TWINSANITY!

Where Cartoons and Comedy Collide!

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.

Saved_by_the_Bell_logo

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.

Saved By the Bell Nerds 2

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!

Screech

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…

Dilton Doiley

…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.

Bethany_Walker

“What a nerdy thing to say.”

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.

revenge-nerds

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:

Cooper

“You can be more than one thing. I’m pop and funk!”

Did I just quote a line from Trolls: World Tour? Why, yes, I did.

Case in point, Mr. Andre Meadows, a well known YouTuber.

Andre Meadows

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.

Steve Urkel

Do not get me started on Steve Urkel….

1 Comment

  1. silverstar

    During his stint on The Nightly Show, writer/humorist Larry Wilmore tried to popularize the term “blerd” (a portmanteau of ‘black’ and ‘nerd’) but it never caught on. ‘Blerd’ just doesn’t have a pleasant ring to it; it sounds more like something you’d get than something you’d aspire to be. “Ouch! I bruised my thumb on this hard table, and now a blerd is forming on my hand!”

    Two nerd stereotypes that I’ve never liked have been long perpetuated by the likes of The Big Bang Theory and Conan O’Brien’s writing team (and there’s another one: that all nerds love The Big Bang Theory!): namely, that a)nerds and geeks are incapable of dating or forging relationships with other human beings and b)that female nerds and geeks simply don’t exist; there’s no way possible that a woman could or would ever be into stuff like science fiction, fantasy, comic books, cartoons and video games, neither of which are correct.

    Regarding the first point: yes, some geeks and nerds are socially awkward, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t connect with anyone else; there are plenty of geeks who have boyfriends, girlfriends and significant others, it’s just that more often than not we tend to hit it off better with fellow nerds, and even then it’s not a given that 2 geeks will be geeky about the same subject: it’s not uncommon to find a comic book geek involved with anime geek or a cartoon geek with a horror geek or some other combo.

    In regards to the latter, anyone who honestly believes that female nerds and geeks don’t exist has clearly never been online, never been to a convention and has never visited DeviantArt. Hack comics like to make lame jokes such as “That’s something you never see, like a woman at a comic book convention!”, yet every con I’ve ever seen is full of women. “Girls don’t play video games!” they like to snark, yet sites like YouTube and Twitch are full of channels starring girl gamers. Just because girl geeks and gamers aren’t as populous as boy geeks and gamers doesn’t mean they don’t exist; years ago I was briefly on a superhero/comic book message board; I left shorty thereafter because I couldn’t keep up with the other members’ extensive comic knowledge. One member of this board whom I’d met and befriended previously on another board was a young woman who was a living encyclopedia of comic book lore; I’m the guy geek, I’m the one who’s supposed to be the stereotypical ‘comic book expert’, but this lady taught us all lessons!

    Like

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