Yet, while I don’t like the show, I don’t exactly hate it either.
At best, I am…disappointed.
I gave the producers four weeks — four weeks in which to prove that it wasn’t just another cheesy reality TV show designed to mock people who have already suffered enough cruelty and bullying in their lives. Sadly, all they proved to me is that they are probably the biggest offenders of all.
The producers of ‘King of the Nerds‘ (airing at 10 p.m. Thursday night on TBS) had the chance to show geeks/nerds in a positive light, yet they took the easy route to ratings. Instead of choosing geeks/nerds who could have been a positive role model for kids, they populated the ‘Nerdvana’ house with some of the most socially backward and verbally inept excuses for geeks/nerds that they could possibly find.
While there are a several positive role models in the house (Moo comes to mind) they are few, with most of the participants being positively cringe-worthy.
I had high hopes for the show. I had hoped it would be a bastion of fluffy geekery, and while there are some ‘fluffy geek’ moments, the vast majority of the show serves to highlight a sad truth — even in a house of geeks and nerds, someone will always be left out, picked last, and made to feel worthless.
In the first episode, I actually cheered when Alana, the ‘odd-geek out’, was not chosen for one of the teams. Everyone fully expected her to go home, yet the show hosts gave her the power to decide not only which team she would join, but as a result, which team would be the first to send someone home (thus balancing the numbers). They effectively took the ‘biggest loser’ in the house, the person no one wanted on their team when teams were chosen, and gave her the power to decide her own fate as well as the fate of others.
Sadly, that was the last truly ‘geek/nerd positive’ moment I have seen on this show.
Since that moment, the show has become just another example of reality show manipulation of players by each other and the producers. Of course geeks/nerds aren’t immune to that oh-so-human desire to be cruel to each other, but you would think they would at least be more compassionate by virtue of the shared bullying they went through growing up.
Apparently that is too much to ask.
I don’t blame the show participants fully for this, as I understand the way reality TV shows work and suspect that what we are seeing has been manipulated by the producers, yet I believe that shows like ‘King of the Nerds’ which could be used as a force of good, are being used as a force of evil by the producers. Instead of presenting geeks/nerds in a positive light and hopefully changing they way this group of people is treated in society, shows like this only continue to perpetuate the negative stereotypes of geeks/nerds.
Until we geeks/nerds stand up and say “We aren’t going to be a pawn of the media machine as it panders to the stereotypes!” we are essentially doomed to be bullied by mass media and continually turned into parodies of ourselves. Until we respect ourselves enough not to let them do this, how can we expect anyone to give us the respect we deserve?