Geeks of the Round Table

Geekasaurus Mike is a proud affiliate of Geeks of the Round Table at


3 reasons King of the Nerds has already angered me

Never before has the mere concept of a show's existence filled me rage in the same way that the upcoming TBS show King of the Nerds has.

Some of you may be confused by that statement. After all, the name of my blog is Geekasaurus Mike, I talk about movies, video games and superheroes, so should this be something that I'm optimistic, if not even excited for?
In short, no. In long, nnnnnnnnnnnnoooooooooooooooo.

And in article length:

#3: This show almost certainly doesn't understand the concept of geek or nerd, and worse, don't really care.
I want you to picture two scenarios, and tell me which is the more likely.
In the first, a group of people at TBS are sitting around, possibly discussing the odds of a Man of Steel at the box office, or maybe raging about the ending of Mass Effect, when one of them suddenly gets an idea.
"Hey, I've got an idea," says the guy will we name Stan. "We like this stuff, and I bet there are a lot of other people who do too. What if we got a group of those guys together and, I dunno, had them take part in a competition geared towards this interest group?"
The other people in the room nod their heads, congratulating Stan on his idea, and set about researching upcoming or popular titles to base imaginative competition on quickly so they can get home before the new episode of Doctor Who/marathon of Battlestar Galactica starts.
This show is so much better the 19th time I've watched it.
For the second scenario, I want you to imagine a group of corporate big-wigs in their meeting room doing big-wig-y things.
This is what google image came up with for big wig. I felt it would be a crime not to share.
One of them, who we will here call Archibold, looks up from his dense files on demographics and ratings and says:
"Well it looks like "The Big Bang Theory" is doing well. Guess people like to watch nerds now. Tell Johnson to rope up a couple of them and make a reality show. That ought to bring in the fast cash without putting work into it."
The big-wigs all agree, then set about delegating the task to probably the least qualified person in the office so they don't miss their tee-time/yacht auction.

So which is the more likely scenario? Well the first one certainly has some real-obviously its the second one that wasn't actually a question.

And what, you may ask, is wrong with that? Well, I'm writing this one first because it's kind of the basis of all the other issues. Just keep in mind how network reality TV is run while we go from here. Just know for now that it probably means TBS does not care to understand what they're showing, and they don't care to get the audience to understand.

#2 I like the contestants. And it terrifies me.
If you were not at maximum head-scratching before, then you almost certainly are now. Isn't the most important part of any show an ability to connect with the people on the screen? If I like them, doesn't that mean I'll like seeing them?

In doing research on this show, I watched through a lot of the "meet the contestants" videos on youtube. With an exception of one or two of them, they seem like relatively nice, upbeat, intelligent individuals who are there to have a good time.

In other words, they are everything that the network hates. 
Think about the reality shows that have been on recently, and remember that intelligent people are, in terms of reality drama, incredibly boring. Someone working on his PhD in astrophysics simply isn't going to do the mind-boggling stupid things that rednecks on TLC will. Networks probably believe that people will find the concept of nice people getting along and behaving intelligently mind numbingly dull, and will fear a ratings plummet when people realize that none of them are on the verge of ripping their shirts off and screaming at each other.
Though the shirt thing could be a blessing.
Even if they don't, this is not a show that's being marketed towards nerds, it's being marketed to general audiences. A person who doesn't find video games or D&D or comics that interesting will not see any appeal in the day to day lives of these contestants. The only two weapons that the network can feasibly use in this situation are contrived situations and heavy editing. These people may be nice in real life, but I'm willing to bet that at least a few of them are going to be manipulated into being creepy, awkward or jerks. Or all three.

Liking the contestants also angers me because of my own suspicions of what the network is hoping people will find appealing about this show. Sadly, I think it more likely that they're going for a "man, look how weird THESE people are. Glad I'm not a nerd" approach. They wouldn't use those words, make it overtly obvious, but listen to the sound effects they put over the peoples voices in the "meet the contestants." They are sly, sideways winks at the audience. A look at the fourth wall that says "can you believe this guy/girl?"

In short, they seem like ladies and gents that I would hang out with, and I'm annoyed FOR them.

#1: What is a nerd/geek anyway?
Now I'm not going to go into the difference between "geek" and "nerd" here. Seriously, the phrase nerd comes from Dr. Seuss. What I am going to do is tell you some news that you may find shocking:

YOU are a geek. 

Unless you are Boring McDullerson, you are a geek in some way or another. "No I'm not!" some of you are undoubtedly saying. "I'm not a geek, I like sports! I can name every pitcher on the Cubs since 1972." Well you know what? THAT IS AN INCREDIBLY GEEKY THING TO KNOW. Being able to name every coach or player on a team, and their stats for a season, gets you nothing in the long run. It is practically useless trivia unless you work in the sports industry. It is of no more value than my ability to name all 11 Doctors (well, twelve if you count Peter Crushing, who was in some of the stand-alone movies, but that's beside the point).

At the end of the day, watching 12 hours of football has gotten you no farther in life than my 12 hour Skyrim marathon. "But sports are the more socially accepted passtime" you could argue. While you are right to some extent, that largely depends on what group in society you spend time with. Imagine a huge football fan, who has no interest in what is considered "geeky", in the middle of comic-con. He or she would be just as out-of-place with nothing to say as an avid Trek fan would in a crowd of Green Bay Packers enthusiasts.

But in their social circles, these people thrive. That football fan is now in an intense, in-depth discussion about whether Jay Cutler just kind of needs punched in the mouth, or if he needs a really hard punch to the mouth. And you do not now passionate conversation until you have heard a group of fans discussing a fight between Batman and Superman.

My point is that "nerds" and "geeks" aren't some separate society of murlocs (HG Wells reference? Anyone?) that should mystify "normal" people. Everyone is passionate about something, and that something can be totally useless outside of its sphere, but there are just some things that have been arbitrarily assigned the name "nerdy."

And what does that have to do with King of the Nerds? Well, that separate realm of murlocs is exactly what TBS is portraying these people as, with their ironic sound effects and constant reminding us that "these guys are NERDS."

But, as always, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Archibold got the right guy on the case, and we're going to see some fun, innovative competitions between good-spirited, intelligent individuals. And maybe A unicorn made of bacon and dreams will arrive.
Why hasn't THIS been made a show yet?