Lovable Nerd

Somewhere at the three-way intersection of the Hollywood Nerd, the Dogged Nice Guy and The Woobie, there is a character who is, quite frankly, a huge dork. He is socially awkward, not conventionally attractive, and a failure at his attempts to win the pretty girl (if he can even get a complete sentence out in her presence). And we root for him, because he's just so humble and adorable in between his flashes of brilliance. He might be capable of heroics if pushed, but he is generally not the Badass Bookworm (at least, not yet). He's smart but generally only in the hard sciences or obscure topics, giving him a possible foot in the door as a tutor to The Chick or an assistant to The Hero. Obviously, in a Five-Man Band, Lovable Nerd will be The Smart Guy. Often subject to geeky turnons.

For a lustable nerd, see Nerds Are Sexy. Has a high chance of being Adorkable.


Anime and Manga
  • Jou from Digimon Adventure is a definite qualifier.
  • Madarame from Genshiken, though the entire cast could fall under this trope.
  • Kohta Hirano from High School Of The Dead.
  • Eiichirou from Baby Steps, even in universe. Despite the fact that he's pretty nerdy and always at the top of his class, he seems to win the respect and admiration from the majority of his classmates.
  • Haruyuki "Haru" Arita from Accel World is short, fat, socially awkward, and gets beaten up by bullies regularly. Once he gains some self-esteem, however, he quickly reveals himself as a Determinator.
  • Clemont from Pokémon got a huge amount of fangirls (and a lot of fanboys as well) after only a couple of episodes starring him.

Comic Books
  • Clark Kent in some incarnations, likely to set himself apart from his Superman alter ego.
  • "Gene" Strausser, who's essentially a big kid playing with Damage Control's collection of super-powered construction equipment.

  • Most of the protagonists in the Revenge of the Nerds movies.
  • Michael Cera tends to be typecast as the Lovable Nerd in most of his movies.
  • Napoleon Dynamite.
  • Flynn Carsen, the title character in The Librarian series of movies. His nerdiness is a big selling point... considering he's an action hero. Who has 22 college degrees. And who's also the biggest nerd in the world. And, oh yeah... he has an adventuring partner.
  • Dave Stuttler in The Sorcerer's Apprentice. He can barely talk to the girl of his dreams, but HE MAKES MUSICAL LIGHTNING! (Sometimes he even uses a Tesla coil, too.)

  • Discworld: Ponder Stibbons, to a point. He's a wizardly quantum physicist who looks like Harry Potter, age 25, for heaven's sake.
  • Waldo Butters of The Dresden Files. It's hard not to like the little guy, what with his cheery demeanor, polka obsession, and occasional flashes of pure awesome.
  • Tre from Stuck, as well as his even more nerdy friends Cale and Grassy.

Live-Action TV

Video Games
  • Otacon in Metal Gear. When Snake first meets him, he is a computer hacker and an otaku, and so terrified by recent events (particularly an encounter with Grey Fox in which Snake intervenes) that he has wet himself. And he is definitely Captain Awkward with Naomi Hunter in MGS4.
  • Reese Worthington.
  • Shad from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess just can't stop nattering on about his esoteric studies. And is adorable while doing it.
  • Jeff from EarthBound.


Web Original

Western Animation
  • And Lexington from Gargoyles? (OK, so he'd really rather have the handsome guy than the pretty girl...)
  • Harold from Total Drama Island. Also Cody, with even more emphasis on the Dogged Nice Guy part.
  • Gretchen and Gus from Recess are both Adorkable and really sweet.
  • Edd (Double D) from Ed, Edd n Eddy.
  • Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. She's a Badass Bookworm who starts the series as an Ineffectual Loner. Even after she learns to socialize she's still depicted as being organized almost to a fault and as a compulsive studier whose joy for learning is absolutely adorable. In one episode, she hosts a sleepover by reading a guidebook to slumber parties with (somewhat) successful results, in another she dresses up for Nightmare Night as an obscure historical character that no one recognizes (And is surprised by this), and in another she's so scared of bruising her study grades that she actually kicks off a moderately large crisis in her town.
    • YMMV. Later episodes focus less on Twilight loving books and not being sure of Ponyville customs to becoming a princess and an alicorn, starring in more episodes than ever before (while she is the Main Protagonist the series USED to be about the Mane 6 and rotate protagonists more regularly), her friendless background is retconned into Twily having a BBBFF (Big Brother Best Friend Forever) and living a fairly normal life in her hometown, albeit being a little too distracted by books to always notice her surroundings, and as of the spin-off movie Twilight is now the first main character to be involved in a Ship Tease.

Real Life