Reality competition King of the Nerds returned to TBS last week for its second season premiere. Pitting 11 of the nerdiest minds against each other in battles of wits, fantasy, and a pinch of brawn, the competition aims to crown the ultimate nerd and give them $100,000. As the Miami New Times's resident nerd, I felt it necessary to check out the premiere and see what promise the show holds -- as well as test my own nerdiness against the Eleven.
In season one, the group began by dividing itself into two teams of five each--leaving one behind. The person who got picked last was granted ultimate power, because there's apparently nothing more nerdy than getting picked last for anything. As someone who was constantly picked last for kickball, I sympathize.
Before picking teams, everyone had to get to know each other and spit their credentials: a couple of engineers, some LARPers, a Japanophile, a couple of gamers, and Nicole, the inorganic chemist, who won reality show bingo about 10 minutes in. Downplaying her skills? Check. Talking about strategy? Yep. Use of the word "alliance?" Oh, yeah. Shaking hands to seal some sort of deal that may or may not be thrown by the wayside for personal gain? Uh huh.
Teams were chosen, and Kelsey the Japanophile ended up not getting picked---but what about the twist? Could there be something nerdier than not getting picked? Nope. In fact, not only did Kelsey get power, she got the ultimate power---the ability to banish someone from the show at that very moment. She selects reality show bingo winner Nicole, citing that--no offense--she could be kicked off the show and no one would notice. OUCH.
Hold on a second. Apparently there IS something nerdier than getting picked last, and that's getting kicked out by someone who wasn't even on the team. Nicole breaths a sigh of relief as it means that she is back in, and she'll select what team to head back to. She selects to be part of her old team again making the gold team the winners of this first challenge, *and* sends doubter Kelsey to the purple team, the losing team. That concludes the 'main challenge' portion of our reality show.
The second half is the 'Nerd-Off,' where two combatants go at it to see who is más nerdy in any given category. Because the purple team lost, the Nerd-Off pits purple team member against purple team member since, you know, gotta have even sides and all. The gold team, in selecting which purple member they want to try and send home, actually out nerds the Nerd Off---one of the members created D&D-style stat sheets for each potential player, pointing out their strengths and weaknesses in a variety of categories. That's...that's pretty gorram nerdy.
The two members of the purple team fighting to remain in the competition are Chris and Kelsey, and they will be tested on all things fantasy all while playing a game of Nerd Quidditch (or Nerditch, for short). They get three hours to brush up, which is good for Chris, whose background in fantasy is...lacking. In fact, he states that his nerdiness is better used for pursuits that can actually benefit society. Stop right there, dude. You do *not* besmirch the names of Tolkien, Martin, and Rowling and get away with it.
The moment of Nerditch has arrived, and I must admit, I'm a bit jealous (and it's not just because of the Vanna White-esque flag girl in the 'sexy Hermione' costume). After answering a question successfully, they get to fly on a broom and lob potions into cauldrons of varying point values. As a girl who wanted to both be a witch AND make it onto Double Dare, this challenge is hitting all the right emotional places.
After the questions and subsequent Nerditching, Chris wins the Nerd-Off despite his lack of fantasy knowledge. Kelsey is sent home, teaching us a few choice Japanese phrases along the way. We'll miss you, Kelsey. You were quite kawaii.
Let's have a Nerd-Off of our own, readers! How nerdy are you? Take the test for yourself on the next page, and post your score in the comments.
1. Which of these is NOT a type of ball used in Quidditch?
2. According to Miracle Max in The Princess Bride, what is the difference between "all dead" and "mostly dead?"
A. Slightly alive
B. Usually permanent
C. Less likely to smell
D. Alive enough to work with
3. True or False: In The Fellowship of the Ring, the bow Galadriel gives to Legolas is strung with elf hair.
4. Which of these is not a title that has been held by Tywin Lannister in Game of Thrones? [aside: I SCREAMED all the titles at the TV before they were even shown, so there's that].
A. Hand of the King
B. Warden of the West
C. Lord of Casterly Rock
D. Night of the King's Guard
5. Which of these items is NOT required for a first-year student at Hogwarts?
B. Pointed hat
D. A copy of Magical Theory
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Miami New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Miami's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
I got 4/5 (but questions 1 and 3 were more of a lucky guess, admittedly). How'd you fare?
Test your might with King of the Nerds on TBS, Thursdays at 10/9c. Check your nerdy listings.
Send your story tips to Cultist at firstname.lastname@example.org.