A Pseudo Academic’s Look at King of the Nerds on TBS.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been on a kick of watching reality television competition shows. I’ve been concentrating on “Project Runway,” “Worst Cooks in America,” “Rupaul’s Drag Race” and perhaps my favorite, which is about to end, “King of the Nerds.”

“King of the Nerds” is a competition on TBS where 11 nerds are at Nerdvana (which looks like USC) and they compete in different nerdy challenges to determine who is really the nerdiest. At first I really wanted to dislike the show, I thought it was a case of appropriation of culture and how nerd culture and counter culture are being made “mainstream.” Instead this ended up being a celebration of the nerd and nerd culture. I’ll have a more clear write up about the contestants and if they were really “nerdy” but with the season of “King of the Nerds” winding down, here’s my break down on who has the best odds of winning vs. who I would like to win.

danielle-nunez-king-of-the-nerdsDanielle: Coming off of the win in the second to last challenge, she has surprised everyone by coming from behind and showing her ability to think outside the box. Her main stake at being a nerd consists of her PC gaming skills, primarily League of Legends and World of Warcraft. She’s loud, angry and as former contestant Josh said, she’s a little “pink ball of rage.” However, she’s been edited to look off-putting and grouchy. In terms of marketability for the show, maybe not the best option due to negativity. Still, she has surprised everyone with her ability to channel her frustrations into something productive and has the overall aesthetic of the modern geek girl. She doesn’t take shit from anyone. I would love to see her speak at Girl Geek Con, but I am still not sure if she can necessarily win the competition. 20 to 1 odds.

king-of-the-nerds-genevieve-480x373Genevieve: Having been sent into the Nerd-Off (elimination round) the most out of all the contestants (both current and eliminated), she, as current contestant and former teammate Celeste has said, “she just keeps coming back.” She has been painted as the well well rounded contestant having a smattering of knowledge in comic books, the analytical sciences, fantasy culture and video games. There is also footage of her going up to some of the contestants and saying, “I love you guys!” while sobbing. Initially I thought this was footage of her being eliminated. However, with her making it into the finals, this could be her celebration footage because it hasn’t made any of the promos since the first 2-3 episodes. However, being well-versed doesn’t mean she’s excelled at challenges. She’s a writer by trade and has lost both writing intensive challenges. So like a red mage, she’s useful…to a point. 10 to 1 odds.

king-of-the-nerds-celeste-480x367Celeste: She’s the only contestant to NOT be sent to the Nerd-Off. She’s skated by under the radar, and a LOT of the promotional stuff for the show has revolved around her. She was even a guest on the Conan show while the season was running. She’s a professional gamer and seems to have a better grasp on gaming and instruction than Danielle does (she was able to teach Virgil how to calm down and game even though he was spazzing out). She’s the more quiet and subdued nerd, which has cost her before with the debate challenge. She is also the youngest contestant on the show, which can speak to her inexperience. However, she has a likable quality and has been a fan favorite with most viewers. As of writing this entry, she has the most fans on her fan page. A lot of the contestants early on talked to how intimidating it was to have her around, and often gunned after her in challenges (the gaming challenge in particular). She was the first person selected when picking teams. However, she has relied heavily on Genevieve to move on. She did end her alliance with her this past episode, so perhaps she has what it takes to win it. 4 to 1 odds.

king-of-the-nerds-ivan-480x380Ivan: Very iconic when looking at the show. The show uses a lot of him for the cutaways and the commentary, he’s kind of become the face of King of the Nerds. In terms of leadership, he ran the Orange Team, Servants of the Foresaken Orb so effectively, that’s what made him a threat. He knows his limits as a nerd. However, he already acts as though he’s won. It’s been commented on that he acts as though he’s already the Kind of Nerdvana. This confidence can be a good thing as it can give him the push to succeed, but it’s made him a target several times. He doesn’t seem to be too keen with the analytical events (tanking on the sudoku challenge and doing pretty poorly on the engineering challenge), but he is more athletic than the other contestants and has the patience to push through. He was unnerved and a bit sensitive when thrown into the Nerd-Off, to the point of intimidating Virgil (which was easy to do as Ivan is over 6 feet tall), but that showed how vulnerable he felt and how much being in the running meant to him. Does that make him a nerd, no. But it is endearing. He has athletic skill more than the other contestants (and seeing as how the teaser showed the final 4 wearing goggles and athletic clothes, this can be an asset) and just as well rounded as Genevieve. And not gonna lie, I thought he was most handsome male on the cast (Genevieve being the most attractive female). 2 to 1 odds.

Now that I’ve laid it out, who do I want to win? Genevieve or Celeste. The Blue Team had taken a serious beating throughout the series, so I want someone from the underdog team to win. However, Genevieve seems to be too emotionally frazzled to handle the finals, so I am leaning a little more towards Celeste. Celeste is the dark horse for me. We haven’t seen the extent of her abilities, so I am looking forward to an interesting season finale. I’ve already gone

King of the Nerds is shown on TBS, Thursdays at 10PM Eastern / 9PM Central. Pictures used are from The King of the Nerds website on TBS.com


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