”
It sounds awful. Really awful. Putting together two groups of socially awkward people (because that, really, is what E4 has defined as ‘geeky’) and then shoving them inside a club sounds a lot like televised bullying.
In the first episode, we are introduced to a group of girls – and what makes them geeks? Well, they’re members of UEA’s own Quidditch team, obviously. Their opposites are three male physics students from York. They’re flown to Marbella and get to experience the party lifestyle, including a club with a hot tub in it. Jesselyn sums it up perfectly saying, “I thought clubs like this only existed on The Sims!”
As far as reality TV goes, it was fairly entertaining, but what was entertaining about Geeks was the utterly ridiculous Marbella lifestyle and the group’s reaction to the people they met. One of the girls, Amy, experiences the biggest culture shock of all when she encounters some lads who don’t know what folk music is.
The set-up of the show is obviously designed to try and get some sexual tension going; and it falls short completely. At one point, the narrator (who was the real villain of the show) asks “Could romance be blossoming between Stevie and Sam?” to which Stevie says, “Sam’s kind of like the big brother I always wanted.” The friendships that develop between the guys and girls are really sweet, resulting in a very heartfelt goodbye at the end of the program.
Now, of course, the people on Geeks know what they’ve signed up for; the point of reality television isn’t to make people look good and editing can make any situation worse. The format of the show makes you think before watching that someone is going to come off really badly, but really everyone on the show (Marbella crew included) seems like alright human beings. We asked Ellie (founder and last year’s President of the UEA Quidditch Society) how she felt about their representation, to which she stated “Pleasantly surprised. I think the boys came off worse.” Another member, Stevie, was also fine with how they were portrayed, dubbing the episode “just the right level of weird without being humiliating.”