Unfortunately, I missed last week’s review because it turns out moving into an apartment is actually way more time-consuming than I thought it would be. That’s not sarcastic. I literally had no idea how much back and forth I’d be doing, but here I am, sitting on a new bed, ready to review King of the Nerds.
Last week, I wanted to discuss the confrontation between Todd and Lily, as I thought it could be applied to a greater overall idea in the nerd community. Hear me out. Todd, in a lot of ways, represented the most classic cliché of nerddom. He, Thomas, and Ori serve as a sort of three-fold nerdbeast. They’re the ones that the rest of us nerds can look at with our noses turned up. Because we may be nerds, but we’re not that kind of nerd.
And it was my second favorite, the sweet tempered Jonathan, that pointed out that Todd’s aggression may have come from the idea that he was all too aware of the fact that he was ‘that kind’ of said nerd.
Of course, lashing out at one of the shyest team members is not a great way to counter that opinion. And while I don’t think his anger at Lily should be taken as a male nerd versus female nerd kind of thing, I do think it’s interesting that the argument between the two of them showcased the exact sort of thing that female nerds are so afraid of.
I can’t call it an exact pattern or make a judge of character because it was a one-time incident on my TV screen. Lily is a very passive person, clearly, and I think would’ve reacted poorly to anyone yelling at her. But the fact that it was Todd, the cliché, yelling at the nerd girl, should make us all stop and think about our community, and about what our behavior says to the other nerds around us.
Anyway. On to this week’s episode.
This week, someone at TBS finally answered my prayers and gave us me a lipsync for your life challenge. The nerds are greeted in the courtyard by contestants from previous seasons, doing a lipsync of ‘Talk Nerdy to Me.’ Now, I’m not a geek-rock expert, so I can’t judge the genre of music, and I’m not going to. I’m going to judge the quality of the lip sync.
And previous contestants: that lipsync was terrible. Ru would’ve eliminated all of you. When I see lip-syncs, I want to see you LIVING for it. Mary Kate was turning it out a little bit, but not as much as she needed to.
This is my genre. This, I can do.
I also thought it was very interesting that Curtis mentioned that nerds are “family,” when last week’s episode very clearly focused on a divide in the community. Then again, if you can’t hate your family, who can you hate?
I will point out that while I wanted one of the guest judges to be Rupaul Charles, Ru did not make an appearance. Nor were the contestants this week judged on their charisma, uniqueness, nerve, or talent, also known as the four paragons of superstardom.
But anyway, let’s get to the training montages.
The Blue Team cleverly notes that during the cosplay/sketch challenge, the Green Team kept things comedic, which won them points with the judges.
On the side of the Green Team, they’re going for a we’re terrible at this and it’s funny kind of thing, and have decided to make a rap. Colby composes the lyrics, which he notes is because he’s Scottish.
Now, there’s a lot that’s always kind of being going on with Colby that we don’t talk about on the show, especially given the way nerds of color are treated as some kind of rarity in many circles, even in 2015, our third year of Luigi. This isn’t something the show addresses directly, but I think it’s something we should all be thinking about when we watch, especially when we look at Colby’s confessional scenes.
Also, there was a break for some Little Caesar’s Pizza. They’re a sponsor, I’m doing a review, I thought I should mention it. I should also mention that I’ve never actually seen Curtis or Bobby interact with the contestants in a non-competitive sphere. They don’t show up when everyone’s in the workroom and ask how things are going. It’s a change of pace for me, and it can sometimes leave me feeling like the show’s a little impersonal. Just an observation.
Also want to point out that on the Blue Team, Ben has accidentally become team dad and my favorite, Kaitlin, is sort of the distant and ever-disapproving team mom. It’s interesting to me that Lily and Raychelle seem to fit another issue in the nerd community: Women feeling the need to negatively compete with one another. There seems to be the idea that if Lily is talented, Raychelle is then less talented. This causes Raychelle to sink into herself, where Lily doesn’t seem to notice the issue. This happens a lot in the community.
On the other hand, when Kaitlin comes out and enjoys herself, Lily is shown as actively encouraging Kaitlin’s love of attention. And so this might actually be more of an issue of Raychelle’s own insecurities. Anyway.
Remember when Glee did their own nerd anthem in season 2? They really should’ve saved it for Nationals instead of wasting it at Regionals. Their Nationals routine was just not up to par. I’ve watched 1 1/2 seasons of Glee. It’s okay. I judge me, too.
