When King of the Nerds first aired, geek/nerd-centric fans were divided over the context of the show. Now, I can understand their trepidation; this reality competition could easily make fun of our fellow game-loving brethren in the same way that The Big Bang Theory continually does, but as the first season was aired it quickly proved that it was giving a lot of love to the geek/nerd culture. At the same time, I couldn’t really get behind that first season. There was something about it that made me feel a little uneasy, like they were capitalizing on the geek phenomena and throwing some of the contestants into painfully obvious stereotypes that are cringe-worthy at times.
Last night, season 2 began…
King of the Nerds is starting off strong in its second season: so far, the first episode has been trying to catapult the reality competition series into another level, and that’s a good thing. We already saw one person get chucked out of “Nerdvana,” got a cool new game and met some interesting new contestants. And this is the first time I’ve ever seen a person picked last to be part of a team end up getting an advantage on both groups. Kelsey was that last girl, so she got free reign to pick whoever she wanted immediately into the Nerd Off to be banished from Nerdvana. (I wish I could have had that power when I was in middle school!) It’s already going to be really difficult for viewers like myself to root for more than one contestant, which will make the eliminations all the more painful as the season goes on, but it’s not a competition without a few people falling out of the race.
Xander Jeanneret is one of the contestants to pop up on the show. Xander is your normal geek, the kind who takes part in LARPing, participates in two cool nerdy interactive stage shows in Los Angeles (Dungeon Master and Adventure), plays games and is lucky to be on this show. I got the chance to sit down and speak with the fellow “gay-mer” (gay gamer) about what to watch out for this season. He couldn’t tell us everything, but we got some dirt on how things might play out.
7. Nerd Drama!
Xander: “What would the show be without a little nerd-on-nerd drama? This season promises to pack in just as much excitement.”
A reality television show wouldn’t be memorable without a little bit of dramatic spice thrown into the mix. Any sorts of opposing personalities are bound to clash, especially when you’re dealing with a big competition. Everyone on this show thinks they have what it takes to rightfully sit on the Throne of Games, but very few have what it takes mentally and physically to make it all the way to the top.
The new cast appears a bit more eager than the previous one, and there was already an alliance building up within the first episode. Could the house of Nerdvana be even more divided than the previous season? If that’s the case, then I suggest that if any of them get upset at the other, that they battle each other not only on the field, but in a few games of Mortal Kombat. This show is littered with gamers, so it only makes sense that they duke it out virtually. And they can’t actually rip the skull/spine out of a person in real life without getting arrested (alas), so the better way of handling that is through video games.
6. No Contestant Closet
Xander: “I’m the first openly gay nerd in Nerdvana!”
I’m always down for diversity in a show, whether it be reality or fiction-based, and this little bit of information makes me happy. In the past couple years, television has been broadening its horizons in the diversity side of casting, but King of the Nerds hasn’t had that big of a problem with that this year so far. If “gay-mer” Xander were to win this season’s King of the Nerds competition, then that would make his presence on the show even sweeter.
But that’s not the diversity element that makes me the happiest: I mainly totally want to see a LARPer win the competition just so more people can be aware/get into live action role playing. I have a friend who cringes every time I bring up D&D or LARPing, and needs to be schooled that it’s a lot more fun than it sounds. You just need to have an open mind!
5. The Return of Genevieve
Xander: “Genevieve, from Season 1, returns as a Challenge Consultant, making sure the challenges are up to her nerdy standards and providing a behind-the-scenes look at life in Nerdvana.”
Suddenly bringing in a previous contestant as consultant, especially when the show is barely entreating its second season, is a strange way to alter the competition. Genevieve appeared to be a really cool chick on King of the Nerds, but throwing her in as Challenge Consultant could prove potentially dangerous for our contestants. Since she’s been on the show before, the challenges are going to be even tougher to get through.
