January 20, 2013 by hordemaster
I needed a break from a marathon viewing of Gossip Girl on Netflix (don’t snicker, that Blair Waldorf can be pretty cunning) so this past Thursday night I tuned in with some trepidation to a new reality TV show on TBS called “King of the Nerds.”
Normally, I would not give reality TV a second look, I pretty much hate the entire genre, most of it being highly unoriginal and derivative. This show is no different, a bunch of contestants locked in a house or hub of some kind (this one cleverly named Nerdvana and ornately furnished with geek culture furnishings such as giant d20s, superhero statues and a throne room among other visuals), a pair of insipid hosts to issue challenges and moderate the action, in this case Curtis Armstrong and Robert Carradine, and someone getting booted periodically. Same old and tired formula.
The only reason I stopped to watch this was because I noticed Panser from Trade Chat (If you are a gamer, you recognize the name from her Youtube channel) was one of the contestants, and I was curious to see how far she would get in the competition.
I was not impressed to say the least, though I was mildly amused by the nerd-off which consisted of a battle between two team members on a giant chess board. Even in this, the writers of the show failed to do their homework as they refer to the opening played by the two nerds as the Portuguese opening, even though they opened with a Knight. You would think they would have at least researched chess moves, but I digress…
The central question which came up was whether programs like this and other geek TV offerings such as The Big Bang Theory are helping to promote stereotypes of nerds and geeks, or if they are just providing outlets for this audience to engage in. Personally, I think Hollywood is trying to cash in on the “nerds and gamers are cool” vibe going on currently, and the demographic for this type of entertainment is clear.
I think I am going to continue watching, just to support a fellow gamer (Trade Chat) but I don’t know if I can stomach watching all the way through.