Monday, March 18, 2013

Tv: King of the Nerds

I've watched 5 episodes of King of the Nerds now.  Over all: thumbs down.

First off, the nerdy kids are all too different.  Some are smart about a science, some know way too much about comics, and some just play video games.  There's also one guy who designs roleplaying games, which I didn't even know was something you could consider a skillset.  (What, no grammar nerds? No history re-enactment nerds?  No strategy gamers?) 

How can you throw all these people into a contest and give them all equal-ish chances to succeed?  You can't really, so each contest is shamelessly geared towards one or two people on each team.  For the team contests, that kinda works, and then for the individual faceoffs they make it totally, totally random.  There was one about remotely driving golf carts, and one about answering trivia but then throwing a huge dice down a hill.  They're either random or contrived by the writers to cater to a particular player.  But I guess it has to seem that way.  One of the comic book expert girls was sent to a comic book trivia round, but the questions were too obscure even for her.  (They were quite obscure.) Meanwhile her competetor had only read wikipedia articles online for a couple hours to prepare, but a couple of the questions came straight from her reading.

The strongest and the weakest player of a losing team are sent into a "nerd-off" where the loser is disqualified.  (Weakest is determined by the worst performance, and then the team votes for who else to send.  This results in the strongest player because everyone votes for whoever the think is the biggest threat.)  But the nerdoff is generally random stuff, so the strongest players were quickly disqualified.  By the fourth episode only the unskilled nerds were left.  (There was one hacker guy too, but I think they all must have known that there would be no computers-related challenges because nobody cared at all.  He had to try to sell himself as a problem solver.)

Among the contestants there was almost no drama or scheming.  At one point one guy told a girl that he wouldn't vote her off, but then he did.  Whoa!  She felt betrayed and cried a couple times, then he agreed to let her slap him and that settled things. (Every girl on this show cries and takes the competitions personally at some point. I wonder if nerd girls are more emotional or insecure than other girls.)

The first few episodes were the hardest to watch because the nerds have to justify their presence in the house, which means bragging about themselves.  For some of them it is very sad.  If the entire focus of your young adulthood has been video games or comic books, I can't help but think that you're wasting your life.  You don't have video games, you have nothing.  It's not something to be proud of.  It evokes mixed emotions when they announce that the next contest is going to be about comics, and the comicbook experts celebrate.

I'm sure there's worse stuff on TV but I'm still done watching this.

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