After just two episodes of Beauty and the Geek, the ladies of TVGuide.com developed a crush on Joe Hanson, the virginal 21-year-old "geek" from Chicago. Watching Joe's partner, Erika Rumsey — she's the 22-year-old "life-size Barbie model" — fall for computer whiz Brad made us believe Ashton Kutcher's so-called social experiment was actually working. Alas, after Joe was stumped on the subjects of loofahs and reflexology in last week's massage-themed elimination quiz, the two blond cuties were sent packing. Before another duo is axed in tonight's episode (8 pm/ET on WB), we connect with Joe and Erika for a post-Geek debriefing.
TVGuide.com: What did you expect when you signed up for this show?
Erika Rumsey: I thought that we were going to get hooked up with some hot guys. All of the girls were told that it was a dating thing.
Joe Hanson: I thought it was going to be a dating show. On campus at the University of Chicago, they had put up flyers that said "Reality Game Show." After going to the audition, I realized that it was more focused on relationships. When I actually got there, it turned out to be something much different.
TVG: What was your reaction to learning what Geek was really about?
Erika: It was a relief because I'd packed all these cute sexy clothes and a sleazy pair of false eyelashes. [I] was ready to be looking hot for some guy, and then I was like, "Wow, I get to be myself!"
TVG: Were you offended by the ditzy "beauty" and socially inept "geek" labels? Off screen, you both seem pretty well-rounded.
Joe: I don't really know what the definition of geeky is, unless it's being smart. [The fact] that I'm really smart and kind of fidgety and socially awkward is what got me on the show. There are people at the University of Chicago who are a lot more nerdy than me; there are a bunch of Richards there.
Erika: I was offended at first because I went to college. I have my degrees; I'm not a bimbo. But then, look at Brad. He's not a geek. They just had a wide variety of beauties and a wide variety of geeks. Brad was offended when he heard he was a geek, but he's not. He's smart, but he's not a bad-looking guy, and that made me feel better, too. If you watch the show, you realize that I have my moments, but I'm not always air-headed.
TVG: Erika, have you kept in touch with Brad?
Erika: We're not allowed to yet. But as soon as we are able to, I'm really excited to talk to him again.
TVG: Joe, you looked really hurt when Erika and Brad hooked up in the first episode.
Joe: It's not a dating show, but you still always think, "Hey, I could probably hook up with my teammate. We're sleeping in the same room...." But leading up to the second episode, I started hanging out with some of the other girls. When Erika and Brad were hanging out, I wasn't crying in my room. I was hanging out in the hot tub, free-styling. I was doing fine. I got to be pretty good friends with some of the girls. At the end of the second episode, after I blow it and lose it, Erika comes in and runs up to Brad, but then Krystal comes up to me and she's like, "Oh, Bino White." Bino White is my rap name, so that was a little reference to all the socializing we did.
Erika: I didn't think he actually liked me like that, and I didn't pick him as my partner because I was attracted to him or thought we were compatible like that. We just made a great team. Everybody gave me so much crap for [hurting Joe's feelings], but I didn't know.
TVG: Have you changed your views on the opposite sex since the show?
Erika: I always liked smart guys, but it's hard to find smart and cute guys. When you get out of college, it's hard to meet people. You start talking to guys at the bar based on whether they're cute. So after this, now I just want a smart guy. Obviously, it helps if they are good-looking, and I think Brad is good-looking and smart; he's just the whole package. I don't think I'll ever date a good-looking idiotic boy again. My first serious boyfriend was so cute, until he opened his mouth — and then it was like, "OK, honey, just stand there and look pretty and don't talk."
Joe: After the show ended, I felt a little bit more confident talking to girls at parties and stuff. That's the biggest thing I took away from it. I would love to say that I'm this huge pimp now and have all these girls lined up, but you know I don't. I've been on a couple of dates and nothing really came of them. I'll go on some more in the summer.
TVG: Well, have you used your new massage skills, Joe?
Joe: People were like, "I heard there was a massage portion that's going to be on the next episode." I said, "Well, I can't give you any [massages] due to my confidentiality agreement."
TVG: Erika, what exactly is a "life-size Barbie model," and how did you become one?
Erika: My very first modeling job when I was 14 was [appearing as] Arizona Teen Barbie at JC Penney. Basically, I was a mannequin for four hours and had to stand still, dressed like Barbie. From then on, Mattel hired me to go to Toys 'R Us and Wal-Mart, and I'd sign autographs for kids and paint their nails and hand out balloons.
TVG: What are you two doing now?
Erika: Back in Iowa, I work with my mom selling commercial office furniture. That's not what I want to be doing for the rest of my life at all. Now I'm in L.A. trying to pursue an acting career or broadcasting or just anything that puts me in the spotlight.
Joe: I just graduated from U of C, and I have two jobs over the summer: [A] corporate affairs internship, and on the side, I'm commissioned to make movies for Current TV, the network being started up by Al Gore. My short film, "Joe Gets Dominated," is on the Current TV website.