On Thursday, Jan. 17, TBS goes for a walk on the geek side with the premiere of the competitive reality show “King of the Nerds.” (There are female competitors, so perhaps it should be “Monarch of the Nerds,” but, it’s not.)
In 1984, the feature comedy “Revenge of the Nerds” focused on bullied geeks on a college campus who fight back by creating their own nerd-centric fraternity, eventually rallying anyone who’s “ever felt stepped on, left out, picked on, put down” to their cause.
Now two of the stars of that movie, Robert Carradine (Lewis Skolnick) and Curtis Armstrong (Dudley “Booger” Dawson), have joined forces to produce and judge a competition among people from across the nerd spectrum in search of a crown and a $100,000 prize.
“When Bobby and I pitched the idea, the one-line idea, ‘A reality show based on “Revenge of the Nerds” ‘ that we would host and produce, the thing we kept hearing was, ‘Why did no one think of this before?’ ” Armstrong tells Zap2it.
“What we continued to carry through production of the show,”?Carradine says, “was that it wasn’t to put nerds down or to remake them. It was to celebrate their quirks. We want to celebrate their strengths.”
“No cultural self-loathing goes on here,” says Armstrong. “Like Bobby says at the end of the movie, we may have been a dork or a nerd or a spaz, whatever it was over the generations, but whatever it was, there were always nerds. There will always be nerds.”
The competitors are Alana, 26, a live-action role player and comic fan; Brandon, 25, a rapper and aspiring neuroscientist; Celeste, 22, a speed Rubik’s Cuber and professional gamer; Danielle, 24, a game reviewer; Genevieve, 27, a young-adult fantasy writer; Hendrik, 26, an MIT grad student; Ivan, 27, a game developer and fire dancer; Jon, 22, a collegian who’s into math and theoretical physics; Joshua, 24, host and producer of a geek-themed Web show; Moogega, 26, a NASA planetary protection engineer who got her master’s and Ph.D. by the time she was 24; and Virgil, 28, a master hacker studying brain science.