Brain Candy: Turn to the Nerds!
So recently, I learned that NBC’s new streaming service Peacock (seriously, that name. I get that the peacock has been NBC’s logo for decades, but they might as well just name their service “Penis”!) plans to launch a follow-up series based on the original Saved By the Bell, the famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) teencom that ran on the network from 1989 to 1993.
The early 90s is strong in this one…
Now, I was admittedly never a Saved By the Bell fan. I was aware of the show, and I’ve seen several episodes, and I know that SBTB was basically a live action cartoon and therefore I shouldn’t be looking for a realistic depiction of anything on this series, but I NEVER liked how the nerds on SBTB were portrayed.
On SBTB, nerds were practically a separate sub-species. They all fell firmly into the “Poindexter” archetype; thick glasses, collared shirts buttoned all the way to the top, pocket protectors and high water pants. And they existed for no other purpose than to be a source of ridicule for the other students and for us the audience. If you possessed a genius level of intelligence, then you were a dweeby loser who only existed for our amusement and degradation. Heaven forbid they’d ever have a kid with above average intelligence who was allowed to hang with the cool kids!
And I’m not counting Screech. He was the comic relief among the comic relief!
Now I’m not saying that Poindexters and Melvins don’t exist. I know that they do, but my complaint is how so-called normal society tends to put us all in a box, as if we’re all the same. As far as they’re concerned…
…It’s just Dilton Doiley and nothing else.
I state this as one of the geekiest geeks out there. I was never a cool kid. Incidentally, I generally prefer the terms “geek” or “brain” over “nerd”, but I’m going to use the term “nerd” for the rest of this monologue just to avoid excess verbiage.
Yes, many nerds are socially awkward dweebs. Some are, but a lot aren’t. I’m going to quote something that ESPN reporter Bomani Jones once said on the show that he co-hosts, High Noon:
“Parents: just because your kids are smart doesn’t mean that they have dress like dorks. Smart kids like to wear cool sneakers too!”
I actually have to give the film Revenge of the Nerds more credit. They at least acknowledge that there’s more than one type of nerd.
Gilbert: Yesterday I got into a fight with 1, 3, 5 and 7. The odds were against me!
Louis: You should call 2, 4, 6 and 8 to get even! Haaaaa-ha-ha-ha!
Yeah, the two main nerds were Poindexters, but that was necessary for the purpose of the story; they proved their worth as human being in the film’s climax. My point is that there are some nerds/geeks who like to dress cool; we don’t all have thick taped glasses, and wear hi-water pants with penny loafers and collared shirts and ties to school (unless that’s the school’s uniform where such things are mandated).
Everyone is a geek about something. Being geeky is simply possessing an extraordinary level of knowledge on a particular subject, hobby or interest. Excelling at STEM is obvious (and if you don’t know what STEM is, you’re not a nerd!), but there are also TV geeks, history geeks, sci-fi geeks, comic book geeks, toy/collectible geeks, etc. If someone knows everything that there is to know about Disney princess movies than that person is a geek, just geeky about something other than STEM. And who says that a person is only allowed to be geeky on a single subject or interest? Like Cooper said in the 2020 film Trolls: World Tour:
Did I just quote a line from Trolls: World Tour? Why, yes, I did.
Case in point, Mr. Andre Meadows, a well known YouTuber.
When Mr. Meadows first began making internet videos, he gave himself the title “Black Nerd”, as if a black nerd was a rarity, and that may have been the belief at that time, but anyone who’s been on the internet in the last two decades can assess that black nerds (myself included) have been around for a long time; we just didn’t have an outlet to express our geekiness. Black nerds have existed long before the emergence of Steve Urkel.
Do not get me started on Steve Urkel….