Fans of Beauty and the Geek recently started to put together that Sam Horrigan was not exactly just the “party promoter” his show bio makes him out to be. He’s also had roles on Little Giants, Veronica Mars, and One Tree Hill, among others.

Some fans were upset by these revelations, thinking it wasn’t fair to bring an actor onto a reality show. Some wondered if the producers were planning some kind of major switcheroo later on, and so Sam was just playing a role.

With regard to the latter, one wonders if Beauty and the Geek producers would have then picked an actor whose face might be familiar to the kind of viewers who usually watch CW shows, and who can be easily looked up on IMDb.

And with regard to the idea that it is just somehow unfair to have an actor on a reality show, it could be…but there are a few things to keep in mind.

First of all, the premise of the show is hot people vs. “not-so-hot” brainy people. Sure the underlying assumption might be that the hot people weren’t as brainy. But the title of the show is Beauty and the Geek. So really, all Sam has to be to fit the role, so to speak, is be hot. He can’t “act” hot, either he’s hot or he’s not.

Secondly, the idea that somehow having an actor means that his persona on the show is “fake” is sort of making the assumption that the other personas you see are not. Which is possibly taking reality television a little too much at face value.

A lot of reality programs are scripted or edited or otherwise massaged into being as entertaining as possible. Remember when the writers for America’s Next Top Model went on strike? That’s because America’s Next Top Model, like Beauty and the Geek, is a reality show, not direct reportage, and writers are involved in creating parts of the overall story.

Taken within that context, it would seem that all an actor would be able to do differently than the usual civilians on the show would be to fall into their manufactured role a little more believably. IF the person is a good actor, which isn’t always a given. There are a lot of people trying to make it in show business. Sometimes actors go the reality television route because they can’t get consistent scripted work, whether due to luck or lack of talent. Assuming that an actor is going to make the unreal world of a reality show somehow even less real is putting a lot of faith in their acting abilities.

Thirdly, many of the previous contestants of Beauty and the Geek have been performers. Even fan favorite Nate Dern – who was a geek and ergo supposed to be awkward and introverted – was a stand-up comic and lead singer for a band with performing experience. One of his first challenges, even, was to do stand-up comedy, which seems quite unfair to his competitors who might not have had the same experience.

And many of the Beauties as well have been performers or models. Hollie from this season is a Betty Boop impersonator and Jennifer is a “cigar model,” two careers which might be stunningly specific in their limited focus, but nevertheless have given them the opportunity to learn to be composed and poised and generate a persona that might not be the person that they are at home with their friends.

All in all, however, until the season develops, we won’t really know how Sam’s acting background will affect the show.  What do you think?

– Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist

(Image courtesy of CW)


Staff Columnist, BuddyTV