After their impressive string of challenge wins, it's no surprise Caitilin Stoller and Chuck Munyon claimed Beauty and the Geek's $250,000 prize last week. But does that mean they learned the most from each other and became more than just a pretty face and a talkative brain? Caitilin, the 24-year-old fashionista, says yes. As for Chuck, well, of course we can't sum up the 27-year-old med student's answer in just a few words. Unable to wait for Beauty and the Geek: The Aftermath (tonight at 8 pm/ET on WB), TVGuide.com rang up the winning pair for a reunion special of our own.
TVGuide.com: Congratulations! Did you think you'd win all along?
Caitilin Stoller: No. Toward the end, I had that moment. The ball was rolling faster and faster. I was pretty confident going into the final elimination until we hit the tie-breaker. I'm lucky my heart didn't stop.
Chuck Munyon: I'm somebody who gets in ruts pretty easily. And we sort of got into this winning rut, and I was like, "OK, it's comfy here."
TVGuide.com: How did you keep winning the tasks? Are you more well-rounded than your "beauty" and "geek" labels suggest?
Chuck: I don't think any of those challenges had all that much to do with well-roundedness. People keep asking, "What did you learn? Did you learn how to pick up women? Did you learn how to pick out clothes?" It really wasn't about that. That was not, for me, the informative part of the show. The main thing in the challenges was keeping it together.
Caitilin: We were a kick-ass team is what we were. We worked better together than any of the other couples.
TVGuide.com: Was all your focus on the winning the game?
Caitilin: No! It wasn't all about the game. I'm not going to lie; I hate to lose. I think at times that was probably stressful for Chuck, because I am really competitive and he's a little bit more laid-back. But we got to where we are because of a combination of both [approaches].
Chuck: My philosophy on any kind of game is sort of twofold: There's no point in playing if it's not going to be fun anymore, and if winning is the ultimate goal, by any means necessary. That just ain't fun... The other component is whether you win or whether you lose, it really is mostly about what kind of effort you can put forth and what you can learn from it.
TVGuide.com: That said, what are you doing with your winnings?
Caitilin: I'm buying some new cowboy boots. And I'm going to go on a mini-vacation to Cabo San Lucas with my boyfriend! That's it.
Chuck: Med school is about $200,000 these days. I'm mostly going to get myself from "in debt up to my eyeballs" down to "in debt somewhere around the nipple line."
TVGuide.com: What were your biggest challenges going into the show?
Caitilin: I think I fit the [Beauty] role perfectly. [I] was lacking confidence. Immediately, when I figured out we were going to be studying, I panicked. I was like, "Oh, crap. I am not smart enough to do this." But I totally short-changed myself. I can't even tell you all the things I learned. And it isn't about changing a tire or blowing up a rocket. I learned more about myself in four weeks than I have in 25 years. I learned so much from just being around Chuck every day — about myself, about him, about life in general.
Chuck: The complete fallacy that reality TV tries to get you to buy into is that transformation takes place over a period of three and a half weeks. It's an absurd premise on the face. Yes, transformative things can happen, but their full repercussions don't shake out for months to years. The learning period on the show was mostly about data gathering. Like, here's a set of circumstances that I've never ever been subjected to, here's a situation that's completely off in terms of my previous life experience. How do I behave when I'm hit with stimuli that I've never even freakin' seen before? That's the data-gathering phase. We've gotten to watch the show, so that's a little bit of the assimilation phase, but in terms of actually thinking about, reflecting on, incorporating the things that we were able to pick up from the experience, you're talking months to years.
TVGuide.com: So you really do always talk like this, Chuck.
Chuck: Talk like what?
Caitilin: Ha! He's really smart, huh?
TVGuide.com: You turn a simple question into an essay.
Chuck: I don't think there are simple questions. Any time you let a question be simple, it means you're buying into the assumptions of simplicity that are underneath that. That's a good way to end up passively agreeing to assumptions you don't agree with, that are ludicrous on their face.
TVGuide.com: Do you talk like that on a date?
Chuck: If I can. Usually if I can't, it's not going to be a successful date. For me, the thing that's hardest to find in a woman [is] somebody who can share the life of the mind. The few relationships I've had where my partner and I were able to cultivate that kind of rapport have been so phenomenally satisfying.
TVGuide.com: Do you think you would have had that with Scarlet?
Chuck: No. In fact, I'm pretty furious with the way they treated her in that exchange. We both agreed from the start of things that there was no long-term potential for the two of us. It was like a summer camp kind of thing. We were both telling the cameras, "We have a great deal of respect and affection for each other and we're really enjoying our time together, but we really don't see long-term potential" — and they would give me the "respect and attention" and give her the "no long-term potential" lines. It really came out making her look like a manipulative bitch when, in fact, she's a very caring, very kind person.
TVGuide.com: How did you decide between sending Scarlet or Caitilin's friend, Lauren, to the elimination room?
Caitilin: We just decided that he was the one who won the challenge.... And I wanted him to be happy. I knew I was going to see Lauren. I saw her a couple of weeks after the show. Yes, she and I had become really close, but I didn't owe her anything.
Chuck: One of the things that didn't make the story arc was that [Scarlet's partner] Shawn was really one of my main sources of support. He and I really get each other.
TVGuide.com: How did Richard push your buttons so much?
Caitilin: Did you watch the show? He was annoying!
Chuck: I couldn't claim at this point to even know Richard. The problem is that some of the characteristics he has are so similar to attributes that I struggle with and that have caused me difficulty in the past. So really trying to sort out what was actually him versus what was my projection of my own insecurities onto him, that's not something I can really tease out. My defense mechanism in stressful situations is to try to calm things down, whereas his is to heat things up. It's just a bad match.
Caitilin: There were days when I was about ready to hang Richard by his toenails, but there is no way you could be in a house with that many people for that many days, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, without getting a little frustrated. And I'm an extremely patient person.
Chuck: And the thing about Richard is, if he were just an irredeemable ham without a serious bone in his body, then it almost would be easier to ignore him. But there are moments, when the cameras are off or nobody is around, when he is sincere and sweet and very fun. There's such a wonderful, true guy buried under the fictional character that he portrays a lot of the time.
TVGuide.com: Is life different for you now that the show has aired?
Caitilin: My life isn't. People recognize you, which is funny and sometimes annoying, sometimes flattering, but I still go to work every day. I feel better about myself than I did before.
TVGuide.com: It's funny that all the women except you are in some form of show business.
Caitilin: I've had a couple of opportunities presented, but I really love the life I have. I figure if you've got a good thing going, then why stop?
TVGuide.com: How about you, Chuck? Do you have patients recognizing you now?
Chuck: I grew a beard. When I was doing the cost-benefit analysis on whether I should go on the show or not, the one contingency that didn't occur to me was that anybody would watch it. I thought it would be: Go have some fun, and then a few of my friends would get together and have a couple of beers and laugh at me. The one thing I really worry about is people getting the impression that if I go back to medicine, it's 'cause I took a crack at being in show business and failed. What I did was take a vacation. Now I'm trying to keep a pretty low profile.
TVGuide.com: Well, I hope we don't blow your cover!