There’s been a video or two of Genevieve running around, talking about how these challenges are going to be even better than the first go-around, which means these geeks/nerds are going to have be more quick witted and agile than before. I secretly hope that she puts a couple of devious little obstacles in the courses later in the season, just to see how the fellow Nerdvana residents fare out. Now I’m not talking about anything dangerous, but if it were Dungeons & Dragons they should have to make a 15 or higher fortitude check in order to reach the finish line.
4. Much Nerdier Challenges
Xander: “Genevieve does her job well, as the challenges are bigger and nerdier this season! Some highlights include challengers flying on broomsticks Harry Potter-style (‘Nerdditch’) and Robot Dodgeball!”
I take it that they weren’t allowed to use the word “Quidditch” for their Harry Potter-style match, but the challenges will be interesting to see this season. There were already a slew of different challenges that the first group had to go through, including dodging a sumo wrestler, but what they come up with this second time around could be fun. They already have to deal with the Quidditch-like challenge in the first episode, which means there can only be bigger and better challenges ahead of them.
Since there are some alliances that could eventually be made, I’m curious to see whether or not any of these geeks/nerds play dirty. There could be a little trip here or there, but knowing TBS it’s probably going to be completely clean cut – no underhanded schemes happening – which makes sense but takes some of the fun out of it.
3. The De-Throning
Xander: “Fans of the first season will see the downfall of King Celeste, as the elder nerds search for the successor to the Season 1 King!”
If you’re familiar with fantasy and historical stories about kings of the past, you know that most of them met their fate through unfortunate circumstances. Long live King Celeste! The first season starts off with the demise of King Celeste, leaving the throne of the new Nerdvana open for any contestants. There are already some murmurs, which I’m all for spreading, that Xander may be the right geek/nerd to keep our eyes on as the season progresses, but this could still be anybody’s game. Does that mean the soon-to-be King is in danger of losing his/her crown the minute they earn it at the end of this season? I want to see a LARP fight break out if this is so. Fight, fight, fight! LARP, LARP, LARP!
2. Come and Knock on Their Door
Xander: “Some amazing guest stars are lined up to help judge the nerds, including Big Bang Theory‘s Mayim Bialik, Napoleon Dynamite himself – Jon Heder, and the science guy that was in our classroom -Bill Nye!”
Now I’ve never been the kind of person who’s been interested in signing up for a reality show competition, but I can definitely get down with seeing Bill Nye the Science Guy on any television program, especially King of the Nerds. Mayim Bialik is a pretty gorgeous woman outside of The Big Bang Theory, so it would be funny to see a couple of our fellow geeks/nerds begin to drool over the sight of her. And I can only groan wondering how many Napoleon Dynamite quotes will be uttered out of contestants’ mouths when Jon Heder walks in front of them.
And was that George Takei I saw in a recent King of the Nerds ad? Oh my, I hope so. But we’re giving too much attention to them and not enough to Bill Nye the Science Guy! I hope there’s some sort of swing dancing competition that he has to judge whenever he appears on the show, just to throw people off a bit. Yes, if you didn’t know, Bill Nye is one fun swing dancer. I’ve never danced with him but I would never be opposed to the opportunity if it came, er, nigh.
1. A Different Kind of Finale
Xander: “And finally, the biggest difference this season is the change in how a King is crowned! If you were unhappy with how the outcome was determined in Season 1, you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise at the finale of this season!”
There was a lot of chatter about how things were handled with the finale of season 1; particularly which lucky contestant was crowned King of the Nerds. You may have even gone on YouTube or your favorite message board to complain to high heaven about who you wanted to see sit in the Throne of Games; certainly plenty of other fans did. TBS apparently caught wind of how they handled the finale, took notes, and are going to take a different approach. Whatever that will be, I just hope to God it’s not as anti-climatic as the first season.
Maybe the ending will take a Game of Thrones approach, turning the finale into a tie and thus dividing the throne into two factions. There will be the King of North Nerdvana and the King of South Nerdvana, but with a lot less bloodshed and sex.
King of the Nerds airs Thursdays at 10 PM on CBS.