Earlier today, I got an email from one of the behind-the-scenes folks at King of the Nerds, calling himself Julian. Having seen my earlier post on the topic and subsequent comments, he admitted that he couldn’t disagree with the criticisms based on what has been seen so far, but asked to tell his side of the story.
You have to understand, I don’t think there were any sinister intentions of pandering or poking fun of nerds. They needed to make a show that walked that thin line between appealing to John Q Public AND the Comic Book Guys and the Lewis Skolnicks of the world.
How could I resist? The whole thing is worth a read.
Julian’s full tale is after the jump….
I used to think Hollywood secretly enjoyed tormenting geeks and nerds.
Sometimes I still think there’s a room somewhere that controls all the spoilers, marketing and leaked information where Hollywood executives dream up new and exciting ways to infuriate the nerd masses. “Oh, oh! I know, lets give Snake-Eyes’ costume in the movie, a mouth for no apparent reason!” And then they giggle like school girls at the outrage they create.
Internet trolls exist, but I guarantee that Hollywood execs do not number in their ranks. They’re way too busy trying to accumulate prestige, power or wealth. Nerd trolling just happens to be a perk along the way.
As a self-professed nerd who has worked in the entertainment business for a while, specifically reality TV (it keeps the long boxes filled), I don’t get a chance to work on many “dream projects.” I’m not Sam Raimi or Bruce Timm; crafting the stories of characters that shaped my youth. I jump on projects that pay the bills, subject matter be damned. Yet when the opportunity to work on a show called King of the Nerds popped up, I called contacts and asked, nay, BEGGED to be a part of it.
It went by like a flash, those summer days on the outskirts of Pasadena. I had a really good time. It was my favorite project to date. It wasn’t the most prestigious, or lucrative or even the most exciting. But I can say that there were a lot of good people involved with worthy aspirations of “celebrating Nerd culture.” Of course, this is Hollywood, so there were plenty of people involved whose only aspiration was to manufacture a show that could be paired with The Big Bang Theory and sell advertising slots. Those were the people, unfortunately, with the ultimate say in what the final product looked like.
You have to understand, I don’t think there were any sinister intentions of pandering or poking fun of nerds. They needed to make a show that walked that thin line between appealing to John Q Public AND the Comic Book Guys and the Lewis Skolnicks of the world. Joss Whedon was given control of the Marvel cinematic universe because he’s proven that he can do a damn fine job of crafting a story that balances that precarious fence.
The producers, executives and ESPECIALLY the promotions people at TBS are NOT Joss Whedon. They might very well fail at appealing to anyone. The promotions I’ve seen make this look like TBS is blatantly pushing the stereotype of “Nerds” in our faces because “nerds are hot right now.” They’re bandwagon jumping. I think that’s what raises everyone’s ire; much akin to the “Booth Babe/cosplay nerd girl debate”
This was our niche first. We were here when it was unpopular to be nerds and geeks. How dare Hollywood or anyone else try and exploit the stereotype when ten to twenty years ago you used us as a punch line. Hell, Big Bang Theory is still using us as a punch line, and Television execs are making big bank on it.
King of the Nerds might be a colossal failure. But there were people on it that tried to give it SOME cred. The art guys stacked the house with Hot Toys and Sideshow figurines, as well as a whole room filled with RadioShack electronic sets. The guy that drew the caricatures tried to work in as many nerd references in the cast pictures as he could get past clearances. I heard one guy argue with the producers about a trivia question by saying you can’t use “What newspaper does Peter Parker work for” because in the comics, Peter Parker doesn’t WORK for a newspaper anymore, and hasn’t for a while. Here’s hoping that some of that credibility found its way past those executives in the troll room and we get to see it on our TV sets.