Holy crap, they got Travie McCoy and Lisa Loeb and Moby?? I just wanted to say that.
I still miss Rupaul. Though I see Heather telling him the ‘Watermelon, Bubblegum’ trick. I see you.
Also, one of my favorite things is the fact that we keep discovering new nerdy tattoos on our contestants. Heather has a Harry Potter one, we knew Jonathan had one on his side but he also has one on his shoulder blade, and Amanda has one on her thigh. I just know a lot of ink-obsessed nerds, so it’s very familiar to me.
Okay. The songs. The Green Teams rap was very cute. I got a little of “not like other girls” from Heather’s verse, but I’m not going to look to closely into it. I can’t tell if Travie McCoy was amused by them or horrified, but his facial expression rooted him firmly in between the two.
I did love Jonathan’s little joke about Moby, who I think got a little too into the physics of the song. Thanks, Moby.
I also REALLY, REALLY liked Heather calling Moby out on pulling the ‘true fan,’ card. I think that gets her more nerd cred than any song ever will, in my book. I mean, I’m not sure if Moby was playing up for the cameras or what, but she’s right. He wasn’t looking at the right aspects of the song, and I appreciated that she stood her ground.
As far as the Blue Team went, I thought they had a better overall song theme and dance set. I mean, no one was wearing a wig over another wig, but the heart was there.
And again, though Raychelle didn’t call Lisa Loeb like Heather called out Moby, I think she made an excellent point about the fact that nerds can be inclusive. The idea that they shouldn’t be is kind of hurtful to the community, I think.
Moby did make a good point, though: the Blue Team’s nerd anthem gets stuck in your head really easily. I’m hearing it as a type right now. Please save me.
It’s time to decide who’s getting eliminated, and Kaitlin’s pretty accurately figured out that her teammates have been planning alliances behind her back. And while she can’t fully determine if it’s because Ben and Lily and Amanda are all into each other or not, she’s aware that it’s there. Which is nice. My fave is not only super smart, but genre savvy.
While Jonathan points out that Kaitlin doesn’t play politics, she’s smart enough to know what a really fun endgame would look like. And if everyone else is in an alliance, a girl’s got to protect herself.
I don’t see this ending well for Jonathan, though. Which is unfortunate. I like Jonathan. He’s cute with or without glasses on. And everyone, including Ori, keeps proposing new alliances to him. It’s because his cuteness makes him trustworthy. But IS HE??
What’s interesting about this episode is that it clearly shows who’s willing to play politics and who isn’t. And that very much boils down to who has the social skills to play these sorts of games, and who doesn’t. Ori has no head for this kind of thing, and ultimately votes for himself in the challenge. And yes, he regales us with why this is the right thing to do, but to me, it looked an awful lot like he didn’t want his teammates to be mad at him.
He also makes a point about feeling a bit like the Blue Team’s tool, and I think that’s a fair point. The cast has been picking off the outer ring nerds that don’t really seem to be fitting in with the more chill nerds, and Ori is the last one of those to enter the challenge.
So. We go into the nerd-off, and Colby goes on a quick and easy rant about the fedora. Thank you, Colby. You’re doing the Lord’s work.
This week’s challenge combines a bit of physical prowess with some historical knowledge, and also some live snakes. I’m actually great with snakes, and probably would’ve taken a couple with me as well as the dagger. We get along well, snakes and I. Probably because we’re both cold-blooded.
Also, my love of snakes often leads me to forget that they are actually a very common phobia. Everyone on the show knows that the snakes in that cauldron are 100% not poisonous. It’s the fear of snakes themselves that keeps Ori from grabbing the dagger immediately, not the fear of being poisoned.
I will say that this week’s challenge was a good one. The idea of putting everything in the correct order was neat, and I love whenever Colby drops some trivia knowledge.
This was, in all fairness, Colby’s challenge. Sometimes the stars align just so that one contestant will have a clear and present advantage over the other, like when Latrice Royale lip-synced “You Make Me Feel (Like A Natural Woman)” and completely cleaned house. Sometimes the deck is just stacked in a person’s favor. Colby has the advantage of very quick knowledge retention on his side. Plus, he still has a lot of leftover trivia facts still floating around in his brainsphere.
With Ori gone, however, it’s now time for things to start getting personal. The easy targets of the first few episodes are gone, leaving a lot of very strong contenders in their wake.
What will the challenge be next week? How badly is Jonathan going to get burned, here? Just tell me the burns don’t reach his adorable face. The tension is killing me! Well. Not killing. Mildly irritating. But still!